Influencer marketing has become an essential piece of a well-rounded marketing strategy, and TikTok continues to rise as a social media platform that brands should consider establishing a presence on.
Over the past few years, the platform has proven to be much more than the hot new app Gen Z loves to dance on. And there are plenty of stats to back it up:
- TikTok reported well over one billion active users monthly in late 2021
- More than 165 million creators joined the creator economy since 2020
- TikTok users spend an average of 45 minutes on the app daily
- About 40% of Gen Z use TikTok over Google as a search engine solution
Undeniably, there’s a real opportunity to make a comfortable living as an online creator. And social media channels are a modern approach for brands, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to grow their audience and revenue.
You’ve seen brands burst onto the scene thanks to TikTok influencer marketing efforts, but the list of benefits extends far beyond viral videos. Influencer partnerships elevate brand awareness and cultivate word-of-mouth-style social proof. Users know, love, and trust certain influencers just as they know, love, and trust their closest friends and family. For Gen Z and millennial buyers, brand and product recommendations from content creators they admire are taken to heart.
And it doesn’t stop at building brand awareness and trust — the TikTok algorithm feeds users more of what they are most interested in and engaging with. The “for you page” (FYP) pulls content based on a user’s behaviors on the app. Because most users scroll on the FYP, both your brand’s content and the creator’s content has the opportunity to reach potential customers, even if they aren’t followers.
So now you’re convinced social media marketing efforts are worth exploring, particularly on TikTok, you need a step-by-step guide to make it all happen. Well, you’re in the right place! We’re sharing the ultimate guide to TikTok influencer marketing to help you set your brand up for success on the social network.
inline_cta--business=Schedule a demo to learn how Lumanu can help your business pay out TikTok influencers hassle-free.
Prepare your brand for TikTok partnerships
Before you reach out to any online creators, it’s important to define the kind of content you want to represent your brand. Finding your social media marketing niche takes research, discovery, and exploration.
Identify your content pillars
If your brand already has a blog or presence on Instagram, you’ve probably defined your content pillars. If not, you can use TikTok hashtag searches to discover the type of content brands in your industry are producing. We recommend choosing 4-5 content pillars. For example, if you own an eCommerce fashion boutique, your pillars might look something like this:
- New arrival sneak peeks
- Same outfit, different size
- Head-to-toe styling
- Celebrity trend alerts
Will you create content outside of these categories from time to time? Definitely! But the content pillars help a user who stumbles upon your account gain a quick understanding of what they can expect from your brand and your partners.
Separate business from personal
It’s important to note that in order to set your account up for success, you have to optimize your profile. The TikTok algorithm takes into account the kind of videos you like, share, and comment on, as well as the trending audio of the content you engage with — so if you’re a web designer who’s obsessed with recipe TikTok, be sure to keep your personal scrolling separate. Remember, your brand’s account should operate as a TikTok for Business account so you can implement a paid and organic TikTok ads strategy in the future.
Consider the creative process and your capacity to collaborate
Dedicate some time to determine how you’d like to manage influencer relationships. Brands with a hands-on approach may outline the requested content beat by beat — often, these efforts are led by a team member dedicated solely to social media strategy and growth. Meanwhile, a brand with a lean team may use a hands-off approach, sharing a more general idea and end result that gives the creator artistic liberty. Either way, you want to ensure you, your team and your potential influencer partner are on the same page.
Partner with aligned creators
You’ve defined how your brand’s TikTok account will operate — now it’s time to cultivate influencer relationships. Of course, you don’t just want to work with any influencer. You want to work with the right influencer.
Find and vet creators
Once you optimize your brand’s TikTok account, it becomes a great resource for finding aligned creators. While follower counts and engagement metrics are important numbers to gather, there is other noteworthy information to collect about potential influencer partners.
The for you page and hashtags searches are helpful to discover creators. But if you need more of a done-for-you approach to finding talent, use the TikTok Creator Marketplace or a platform like Grin. Grin is the go-to influencer marketing software when it comes to discovering creators, nurturing the relationship, and tracking the return on all influencer marketing efforts. Ultimately, you want influencer marketing to feel like a streamlined piece of your overall marketing strategy. Brands trust and rely on platforms like Grin to make that integration smooth and uncomplicated.
No matter what approach you take, remember to consider both macro and micro-influencers. Sometimes, a TikTok creator with an engaged following and a target audience aligned with your brand will deliver a greater ROI than the influencer with millions of followers.
Take micro-influencer and lifestyle blogger, Tanicha Rose — while her TikTok follower count of 37.3K is far from the millions, her content is high-quality, creative, and engaging. Tanicha’s videos consistently get thousands of views and lots of comments. Ultimately, she works with big-name brands because they know the high-value content she delivers makes a real impact on her small but engaged following.
Discuss expectations and sign a contract
Once the research phase is complete, reach out to the influencer or their talent manager to express interest. Some creators put a contact email in their bio, while others may prefer a DM. You can also do a quick google search to find their manager’s information.
Once you get in touch, share why you’re excited about a possible collaboration and request a media kit — this will explain the demographics of their audience and the metrics surrounding the content they produce. If it’s a solid match, schedule a meeting to ensure the vibe is right. In addition to promising numbers, you want to be 100 percent confident and comfortable with this person representing your brand.
Once you’ve decided to invite the creator into a collaboration, it’s time to define and align your expectations. When writing influencer contracts, be sure to include:
- Copyrights — to secure legal rights over the content produced for your brand by the influencer
- Disclosure agreements — to plan how the creator will disclose that the content is sponsored (per the FTC endorsement guidelines)
- Brand guidelines — to provide an overview of the brand style, voice, and processes
- Scope of work — to outline the deliverables, deadlines, and rate agreement
As long as each party agrees on what to expect throughout the partnership, working together should be a resounding success.
Use these tools to manage and pay collaborators
Now that you’ve found and established a relationship with TikTok influencers, you’ll need tools to manage and organize the partnership. Here are two must-have tools to make it an excellent and efficient experience across the board.
Lumanu to send payments
Lumanu created a better way to manage creator and freelancer payments. Bulk payouts, easy invoicing, instant access to working capital — our platform covers all the bases. Lumanu for Business handles all vendor onboarding and 1099 tax paperwork and seamlessly integrates with your current marketing and finance systems.
Creator payments are a multiplayer game. Vendor setup and maintenance, processing invoices, making timely payments, splitting payments with creator agents — it’s a lot. You don’t have time to find a platform and process for every piece, and that’s where Lumanu comes in.
Schedule a demo to learn more about how Lumanu can serve as your all-in-one payment platform to simplify your influencer marketing partnerships and processes.
Airtable for efficient collaborative efforts
If this is your first foray into content creation, you’ll need a platform to manage your influencer marketing strategy and content. In our opinion, Airtable is the best out there. Within the platform, you can organize your content creation process and your overarching marketing strategy and goals. Tools like Airtable save you time and money, ensuring your team, your influencer partner, and any other collaborators can communicate, plan, and execute TikTok content without a hitch.
Amplify your organic reach with Spark Ads
When it comes to advertising, TikTok’s native ad format, Spark Ads, is a feature you’ll want to take advantage of. Spark Ads are used to drive views and traffic to your brand’s organic content, including the content your influencer partners are sharing on behalf of your brand. Because the app and its users value authenticity, this approach is essential to your strategy. Organic content will likely capture the attention of a TikTok user more successfully than an in-feed ad.
Spark Ads are similar to whitelisting on Instagram and Facebook (which Lumanu also offers support with). Whitelisting produces a sizable return (yes, more than paid ads!), so you can expect Spark Ads to perform similarly. If you're interested in learning more about how you can get started with whitelisting as a tool for your business, schedule a demo.
Measure and track the ROI
Now that you’ve put ample time and effort into your TikTok influencer marketing strategy, it’s time to analyze how well it’s working. Because your brand is using a TikTok for Business account, your analytics dashboard will provide easy access to all metrics. We recommend tracking and measuring:
- Followers — to ensure that you are targeting the desired demographic and location
- Engagement — to track your likes, comments, shares, and views
- Video content performance — to analyze why certain videos performed well so you can adjust your strategy to include more of this type of content
Our pro tip: Don’t make harsh judgments on content performance in the early days of creating on TikTok (or any social media platform for that matter). Viral videos aren’t as common as they seem. Slow and steady growth toward reaching your target audience through organic content, paid ads, and influencer marketing will generate a greater impact and ROI in the long run.
Get inspired as you get going
While all the information in this guide will support a successful TikTok marketing strategy, we also want to remind you to have fun with it! Social media content, at its core, is creative. Yes, the performance is important — but being proud of what you share should be equally as important.
So remember this: if a viral TikTok trend doesn’t align with your brand, don’t force it. If an influencer collaboration isn’t working, look for a better match. When it’s all said and done, reaching your target audience on TikTok will be most successful when your brand stays true to itself.
At Lumanu, we engage and collaborate with some awesome creators on TikTok. Here are a few of our favorite videos to inspire you as you take the next steps!
Our platform was created to help creators succeed. Sharing content to help them navigate the industry makes sense for our brand and represents our company values.
Why does this video work? Trending audio, short-form, and informative — the TikTok trifecta!
This Lumanu ambassador has experienced the problem our product solves. This video offers Lumanu as a solution in a relatable way using real life examples.
Why does this video work? Story-driven, and speaks directly to our audience’s pain point.
This video pulls social proof and industry evidence to prove creators have a hard time getting paid. This ambassador shares that Lumanu and EarlyPay (our feature that provides instant invoice fulfillment) are one-of-a-kind solutions.
Why does this video work? Educational, empathetic, and offers our solution.