Can TikTok Stars Teach Brands Something About Marketing?

TikTok is changing the game

Francis Bourgeois? Brittany Broski? Charli D'Amelio? Ever heard of them? Well, you can bet your bottom dollar your Gen-Z audience has. TikTok creators are quite often the go-to brand ambassadors for organisations trying to engage with the digitally obsessed youth, notoriously hard to reach and even harder to convert. We’re taking a step back, asking the question ‘What can TikTok stars teach brands about marketing?’ and looking at what brands and marketers alike, can learn from the wise-beyond-their-years youngsters

What can we learn from the Online Generation?

Use real talk.

TikTok creators don’t have any marketing qualifications, no “years of experience” in Adland, and no content strategy. They connect with their target demographic because they are their target demographic. Gen-Z is constantly receiving orders from parents, teachers, and older siblings. They don’t need another voice of authority telling them what to do. They need a peer to show them how a product is going to fit into their lives. Flashy marketing jargon may get their attention for a second but it’s not going to convince them. Get on their level – speak their language.

Listen to your audience.

The beauty of TikTok is that feedback is instantaneous, measurable, and upfront. Creators can take direction from this feedback, often using the comments section to inspire future posts as well as interact with their audience. By feeling like they’ve contributed to the content, the audience is more engaged, they feel like they’re part of something. Listen to your tech-savvy and opinionated audience – let them become part of your brand.

Be authentic.

The digital sphere has made ‘being transparent’ a key feature in any branding strategy. TikTok stars have nothing to hide behind, they are essentially selling their personalities and critique can of course be harsh, so it’s very important that they present themselves authentically, flaws and all. Brands must understand that their publicised values and identity need to be true to the everyday culture of the organisation in order to gain the trust of their audience.

Communicate with your audience in the same way that they communicate with each other

Have a personality.

With the number of creators on the rise, it's critical that these vloggers have a large enough following to ensure their videos continue to gain traction. How do they achieve this? They use their personalities to build relationships. Because TikTok stars put it all out there, their fans are genuinely interested in their lives and their content! Think of your brand as an individual with character. People want to engage with people and not corporate identities.

Go multichannel.

Whilst TikTok is the home of content for these vloggers, other forms of social media play an essential role in the marketing mix. Creators use Twitter to interact with their audience, Facebook to promote their work, and Instagram to share pictures of their day-to-day life. They are easily accessible and (digitally) everywhere – unmissable in fact. The content is tailored to the social media format and, of course, always adds value in some way. TikTokers have become characters in the lives of Gen-Z and brands should be looking to achieve a comparable status by seamlessly tying content into their everyday social media scrolling.

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