Are you looking to make TikTok a bigger priority within your marketing efforts in 2024?
The platform continued to establish itself as a key entertainment provider in 2023, with over a billion users turning to the app for the latest clips, music discovery, trend insights, and more. Which also includes products. Indeed, TikTok has now become a key search engine for many users, providing pointers and notes across a range of product categories, which TikTok has tried to lean into with its own expanded eCommerce listings.
That push hasn’t caught on like TikTok would have hoped, but usage insights do show that there is a lot of potential there for the brands that can get TikTok right.
And if you’re looking to make TikTok a bigger focus this year, here are five tips to get you on the right track.
1. Research competitors
As with any social platform, competitor research is key, in order to establish baseline performance comparisons for your efforts, while also familiarizing yourself with how others in your niche are driving success (or not) in the app.
You already know your competitors, and you likely have at least some understanding of the key international players in the space. It’s worth checking in on their TikTok profiles and seeing what sort of numbers they’re seeing, and considering the types of content that they publish in the app.
You can also use TikTok’s Creative Center tools to research top performers based on brand category, product, hashtags, and more.
If you’re not sure who your competitors are, you can also search by category within the hashtags element, which will highlight the top trending clips in any given niche.
Tap on “See analytics” and you’ll be able to get a full listing of videos on that topic, helping to guide you towards the key creators and brands for each.
2. Research top-performing ads
You can also research ad performance specifically, via TikTok’s “Top Ads” listing.
Select your region and product category, and TikTok will show you the top-performing promotions, which you can also filter by promotion type.
This is critical insight for your planning, as it will show you what’s working for other brands in your sector, and what TikTok users are responding to.
Dig in, learn what’s getting traction, then apply those learnings to your own approach.
3. Research hashtags
Overall, hashtags are not as influential as they once were in driving conversation trends. That’s because social platform algorithms have evolved, and are able to glean context from a range of post elements, so they don’t need hashtags, as such, to categorize content in the same way.
That said, hashtags can still be an important discovery factor, and can help to ensure that your content is being displayed in relevant search streams in the app.
As noted above, you can use TikTok’s “Trend Intelligence” element to research relevant hashtags, which you can filter by industry. You can also select “New to Top 100” to drill down to the latest trending tags in any category.
Tap through on any trend, and you can get more in-depth insights into its popularity and performance.
You can expand this trend line out to the previous three years, so you can see how each tag is performing over time, while you can also see demographic insights, related tags, top creators, and more.
Finally, you can also access the top-performing videos in each category, providing a more specific view of what’s resonating in each sector.
4. Familiarize yourself with relevant influencers
Given the entertainment focus of TikTok (TikTok has repeatedly described itself as an entertainment app, not a social platform), you need to create engaging, resonant videos to maximize your performance in the app.
Which is not always so easy, which is why many brands work with established creators to maximize their reach.
You don’t necessarily have to go that route, but it is, at the least, worth familiarizing yourself with the top creators in your sector to understand what’s working, what they’re focusing on at any given time, and how they’re connecting with their audience.
As noted above, you can use TikTok’s trending hashtag listing for this, which also includes an element that highlights the top creators that use that tag.
You can also search TikTok’s Creator Marketplace for relevant influencers based on keywords, industry, etc.
You may find valuable creators to work with who can help to amplify your content, but at the least, you’ll get a better understanding of what’s working, and how you can apply that within your approach.
5. Try out TikTok’s AI ad tools
Like all social platforms, TikTok’s also experimenting with generative and conversational AI, in varying forms, which can help to guide you in the right direction, and improve your content approach.
TikTok now has a new “Creative Assistant” in its Creative Center, which is a chatbot that can help to guide your TikTok marketing efforts.
Using this, you can find relevant links and tools to help, while you can also ask it to give you ideas, based on trends, for content that’ll resonate in your niche.
TikTok’s also got an AI script generator, which can help you come up with more compelling clips, while it’s also added new AI creation elements to its video editing platform CapCut, which can help to refine your content.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is making a big push on AI, and given its size and resources, you’re likely to see a lot more AI coming to TikTok’s creative tools over the coming months. Which could provide more opportunity to put together standout clips, while TikTok’s also looking to branch into new market opportunities, like food ordering in-app, and more direct promotions in-stream.
Really, TikTok wants more people to spend more money on TikTok direct, which has been the key revenue driver for the Chinese version of the app, but that remains a challenge in Western markets. But it could still catch on, and if TikTok can crack the code, it could become a far more important consideration for many brands, very quickly.
Though there is also the lingering risk that the app could be banned entirely in the U.S. That remains a concern, but based on what we’ve seen thus far, the U.S. Government is not overly keen to move to that next stage, unless it has to.
So if geopolitical relations sour, then yes, TikTok could be a casualty, which you should keep in mind when building more reliance on the app. But there are opportunities there, and if you can get it right, it could drive significant interest in your brand, while many of the approaches that you learn on TikTok can also be applied to Reels, Shorts, and more.
A lot of users are spending a lot of time in the app. And if that’s your target market, that’s also where you need to be.