Influencer Marketing on TikTok: new behaviours and best practices

Nathan Elmaleh CEO Neads
6 min

In just a few years, TikTok has become a staple of any brands’ social media strategy. With its funny videos and algorithm that spotlights content creators, Generation Z’s favourite social network is disrupting the world of influencer marketing.

TikTok redefines how influence works

Influence mechanisms on TikTok differ from what we’re used to seeing on other social networks. With its short-form videos and its focus on humour and authenticity, TikTok favours burgeoning creators of original and on-trend content.

Short videos: the perfect viral format

TikTok came out as a platform for sharing short videos that users can customise, playing with music, text, filters, transition effects, and more. This viral format is at the heart of TikTok’s success, dethroning Instagram and its focus on static images. Since 2022, TikTok has allowed users to record videos of up to 10 minutes, but most users still prefer short formats, generally less than a minute. It’s true that short videos are more impactful and have a better chance of going viral.

A resolutely relaxed vibe

TikTok influencers are well-know for their spontaneity and laid-back attitudes. The platform has given birth to a new generation of influencers, the majority of whom strive to convey a more natural message than their Instagram counterparts.
While TikTok video content may seem sleek and professional, most TikTokers film themselves at home, in a neutral and “casual” setting. This ultra-personal vibe enables creators to create a close bond with their viewers, which is undoubtedly not unrelated to the platform’s success.

Quality over quantity: content comes before account size

TikTok also owes its success to the ease with which small accounts can gain popularity. We’ve lost count of the number of success stories where normal, everyday people all of a sudden gain thousands, even tens of thousands of followers in a few weeks! On TikTok, even a user with few followers can find that their reach goes a lot further than they thought, even as far as some larger accounts. This is because TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t correlate reach with account size; even a personal account with less than 100 subscribers can achieve millions of views! A video’s reach therefore depends on the quality of the content, and not on the overarching account statistics. This principle is quite unique in the current social network landscape, and largely redefines the concept of influence. On TikTok, influence depends on the popularity of a specific video, not the overall popularity of an account.

Why do influencer marketing on TikTok?

TikTok’s content-centric model of influence embodies a major opportunity for brands and businesses. With its strong reach and talented and authentic content creators, TikTok plays a vital role in any successful influencer strategy.

Ever-increasing popularity, especially among young people

TikTok is the most popular social network among Generation Z, i.e., young people born between 1997 and 2010. A study published in 2022 reveals that the platform has broken into the top three of the most used applications by 16-25 year olds, relegating
Facebook to fourth place.
That said, even brands that cater to other age groups can reach their target thanks to TikTok. Thanks to the social platform’s strong growth and the originality of its content, we’re seeing increasing numbers of users among the 25-34 year old category, and even beyond.

A strong organic reach

With its content creator-friendly algorithm, TikTok offers potential for record-breaking organic reach. It’s the perfect platform for brands looking to grow their audience quickly. This impressive reach naturally has an impact on engagement, which makes it relatively easy and fast to establish an active community and achieve a very impressive ROI.

A pool of creative talent

Original, creative, and close to their audience, TikTok influencers are precious ambassadors for businesses wishing to increase brand awareness and image. To reach a young audience whose behaviours and expectations change quickly, companies can tap into the ever-growing pool of talent on TikTok. For most of us, getting to grips with the creative dos and don’ts when it comes to tone, humour, dances, and sound effects can be mission possible. Of course, when you first start out on the app, this abundance of possibilities can be confusing, to say the least! Luckily, regardless of your brand’s industry or speciality, TikTok is full of talented influencers who speak the language of your target market.

How to quickly build your influence on TikTok

As we’ve seen, TikTok is a new hot spot for brands seeking influence on social media. That said, to carve out your rightful place on this atypical social network, you have to master its culture and forge useful partnerships.

Focus on content quality

In order to go viral on TikTok, the quality of your content should be your number one priority. Even brands with good reputations and a large number of followers don’t automatically go viral! The platform propels the most creative content to be seen by the masses, thereby generating engagement (shares, comments, etc.). Sometimes, all it takes is creating a few good videos to generate a large number of views on TikTok and start building a substantial community.

Content quality relies on mastering TikTok’s creative tools, i.e., filters, music, and other effects that content creators can add to their videos. These often whimsical effects contribute to a video’s pace and are an integral part of its aesthetic. Of course, you can’t just apply them at will, you have to be able to use them following the same, subtle (and unwritten) rules as other popular creators.

Use TikTok culture to really speak to your target

To create the most effective video you can, we recommend you think about the following ideas:

  • Humour, which is a key tool in short-form video success.
  • Originality and the unexpected, to set yourself apart from other content creators, showing something incongruous or unexpected is what generates maximum reactions.
  • Education, an angle of attack that works very well on TikTok. Users are often looking for tips, recipes, and good deals in their particular segment.
  • Finally, authenticity is probably the number one way to master TikTok’s unique culture. In every category, users relay content that speaks to them, with influencers who look like them and fit into their worlds.
    Of course, videos must be aesthetically pleasing, but the tone can remain authentic and laid-back.

Choose your influencers wisely

On TikTok, brands have every interest in getting their message across through talented influencers, who speak the same language as their target market. The platform has no shortage of such creative talent across all its categories! To make the best possible choice, try to consider the following indicators when selecting the influencers you work with:

  • Account size
  • Their style of communication, the tone they use
  • Their quantified success matrix: views, shares, reach, engagement rate

If you take all these elements into account, you’re putting yourself in good stead to ensure you reach your target audience in a way that resonates with them.