An influencer expert’s guide to successful content marketing on TikTok

By Harry Seaton, MD of Fluential on

TikTok, Content, TikTok, Content, Content, TikTok, Content, TikTok, TikTok (and keywords, apparently!)

The C word and the T word are very different here in turbulent, testing, crazy and catastrophic 2020. Content and TikTok. Notice how I described 2020 with words beginning with C and T too? I’m not a copywriter but if someone wants to hire me…

TIkTok is, in my opinion, the most content-rich social platform right now. Facebook and Twitter are equally as full of gold as they are of rubbish, similar could be said for Instagram, and YouTube can’t decide what they love and what they hate.

TikTok seems to love almost anything and everything. Will this cause problems? Yes. Is it causing problems already? Yes. Will it stay like this forever? No. But that’s how it is now and, as I’m writing this article now, it makes sense to talk about how it is now too. I can talk about how it is in the future… in the future, when it’s actually relevant. The last thing you want to do is spend so long planning that you forget to do.

Anyway, I digress. The CMA have kindly given me space on their website to fill with an article about TikTok content and how to do it, so here we go. Let’s start with the *deep breath* algorithm.

Algorithm. Buzzword counter: 1

The aLgORiThM. Can we turn this word into a meme yet? Am I allowed to do that? No? Well I’m doing it anyway. I’m fed up of “ninjas” telling me they know the algorithm and that you must satisfy the algorithm like it’s some kind of mad super villain.

We don’t know how it works, TikTok doesn’t know how it works, the algorithm itself is constantly making up how it works. All we can do is guess and predict.

What we do know is what powers the algorithm. People. 

If we satisfy people, they engage. The algorithm takes note. Maybe it rewards you. That’s how it works, and we should stop talking about pleasing a virtual mechanism and focus on the people we’re talking to.

Different people want different things. Sometimes, the same singular person wants different things. Like for example, you want a coffee from a coffee shop and a tub of paint from B&Q. Similarly, you want something from Twitter and something else from TikTok. If we got the same thing from each we’d only use one.

What do I believe the people want when they’re on TikTok? Three things:

Humour, Satisfaction and Talent.

One is fine, two is great, three is gold dust.

Niches. Buzzword counter: 2

I can’t help you find your niche. I’m not you, I don’t know you, what you do or what you’re good at. You are absolutely going to need to answer that question about yourself or your brand and the people at your brand, before you tackle anything else I speak about in this article.

Once you’ve found your niche however, you need to establish something. Something that sounds counter-productive. Your niche’s mass appeal.

Yes, the thing about your special, only-for-your-small-community offering/interest that appeals to everyone. You’re going to have to open the gates. Why should you open the gates though? Because, as much as I criticise the algorithms, TikToks as an incredible ability to understand who’s into your niche and show your content to them. However, it can’t do that until it finds out where you fit. To do that, it’ll need to show your content to a wide variety of people and see how they respond.

If, once the masses see your video, you get no nibbles… well, it’s fairly self-explanatory. If you can get a bit of traction, you’ll be seen by more people (allegedly) and therefore have an opportunity for your content to find it’s ideal audience and thrive amongst them. Congratulations.

So, how can your niche incorporate Humour, Satisfaction or Talent? Or two of them? Or all of them? This is without a doubt the most important question. This is how you start to build a personality and thus, influence. 

People. 

How many times have you been told to include people in your marketing? Your customers, your staff, your CEO, your neighbour, your elderly relatives. Is it all getting a bit tiresome? I sure hope not, because I’m about to tell you it all again.

This is Marketing 101 really. People sell. You see someone like you, you like them. You see someone with your problem, solving it with a certain product, you want that product. You were going to leave Sky Broadband but the guy on the end of the phone sounded genuinely heartbroken when you told him so you didn’t because the decision was entirely emotionally charged with the product so far at the back of your mind. That’s actually happened to… a friend of mine.

Girl using TikTok
TikTok, in my humble opinion, takes typical marketing principles and supercharges them. Oh you thought videos with a quick opening were important on social? Well they’re super important on TikTok. Similarly, you think people are important for marketing? Well they’re super important on TikTok.

Answer me this. If a dog gets famous because it’s cute, does the account have influence? The correct answer is yes, but what can it influence you to do? Buy the same lead the owner uses, or buy a dog identical to that one? Perhaps both, but mainly the latter. 

Creating desire and harnessing influence are two very different things. If I create a beautifully shot, not-too-in-your-face advert for a nice looking guitar, some people might want to buy that specific guitar right this second impulsively. If I prove that I’m an expert at guitar and everything I touch turns to gold, they’ll want every single thing I use. Every guitar, every amp, every pedal, every plectrum.

The difference is me, therefore the difference needs to be YOU too.

Without people you can grow a following, but it’s unlikely that you’ll grow influence. So when it comes to conversion time, your board are going to be much happier with the influence.

Consider this at every single TikTok creation session you have for your brand. How can I incorporate someone in this? No matter what it is, how am I going to authentically and naturally include a person.

Examples.

Well, I just gave you one but fine I guess I can part with another couple….

Once you include the part of the article directly above this section, the P-word, brands and organisations looking to deliver messaging campaigns seem to have it quite easy. Don’t animate. Get someone to say it. Work out how you can integrate Humour, Satisfaction or Talent within the TikTok.

For products, you have several options. The convenience is definitely one, so long as it’s convenient enough to earn the coveted internet title of “Life Hack”. Don’t be lazy with these, narrate them, get involved and be a part of them. Can you make it funny? Can you over-dramatise the problem? Remember, TikTok is for everyday people. You don’t need to be a BAFTA winning actor or actress. Have fun with it.

Maybe your product isn’t funny, doesn’t require any kind of talent and doesn’t lead to any satisfying outcomes. What about the production line? Is any part of its production insanely satisfying to watch? The way the printer puts your logo onto hundreds of the same thing in exactly the same way to the exact centimetre?

Or, perhaps you’ll need to think even further outside of the box. There is a guy on TikTok who is quite literally spinning things on his finger. Everything from ironing boards to iPads. He now has over 1 million followers.

What strange talent do your employees or colleagues have? People love repetition and a “success story” on TikTok. For example, no matter how dull your product may be, if you created a concept and advertised that you are spinning it on your finger every day until you hit X followers, the chances are you will blow up at some point. It really can happen.

Pro Tips.

To conclude the article, I want to share 5 tips. TikTok has no rule book. The best TikToks can flop, the worst TikToks can skyrocket. However, these tips will certainly help you achieve more steady and consistent results.

1). Reply to EVERY* comment. Marketing 101 again however, it’s heightened on TikTok. If people take the time to talk to you on a platform that makes it so easy to scroll past you, the least you can do is respond.

2). *Leave a couple of comments on purpose, for a couple of days. I have no definitive proof to back this up, only my own results and the fact that it would be a huge coincidence that this has worked for me every single time. I leave a couple of comments, then I reply to them a few days later and suddenly the results start coming in again.

3). Lure them in with parts. Make a part 1, leave a cliffhanger, and tease part 2. Encourage your audience to follow to make sure they don’t miss part 2. I’ve seen very quick growth doing this, and it’s an audience that you know are interested in that specific piece of content, and likely that style of content. So if you replicate it, they’ll likely enjoy that too.

4). A mix of trending hashtags, popular hashtags and niche hashtags. This seems so obvious, but it’s true. #fyp #foryou and #foryoupage supposedly help you to get on the For You page. There’s no proof for this, but they’re popular hashtags regardless. Trending may well throw up a few that sit well within your niche and industry, and then you’ll want to couple that with a few more specific hashtags. 

5). Don’t repurpose your content for TikTok, but do upload your TikToks to your other social channels. TikToks frequently go viral on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Take advantage of this. Use the copy TikTok auto-saves to your camera roll, as it’ll be watermarked with your username!

If you have any TikTok related questions, shoot them my way either by email or LinkedIn.

Fluential are part of the wider Maze Group. Check our their member page! 

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