10 TikTok Tips By Social Media Experts: How To Tap Into The Platform’s Growing User Base

10 TikTok Tips By Social Media Experts: How To Tap Into The Platform’s Growing User Base

TikTok, a platform for creating, sharing, and discovering short-form videos, was launched by ByteDance in 2016 as Douyin; the global release followed in 2017. The New York Times highlights TikTok’s popularity for memes and comedy, especially among younger users.

Businesses like Elf Cosmetics, NBA, and The Washington Post successfully leverage the viral potential of TikTok’s features such as hashtag challenges and influencer partnerships.

To truly harness the power of TikTok, it is important to learn all about the platform. And what better way to do that than by hearing from top experts in the field?

In this article, we will explore the benefits of TikTok marketing and how it can help your brand connect with online communities. We will also debunk some common myths along the way. So, stick around to gain all valuable TikTok tips!

Benefits of using TikTok for marketing: why the platform is worth considering

TikTok’s success has spurred a wave of innovation and competition in the social media landscape, and other platforms introduce similar features to keep pace with its growth. By the end of 2023, its global user base is projected to reach 834.3 million.

Moreover, at the moment the US has the largest TikTok audience by a significant margin, with nearly 113 million users interacting with the social video app, followed by Indonesia and Brazil. And yes, TikTok can be a valuable platform for your business. Here are some reasons why:

1. Lower competition

Compared to other social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn, TikTok is relatively new and has fewer accounts, providing a brilliant opportunity for you to stand out easily. 

Surprisingly, social media users spend more time on TikTok (55.8 minutes per day on average) than on other platforms. For Instagram, the average time spent on the platform is only 30.6 minutes. 

2. High engagement rates

TikTok’s algorithm is designed to showcase content that is most relevant to user interests. It means that if your content resonates with your target audience, it has the potential to be seen and engaged with at scale. TikTok’s average engagement rate is 4.25%, compared to Instagram’s 0.60%.

3. Viral marketing opportunities

TikTok is famous for its viral trends, which can give brands a lot of exposure.

For example, in 2018, GUESS introduced the Guess #InMyDenim challenge, which motivated its TikTok fans to upload videos using the branded hashtag while dressed in GUESS apparel. The campaign generated an impressive 37 million views in total!

It is also worth noting that TikTok’s advertising platform is still in its early stages, so it may be more affordable for you to advertise on the platform than on other, more established social media platforms.

4. Access to younger demographics

TikTok’s user base is predominantly younger, with 49.1% of users aged between 18-25. If your business targets this age group, TikTok is a fantastic platform to reach them. In fact, in 2021, 81% of US-based TikTokers declared that the platform influenced their back-to-school purchases. Commendable, is it not?

11 TikTok tips from social media experts

Embracing a new platform demands fresh skills and resources with TikTok being no exception. That is why we have curated a comprehensive compilation of the most powerful TikTok tips and tricks. This collection is sourced directly from industry leaders who bring a wealth of expertise to the table.

Among them are professors of marketing renowned for their profound understanding of consumer behavior and digital marketing strategies, founders and executives of prominent social media companies, and globally recognized digital marketing consultants. Their diverse perspectives and experiences make these insights invaluable. Let us delve into these expert tips for business success:

1. Boost discoverability and engagement with relevant hashtags and captions

According to Tim Hill, co-founder and CEO of Social Status, TikTok is delivering brands record levels of engagement. He says, 

“In some instances, we see double-digit, even triple-digit engagement rates across brand content on TikTok. Unlike all the other social channels, TikTok has the potential to deliver eyeballs on content without actually having a follower base. That means we are increasingly seeing content from accounts we do not follow.“

“As a result,” Tim adds, “content discovery gained prominence on TikTok. To capitalize on this aspect, it is crucial to explore hashtags on TikTok by tapping “Discover” and browsing through videos featuring trending hashtags. They categorize TikTok posts, making it easier for users to find and engage with your account.”

Utilizing trending hashtags can inspire content ideas, identify potential collaborators, and keep you updated with industry trends. If you are unsure which ones to use, conduct a competitive analysis of successful TikTok creators in your niche. Learn from their tactics and implement those till you are proficient.

For example, a fitness brand looking to promote a new workout routine could create a TikTok video showcasing the routine and include relevant hashtags like #FitnessGoals, #WorkoutRoutine, and #GetFit. In this way, the brand increases its chances of being discovered by users interested in fitness content. In addition, using a branded hashtag, such as #CompanyNameWorkout, can help create a sense of community and encourage User-Generated Content (UGC) related to the brand.

Captions, on the other hand, are a textual element that helps provide context to your TikTok content and it can actually help your content to be featured on the FYP (For You Page) as well. In fact, TikTokers have the option to filter content based on keywords, so using them can increase the likelihood of reaching your desired audience.

While the platform’s official resources do not specifically discuss the influence of keywords, Search Engine Land suggests that the latest algorithm update (expansion of video descriptions to 2,200 words) could be somehow related to keyword optimization. This idea is supported by TikTok’s statement:

“Increased characters gives creators a chance to generate engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers.” 

2. Utilize TikTok’s comments section for increased engagement

Sometimes, simple solutions are the most powerful ones. In fact, TikTok users are more likely to revisit your account for new content if they feel appreciated and valued by receiving replies to their comments. It is that simple!

Dr. Linda D. Hollebeek, Professor of Marketing at Vilnius University, Tallinn University of Technology, Umea University, Lund University & University of Johannesburg, says, 

“The results of one of our recent studies revealed that when customers feel a strong sense of connection to a brand community and are rewarded for their engagement, they are more likely to engage in positive behaviors that benefit the brand, such as sharing positive reviews, spreading the word out, and making repeat purchases.”

Here is an example below from @maliaelaine’s TikTok post and how Chipotle took the opportunity to drop a comment to engage with the content creator and appear as a community member. 

Additionally, comment interactions show the algorithm that your content is engaging which can in return help you increase your reach on FYP.

3. Maximize TikTok influencer marketing by choosing wisely

If you want to elevate and improve your TikTok marketing efforts substantially, you can certainly count on influencers and content creators. Working with them can help you get attention from their audiences and amplifying your reach and interactions. When choosing content creators, ensure their values and posts are in sync with what your brand stands for which will make your brand more likely to resonate with their audience.

Rick Ramos, Author and CMO of TransformYourMarketing.com, promotes his DRAKE© method for selecting the right influencers. It is an acronym for Demographics, Relevance, Authenticity, Knowledge, Engagement. He says, 

“By partnering with these influencers, you can tap into their large followings and establish a more personal connection with your target audience. This can help increase brand awareness, build trust, and drive conversions.”

Skincare brand CeraVe managed to reached a new audience and generated buzz around their products by partnering with popular influencer Hyram Yarbro who shared their brand values and had a strong following.

CeraVe worked with him to create a limited edition “Hyram Approved” skincare kit, which featured a selection of CeraVe’s products that had been reviewed and approved by Hyram.

The collaboration also included a series of TikTok videos in which Hyram showcased the products and shared his thoughts on their benefits.

The partnership was successful because it leveraged Hyram’s expertise and credibility in the skincare space to promote CeraVe’s products while providing value to his audience through honest reviews and recommendations.

Frequency is also a critical factor in TikTok influencer marketing success. While a single post with a creator may yield some results, a long-term partnership is more likely to generate sustained audience engagement and conversion. Isolated posts may not translate into sales as effectively as a consistent partnership, so it is important to budget accordingly.

Moreso, long-term collaborations between influencers and brands often lead to exclusive partnerships. This arrangement results in more authentic content and higher audience trust, as the influencer is genuinely invested in the business. Therefore, consider discussing exclusivity with your chosen content creators.

Additionally, finding the right balance between micro and macro influencers is important as well. Both types of influencers have their advantages, with micro-influencers often boasting higher engagement and macro-influencers providing a broader reach. Therefore, keep in mind the cost of managing multiple influencers.

Lastly, avoid micromanaging them during collaborations. Instead, set clear goals and discuss the terms and expectations beforehand. This allows influencers to retain creative freedom while ensuring the content aligns with your business objectives.

4. Do not miss out on User-Generated Content (UGC)

UGC is a critical element for brands that want to develop their presence on TikTok. Why? Because TikTok is a platform that is largely driven by it. One of the main advantages of user-generated content is that it enables brands to tap into the creativity of their audience. By encouraging users to create content related to their brand, companies can gain access to a wealth of creative ideas that they might not have thought of.

In this example given by Dennis Yu, CTO of Blitzmetrics.com and author of “The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads,” you will understand how incredibly valuable UGC can be for businesses that want to develop a strong presence on the platform.

“Most companies are so woefully inept (my words) at creating short form video that it’s better when their best customers do it for them. We did this kind of a campaign for World Gym and drove way a wealth of traffic and memberships. Plus, we got a wide range of videos from different members– not just in the gym, but funny moments that you could never script.”

“Go look up your brand on TikTok,” Dennis recommends, “and see who is checking in or using your products/services. Honoring your actual customers and partners (plus employees and community) make them feel special, too.”

When users create content related to a brand and share it with their followers, they are essentially acting as brand ambassadors. This can not only help to spread brand awareness, but it can also contribute to building trust. Lastly, UGC is a great way for brands to build a sense of community on TikTok. 

Indeed, brands can help to foster a sense of belonging among their followers which can help to create a more engaged and loyal fan base in return.

5. Embrace diversity, humor, and authenticity in your TikTok content

Dr. Jacqueline Boyselle, who heads the Marketing, Sales, and Communication department at Montpellier Business School, believes that satisfaction is a key element to generate consumer engagement, and brands today are constantly searching for the best possible content to satisfy their consumers and engage them in a community for as long as possible.

“I believe that a part of the strategy to encourage a community on social networks is to be able to provide a variety of content that is consistent in the type of interest that makes the community exist and to interact by co-creating interesting content with them,” she explains.

TikTok excels at promoting exciting and entertaining content, which means that anything fun and unique has a greater chance of being shared, liked, and commented on. And it is no surprise everyone enjoys a bit of lighthearted entertainment from time to time. 

TikTok offers a wealth of amusing videos and memes that will make you smile. Humor, particularly dark or ironic humor, resonates strongly on TikTok. This is mainly due to the platform’s young user base enjoying ironic and sometimes even cringe-worthy content. According to 65% of TikTok users, videos from brands with a professional look and feel are out of place on the platform.

Additionally, authenticity plays a pivotal role in creating successful TikTok videos. Users are drawn to genuine and relatable content that resonates with them on a personal level.

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By showcasing your brand’s unique personality, values, and perspectives, you can establish an authentic connection with your audience. Being true to yourself and your brand not only builds trust but also encourages engagement, fostering a loyal community of followers who genuinely connect with your TikTok content.

And as per Shane Barker, digital marketing specialist and CEO, authenticity starts with transparency. He says, 

“Be open about where you source your products from and how you make them. You can even create behind-the-scenes videos or have a free walk-in policy to build trust and credibility with your customers. And do not forget, authenticity also means being open to feedback and criticism. Always listen to what customers are saying, and use their feedback to improve products or processes.”

6. Stay ahead of the curve with trending sounds and music

“TikTok, as an app, is built on trends, and jumping on them is one of the fastest ways to boost your brand’s exposure. Word of caution before jumping in on a particular trend: consider if it aligns with your brand message, values, and target audience,” explains Ashley Baker, Owner & Marketing Manager, Coastline Marketing LLC.

That is correct! TikTok videos often center around a sound piece, which can be a snippet from a song, dialogue from a movie or TV show, or an uploaded sound element from another user. This sound element is an important factor that links content on the platform.

By searching for specific sound pieces, users can view all the videos created using that sound, ranging from simple recordings of users speaking into the camera, similar to traditional video blogs, to complex content featuring dance routines, lip-syncs, and pranks.

Staying up-to-date with the latest trending sounds and music is crucial to succeed on TikTok. The platform’s algorithm favors fresh and rapidly evolving content. To find the latest viral sounds and music tracks, browse the “Discover” page or the “Sounds” tab. 

7. Commit fully and consistently to TikTok success

Neal Schaffer, digital and social media consultant, speaker, and author emphasizes that TikTok is not Instagram Reels and it is not YouTube Shorts. It is its own special social network, so to best understand how to create videos that will naturally fit in, it is critical you actually become a TikTok user and regularly consume the content the platform serves you.

“I highly recommend you create a new experimental account (you can have up to 3 accounts) whose sole purpose is to search for and consume the same content that your target audience would. If you do this, you will see the popular content that the TikTok algorithm serves you and thus you’ll have a better idea as to how to create content that would better >fit in< with what you are seeing,” he explains.

As Neal Schaffer recommended, spending time to understand the app and user behaviors is a must to successfully break into the TikTok game.  Be persistent and patient, as building a solid presence on TikTok takes time. Refine your strategy based on audience feedback, performance analytics, and platform trends to stay relevant and engaging.

Set clear goals and objectives for your marketing efforts and create a content plan that outlines the type and frequency of your posts and any themes or campaigns your business wants to focus on. Invest time in learning the platform’s features, trends, and best practices to improve your content creation, editing, and audience engagement skills.

Remember, not being fully committed will not cut it on TikTok. Do not give up too quickly; maintain your efforts, and go all in to see the desired results.

8. Track campaign metrics and measure engagement

For your TikTok marketing to make a difference, you must study how your content performs, understand what works and what does not, and tweak your approach accordingly.

According to Yoann Ros, Head of Marketing at Bricks.co, for a successful TikTok video, the most important metric is watch time, and your goal should be to achieve the best possible watch time by capturing the audience’s attention throughout the video. He says, 

“There are several structures for building TikTok videos, but one that has always worked in marketing strategies is the AIDA framework (Attention/Interest/Desire/Action). The attention-grabbing part, which occurs in the first three seconds, is crucial for arousing curiosity and emotions in the audience. We can use phrases such as “Do you want to know the secret to ____?,” “This little tip will change your life,” or “5 ways to get your first ___.”

One way to see what is working for your brand on the platform is to leverage TikTok’s analytics tool and gain valuable insights into your content’s performance, audience demographics, and engagement patterns. This includes identifying the most popular types of content at specific times of the day, as well as effective themes and hashtags.

In addition, Sven Muchow, CEO of Muchow Marketing, says there are five main metrics to keep an eye on when running TikTok Ads. 

“Two most important are the total cost and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). TikTok will automatically spend the most money on the ads it thinks are best. Taking a deeper and closer look, you should check CTR (Click-through Rate), CVR (conversion) and watch through rates.

CTR tells you how interesting the ad was. High CTR means you had an ad that created a lot of desire or curiosity. CVR can depend on your landing page. However, in general, a low CVR compared to other ads but high CTR means you baited a click but either your landing page was not good or your ad did not give people enough reasons to buy. And watch rates are a great way to see how captivating your ad is,” he explains.

Besides, you can follow the metrics and track them judiciously:

  • Likes: The number of users who have liked your content. A high number of likes can signify that your content is well-received and resonates with your audience.
  • Views: The number of times your video has been watched. High view counts indicate that your content is gaining traction and capturing your audience’s attention.
  • Shares: The number of times your videos have been shared. Shares can help expand your reach and strongly indicate your content’s appeal.
  • Comments: The number of comments on your content. Comments can shine a light on how your audience perceives your content.
  • Follower growth: The increase in your number of followers over time. Consistent follower growth is a sign that your content is attracting new audiences.

9. Dip your toes in TikTok advertising

According to Rick Ramos, TikTok’s advertising options provide a comprehensive range of opportunities for brands to connect with their target audience. 

“The in-feed ads, brand takeovers, and sponsored challenges are all tools that brands can utilize to effectively engage with the platform’s users and build their brand awareness,” he says.

Surely, running TikTok ads can be a valuable strategy to expand your reach and engage with a highly active user base. With its immersive and creative ad formats, the platform offers a unique opportunity to capture users’ attention and generate brand awareness.

Dennis Yu, also shares an interesting point. 

“The folks at ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, told me that Spark Ads are the key to their success. A Spark Ad lets us boost other people’s posts without them having to jump through access hoops. They simply give you a code for that particular post,” he says.

10. Keep tabs on your competitors’ TikTok strategy

Lilach Bullock, a renowned digital marketing expert and influencer, emphasizes the importance of understanding the competitive landscape on TikTok. In an era where content creation is the cornerstone of digital marketing, staying in tune with what is working for others in your niche can provide key insights for your own strategy.

“This does not mean directly copying their content, but rather, learning from the type of content they produce, how often they post, and the level of engagement they receive, Bullock explains. 

To track competitor performance, analyze content trends, and understand audience behavior effectively, she advises the use of tools like TikTok’s native analytics and Pentos.

“Monitoring your competitors is about recognizing patterns and successful content themes, and then finding ways to incorporate those learnings into your own unique and authentic content creation. It is about keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry and staying ahead of the curve,” she says.

So, make a list of accounts that produce similar content or target a similar audience as your brand. These accounts should be of various sizes and levels of success to give you a broader perspective.

Observe the types of videos they post, the themes they cover, their visual style, and the tone of their captions. Look for patterns in their most successful posts and see how you can incorporate those elements into your content strategy.

Pay attention to the number of views, likes, comments, and shares their videos receive. What is the follower count? High engagement and rapid growth indicate that their content resonates well with their audience.

Take note of what drives these numbers and consider applying those techniques. More importantly, learn from their mistakes. Not all content posted by your competitors will be successful. Determine their less successful posts and try to understand what did not work for them.

Bonus: Common TikTok myths debunked

Myth #1: You must post 1-3 videos per day.

Nope, that is incorrect. Posting videos every day is not necessary to achieve success on TikTok.

Sure, frequency and consistency do play a role in building an audience. However, the platform has stated that there is no magic formula for driving engagement.

Instead, you should find the right balance between quality and quantity and create content that resonates with your audience.

Myth #2: TikTok is meant for short videos only.

While TikTok started as a platform for short 7-second videos, it has since extended the length to 15 seconds, 60 seconds, and even up to three minutes long. This allows creators to explore different formats and styles of content, such as tutorials, vlogs, and product reviews.

Myth #3: TikTok is just for lip-synching and dancing.

Dance and lip-sync videos are indeed popular on the platform, but it also caters to a wide range of content due to its diverse user base.

TikTok is a hub for creators to share their unique talents, whether cooking, comedy, beauty, or anything in between. The key to success on TikTok is finding your niche and creating content your audience will love.

Over to you

To achieve success on TikTok, your business needs to think outside the box, experiment with creative content, and have fun. While the platform is unpredictable, it allows you to go viral and reach a wider audience. Whether new to TikTok or not, following the TikTok tips shared by the industry leaders will certainly help you crack the TikTok algorithm and maximize your exposure. So what is your take on TikTok?

Would you like to learn more about TikTok marketing? Check these articles:

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