TikTok Might Seem Overwhelming, but Taking the Plunge Now Will Benefit Your Brand

TikTok has grown like crazy this year, and it has stirred up
some controversy along the way. The Trump administration attempted
to�ban new app downloads in the U.S.,
but a federal judge recently blocked the
administration’s ban
 via a temporary injunction. At this
point, it’s not clear what will happen with TikTok in the coming
months.

We’ll all be watching and waiting to see what happens next,
but the app remains incredibly popular among consumers. For brands,
it has become an essential marketing tool.

But for many, controversies aside, it’s already overwhelming.
They don’t feel comfortable using the app for marketing because
they don’t feel comfortable using the app period — but it
becomes more apparent that they need to embrace TikTok if they want
to stay relevant and reach their audience. That said, how do they
move forward marketing with TikTok in the face of
these challenges?

The TikTok Challenge

TikTok is huge. That massive scope allows brands and creators to
experiment and get creative. But marketers don’t yet know how to
test content on the app or what metrics to use — and many are
still struggling to understand the basic purpose of the platform in
the first place.

And it’s not just TikTok’s format and newness that poses a
challenge to brands; now that the Trump administration has targeted TikTok as a way to regulate
China’s influence in America, the platform feels like it isn’t
worth the trouble.

On top of that, there isn’t a standout brand that has unlocked
the secret to succeeding on TikTok. Some, like Chipotle, are
leading the way by setting viral challenges to engage
potential brand followers, but they’re just bold outliers for
now. No brand has the playbook on how to win on TikTok —
especially a smaller brand trying to create campaigns on a limited
budget. Some might say this means the opportunity is greater than
on platforms like YouTube or Instagram, where it feels like the
winners have already been chosen.

Brand leaders are having conversations and looking for guidance
about whether it’s still worth experimenting with TikTok at all.
Is it a strategic marketing decision? If they have to invest
heavily to do that, is it even worth investing?

The answer is yes. But how?

How to Do TikTok Marketing

Start building your plan for marketing with TikTok by forgetting
the misconception that your first video has to go viral for you to
have a chance at success. While it’s possible for your first post
to go viral — like my wife and I did — it’s not the end of
the world if your first video barely gets any views. It’s just
about getting started!

Here’s how to start small and potentially get big on TikTok,
without letting anything hold you back.

1. Know what you don’t know.

As you get started navigating the world of TikTok, your first
task is to understand what you don’t know. Formulate a list of
questions. What can I do to understand more about what TikTok is
and how it works? What are some of the ways that brands have
succeeded there? What would my goals and presence be on the
platform?

2. Experiment with your campaign idea.

Your brand image and values will determine what
you post on TikTok. The profile of your brand is not about what
you’re selling; it’s about who you are behind the scenes and
what you value. For that reason, experimentation is critical. You
have to be willing to migrate a little marketing spend over to your
TikTok campaigns, see what happens, and make changes to future
videos based on the results.

3. Create a code of conduct.

To avoid trouble and misunderstanding, start with clarity —
especially when you start working with creators. Define your
expectations. Have a code of conduct visible and open to creators
on your site. This way, you can enable them to express their
creativity
 without worrying that they’ll go off message or
hurt your brand image and perception on social outlets.

You’re going to need to experiment as you grow, so shake off
the notion that a million people are scrutinizing everything you
do. Thankfully, Gen Z has a lot more patience for brand experimentation because it
feels authentic. They want to see brands be vulnerable, which makes
TikTok a great place to experiment and show some
personality.

4. Review the process before you go
live.

Once you’ve added your checks and balances so that creators
know what your brand is looking for, you still have room to review.
Before anything goes live, conduct a final check that everything in
the campaign is consistent with your values and
personality.

Once you’ve created your code of conduct and reviewed your
creator content, your goal should be just to get started. Nobody
knows you’re there yet, and it’s going to take a long time to
start building brand visibility on a massive scale. In the
meantime, have fun flexing your brand’s creative muscles.

Does the difference between the first TikTok video you uploaded
and your later, better-quality videos matter? No. What matters is
that you keep showing up and growing — even when taking on a new
platform feels overwhelming and uncertain. Sometimes, the best
things come from uncertainty.
Brian Freeman is the CEO and founder
of Heartbeat, the first platform for ambassador-powered
marketing at scale. Heartbeat has more than 140,000 on-demand
female brand ambassadors for launching turnkey ambassador
solutions. Its mission is to empower real women by giving them a
voice in marketing and paying them for the power of their
collective authentic voice. Heartbeat has done campaigns with
Amazon, Laura Mercier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Warner Brothers, Netflix,
and other big brands.

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Taking the Plunge Now Will Benefit Your Brand
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TikTok Might Seem Overwhelming, but Taking the Plunge Now
Will Benefit Your Brand