Looking to crack into the marketing game on TikTok? Take notes from these 15 brands that are absolutely crushing it to take your strategy to the next level.
Since its massive rise in popularity during the 2020 pandemic, TikTok has continued to grow in numbers and cultural relevance, boasting over a billion active users and 3 billion downloads worldwide. While some brands have seen success from the beginning, using the platform’s short form video tools and experimental community to test, learn and connect with their audiences, many brands are still trying to figure out how to tap into that TikTok special sauce. If your brand or business is in the latter, don’t fear.
TikTok has truly innovated the way businesses and brands connect with their audiences. In this article, we'll discuss what makes TikTok marketing unique and share some of our favorite brands who are crushing their TikTok game. As you'll hopefully see from this article, there is no one way to show up on TikTok. The goal is to show how authenticity, creativity and flexibility can help your brand create something truly special and worth engaging in. So grab a virtual front row seat and let's dive into the captivating world of TikTok marketing.
Other guides in this series:
- TikTok Marketing Strategy for Startups - Expert Guide
- An Expert’s Guide to TikTok Influencer Marketing
- How to Run Ads on TikTok
What is TikTok Marketing?
TikTok is a platform bursting with short form video content that is equal parts hilarious, creative and educational. TikTok marketing is about harnessing that vibrant energy to promote your brand, business or product. It's marketing that embraces the spontaneity and authenticity of the TikTok community, where brands become part of the conversation and connect with users on a whole new level. Remember: TikTok puts all Creators on an equal playing field, meaning any account or piece of content has the opportunity to go viral. It's important to capture attention quickly, but also make sure that attention is rewarded with something engaging to the viewer.
We know from research that users on TikTok are more open and receptive to advertising messages than on other platforms. But in a society where people have a growing discernment for advertising content, it's important to make your ads as authentic to your brand as possible. This will make it more likely for users to trust your brand. Let's dive into the three main types of TikTok marketing and how you can utilize each for your brand.
The 3 Main Types Of TikTok Marketing
- TikTok Influencer Marketing: Influencer marketing on TikTok revolves around collaborating with popular Creators to promote products, services or brand messages. These TikTok Creators have built loyal followings by creating entertaining and engaging content that resonates with their audience. When brands team up with these Creators, they're leveraging the Creator’s influence, creativity and authenticity to reach a wider and highly engaged audience. Think of it like having a trusted friend recommend a product or give your brand a shout out, except in this case, that friend has thousands or even millions of followers. It's a win-win collaboration when done correctly.
- TikTok Organic Content: Brand organic content on TikTok refers to the short form videos that exist on your brand page. On TikTok, it's less about curating a feed, rather than finding the content franchises or characters that your brand can own. Organic content on TikTok can take various forms, from funny skits and product reviews, to brand challenges, DIY hacks and heartfelt moments. Think of your brand's organic channel as a place to experiment and invite people in to collaborate. Some brand channels feature a reoccurring talent, like a social media manager, or feature a revolving roster of Creator talent depending on resources. Plus, all organic content can be boosted to function as paid ads as well.
- TikTok Paid Ads: Boost your visibility and reach on the platform by running targeted paid advertisements. These ads appear seamlessly within the user's TikTok For You Feed, allowing brands to capture the attention of the vast TikTok audience. There are various types of paid ads available on TikTok, each offering a unique way to engage users. To explore the different types of TikTok ad products, visit The TikTok for business page, Or our previous blog post [How to run ads on TikTok].
Why Brands Should Use TikTok In 2023
In short: TikTok is where your audience is. While Instagram can be oversaturated, Twitter feels uncertain and Threads is uncharted territory, TikTok benefits from a combination of an unmatched cultural impact and a global, diverse audience.
TikTok is known for its “niches” or “corners”, where people of different interests, passion points and cultural backgrounds can connect with one another, making it highly likely your target audience is already on the platform. Want to speak to plant enthusiasts? Tap into PlantTok. Want to connect with avid book lovers? BookTok is where you'll find them. Is your product geared towards new moms? Connect with MomTok. And while we know that the app appeals heavily towards Gen Z's and millennials, there really is a space to connect with any demographic on the app (just ask the folks at Retirement House).
Adult TikTok users are spending an average of 58 minutes a day on the app, creating ample opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. Additionally, TikTok users are 1.5 times more likely to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform after seeing a video or testimonial about it. Talk about influencing power!
Why is TikTok so powerful? At its heart, TikTok marketing is just like any other content on the platform. It needs to be entertaining, thought-provoking, emotional, funny or all the above. Think of TikTok like your group chat with your best friends. As a member of the group chat, you want to provide value. Whether that's sharing helpful information, or clutch discount codes or sharing a popular meme it's important to remember that you're part of a group that's in constant dialogue with one another.
TikTok’s immersive, full screen video and sound on environments make it a great place for brands to interact with current and potential consumers, but they need to understand the rules for engagement first. When creating marketing assets or ads on TikTok, put your content through the filter of entertainment. Ask yourself, “Would I watch this?” If the answer is no, go back to the drawing board. Or perhaps, take inspiration from these 15 brands who are absolutely killing their TikTok feed.
15 Brands That Are Smashing TikTok Marketing In 2023
- Scrub Daddy: Scrub Daddy uses the natural irreverence and humor of their products to connect with their consumers. It also helps that their product has a face literally built into it, making it easy to feature the product at their “TikTok talent”. They've also used the platform for community engagement and product innovation. When #CleanTok Creator Vanessa Maro complained that the original Scrub Daddy was too big for her hands, Scrub Daddy created the Scrub Baby, a smaller version of their product. The new product was created in partnership with Vanessa, which helped not only drive engagement but also drove sales.
- Converse: This iconic shoe brand uses their TikTok platform as a way to bring together creatives and emerging talent. So much of their feed is about making the shoe a part of your everyday life, no matter your style or hobbies. They also add in a fun mix of relatable content, oftentimes featuring their social media team, to hit home their brand persona. And on top of all of that, they've also created one of my favorite TikTok ads ever.
- WWE: If you're not a fan of WWE, after visiting their TikTok page, you will be. Their channel does a great job of bringing you inside the sport showing you clips and interviews of talent and matches. They let the outlandish and larger than Life personalities of the WWE speak for themselves, tapping into the fandom of the sport to connect with fans new and old.
- Steakumms: A great reminder that every product and company has a place on TikTok. Steakumms Puts a spin on traditional recipe content and piles on the jokes to talk about their pre-packaged meat product. This account made a name for itself by being obsessed with everything ground beef, and celebrating their somewhat cult following. While this product might not be top of mind On everyone's grocery list, the brand has grown an impressive following by showcasing the surprising versatility and inherent humor in their product.
- Little Caesars: Since the pandemic, Little Caesars has honed their voice on the platform and gained an impressive following. This brand utilizes their social media managers to create wacky, inexplicable skits that leave you wanting more and also considering ordering pizza. They're also a great example of how a brand can speak to promotions and tentpole moments without leaning too hard into traditional advertising. They approach their promotions on TikTok from the view of entertainment which in turn makes people curious and hungry.
- August: August is a great example of a small business making big waves on TikTok. This channel was originally led by their founder who spoke honestly and openly about her mission to create better products for people who menstruate. Today, their team uses their fee to have continued open and frank discussions about menstruation, focusing on education and breaking stigmas. They're a great example of how to make engaging, meaningful content on a shoestring budget.
- Tldv.io: How do you get people interested in AI-powered meeting recording technology? Make it relatable. That’s what tldv.io is doing. They harness the humor and frustrations in everyday work life to make short, compelling skits that also pay off their knowledge of the industry and their product benefit.
- Neutrogena: Neutrogena created one of my favorite marketing campaigns of 2023. To promote their Hydro Boost cleanser, and cut through the noise in the cluttered skin care space, the brand created the hydro house - a seven part series featuring popular Creators that felt more like reality television than an ad. And it paid off: their #hydrohouse content saw more than 62 Million views on TikTok.
- Crocs: Crocs was another early adopter of The TikTok platform. They continue to make their footwear a part of culture by tapping into trends and using relevant creators. They've also had a lot of success using TikTok branded effects, allowing people to try on different shoes from their home. They're also a brand that really understands the iterative and meme focused content of the app, having fun with user comments and never taking their brand too seriously.
- Taco Bell: The Taco Bell Channel features both high and low quality content, because they're cravable Mexican food that can really appeal to anyone. Taco Bell recently ran an ad campaign with Pete Davidson and used their TikTok as a way to extend that content even further. By filming TikTok content while on set with Pete, they're able to provide continuity from digital and TV ad buys while also providing their TikTok fans with exclusive content. The rest of their feed helps their fans live Moss with recipe hacks, personal anecdotes and relatable content.
- Oreo: Oreo is all about bringing fun into every moment and they do a great job of that on TikTok. The brand is really great at using TikTok’s different formats such as stitches and Duets to engage with their community in storytelling. Oreo's TikTok is all about showcasing the different ways one can eat Oreos and celebrating the fandom that comes with this iconic cookie.
- Netflix: Netflix's TikTok account is really for the fans. with such a large base of talent and IP, there's seemingly always something new on their feed. The Netflix account is great about taking fans behind the scenes on their favorite shows, helping them connect with the actors they love in TikTok exclusive segments and interviews. They also use their wealth of content to create memes as an additional way to connect with fans.
- Shopify: Shopify’s channel is all about supporting small businesses. Their videos aim to educate the entrepreneurs (who likely use Shopify for their businesses) on the channel to feel confident making content and building their brands. Shopify has also been a particularly outspoken supporter of BIPOC businesses on TikTok, helping to drive real results for small businesses and build brand equity.
- Canva: Canva uses TikTok to make graphic design and visual branding accessible for all. With their small, crafty team, their content demonstrates how to elevate everything from wedding photos to Out of Office messages. Their content makes people want to save it and come back to it, forever keeping the algorithm in their favor.
- Calm: Calms TikTok almost feels like a free preview of their app. On an app dedicated to endless scroll and snackable content, the calm feed provides a nice breather for users to collect themselves and come back to center. it also provides moments of connection for viewers, with content addressing Mental Health anxiety, mood Etc. try it the next time you need a break from scrolling, or just any time you want to lighten your mental load.
3 TikTok Marketing Tips For Startups
So now that you've seen some of the most successful brands on TikTok, and maybe found a few new followers for yourself, let's dive into some tips for how your team or brand can start marketing on TikTok.
- Utilize Influencers: Creators are the lifeblood of the TikTok community. If your brand is unsure of how to start, TikTok Creators are a great way in. They not only outsource your production needs by creating everything themselves, but they also lend their credibility and expertise to speak to your brand. Work with Creators to cross-promote their content, appearing on their own channel as well as on your organic feed or as paid ads, to make the most of their sphere of influence. If Creators are not within your budget, try using TikTok’s search function to find user-generated content to repurpose. Product reviews and testimonials go a long way on the platform, though it’s important to always ask permission and give proper credit to the original Creator. Additionally, some brands will gift UGC Creators a specific discount code or promotional credit as a thank you for using their content.
- Use Branded Hashtags: Next, hashtags! Look for trending hashtags that make sense for your brand. You'll want hashtags that are both general but also highly specific to engage with your audience. Additionally, if your brand is launching any kind of challenge or series, consider using a branded hashtag so that people can join in on the conversation, iterate with your content and see more if they're interested. Begin by identifying the 20-30 main hashtags that could apply to your brand channel and refine from there. Currently, TikTok has a 2,200 character limit per video caption, so you should have plenty of room to test at least 3 hashtags per video (we recommend no more than 5).
- Understanding what goes viral: Finally, it's important to understand what makes good content on TikTok. The easiest way to do this is to create an account yourself. By spending even a couple of minutes on the app per day, you'll understand what makes content successful and also how to create content specifically for the app. You'll also see how videos keep viewer engagement, either with a hook or a payoff to reward people for their attention. In addition, learn how culture is discussed on the platform, whether that be major news events or celebrity happenings. This can help you jump in on the conversation when it’s relevant to your brand.
As you can see, TikTok marketing is not just a trend, it's a powerhouse strategy that can't be ignored. With its massive user base, personalised algorithm and creative possibilities, TikTok offers brands an incredible opportunity to capture attention, engage with audiences, and build meaningful connections. While there are many brands who are creating successfully on the platform, there's still so much white space and opportunity for new brands to come in. So why wait? Now is the perfect time to get started exploring the creative possibilities on TikTok. Happy creating!
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