TikTok Marketing Guide 2021 

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This is the ultimate TikTok marketing guide for small and medium sized businesses that want to:

  • Increase TikTok social media engagement 
  • Learn hacks and tricks of improving your content visibility and creating high quality content.
  • Grow your TikTok following. 
  • Ultimately persuade your audience to make a purchase.

If this sounds like you, then let’s dive right in. 

Table of Content 

  • TikTok Fundamentals
  • Kinds of Content to Create on TikTok
  • TikTok for Businesses
  • Leveraging Influencer marketing 

TikTok Fundamentals: 

In this chapter, we’ll look at the importance of TikTok, what audiences can be found on it and how the unique peculiarities of the platform. 

Why TikTok is important for your brand: 

1. Number of active users: 

Tiktok has over 1 billion monthly active users, that number increased to 1.1 billion as of February, 2021. From its launch in 2016, there’s been a steady increase in the number of followers. This number is mostly occupied by Genz as they make 60% of all TikTok users. (TikTok, 2021)

2. Target Gen Z 

Despite the large number of followers being Gen Z, the rest come from millennials, who are mobile-savvy. This goes to show. About 80% of TikTok active users are between the ages of 16-34 years. 

TikTok is a great place for your brand if your audiences are young and fall into this age bracket, or a tangible segment of your audiences. 

Some examples of brands who have TikTok accounts are Nivea, Dominos, Burger King, Chipotle, and many other progressive brands. 

3. Brand interaction & Awareness 

TikTok algorithm encourages a large amount of engagement compared to other social media platforms. 

As a comparatively new platform, TikTok organically promotes content that shows signs of going viral (i.e. the number of likes, comments and shares). 

This makes it a great platform to build awareness for your brand and reach millions of users. 

Most brands aren’t waiting around, by leveraging the platform, they’re reaching audiences, building light-hearted relationships with customers, and spreading the word about their service offerings. 

Here’s a feed from the Skittles brand on TikTok. 

4. Market the human side of your brand 

TikTok is an entertainment-focused platform. The type of content that thrives is funny, light-hearted, amusing, surprising or unpredictable content. Essentially, any appropriate content that is interesting and engaging. 

Getting creative with video content, your brand can market its human side in a laid back way that isn’t so serious. Think of TikTok as the office lounge of social media networking platforms. After a serious meeting, you have the time to interact with co-workers and bond over the watercolor. 

With the platform, you can showcase team members in a way that still ties into your brand. 

Burger King also did this with this clever video where they showcased their employees, highlighting the benefits of being a part of the Burger King family. 

5. Remaining culturally relevant as a brand 

Tiktok is now one of the top social media platforms in this modern age. As much as the majority of its users are young people, there’s that chapter increasing the market for the younger audiences in a couple of years as they grow older (generation alpha). 

With this in mind, Tiktok is a way to stay on trends, become involved in customer’s lives in an even more relatable and down-to-earth way.  Nike does this well on their TikTok page by showcasing various users’ everyday lives including workout sessions, dance exercises, and general goofiness of staying fit, healthy and happy. 

Nike makes their followers the hero of the story and leverage on user-generated content (UGC) to do so.  

6. Creating User-Generated Content (UGC) 

The unspoken rule of TikTok is User-generated Content. Unlike most platforms, your brand’s Tik Tok page can comfortably be marketed with UGC alone, as we saw in Nike’s feed. However, it’s a good practice to mix up the kind of content that you feed. 

You can experiment with different kinds of content, which we’ll to a bit later in the article. The simplest way to create UGC is organising challenges and contests, using a unique brand hashtag. 

Starbucks partnered with Chance the Rapper to run a contest with the hashtag, #MadeReadyDuetTikTok challenge. The challenge invites users to share their Made Ready Moment, allowing room for only three winners to win personalised prizes. 

The number of submissions creates content for Starbucks and can be utilised for their pages, not just on TikTok but other social media platforms as well. 

Chapter Two: Kinds of content to create on TikTok for small businesses 

A major advantage of TikTok is the minimal cost it takes in creating content. As a small business, you can easily create content with just your phone, a phone stand, and lots of creativity. 

Types of Content to create

1. Duets

Duets are very popular on TikTok. With Duet, users can match up your video with theirs using your original sound. 

Duets help original content reach more people since videos are attached to theirs as well. You could create content that challenges users to make a duet with your video. 

The more people are encouraged to duet with your video, the more your content flourishes. 

Duets is also a useful tool to raise awareness about a social issue. Black Lives Matter leveraged this to promote awareness for Childhood Cancer. This video duet got 16M organic views. 

2. Dialogue Reenactment

This involves acting out a particular dialogue from a movie, skit by other TikTok Users or even creating original audio to be acted out. 

Reenactments are often funny especially when bolstered by quirky sound effects. 

Although using original sounds is more strategic. Because when users use your branded sound, they’re indirectly promoting your brand and page. 

Chipotle does this a lot with their reenactment videos

3. Demonstrative videos

This kind of content is another way to showcase the unique attributes of your product or service. 

As the name implies, you have to demonstrate what your product does, by getting a person to use it or test it out. 

This kind of content can be used for different brands irrespective of industry. So whether your brand falls under food & beverage, delivery service, SaaS products, automobile, and so on, you can find creative ways to demonstrate important aspects of your brand. 

Blend Jet uses demonstrative videos for marketing its brand. 

Toyota does the same with this Land Cruiser video.  

4. Collage of pictures

The platform is mostly made of interacting, immersive videos. However, picture collages backed by emotional sounds also perform well. For content to flourish, pictures have to be clear and follow a consistent theme. 

5. Branded Hashtag Challenges 

Creating branded hashtags is another way to promote your brand by getting your audiences to jump on the challenge. 

Here’s a video from Skittle by their so-called, ‘Skittles Intern,’ challenging users to try the #skittketouch challenge. 

6. Leveraging trending hashtags 

You can always be certain of new and trending Hashtags on Tiktok. Trending hashtags always show up on the explore page, exposing your content to millions of views. 

To search for trending hashtags and challenges, go to the discover page. 

At the top of the page, you’ll find a carousel of trending topics that your brand can jump on. Scrolling down, you’ll find other trends, and weigh their relevance based on the number of views. 

Chapter Three: TikTok for Businesses:

Brand Takeover ads: 

Brand takeover ads appear immediately after a user opens the TikTok app. It appears full screen and can’t be skipped over immediately, making it hard to miss. Take a look at Vans shoe video as an example. 

Branded effects

Branded effects are a great way for brands to create an experience beyond the conventional for their customers while advertising their brand. 

It involves creating custom brand assets through filters, distinctive sound effects, and gamification.


When you create branded effects for your audience, maximize the opportunity by creating a custom branded hashtag that your audience can add to their posts before sharing. This creates User-generated content (UGC) that can be reposted on your brand’s page. 

Top View Ads 

This is similar to Takeover ads, since it is still displayed when the app is open. However, top view ads can last up to 60-seconds. Since top view ads last longer, the cost of advertising is higher. 

Tiktok ads cost more than other social media platforms since the placement will only be shown on a consumer’s feed once a day at opening the app. 

The cost of ads vary depending on different factors such as 

  • Industry type
  • Duration of seconds 
  • Ad objectives (website traffic, conversions, or app installs)
  • Billing methods

Ads start at $10 Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM)

In-Feed Ads 

While Brand Takeovers and Top View apps appear on the opening of the app, In-feed ads appear while users are scrolling down on their feeds. 

Chapter 4: Leveraging Influencer Marketing on TikTok

TikTok is a human-centric platform. That’s why influencer marketing cannot be ignored. 

One advantage of TikTok is that you can leverage micro and macro influencers that would produce magnificent results as a celebrity influencer would. This is because a lot of TikTok influencers earned their fame from the platform and being authentic to their brand. 

The brand Hi-Smile does this a lot with their content, showcasing different influencers who showcase new or already existing products. 


TikTok has a huge market pool of young audiences that consume entertaining and human-focused content. 

By creating content that appeals to this youthful side of the platform users, you can create increased awareness, build trust, grow your social media following and attract paying customers. 

Don’t use Tiktok marketing only. The platform provides you with the option of linking your Instagram to your TikTok account. 

You can read this guide to learn more about Instagram marketing and how you can better leverage it to increase brand advocacy and increased profit. 

Also, check out our Social Media Guides to Boost your brand’s social media marketing game. 

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Vivan Gerald