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Trends & Insights | Blog

Mastering TikTok: a beginner’s guide for brands

July 1, 2024


Still not on TikTok? You could be missing out on a fun and lucrative audience for your brand. And it’s not just Gen Z that uses it…

Millie Houchen

Senior Account Executive

With over 1.5 billion active users, TikTok is a powerful and ever-evolving social marketing app. Its unique ability to capture attention through short-form, engaging video content makes it ideal for brands looking to connect with a younger audience – and showcase brand personality in a fun and relatable way.

Mobile-first vertical video is the future of marketing, and TikTok has been at the forefront of this highly engaging content format in recent years. It’s tailored to short attention spans, and shorter average watch time, as users scroll in the background of their daily lives. This can translate to massive viewing figures for video ads that hit the mark, which consistently influences buying decisions.

However, navigating the platform from scratch can be daunting, so we’ve highlighted our top tips for building a TikTok content strategy catered to your brand.

Know your audience

Content must be tailored to each individual social platform – and convey messaging specific to those audiences. However, when it comes to building a winning strategy for TikTok, it’s vital to identify the niche you want to focus on within the platform. 

In 2023, 40% of Gen Z said they use TikTok as a search engine to find holiday and food recommendations, as well as fashion and DIY tips. This presents a huge opportunity for brands that can tailor content to target these ‘searching’ users.

The key to creating engaging experiences on TikTok lies in understanding how different generations consume content. For Gen Z, authenticity reigns supreme. The cohort craves real, unfiltered content that sparks inspiration for their next trip or purchase. 

Millennials, on the other hand, prioritise experiences over material possessions (78% in fact). Their decisions are driven by a desire for the memorable ‘wow factor’, documenting their experiences in detail and causing them to search for ever more interesting adventures.

User feedback

Unlike traditional social media platforms, success on TikTok isn't solely defined by follower count and likes: views, shares and saves are more important. 

A focus on content reach sets TikTok apart from platforms such as Instagram. Instead of likes, the primary goal is to maximise audience exposure through the strategic use of SEO and hashtags. By optimising TikTok content for discoverability, it encourages users to save videos for later reference or share them with friends – further amplifying reach.

With the recommended posting frequency being 1-4 times a day, sharing less polished content frequently and consistently means users can quickly react to it and engage. 

This could be a post asking users to pick their favourite product/service from the video, with results and a discount code to be shared in a follow-up vid. 

Influencers might ask for outfit advice showing multiple options in the first video, then following up with a results video thanking their followers for their help. TikTok is a great way to get quick, real-time feedback while building a loyal community at the same time.

TikTok trends

Trends are a huge part of the platform, with most content being either direct remakes of an original trend, or users trying to start a new one. It’s not advisable to jump onto any and every viral moment – but choosing the right one can be hugely lucrative. The key lies in ensuring the trend is relevant to your brand’s personality and online presence. 

Trend-spotting can be done simply by scrolling the FYP (‘For You’ page) and finding videos that multiple users are recreating, or looking at similar brands and seeing if any patterns are being followed. 

Trends constantly change. Some go viral for 24 hours and are then forgotten about, while others are adapted and reused in various ways over weeks. There are also evergreen formats like ‘Come with me to X’ or ‘Top 10 things to do in X’. You can get some recommendations for the current top five trends in our latest report.

UGC and influencer culture

Harnessing user-generated content and influencers can massively elevate your TikTok strategy. Evergreen content that shares personal experiences builds trust with followers by showcasing genuine, reliable reviews of services like travel, beauty, and fashion. This approach subtly encourages audiences to try the services without feeling pressured by a sales pitch.

When it comes to selecting influencers, it’s important to use those who are relevant to your brand, align with your values and messaging, and have an engaged audience on TikTok. 

A great example of an influencer partnership on TikTok is the Coachella campaign between Alix Earle and Poppi. The 20 pieces of content shared during the festival were authentic and relatable, showing Alix and her friends genuinely enjoying the product in a Poppi-branded house. 

Without ever pushing users to buy the product, the content reportedly drove more than 50m impressions in the first three days, causing a 200% spike in sales over Coachella.

What’s next for TikTok? 

TikTok is a fast-moving platform, with trends emerging every 24 hours, and users going viral with just one video and 0 followers. 

However, a common misconception is that brands can only use the platform successfully if they are ‘young and fun’ and consumer-focused. As we have shown, a well-crafted TikTok strategy can yield significant results from any business – reaching entirely new audiences, fostering brand interaction, and opening doors to exciting collaborations.

Success on TikTok hinges on a creative, light-hearted approach, often using humour strategically. As a platform built around community, brands that resonate most effectively integrate themselves with creators and actively participate in trending conversations. 

To establish your presence on TikTok, make sure you keep up-to-date with current trends, develop visually compelling content, and foster genuine interactions with your audience.

Curious to learn more about the current trends and ways Battenhall can help you launch your brand on TikTok? Download our latest report here.