Understanding TikTok Marketing and Influencer Marketing on the Platform

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Understanding TikTok Marketing and Influencer Marketing on the Platform

TikTok has become a powerful and popular platform for marketing and influencer marketing. TikTok offers many features that make it an attractive option for brands looking to reach new audiences, including its algorithm that helps match content with the interests of its users.

TikTok logo

Formerly Musical.ly, TikTok is an app founded in 2016 that has rapidly become very successful. In 2021, reports indicated 800 million monthly users

TikTok is open to those 13 years or older and allows direct messaging between 16+ year olds.

Available for Apple and Android users, TikTok enables people anywhere to create short videos and then share them with other users, who can comment on them and attach “likes” to the content.

The app has been criticized for data privacy issues, spreading hate, and cyberbullying, and for its ties to China.

TikTok is particularly popular among young people. Research into why people use TikTok as well as who uses it is important in order understand the platform better.

The TikTok Algorithm

TikTok has become a powerful and popular platform for marketing, ushering in a new kind of marketing entirely: influencer marketing.

TikTok’s algorithm is designed to show users content that is relevant to their interests, making it easier for brands and influencers to reach the right consumers and decision makers. When understood, the TikTok Algorithm can be utilized by businesses to build relationships with their target audiences and give them access to more information about their products or services. 

Brands can use TikTok’s “For You Page” feature, which allows them to curate content from other creators on the platform in order to create a customized feed that appeals specifically to their target audience.

“Social media companies have created services being highly immersive, aiming to capture the attention of users as long as possible. As a result of a prolonged user stay, social media companies obtain deep insights into psychological features of their users, which can be used for microtargeting purposes” explains Christian Montagin On the Psychology of TikTok Use: A First Glimpse From Empirical Findings

TikTok offers various tools for influencer marketing, such as hashtag challenges and sponsored posts.

  • Hashtag challenges encourage users on TikTok to participate in activities involving branded hashtags in order to generate engagement around a particular idea, product, or service
  • Sponsored posts are paid partnerships between brands and influencers who use specific hashtags associated with the brand’s offerings in order to drive awareness among potential customers
  • Custom videos featuring branded products or services, which can then be shared with their followers on the platform

Overall, using TikTok as part of your marketing strategy can be an effective way of reaching new audiences while building relationships with existing customers through engaging content.

Why do People Use TikTok?

People use TikTok for a variety of reasons. From a more psychological perspective, scientists who considered both the immersive platform design and studied uses and gratification theory, have a lot to say about the platform.

“Passive consumptive behaviours were prevalent among both pre-adolescent and adolescent groups and that the gratification of entertainment/affect was the primary driver behind all behaviours: passive consumptive, participatory and contributory” explains Christina Bucknell Bossen and Rita Kottasz in their paper Uses and gratifications sought by pre-adolescent and adolescent TikTok consumers.

“Pre-adolescent groups were more active and heavier users of TikTok than were adolescents. In line with adolescent psychology theories, the authors found that contributory behaviours were motivated by a wish to expand one’s social networks, by fame-seeking, self-expression and identity-creation needs.”

Self-determination Theory (SDT) also posits that motivated behavior is driven by feeling competent, autonomous and connected with others which can be triggered through platform design. Individual differences play a role in how users actively or passively engage with TikTok.

Researchers examined the influence of distinct autonomous and controlled motivational regulations, as related to using the platform, through experiments where participants were exposed to online requests for charitable events (read: donations) related to breast cancer and homeless youth, presented on TikTok.

Ronald Ferguson and Jennifer Gutberg looked at how distinct autonomous and controlled motivational regulations influence support for charitable events presented online. They found that autonomous regulation was the strongest predictor of supportive intentions, with intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation having a unique influence on both online and offline supportive intentions. Follow-up analyses confirmed that this led to increased likelihood of actual engagement with these causes via social media platforms.

Using the framework of self-determination theory, results showed that autonomous regulation was stronger than controlled regulation in terms of supportive intentions. Specifically, intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation had a unique influence on both online and offline supportive intentions. 

Follow-up meditation analyses confirmed that autonomous integrated and intrinsic to experience stimulation regulations led to stronger intentions for supporting online behaviors which increased the likelihood of actual engagement with these causes via social media platforms. Highlighting the importance of examining different regulatory styles within self-determination theory when investigating motivations behind support for certain causes or actions in digital environments.

TikTok Marketing Strategy for B2b

B2B organizations are using influencer marketing by leveraging the credibility of trusted social media influencers, leaders are promoting their brand, products, mission, ideas, and services on TikTok.

Utilizing social media platforms, and by partnering with key industry thought leaders, organizations who’s primary customer base is business or organizations (or their leaders), find that projects in their niche can be surprisingly affordable and fairly simple to organize.

With the right approach, influencer marketing can help b2b organizations increase their visibility, build trust, and attract potential customers.

Making the Most of TikTok with Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is just one of the ways brands can use TikTok to reach their target audience.

Influencer Marketing on TikTok has become an increasingly popular strategy for brands to reach and engage new audiences.

Influencers act as brand ambassadors, leveraging their reputation and influence to create engaging content that entices potential customers in a cost-efficient manner. 

The right influencers can help you connect with your target audience and build relationships as well as spread the word about your product or service. 

To make the most of influencer marketing on TikTok, it is important to identify and work with an influencer that fits your brand goals. Brands should focus on finding individuals who have a significant following that aligns with their target audience. It is also key to create content briefs for each post or campaign ensuring the message resonates with both the influencers’ followers and your own target demographic.

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About the Author

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina is a developer, designer, author, and thought leader on topics including Influencer Marketing and Social Media. For more from Katrina, find her on twitter and follow her on medium.

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Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina Pfitzner

Katrina is a developer, designer, author, and thought leader.

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