TikTok for brands: what the community manager needs to know

TikTok for brands: what the community manager needs to know

Wondering how you could integrate TikTok into your corporate communication & marketing?

This app was formerly called Musical.ly, where users posted mainly lip-syncing videos, that is, mimicking the lyrics of a song.

The social network offers new opportunities for brands & Community Managers as there is still little online content compared to the attention span of users.

Similarly to the early days of Facebook & Instagram where the performance in terms of likes & comments was particularly high, the wheel is turning and showing the way: TikTok.

With more than 500 million active users worldwide, it would be particularly unfortunate to miss this new opportunity to capture the attention of your potential customers.

Here are some demographics to consider:

  • 66% of users are under 30
  • users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app
  • 29% of monthly users launch the application every day

TikTok offers two news feeds side-by-side.

The main (or default stream) on the right features an endless stream of content named “For You”. As you navigate through these videos, you may decide to subscribe to accounts, interact with the video, and more.

The left stream highlights content from accounts you already follow. You can easily switch between the two streams whenever you want.

If this is the first time you are opening the application, you will be presented with a generic news feed. This one doesn’t know your preferences yet, so what appears in the “For You” feed will be totally random until you interact with content.

From your first interactions, the application will search for similar content to feed your “For you” feed.

Video formats on TikTok

All videos on TikTok are vertical and take up the entire screen. The contents are 15 seconds or less in most cases, but some clips are sometimes as long as 60 seconds.

Accounts verified on TikTok

As on other social networks, TikTok has its own certified accounts, requiring a certain level of notoriety and popularity on the platform.

Live broadcast and monetization on TikTok

Live video streaming is possible when you reach the first 1,000 subscribers on your account.

While this may seem low compared to other social networks, it is very difficult to reach that number without a real strategy to perpetually gain and capture the attention of your future followers.

When you broadcast live, your video will be displayed to all of your subscribers in their news feed. They will also receive a notification at the top of their screen.

Once your live video is over, it is gone for good.

Users of the app have the option of purchasing coins to convert them into virtual gifts, such as “emoji” stickers, and can also reward creators with original content.

If you stream video content to several hundred or thousands of people, you will have the potential to make money from this opportunity.

Captions and hashtags on TikTok

The hashtags on TikTok are very powerful, but their number is limited to the 140 characters allowed by the caption of each video. The latter therefore includes the description of the video as well as the hashtags.

It can then be interesting to mix popular hashtags & niche hashtags, as is the case on Instagram.

The more users interacting with your video, the better positioned it will be for populated hashtags, like “Popular Posts” on Instagram.

Add biography and links on TikTok

While the app does not yet allow adding clickable links inside videos or swipe-up functionality (like on Instagram Stories of some popular / certified accounts), users can add a link in their TikTok biography.

Similar to captions, TikTok account bios are limited to 140 characters. These can therefore include a link, but it will not be clickable.

You can upload a profile photo, and it is important to know that previous photos will not be kept (unlike Facebook).

Measure your performance statistics on TikTok (Analytics)

At the moment, creators can only know the number of people who have seen their videos, as well as the number of interactions.

It is also possible to know the number of visits to our profile: that’s all for the moment.

TikTok does not yet offer data on subscribers or people who have interacted with your content on the app.

Users are not looking for content that is too commercial, too “corporate” or too well done. It wouldn’t really be natural in the social media world.

Instead, watch user-produced videos, identify trends, and think about how you might surf those too.

Find out about the TikTok advertising platform

TikTok recently started experimenting with a new platform for setting up self-service advertising campaigns , like what we know on Facebook and Instagram, in order to target young populations.

Once this advertising program is open to everyone, Community Managers will be able to sponsor their content to new audiences, and thus facilitate the recruitment of their communities.

What content can we create for TikTok?

When you open the TikTok app to create content, you will have several options available to you. Similar to Instagram Stories , you can tap and hold the screen throughout the video to record natively.

You can also set a self-timer and record remotely. It will also be possible to create a series of short segments that go together to provide a longer video.

TikTok encourages users to create content directly on its application but allows you to draw from your smartphone’s camera roll.

Multiple effects and text can be added throughout a video to make it interesting and fun. It can then be downloaded to be published also on Facebook & Instagram.

Identify trends & challenges

The videos on TikTok are a mix of lip-syncing, music, sound effects and more.

Users will sing different lyrics to a given music and shoot a fun video, with creative interpretation or puns.

Interestingly, users are following trends in the way they create their content through “challenges”.

These consist of the production of a video with a given music, dance movements or situations.

For example, the hashtag #illusionchallenge lists many videos of users having fun with their phone cameras to surprise their followers.


Like the social networks Facebook, Instagram and Youtube that we know well, the approach that brands should have on this platform is ultimately not that different.

You will need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • how can I deliver useful & entertaining content to my followers?
  • how can I surf trends to get noticed?
  • how to identify and use the right hashtags so that my potential customers fall on my account?
  • how to produce videos at a lower cost?

To go further:

Trainer & social-media consultant, I am the author of the“ Community Manager Toolbox ”at Editions Dunod. I have trained several thousand employees in the professional use of social networks since 2011.

Join me on Twitter and Instagram .

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