Working With TikTok Creators: What You Need to Know
By now, most of us will have heard of TikTok, we may have even explored the platform a little - but do you know how big of an opportunity it offers businesses?
When it comes to creativity, TikTok is arguably the best social media platform out there. As of September 2021, TikTok reported hitting 1 billion monthly active users, making it a giant of social media, similar in size to Instagram (1 billion active users) and surpassing Snapchat (293 million daily active users).
Although TikTok is typically a great platform for targeting a younger demographic, it’s ever-growing popularity now means that more age ranges are present and engaged. For example, some stats suggest that 4.7% of UK individuals aged 45 to 54 had joined or used TikTok in 2019.
The opportunity of getting your business noticed on TikTok is clear. In this article, we are going to explore how to work with TikTik creators to do this.
What are Creators?
When we use the term creator we are referring to individuals or groups that create engaging content. In this article, we are referring to creators as those who create original content on TikTok.
Typically, a creator will be someone who has developed a large following on TikTok by publishing original content. However, audience size isn’t necessarily an indicator that someone is a good creator, as many other factors come into play such as content quality and niche.
Creators and influencers can be considered as different - although they certainly are not mutually exclusive. Where creators are those who create original content, influencers are those who have influence over the thoughts and actions of others. Someone may be a great content creator but have little influence over others. On the other hand, someone may be influential but not produce any of their own original content.
Great creators are usually also very influential.
In House vs Agency
When you decide to work with content creators you will need to decide whether you are going to do this in house or bring in an agency to support your efforts. Below we have outlined a few positives and negatives to working with an agency - yes, we are just a little biased, but have been as even as possible here:
Cost. The biggest challenge of working with an agency is usually finding the budget to do so - although it is likely to be more affordable than you think)
Skill development. When you outsource to an agency you can miss an opportunity to develop marketing skills in-house - although this can be remedied by taking a collaborative approach.
Ongoing relationships. If an agency builds relationships with creators on your behalf, maintaining ongoing relationships can be more tricky.
Cost. Although an agency will charge a clear fee, it can often be much cheaper than training staff in house to do the same job.
Speed. Agencies are set up to run efficient campaigns, meaning you will usually see results much sooner than running campaigns in house.
Knowledge. Agencies have access to the best and brightest talent in the creator collaboration space.
Network. Agencies often have ready-built networks with top creators.
Resource. Working with an agency frees up resources to allow your in-house team to focus on other methods of growth.
The ideal scenario can often be a mix of in-house and agency collaboration. For example, you may work with an agency to develop a strategy and set in place systems, but also work with them to train your in house team to deliver ongoing campaigns.
Regardless of whether you go in house or work with an agency, having an understanding of the process of working with creators will be very helpful...
Start Your Search Right
Before you start finding and reaching out to creators you will want to decide on a few key elements:
Your campaign goals
Your target audience
Your target TikTok creators
How you will identify creators
Writing down your campaign goals will help formulate almost every part of your strategy when working with creators. Your goals should align with your overarching business goals and should be SMART in nature - this will help you assess how working with creators is helping you achieve positive growth as a business.
Once you have your goals, you will need to consider the audience you need to reach in order to achieve them. It is important that this step comes before you decide which creators to target, as your target audience aren’t always the same as your target creators. For example, your target audience may be teenage girls, but you find that an older male musician makes content that appeals to this audience.
Finding the right creators is all about alignment. You need to align creators in the following areas:
Brand values - does the creator share similar values as your brand?
Content - does the creator produce content that would represent your brand well?
Audience - does the creator's content appeal to your target audience?
Professionalism - is the creator going to be easy to work with?
At this stage, you should know:
What your campaign goals are
Who your target audience are
The type of creators you want to target
So, now you actually need to get out there and find them.
There are countless tools that can be used to help you find influencers - for example, the tbp platform offers access to over 50k self-registered influencers and creators and makes it easy to reach out to them and manage campaigns.
Reach Out to Creators
The next stage is reaching out to the TikTok creators you have found in an attempt to convince them to work with you. Usually, this is done in one of three ways:
Via an influencer marketing platform
Via direct message on TikTok or other social platforms
In fact, as many creators get inundated with messages, you may try a mixture of these methods.
When you message your chosen creators it is important to remember that they likely get many similar messages and you need to do more than just ask them to work with you. Instead, you need to sell your brand and what you are trying to achieve. Here are a few tips for successful outreach:
Excite them. Explain who you are, what your brand is trying to achieve and include any other information that could excite them about the business and campaign.
Be clear on your value. Explain exactly what it is you are offering them. This could be a combination of money, products, invitations to events, early access to new products...basically anything you believe they will find valuable.
Be clear on what you expect. Explain exactly how you see them fitting into the campaign. This doesn’t have to be a full pitch at this point but should outline the type of commitment you are looking for.
Deliver a Creative Brief
Your creative brief will help creators understand what is expected of them. At this stage, it is easy to micromanage creators by delivering a brief that explicitly tells them what to create - this should be avoided at all costs.
It is natural to offer an incredibly detailed brief. After all, it can feel like doing this is minimising your risk as a brand. However, in reality, doing this:
Takes up a considerable amount of your time
Can frustrate the creator and stunt creativity
Can lead to content looking unnatural
Doesn’t allow you to fully tap into the creator’s natural talent
Instead, offer your chosen TikTok creators a set of guidelines. Rather than being specific, note down some do’s and don’t. It is important to find the fine line between offering creative freedom and ensuring that content is suitable for representing your brand.
Track Your Result
When you have delivered the brief, it’s time for your creators to get to work. It is easy at this stage to sit back and relax - although rest is well deserved, it is important to set up mechanisms to assess the performance of your campaign as it is carried out.
How you do this will depend on factors such as the campaign platform you use and your unique goals. As your goals should be SMART in nature, you should be able to measure directly against them. However, you may also create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to give you a more accurate picture of performance over time.
Your KPIs may include:
Number of pieces of content
REMEMBER: KPIs are just that - indicators. They only offer insight into whether the campaign is heading in the right direction and therefore should be used in context.
When you have your results you can analyse them to see which parts of your campaign worked and which didn’t - helping you make alterations to future campaigns and ensure improved results.
Working With TikTok Creators
Working with TikTok creators is a great way to reach out to a new and potentially lucrative audience. In this guide, we have run you through each step you need to take in order to run a successful TikTok creator campaign.