TL;DR Organic TikTok marketing is a great way to test content, engage your community, and create brand awareness.
TikTok is a great marketing tool that brands can use to reach customers with creative and engaging videos. In fact, 81% of users discover new products and brands on TikTok.
TikTok makes content creation and consumption so easy for people of all ages that even young kids to senior citizens use the short-form video platform. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for businesses. If you’re deciding whether or not your business should start a TikTok, ask yourself these three questions:
If any of your answers are “no", then I’ll let you stop reading here. But if you’re ready to start a TikTok, your first step is to set up a Business Account.
IMPORTANT: If your brand is on TikTok, you must set up a Business Account or your account will be banned.
There are a few main differences between a personal account and a Business Account that are important to know. The main limitation that comes with being a brand on TikTok is that Business Accounts only have access to commercial sounds. Limited sounds make it difficult for brands to use non-cleared trending sounds. Since this is pretty restrictive, TikTok created a Business Creative Hub to help brands come up with ideas for their videos. The main advantage of a Business Account is its advertising capabilities.
So, if you’ve set up a Business Account, but you’re not ready or willing to spend your marketing budget on the platform, start by building your organic strategy.
Organic TikTok marketing is a great (and free!) way to build brand awareness through reach, connect with potential customers through engagement, and test paid content through impressions. This includes For-You videos (aka videos in you TikTok feed) and LIVE videos.
Yes… well, maybe.
If you’ve been on TikTok for more than one minute, you’ve probably seen #ForYouPage or #FYP. That’s because that hashtag has been used over 14094.4 billion times. So, if you only use the #ForYouPage hashtag, that’s probably not a great use of this feature. But if you combine niche hashtags with trending hashtags, the likelihood of your video performing better is much higher.
As for an actual hashtag strategy, I recommend coming up with 3-8 hashtags to use for one video. Plus, tools like hashtag generators are easy ways to find keywords that are relevant to your video. Use this TikTok hashtag strategy as a best practice:
I’ve been on many TikTok webinars and lives where business owners have expressed intense frustrations with the limited commercial sounds that Business Accounts are restricted to. In response, the TikTok officials always respond the same way: *shrug*.
Adding viral sounds to your TikTok videos will help to increase reach, so even though Business Accounts have limited sounds, adding them to your videos should still boost your video’s visibility organically.
As an organic social media best practice, Elevate My Brand recommends the 80/20 rule. This means 80% of your content provides value such as entertainment, inspiration, or education, while 20% of your content promotes your brand.
On TikTok, the most popular content genres are:
Successful businesses on TikTok use the app as a brand storytelling tool. So make whatever type of content you want to create to tell your brand’s story.
TikTok’s algorithm curates and tailors content to each specific user. The algorithm shows users a mix of both popular and less-popular videos in their “For You” feed that are curated to the type of content they engage with. The main factors the TikTok algorithm considers are:
Basically, if you want to do well by the algorithm, you need to create videos that are going to drive high levels of engagement. Engagement is like a snowball effect; if even one user comments on your video, that’s going to tell the algorithm that your video is worth sharing with more users. One key way that brands have found success on TikTok is by following and creating trends.
A trend is defined as the common subject of many posts within a short period of time. So the number one factor to consider when hopping on the “trendwagon” is if it’s still relevant. Even if you post a trend one day too late, it can be a bad look for your brand. As the kids say, “big yikes". Especially for big brands, trends can be hard to follow because brand managers and marketing executives favor approval rather than experimentation. As a result, many small businesses that don’t require creative approvals from higher-ups have performed better than bigger businesses.
Additionally, many brands follow trends to ‘go viral’ BUT the TikTok algorithm doesn’t curate for trends. It curates for engagement. In order to follow a trend well, some part of your video has to entice users to engage with the video, even if you just ask a simple question for users to respond to in the comments.
The last two key factors to jumping on trends are relevancy and personalization. It’s easier said than done, but it’s important to only follow trends that are relevant to your brand and that have some sort of customized aspect. Tailor the trend to you, don’t bend to the trend.
Since trends come and go, the easiest way to know if a trend is still “poppin” is by either scrolling on the app or by looking online. Here are three of my favorite sources that frequently update with the latest TikTok trends:
My number one recommendation for any organic social account is consistency. Especially for organic growth on TikTok, creating a consistent posting schedule will increase follower count as well as video views.
How much you post is really up to you and what you’re capable of producing. However, it’s recommended to post one video a day because the TikTok algorithm and users value and expect constant content. All this being said, it’s not the best practice to post several videos in a small time frame because TikTok’s algorithm needs time to evaluate your video. When the algorithm doesn’t have enough time to evaluate those videos, it causes your videos to compete against one another.
Although this short-form video platform has been continually increasing video length (now videos can be posted up to 10 minutes long), TikTok experts recommend videos stay between 21-34 seconds. The key here is to also create an attention grabber within the first 6-10 seconds of the video. BUT, not every TikTok is the same, and not every brand is the same. So the last piece of advice for organic TikTok is to test your content.
Don’t be afraid to test content on TikTok. One video’s poor performance won’t negatively affect the performance of other videos. In reality, the worst-case scenario for when a video doesn’t do “well” is that your ego gets hurt. Life goes on. It’s harsh, but that’s the reality of organic social media. Plus, testing videos on the organic side can actually help you when you decide to take a leap into the paid side of the app.
Test the recommendations in this blog, test the captions you write, and test your editing style. Test it all. Just make sure you do a couple of tests for each variable to confirm that a video’s success (or lack thereof) wasn’t a fluke. In fact, you might even learn the most from the videos that performed the worst.
Organic TikTok is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and show your creative side, so don't be afraid to create a Business Account and start posting content. Just like everything in marketing, the goal is to connect. So, tell a story. Tell your story.
Oh… and give us a follow Elevate My Brand on TikTok. We know you’re on there!
Gigi Toma, Social Media Manager
Elevate My Brand