How to Get Started on TikTok

TikTok has grown so much in size (1 billion+ users) that its usage rivals Facebook (2B+ users) and Instagram (1.2B+ users). It has become so large that these, and other social media platforms, are now copying TikTok’s popular video format and updating their algorithms to compete. It’s evident TikTok is here to stay and is no longer a Generation Z haven. All demographics and communities (macro and niche) are active there. So if you’re not considering how to have a presence on the platform, then it’s guaranteed that your competition is thinking about it.

Breaking down two ways to have a presence on TikTok:

1. Create original content.

Set up a profile and start by brainstorming your brand’s take on an existing TikTok video trend or popular platform format. Trends and formats go way beyond dancing. They can be dialogue-driven, green-screen-driven, emotive or comedic. Then develop multiple video scripts tied to that theme. Think about how text overlay and audio both play a role to keep users engaged. Will there be a voice-over the entire time? Or should music play in the background?

Once video scripts are prepared, figuring out the setting, cast and filming is key to success. Whether a small film crew exists, or by simply using a mobile device, producing short-form and vertically oriented videos that match TikTok’s raw and low-production value vibe is critical.

The team behind the Sentricon® system, from Corteva Agriscience, recognized the importance of TikTok in today’s world and knew that they needed to have a presence there.

Our team created 13 short-form videos targeting homeowners to drive awareness of the threat of termites and champion the Sentricon system as the standalone solution to termite prevention and colony elimination. Our amazing cast of comedians portrayed three different and well-known TikTok video tropes, allowing us to tap into trends while remaining relevant throughout our campaign.

Give your video a fighting chance by boosting it with paid media to ensure it gets attention. Keep in mind that TikTok’s targeting parameters are still broad and tied to age, gender, location and high-level consumer interests (e.g., food and beverage, financial services, pets and travel). To eliminate media waste, brands with a niche target audience may consider starting with the second approach:

2. Partner with influencers.

Because influencers have an established presence and built-in following, they can be a cost-effective way to tap into TikTok. Plus, they’re experts who know which content formats score engagement with their followers.

When it comes to working with influencers, there are two options. Brands can either:

  • Work with an influencer amplification partner, such as Popcorn Growth, to discover and work with a higher volume of influencers over a short period of time, which we helped facilitate for our client, Prairie Fresh®
  • Partner directly with influencers, get their rates, and have them create and publish videos on the brand’s behalf. If you already have a roster of influencers that you work with for other platforms, then ask if they have a TikTok presence and who follows them there for consideration.

Here’s how Prairie Fresh® pork’s influencer-led how-to recipe videos turned out for Hispanic Heritage Month.

In this approach, no owned TikTok profile is needed. But if you have one, then you can use influencer videos as content generation for your profile (provided their consent). What’s more, TikTok videos make for great Reels, meaning you can get extra mileage out of them by publishing Reels from existing Instagram or Facebook profiles. Win-win-win.

Like other social media platforms, it takes time to plan, create and build a presence on TikTok, no matter which approach you take. Talk with your social media manager about staying ahead of the adoption curve and your competition. You could be the first to market in the category there, which is a long-term win to stay ahead of the adoption curve!

About the Author

Kate Newman has nearly 10 years of experience leading and implementing social media strategies to help businesses connect with audiences and grow their footprint online. She has led social strategy development for Fortune 500 companies across CPG, food, appliance and technology categories — and her most notable clients include Jimmy Dean, BP, CDW, Kimberly-Clark baby and child care brands, and SC Johnson’s Raid and OFF! brands, as well as Whirlpool and Maytag. Her motivation and collaborative spirit help deliver strong breakthrough social content for her clients’ businesses, and she has expertise spanning across 10 social media networks. What’s Kate’s M.O.? To make your brand or business relevant through social media.