The Rise of TikTok Influencer Marketing

I’m seeing TikTok influencer marketing rise up to meet its runaway adoption rate. TikTok’s video aspect is extremely appealing to both creators and their followers. That has helped the platform to grow organically, helping authentic, creative, and consistent creators come up as influencers. After experimenting in 2020, TikTok now offers proven ways for brands to develop working relationships with such TikTok influencers.


As an affiliate marketer, I routinely work with TikTok influencers to boost my e-commerce platforms. In my experience, the best way to collaborate is to create value for both of your audiences from the start. That will help you grow a following and have more followers reading your bio. From the link I’ve included in my TikTok bio, curious followers can visit my e-commerce website and land on a lead capture page. 


As a marketer, the thought of adding another social media platform to your radar may seem overwhelming, but it’s worth strongly considering creating a strategy to be on TikTok. Because the app has a unique algorithm for surfacing content, you have a fairly good shot at having a video go viral, or at the very least you can easily get your content in front of new people. Even if you don’t want to spend too much time creating TikTok content, creating a plan is a good idea.


One of the most vital requirements for online marketing, indeed any marketing, is that you target the types of people you hope will become your customers. With influencer marketing, you have to drop one step back and focus on the people who appeal to and influence the behaviour of your target customers. If you sell to a youthful demographic, you could consider working with influencers on TikTok.

Like YouTube, TikTok’s most significant feature is sharing videos. So any TikTok influencer marketing campaign will revolve around influencers making, sharing, and sometimes live streaming videos that will in some way promote your brand and make it attractive to their followers.

Of course, if you’re over 35, you have probably never heard of TikTok, unless you have been keeping up-to-date with our previous Influencer Marketing Hub posts on the subject. So, we will begin by discussing, what TikTok is and how it works. 



tik tok

The original selling point of was that it provided an easy-to-use platform for predominantly young people to create videos of themselves miming their favourite music tracks – a glorified karaoke vehicle. The original TikTok had a similar basic premise, so the two apps merged well.


Things have changed more recently, however, and people are now uploading more original videos, covering a more extensive range of genres.

As with all social / video-sharing apps, you begin by setting up an account the first time you open the app. Most people probably start by “lurking” – watching others’ clips, finding channels they like, and following those they would like to revisit. In time, however, many of TikTok’s members gain the confidence to make a 15-second video and upload it for the world to see. And yes, many people still begin their TikTok uploads by sharing a video of themselves lip-synching to their favourite music track.

TikTok makes it easy to make and create videos that aren’t too cringeworthy (well at least for today’s tweens and teens). There must be few teenagers nowadays who lack a smartphone with a good camera. TikTok includes all the necessary editing tools and effects you need to make a serviceable video. You can quickly merge your raw film, music, filters, and effects to create something your audience will appreciate.

Indeed, you can even merge your 15-second videos into longer ones, adding further possibilities for your TikTok influencer marketing.

Although you will still find simple karaoke videos on the platform, there has been a big push towards other types of videos, which give many possibilities for those wanting to express themselves, both as themselves and as representatives of a brand.



tik tok data

TikTok is strongly youth-oriented. The youngsters of  Generation Z may have Facebook accounts, but they rarely use them. Facebook is where their parents spend their time. Instead, Generation Z wants their own social spaces. Sure, they are prepared to “share” Instagram with Mom and Dad, but they are just as happy to use Snapchat (for sharing what they want to keep secret from “The Olds” and TikTok as a “kids-only” video-sharing platform.

The largest group on TikTok are people aged between 16 and 24. They make up 41% of the total user base.



As with all influencer marketing, the key to success on TikTok is working with influencers whose followers match your target market. Therefore for influencer marketing (or indeed any other form of marketing) to be successful for you on TikTok you need to appeal to the TikTok demographic. So, if you sell fashion accessories to tweens and teens, by all means, use influencer marketing. If you tell tools for DIYers, then TikTok marketing probably wouldn’t make a good investment.


tik tok for influencer


You can market on TikTok without using influencer marketing. It’s taken a while for TikTok to implement it, but there is now a formal advertising system. You could also try to promote using a business TikTok account. However, as with all social networks, it can be tough building a sizeable audience on TikTok to hear your company message. This is particularly so for most businesses who don’t have a staff of the same demographic as their audience and struggle to run a company account.

It is far easier for most brands to work with TikTok’s established broadcasters – their influencers –  than to build a loved and much-followed company account.




tiktok ad format

TikTok has recently introduced paid ads. It is still early days to see how successful or cost-effective these will be, particularly when targeting the advertising-hating Generation Z demographic. 

TikTok has suggested you combine you use one of the following ad formats:

  • Brand takeover
  • In-feed native video
  • Hashtag challenge
  • Lens 2D, 3D, and AR





Whether you use them as a paid ad, or from your company TikTok channel, you could consider sharing some in-feed native videos. These can last up to 15 seconds, although you can share brief video clips as short as nine seconds.


TikTok users respond exceptionally well to challenges. There are usually multiple challenges going on at any time for TikTok users to participate.

The usual type of TikTok challenge involves somebody setting a challenge (beginning its name with a #, hence the term Hashtag Challenge. The challenge typically challenges others on TikTok to make and share a particular type of video.



tiktok hashtag callenge

For example, in one viral challenge, Jimmy Fallon launched the #tumbleweedchallenge on TikTok. He challenged TikTok users to make a video of themselves dropping to the ground and rolling around like a tumbleweed, with Western music playing in the background. People have now shared more than 8,000 #tumbleweedchallenge videos on TikTok.

TikTok recently shared a deck with a European advertising agency and recommended hashtag challenges as an excellent advertising format for the platform.



Influencer marketing is likely to be the most effective form of marketing on TikTok. You don’t suffer from the negative implications of ads, and you don’t have to worry about building the right audience as you do with native videos on your company account.

You just need to work with your influencers to come up with a creative strategy that helps them pique the interest of their audience to build interest in your brand and product.

As with much influencer marketing, you should take most notice of metrics relating to engagement and awareness. These can be an excellent guide to brand loyalty.



It doesn’t matter which social channels you use for your influencer marketing. The number one rule is to choose the right influencers for your brand. 

You first need to ensure that your brand’s target customers use TikTok. Are you focusing on the ideal demographic?


Assuming you sell to a youthful audience (possibly, but not necessarily with a female bias), you then need to consider which types of videos are most likely to attract your target market. Are they going to be most interested in TikTok’s core music videos, are they more into clips showing beauty tips, are they into comedy sketches, or maybe even skateboarders performing tricks?




You will then want to find popular TikTok influencers who appeal to the same niches as your primary target customers. If you need help finding relevant influencers, you might consider working with an influencer platform. We have previously looked at 7 Best Platforms for Finding Influencers on TikTok.

The advantage of searching for popular influencers in your niche on TikTok is that they will have a large enough following of interesting, engaged people, who will take notice of any videos they share about your product/brand.

Always remember, however, relevance is more important than reach. Don’t merely opt for TikTok influencers with the most massive followings – go for those with the most suitable audiences for your goals.

Once you have selected suitable influencers, you will need to contact them and form a partnership.  You have to ensure that any deal is acceptable to your influencers. They will not want any involvement unless there is something for them, and also they can see how it can help their followers.





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