To TikTok or not to TikTok: influencer edition.

by Kelsey Kruzel, VP, PR/Social Director

TikTok has cemented itself at the forefront of culture and media. Platforms are completely changing their experience to compete with it, culture is created by it and even certain grandparents are becoming creators on it. The social media juggernaut has proven to be a powerful and influential force.

As with any new platform, brands have been hesitant to jump in; first with organic, then with influencers and now with paid support. But the time has come for companies to embrace the new and commit to TikTok fully, starting with its most powerful asset – the creator.

Leveraging influential individuals on social media platforms is not a new idea; Instagram has long been the model, but the nature of TikTok necessitates a unique approach.

So, what’s the difference between Instagram and TikTok influencer programs – and how can you take advantage? Here are some key differences when lookin at TikTok vs Instagram marketing for your business.

Creator or Influencer? Tiktok vs Instagram Marketing for Business

Instagram facilitated the rise of the “influencer,” supporting the meteoric rise of trend-setters, mom-fluencers and reality-show dropouts. Brands have long embraced the value of the influencer, leveraging their inherent trust with their followers and their curated audiences.

However, TikTok’s rise has created a new kind of influencer – the creator. The nature of Tiktok as a video-only platform has created a space for low-quality, authentic and creative content to thrive. As a result, the types of creators that have built major audiences tend to look very different than those who found their success on Instagram. Additionally, the prevalence of niches within the TikTok world allow for almost any brand to find the right creator to show off their products or services.

Action-step: Expand your definition of influencer to include TikTok creators who can tap into new audiences and showcase your brand in new ways.

Video-First

Most Instagram partnerships are photo-focused endorsements of products or services, curated and poised to fit the ideal aesthetic. In contrast, TikTok’s video-first approach allows for ground-breaking, engagement-driving, experience-based partnerships. The video format can introduce new ways to show off your product or service, taking advantage of the range of visuals creators can leverage to highlight your brand in a more authentic way.

Recently, we partnered with Cedar Fair to launch a TikTok program that allowed creators to capture the real energy of the park experience. Through short, voice-over TikTok videos they were able to share a more comprehensive look at the experience in the park than a series of photos.

Action step: Bring TikTok-based creative ideas to the partnership, but allow the creator to bring their unique understanding of their content performance and audience to the brainstorming table.

Optimize the Partnership

When partnering with TikTok creators, consider their presence on other channels like Instagram or YouTube. Many have cultivated followings on other platforms and are willing to share content across their platforms, exposing your brand to new segments of their audience within the bounds of a singular partnership.

Action step: Consider including cross-platform placements in contracts with creators in order to take advantage of their full reach.

Protect the Brand

TikTok’s meteoric rise has raised legitimate concerns and made some brands hesitant to take the plunge. Partnering with creators allows your brand to have a presence on the platform and take advantage of the growing audience without necessarily jumping into the murky waters of the creator game itself.

When working with creators, its important to involve your legal team to set guidelines and guardrails for creators to follow, like using music from the brand-safe library and creating original content versus leveraging trending, non-commercial audio.

Action step: Involve your brand’s legal team from the beginning of any creator program, leveraging their expertise to evaluate contracts and provide guidance.

Take Action

TikTok’s unique format creates massive opportunities for your brand, including the ability for your brand to get massive reach thanks to the powerful though unpredictable algorithm. There’s a lot to consider, but it’s clear that expanding your traditional social media influencer program to embrace the creators of TikTok is a great move for any brand.