TikTok: Marketing on the fastest growing social media platform

  ●   September 7, 2021 | Social Media
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September 7, 2021 | Social Media

While every marketer is well aware of the power of social media advertising – whether it be Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat – TikTok is often overlooked on the scope of marketing and advertising. 

As the fastest growing app of 2020, and one of the fastest growing social media networks of all time, TikTok is undoubtedly a platform everyone should be paying attention to in 2021. 

So, why do so many brands shy away from TikTok?

Often branded as a “kids app” after it merged with Musical.ly, the gradual pull for millennial usership has taken time. And in consequence, many companies have been slow to see TikTok’s potential and reach. 

The reality is, TikTok’s algorithm works quickly and effectively to curate each individual’s newsfeed to offer interesting, engaging, and highly-relevant content. So whether you’re 16 or 60, TikTok will figure out the type of content you want to see. 

This type of informal and authentic short-form content can also cause larger brands to shy away. With more checks and balances, approval processes can take time to post the simplest of content, which can often be time consuming and discouraging.  

This doesn’t mean that big brands aren’t making it on TikTok, they are, and they’re doing it well. But the way in which these brands created content needed to adapt in order to be effective. In order to succeed, brands need to provide raw and unfiltered content in a way in which they’ve never done before. 

What exactly is TikTok?

To break it down, TikTok allows users to film and share short-form video content utilising a huge range of features. 

Originally gaining popularity amongst Gen Z’s, TikTok provides 15-second content ranging from viral dance routines to DIY hacks, cooking, comedy, and much more. 

With usership in 155 countries and over 800 million monthly active accounts, TikTok has a massive audience, and enormous opportunity. Unlike Facebook or Snapchat, TikTok allows any users to have their 15 seconds of fame. If a video is interesting, it is reshared quickly by the algorithm on the ‘For You’ page, and has the potential to gain millions of views. As a result, users and brands are able to build their audience and follower count at an unprecedented rate, and gain huge exposure as a result. 

How to Market on TikTok

As a newer platform, figuring out how to market and navigate TikTok can be challenging. To make it simple, the most effective marketing strategies are typically:

  • TikTok ads
  • Partnering with creators 
  • And influencer marketing 

TikTok Ads

TikTok ads are quick to target your audience. The platform offers two options when it comes to targeting: interest and behavioural. With interest targeting, you can select interests relevant to your target audience, and TikTok will display ads to that group (similarly to Facebook ads). 

If you opt for behavioural targeting, you can target individuals based on their behaviour on TikTok over the past seven to fifteen days. Subsequently, this option allows you to ensure you’re reaching people who have been active on the platform recently. 

In terms of ad products, TikTok offers five different products: 

  • In-feed ads
  • Branded hashtags
  • Top View ads
  • Branded effects
  • Brand Takeover

Partnering with Creators Through Campaigns  

As a popular way to build brand awareness, TikTok serves as an additional outlet to generate creator partnerships. If you haven’t established your TikTok presence, partnering with relevant creators, who already have an audience, can be a great option. 

Depending on the niche you’re in, it may be beneficial to create videos with individuals that also fit that niche, or brands that would complement your brand. In doing so, you can reach your target audience, and build followers on your own page. 

Influencer Marketing

As one of the most popular ways to generate brand awareness and follower count on social platforms, influencer marketing is also leading the way on TikTok. When picking an influencer, it’s important to make sure they share similar values, are relevant to your brand message, and have a strong engagement with their audience. 

In order to help brands find influencers, TikTok created the ‘creator marketplace’. This marketplace allows influencers to be found with greater ease, providing relevant metrics such as the audience demographic, usage, and so on. 

Improving your Visibility on TikTok

Optimising your content as part of your TikTok strategy is a great way to ensure it’s easily found on the search feature of the platform. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using the right hashtags. 

If you don’t know what hashtags to use, go to the search section of TikTok. From there, type in relevant, broad keywords that are relevant to your video. In doing so, TikTok will provide you with a range of related hashtags. 

Depending on how specific you are, and how broad the audience you want to target is, your hashtags should be adjusted accordingly. In general, it’s best not to overcrowd your caption with too many hashtags, and more effective to place two or three. 

Brands to Look Out For 

While many businesses may question if they are the “right fit” for TikTok, the diversity of brands on the platform is vast. With companies focusing on anything from travel and lifestyle, to education and clothing, there is a place for every company on TikTok, if they know how to use it. 

In this, there are several brands that have been quick to succeed, building up their following while understanding how to follow trends, interact with users, and increase brand engagement. 


In the travel space, RyanAir has built up a huge following. With over 500,000 followers, 11 million likes and 168 million views under the hashtag #ryanair, this airline has managed to build brand awareness in the midst of a pandemic. 

Using humour and revolving content around what’s trending on TikTok, RyanAir has become more than an airline to Gen Z’s, and rather a hilarious, cool, and relatable brand. The comment section has become so popular that the page started doing a ‘TikTok comments of the week’  to showcase the best and funniest interactions on the page. 

All in all, RyanAir has exemplified that TikTok can work for any brand if they are willing to understand and adapt to the type of content that works on the platform. 

RYANAIR TIKTOK TO EMBED: https://www.tiktok.com/@ryanair/video/6939930632004832517?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1 


TikTok has also allowed smaller brands to see a huge increase in engagement and sales. One company that has seen significant growth over the past year is the mochi ice cream, Little Moons. Boasting over 200,000 followers, 2.9 million likes, and 275 million views under the hashtag #littlemoons, TikTok has skyrocketed this brand. 

Retailing in Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado, Little Moons has seen record sales in both value and volume, with sales in Tesco alone up 1,300%. So how does this happen? 

With lockdown three commencing in January, many users were looking to create content with limited options of things to do or places to go. At this point, people started filming themselves going on an adventure to ’big Tesco’ to buy the ice cream treat. Not long after, many other people started doing this ‘challenge’ and it became a viral trend on the app. Off of this, Little Moons were able to grow their following and  engage with users on a more personal level. 


Popular fitness apparel line, Gymshark has mastered using relevant and inspiring influencers on TikTok to promote their brand. 

Providing workout videos, challenges, and inspirational fitness journeys, followers are able to interact with the brand on many levels. Challenges such as the ‘66 Days: Change your life challenge’, which launched at the beginning of the new year and challenged GymShark followers to set fitness goals with the chance to win a year’s supply of Gymshark merchandise. In doing this, GymShark also partnered with six fitness influencers, who had a collective following of 19.8 million, to promote the challenge. 

With a whopping 3 billion views under the hashtag #gymshark, 2.5 million followers, and 39 million likes, Gymshark has been able to post content that is highly beneficial and engaging to their customers, while growing massive viewership. 


Although TikTok can be a great place to engage with your favourite brands, it can also be an amazing resource for news. In an effort to reach a younger audience, several news providers have created TikTok accounts that make consuming news more easily digestible and engaging to Gen Z’s. 

In particular, Yahoo News has done a great job at creating interesting and informative content. With 1.2 million followers, 63 million likes, and over 624 million views under the hashtag #yahoonews, Yahoo has become a significant resource for news consumption on TikTok. 

With 63% of users younger than 30, placing Yahoo News on TikTok garnered Yahoo access to a younger audience, and widened the scope of their demographic. In addition to providing fact-based news, Yahoo caters to the interests and conversations being had by younger audiences, while injecting fun and creativity into the delivery. 

The Big Picture 

As one of the newest and fastest growing social platforms, TikTok is becoming increasingly important for brands. With 32% of the platform’s audience being between the ages of 10 and 19, and 30% being between 20 to 29 years old, TikTok is ultimately the future of marketing to millennials and Gen Z’s. 

The level of creativity and interactivity that TikTok offers allows for brands to interact with consumers, and create content in a way they’ve never done before. As more brands see success on this new platform, the scope of usership, growth, and reachability is endless. 

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