TikTok has become a major player in a brand’s social media success.
We saw a large sway of brands jumping on the TikTok hype in 2019, but with the updated sophistication of their ads platform, we have now seen a larger flock navigate to the app during the lockdown period in 2020.
With people all over the world forced to stay indoors and find ways to entertain themselves, TikTok was positioned as a means for young people to escape from the seriousness of their everyday realities by doing dance challenges, creating funny memes and jumping on TikTok marketing trends.
This led to the app being downloaded over 2 billion times as of April 2020 and becoming the most any app has been downloaded in a single quarter.
As influencer marketing experts, Fanbytes have run countless successful campaigns on TikTok.
These include TikTok ads, account growth campaigns and of course, brand awareness activations for global brands such as McDonald’s, Nike, the UK Government and Sony Music Group.
This is why they know a little bit about why a brand succeeds on the platform, and why some fall short.
Want unique insights into the best brands on TikTok right now?
Read on for TikTok account teardowns from experts in the game. We pick apart their TikTok strategies and how they have succeeded in becoming some of the most engaging channels on the platform.
The American milkshake brand, f’real, has over 20K locations worldwide. The ethos of the company is to create frozen beverages with real milk and honest ingredients using their home-branded f’real blender.
Founded in 2003, all these years later and f’real are still creating world-renowned milkshakes and smoothies that customers blend themselves with various flavors. F’real currently has a whopping 689.k followers on TikTok and has racked up 12.1 million likes on their content.
F’real’s positive reputation persists because they just get TikTok and its users. From who they collaborate with, the TikTok native tools and features they use to the overall fun and organic approach they take with their content creation, f’real have become recognized as a brand that puts entertainment first.
Here are some of the main learnings you can take from their TikTok tactics:
Put a face to the brand
Many companies make use of their staff in their TikTok videos. This tactic has been employed by various brands, including the extremely successful Washington Post, which features Dave Jorgenson who frequently leverages the ‘dad joke’ memes in their TikTok content.
F’real also makes use of one of their members of staff to be the face of their brand on TikTok by regularly appearing on their feed.
This works because it is rare for people to connect organically or identify with brands as a whole but they do with other people within the organization.
So, by personifying your brand, you are giving it an identity and making it a lot easier for consumers to buy into your people and your brand. Therefore, when users see that person in any of your content, they will instantly recognize that it’s yours which will help build up familiarity and an affinity with your brand, especially if the content you create is on-trend and engaging.
Use colors to brand your content
On TikTok, authenticity is the name of the game.
This means that any brand activations that are overly branded or intrusive will ultimately flop. So, brands have to get creative and figure out new ways to brand their content in an organic and inviting way.
As soon as you click on f’real’s TikTok profile, you are welcomed by bright popping colors and this is a theme throughout all of their content.
And remember: consistency is key!
The f’real logos and stores also tend to be vibrant and colorful so their use of this in their TikTok content is a great way for them to remain on-brand without shoving the product in the users’ faces.
Stay on top of the trends
Having to create new trends and content ideas all the time can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive.
One thing f’real does very well is foregoing this by paying attention to the trends on TikTok and jumping on them by putting their own unique spin on the content. What’s more, f’real understand the importance of being quick to jump on these trends.
New TikTok trends emerge on the platform every single day so taking part in a trend a few weeks or months down the line won’t do your brand any favors. Stay up to date with trends every day and have your brand utilize them as soon as possible.
Take f’real’s stance on the ‘something as sounds’ trend as an example.
This trend takes anything from politicians to different clothing stores and overlays the video with ‘what they would be if they were sounds’.
F’real decided to jump on this trend immediately, by creating a video of ‘f’real as sounds’ which showcases various f’real flavors of milkshake as varieties of sounds. This is a great example of how brands can marry together organic TikTok content with their brand awareness activations.
Optimize your content for high watch time
Engagement and high watch time are extremely important on TikTok as it is integral to the platform’s algorithm.
When you post a video on TikTok, the algorithm works by boosting the content onto the ‘For You’ page for a very short amount of time.
The reason for doing this is so that the algorithm can determine whether people enjoy the content or not and therefore feed it to more or fewer users.
So, if users scroll through your video straight away or only watch a few seconds then it’s likely to get lost amongst the masses of content that TikTok deems ‘unengaging’.
However, if the watch time and completion rates are high, it will get shown to bigger batches of people and can eventually reach viral status.
F’real ensures that the majority of their videos are short and comedic, essential to the popularity and virality of content on TikTok. This example of a slap cam video is 7 seconds long, the sweet spot for TikTok video length to activate a higher engagement rating.
This f’real video example did well because it optimized for watch time by incorporating an element of anticipation. The content requires that the user watches till the end of the video to find out what happens so the completion rate will be high and therefore do better on the platform.
2. Lush Coventry
Lush is renowned in the UK for their cruelty-free handmade cosmetics. As a brand, they are especially popular with Gen Z because of their product innovation and bright colors that go into each and every one of their products. They currently have 125.2k followers and 3.4 million likes.
Mastering TikTok is not only about understanding the behaviors and patterns of users on the app but also about creativity and innovation.
TikTok content does not require you to make super high-production or beautiful videos like you may need to on platforms like Instagram; the value lies in its home-produced creative aesthetic.
Lush Coventry is a brand that has recognized this and now does exceptionally well.
Here are a few other things you can learn from them:
Engage with your fans and communities
Something Lush Coventry spends a large amount of their time doing is interacting with their followers. By doing this, they have helped to build up a personal relationship between their brand and following.
Lush Coventry does this by encouraging fans to leave comments about their experience with Lush on videos, testing their lush knowledge, and by creating videos of them replying to their fans comments.
Find your niche
Lush’s brand fits extremely well into TikTok’s ASMR and visual aesthetics trends that appeal massively to certain niches on TikTok.
They have tapped into this by creating ‘satisfying’ style content and demonstrating how to use their bath bombs and other products which users love. Lush is known for having ‘satisfying’ products, so by jumping on these trends on the app, their Coventry branch has successfully been able to spearhead this content and have become known for this specific content.
This is also key to building a presence on the platform: own the space you’re in and be THE expert.
Incorporate trending music
TikTok operates largely on popular culture and music. It started as a ‘lip-synching app’ so trending music will always be an essential part of its viral content.
If a brand is unable to incorporate trending music or sounds into their content, then it will send one clear message to TikTok users: that you don’t understand them or the app’s function at all.
Fortunately, Lush Coventry has been able to leverage these sounds in their content seamlessly and have been rewarded with a strong follower base for doing so. Take Dua Lipa’s trending song ‘Don’t Start Now’ as an example.
Lush Coventry took this song and utilized the lyrics ‘did a full 180’ to re-create a situation where a customer is seen leaving the shop but ‘did a full 180’ because a shop assistant draws them back in with the promise of a bath bomb demonstration.
This not only demonstrates their understanding of the importance of trends but also of the user behavior on the platform as it entertains first whilst also incorporating the product/ brand organically.
3. Fenty Beauty
Rihanna’s cosmetics brand, Fenty Beauty, launched in 2017 and has managed to garner 8.9M likes, 658.5K followers, and an engagement rate of 22.2% which far exceeds the industry average.
This relatively new company has hit the ground running on TikTok and has succeeded in creating fun beauty inspiration videos and tutorials for all the beauty-lovers out there on TikTok.
Here’s what you can learn from them:
One of Rihanna’s main USPs and incentives for creating Fenty Beauty was to represent a diverse range of skin types, channeling all-round inclusivity. This is something that Gen Z cares enormously about and Fenty echoes this in the wide range of women they use to promote their products on TikTok.
On TikTok, one of the biggest mistakes that a brand can make is not practicing what you preach.
Since TikTok houses a large fraction of Gen Z users who tend to be more passionate about social and political issues, if you are creating content that does not align with your brand’s key values, then users on TikTok will not trust you or choose to affiliate with your brand.
This is why Fenty Beauty does so well; they remain authentic and stay true to their core values which are demonstrated as soon as users go onto their TikTok channel.
Leverage influencer communities
Fenty Beauty has done well to utilize the fame and prestige of influencers on TikTok by getting them to promote their products by tapping into the ‘how-to’ and tutorial trends.
They have even created a TikTok house that rotates a wide range of diverse influencers, including Neko Chann, Kamaboko Gonpachiro, and Challan Trishann to name a few, all of whom are known for make-up tutorials.
These influencers have a combined following of millions of TikTok users and so by leveraging them, Fenty Beauty is getting access to warmed up communities and beauty enthusiasts that it wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Jump on the trends
No matter how big your brand, jumping on trending hashtags can give you the edge that is needed to stay at the forefront of users’ minds.
Take this example where Fenty Beauty jumped on the #lonelychair trend where users created a chair out of everyday objects. Fenty Beauty created one out of their new Cream Blushes which intrigued and excited users.
As a result, engagement spiked and people were commenting talking about how cool it was. This is a great way of promoting new products and elements of your brand whilst also staying at the top of the TikTok conversation.
At Fanbytes, we spend a lot of our time on TikTok learning the behaviors of its users and building the anatomy of the perfect TikTok post. Whilst these are constantly changing, these learnings are what separates those who win on the platform from those who dwindle.