Your 2020 TikTok Marketing Strategy

Looking for a social media app for your brand that has a massive audience and few competitors? TikTok may just be the platform for you.

With over 1.5 billion downloads and 1 billion users, TikTok is brimming with untapped potential for brands to leverage.

TikTok is more than just a platform for teens to sing top 40s music and participate in viral challenges; TikTok is a fresh hub for creativity and humor.

If you have been wondering if TikTok is the right platform for your brand, keep reading as I lay out the benefits of the app, examine successful branded TikTok channels, and show you how to create compelling TikTok videos that market your brand.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform for creating and publishing 15 and 60-second videos that can be enhanced with filters, effects, and music overlays.

These short videos cover a wide array of topics like dancing, singing, fashion, beauty, DIY, cooking, comedy, cute animals, and much more.

In its first year, TikTok quickly skyrocketed in popularity with one million video views per day and is currently the sixth-largest social network with 30 million active monthly users in the US alone.

Similarly to YouTube, most users are consumers rather than producers of content. TikTok uses an algorithm to make personalized recommendations for users with a video feed playing the moment the app opens.

The app makes it easy to share videos on other popular social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Thanks to how easy creating and sharing TikTok videos are, countless influencers have been made on TikTok, and established influencers from other platforms have made channels to boost their presence.

Some people consider TikTok to be the spiritual successor of Vine and it’s seven-second videos, which was tragically put to rest by Twitter in 2017 after acquiring the platform.

However, TikTok has unleashed a new level of creativity for people to experiment with and actively encourages users to interact with each other to build joint content. 

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Who uses TikTok?

TikTok’s most dedicated users are Gen-Zer’s and millennials. According to TikTok’s agency pitch deck, over 60% of users are between 16 and 24 years old and spend 46 minutes per day on the app.

If your business has been looking to engage younger audiences, TikTok is the perfect opportunity.

However, if your brand’s products or services targeted towards older generations, such as real estate or mortgage refinancing, you are best off putting your time and money into other platforms.

Before developing a social network strategy, always consider your target demographic and which social media platform receives the most engagement from your desired demographic.

What are the benefits of using TikTok?

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to brands using TikTok:

  • Increase Trust: By creating authentic TikToks, you can make your brand look more relatable and trustworthy to potential customers. 
  • Capture Younger Audiences: Younger generations do not watch traditional broadcast TV and prefer to choose the entertainment they consume. With entertaining TikTok videos, you will have younger audiences actively seeking out your content.
  • Form Connections: TikTok lets users create reaction videos to other people’s content, allowing people and brands to easily engage with each other through creating videos.
  • Little Competition: Only 4% of American marketers use TikTok. Getting involved in TikTok’s early stages as a brand can help you establish a presence before the platform becomes saturated with other companies.
  • Countless Impressions: Since TikTok makes it so easy to share videos, any remarkable content you make has the potential to be shared on other social networks.
  • Endless Content: On TikTok, you can publish content that spans an array of genres, such as product tips, comedic skits, and a behind-the-scenes look at office life to spread brand awareness while staying true to your brand’s core values.

Successful branded TikTok channels

To help inspire your first TikTok campaign, let’s look at ten successful branded TikTok channels and the content that earned them countless impressions and engagements.

1. Late night TV host Jimmy Fallon launched the instantly viral #tumbleweedchallenge. Fans were challenged to drop to the ground and roll like a tumbleweed while western music played. In just seven days, there were over 8,000 creative and delightfully bizarre video submissions and 9 million views for videos tagged with #tumbleweedchallenge.

2. Grocery and home goods chain Kroger launched the #TransformUrDorm challenge during 2019’s back-to-school shopping season. To connect with this younger generation and have Gen-Zer’s associate their store with more than just food, Korger challenged college dorm residents just to use Kroger products to elevate their dorm’s style and film the transformation.

To boost the challenge’s presence, Kroger partnered with four TikTok Gen-Z influencers to participate in the challenge and encourage their fans to join in. #TransformUrDorm was also TikTok’s first-ever shoppable hashtag challenge where people could shop Kroger products without having to leave the app. The challenge ended with 304,000 videos made and over 806 million video views.

3. Practically every young person would list Chipotle as one of their absolute favorite fast-food chains. With over 329,000 fans, Chipotle had no problem getting people to make videos for their #ChipotleLidFlipChallenge. Chipotle challenged viewers to flip their takeout lids by only touching their take out bowls. Cue thousands of videos, many of which were filmed at Chipotle, where people tried to outdo each other with stylish lid flips. Not only did Chipotle effortlessly sell their food to people who made videos, but the chain was able to show off their fun atmosphere.

4. NBC first launched a news channel directed towards Gen-Z called NBC Stay Tuned on Snapchat, which covered bite-sized news and pop culture in a quickly paced and light tone. After its success on Snapchat, NBC brought Stay Tuned to TikTok. Instead of uploading duplicate content, NBC Stay Tuned made tailored content for TikTok and have over 559,000 informed followers who will likely choose to receive their news from NBC’s core outlets in the future.

5. To promote their upcoming award show, iHeartRadio partnered with TikTok in 2019. In the seven days leading up to their award show, iHeartRadio presented an award each day, which they announced on TikTok. The winners also received their awards and gave speeches that aired exclusively on TikTok. This award-based campaign drove awareness for the upcoming award show and TikTok channel.

6. Sports network ESPN has an outstanding 4.5 million TikTok followers. Their TikTok team stated that ESPN’s main goal for the platform was just to make fun content, which spans funny edits, behind the scenes look at athletes and an authentic look at players’ downtime. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy watching basketball players getting hit by Pokeballs

7. The Washington Post was one of the earliest brands to join TikTok and show just how creativity can get any brand a devoted TikTok following. With over 387,000 fans, the Washington Post mainly shares behind the scene peeks at office life and newsroom-based skits. Through their TikTok channel, the Washington Post is able to entertain viewers while showing the human side of their organization.

8. Elf Cosmetics produced a song for one highly successful TikTok campaign, which many believe is the first song created for TikTok. Inspired by Kash Doll’s 2018 hit song “Ice Me Out,” Elf Cosmetics created a song called “Eyes Lips Face,” whose title is lifted from Elf’s acronym. TikTokers posted videos of them in makeup lip-syncing to Elf Cosmetic’s song while panning to the makeup on their face that corresponded with the lyrics. Since the hashtag’s launch, a jaw-dropping 3.8 billion videos have used the #eyeslipsface hashtag!

9. Athletic clothing and accessory brand Gymshark has over 1.6 million followers thanks to their consistent videos. Fans of Gymshark enjoy videos that cover workout inspiration, exercises, challenges, and memes that have every gym rat excited for their next gym session and itching to look their best.

10. Apple Music serves fans with fun and snappy interviews with beloved singers, music clips, and meme-worthy lip-sync videos. Through their TikTok, Apple Music can show their appreciation of the latest music hits and beloved classics while inciting viewers to use their library of services.

How can brands use TikTok?

While TikTok can feel unfamiliar territory to older age groups, leveraging TikTok to enhance your brand does not have to feel like a difficult task.

Since TikTok is still a new social media platform and untapped by many brands, there is no set of rigid best practices to adhere to.

You can freely experiment with content and guide future videos based on metrics.

Keep in mind that inauthentic videos will immediately stand out and turn off viewers.

Many leading brands who use TikTok hire young social media managers that can create the best content Gen-Zers and millennials will enjoy.

Younger social media managers will be well versed in TikTok, the latest viral crazes, topical memes, and be able to anticipate emerging trends that can all be channeled into compelling videos. 

Before making your first TikTok, determine the tone of your account and the goal of each video.

Do you want to make a video that promotes brand awareness, showcases a product or service, connects with potential customers, entertains viewers, or create a mix of all the above?

Your videos should always be a blend of entertainment and a specific goal.

Five ways your brand can use TikTok:

1. Make a channel and post engaging videos. Never be afraid to be candid and informal with your viewers. Many people love to see the human side of brands, which makes them feel more relatable to viewers. Add music and effects (which the app already provides) to your videos to make them punchier and always use relevant hashtags to increase exposure.

2. Create the next viral hashtag challenge for user-generated content that highlights your brand, product, and services while bringing in countless impressions and response videos while minimal work on your end.

3. Form partnerships with influencers to promote your brand. TikTok’s top 50 creators have over 587 million followers who can leverage their fanbase to give your brand exposure. Be sure to pick influencers who would authentically use your product or service, such as a fashionista sharing a clothing subscription service. It is best to let influencers create their own videos so that the partnership content feels organic to viewers. However, you should always review partner videos before they go live to make sure that they align with your brand’s values and goals.

4. The most traditional form of advertising may be none other than paying for ads. TikTok offers three different types of ads:

  • CPM: Cost per mille, aka cost per thousand impressions
    • CPC: Cost per click
    • CPV: Cost per view (of a six-second video)

Just like with other social media platforms, you can set a daily budget, goals, and review metrics once the ad campaign is complete.

5. While not often seen, TikTok has an in-app shopping feature called Hashtag Challenge Plus, which Kroger used in their #TransformUrDorm challenge. This e-commerce feature lets users browse products that are related to the sponsored Hashtag Challenge without leaving the app.

Plenty of successful brands on TikTok use a mixture of organic, affiliate, and paid content. Give yourself the freedom to experiment will all types of videos and challenges to see what garners the best success.


Have you been swayed by the allure of TikTok to help market your brand? There has never been a better time for brands to join TikTok and create captivating content.

With the right blend of daring, creativity, and passion, you can create share-worthy TikTok videos that promote your brand and help you connect with younger audiences like never before.

What videos will you create to engage and entertain viewers? Perhaps you’ll come up with the next viral hashtag challenge that will have late-night talk show hosts sharing montages of for weeks.

Whatever content you choose, TikTok has given you and your marketing team the opportunity to showcase just what makes your brand stand above the competition in 60 seconds or less.

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