TikTok Ultimate Marketing Guide for 2023

If you need to reach a wide audience, TikTok is the platform you can’t afford to ignore. Hundreds of millions of users worldwide flock to this social media network to make friends, attract fans, and share the products that they use in their daily lives.

Your products and services must appear on this platform if you want modern buyers to know they exist. Fortunately, TikTok has been well-designed for marketers’ needs, and it’s easy to start. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know.

First, you’ll learn what TikTok marketing is and what hard data says about why you need to build a presence. Then, you’ll be introduced to the tools available to marketers and the practices that will help you make the most of them.

Table of Contents

What is TikTok Marketing?

TikTok marketing refers to using the TikTok platform to drive sales or awareness for products. The marketers who use this platform typically do it in the following two ways:

  1. By using the paid tools provided by TikTok to launch and manage ad campaigns 
  2. By creating valuable content that drives viewers to seek out products, services, or brands (content marketing)

Both methods may be valuable to you, depending on what you’re promoting. But first, you need to decide if building an operation on TikTok is worth the trouble. What you’re about to learn may make that decision a lot easier.

Why Should I Use TikTok for Marketing?

You should use TikTok for marketing because it is one of the biggest, trendiest, viral-ready platforms available anywhere. That’s not an opinion—the facts back it all up.

1. TikTok has a HUGE, Active User Base

TikTok recorded 1.5 billion active users in the 3rd quarter of 2022. In climbing its way to its current popularity, it easily brushed aside older platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest.


It was also recorded as the most downloaded app in the 3rd quarter of 2022 (It was already the most downloaded in all of 2021 and in 2020). These numbers suggest that it is only gaining in popularity—unlike its aging rivals such as Facebook.

2. It Gives You Access to Top Influencers

You must use TikTok if you want to access the massive star power of TikTok influencers. 

So, how many followers does a big TikTok star have? 

If you guessed “enough to fill a stadium,” you’re way off. Try “enough to fill a country.”

The biggest TikTok star has more fans on the platform than the entire population of Russia. Here’s that person in a list of the other top 10 performers:

  1. Charli D’Amelio – 141.1M followers
  2. Khaby Lame – 139.7M followers
  3. Bella Poarch – 89.9M followers
  4. Addison Rae – 87.7M followers
  5. Will Smith – 72.2M followers
  6. Zach King – 68.6M followers
  7. Kimberly Loaiza – 63.3M followers
  8. TikTok – 62.7M followers
  9. CZN Burak – 58.9M followers
  10. Dixie D’Amelio – 57.4M followers

This list doesn’t even include all the influencers with more than 50 million followers

The fact is that some TikTok stars are more recognizable to people than Hollywood stars from major blockbusters.

You need to leverage big-time influencers to reach the biggest audience in the world, and TikTok is the platform where you’ll find them.

3. It Gives You the Chance to Reach People.

You should use TikTok if you want to create content that attracts engagement. 

It may surprise you to learn that users react differently to TikTok content than they do to other types of content. However, again, the data backs it up.  

Engagement is a measure of how often users interact with posts. Multiple studies have found that engagement is unusually high on TikTok, even compared to top competitors

Engagement Rate for Micro-Influencers:

  • 17.96% on TikTok
  • 3.86% on Instagram
  • 1.63% on YouTube

Engagement Rate for Mega Influencers:

  • 4.96% on TikTok
  • 1.21% on Instagram
  • 0.37% on YouTube

Higher engagement is preferable because it means more interactions with the targeted audience. That means either more conversions or more data about why you’re not getting conversions so you can correct the problem quickly.

Now that you understand why you can’t afford to ignore TikTok, you’re ready to jump in. Anyone can get started on TikTok using the steps laid out here. 

Getting Started on TikTok

To get started on TikTok, you should get to know the platform, create your (free) advertiser account and begin pushing your first projects.

Step 1: Get to know the Platform

You should get to know TikTok as a user before you try promoting products there. One of the easiest ways to do that is to simply download the app on the Apple Store or Google Play, create a user account, and begin scrolling through the content.

Pay attention to how TikTokers are creating content, especially content that relates to your product or target audience. Do shorter or longer videos do better? Do viewers prefer a serious or lighthearted tone?

TikTok users naturally form subcultures based on their interests. 

The FitTok community, for example, is know for producing some of the most viral fitness content online. The Momtok community on creates hundreds of fresh content by and for moms.

Unspoken rules may govern whether content succeeds or fails when reaching users in these subcultures. That’s why you have to experience things as a user first. Study what content is already being made to start planning your first campaign. 

After you’ve done that, you’re ready to experience the platform as an advertiser.

Step 2: Create a Free Advertiser Account & Install Pixel

Create your first advertiser account here. The guided account creation process included in the link will introduce you to many of your new account’s most powerful features.


Remember: Advertiser accounts are not the same as user accounts. When you create one and log in, you’ll have access to an exclusive business dashboard that standard users never see.

The dashboard will let you manage your targeting, launch campaigns, and track the spending of campaigns in progress. .

You will also need to install TikTok Pixel on your website to make most of the tracking features. This tool will help you track the behavior of visitors who arrive on the site following your ads. 

Creating an advertiser account is completely free to you. The only costs associated with these accounts are the budgets that you set for your campaigns.

Step 3: Start Pushing Content & Campaigns

Follow this up-to-date guide from TikTok to create and post your first video.

Posting your first piece of content will familiarize you with the process so that you can quickly transition to tracking and improving your content. 

Creating sample content and ad campaigns will help you understand what your new tracking tools do and how quickly they update in response to your activity. 

Now you have the feel for the platform, and you’re ready to learn more about the marketing options available.

Mastering the TikTok Marketing Features

TikTok supports several different types of campaigns so that you can reach your audience more effectively. To use the platform most effectively, you’ll want to understand the different types of ads, influencer agreements, and organic content marketing methods that await you.

Before Anything Else—Set Targeting

No matter what type of campaign you’re running, you need to set your targeting first. You can access your targeting information from the dashboard.

 

You’ll be able to target groups based on all of the following demographics:

  • Age
  • Behaviors
  • Mobile Service Carrier
  • Mobile Device Model
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Language
  • Location
  • Mobile Service Carrier
  • Mobile Device Model (And price)
  • Operating System (ex. Apple or Android)

Ad Marketing

Ads let you put your products and services directly in front of your audience so they don’t have to come to you. This is a valuable type of marketing for business owners that need to grow fast and have the budget to leave an impression..

- How does it Work?

TikTok ads work on a bidding system like most other major ad networks. That means you’ll have to pay moving prices based on how many other people want their ads to appear for that term.

The ads start at 

When you’re ready to launch; the ad-launching process can be completed in the following easy steps

  • Select your objective
  • Set your budget, targeting, and bidding method
  • Upload your video or photo and add your ad copy and CTA
  • Submit the completed ad

- What Options are Available?

TikTok offers several different campaigns depending on what kind of impression you’d like to make.  Here are your options:

  • Brand Takeover: A type of ad that takes over the entire page. Often appears when a user freshly re-opens the app
  • Carousel Ads: А type of ad that appears in and interrupts scrolling
  • Image Ads: A type of ad featuring a still image
  • Native Video Ads: A type of ad that launches
  • Lead-Generation Ads: A type of ad that offers you expanded options for collecting user data (users are able to fill in contact information)
  • Spark Ads: A type of ad that lets you use an existing post as an ad. It may be your own post or that of an influencer (if you have permission.)

Influencer Marketing

The power of influencer marketing is what attracts most major advertisers to TikTok. Popular performers with millions of fans can create a great impression on your product. TikTok makes it easy to meet them

- How does it Work?

TikTok supports influencer marketing by making it easy to find the perfect creators for your needs.  

Advertisers can “shop” for influencers on the platform by searching for them on the Creator Marketplace. This marketplace only includes accounts that have met certain follower requirements and completed an application.

From the marketplace, you can sort creators by followers, areas of interest, or the amount of time the account has been active.

- Find Influencers more Easily with Software

If you don’t want to search for influencers all by yourself, you can also use software options like Upfluence, Grin.co and Impact.com.  

They provide you with additional features to help you find the creators (such as ai-enabled search), and manage your relationships with them. 

Unlike TikTok, these programs also include tools to help you manage affiliate codes and payments to your influencers.

- Starting A Relationship

You can contact any influencer you like on the platform, but you should know that many large influencers receive hundreds of offers a day. You’ll need to stand out by building a relationship and creating eye-catching offers.

With the exception of some agreements that are tracked and measured by TikTok (such as the hashtag challenge), most agreements will require you to create and enforce your own contracts.

- What Options are Available?

TikTok does not impose many restrictions on how marketers and influencers can work together. One notable policy marketers will need to understand is the Branded Content Policy

This policy requires influencers to notify their viewers when they are promoting paid content. Influencers who break this rule can have content removed or their accounts banned.

Influencers on the platform have developed some of the following strategies for breaking past the noise and reaching viewers.

  • Hashtag challenges
  • Product Reviews: Reviews are one of the most common ways to utilize an influencer. Reviews are more indirect about a product’s benefits. That can help you get past the resistance some people have to advertising. 
  • Product Tutorials: TikTok influencers don’t always need to promote products. They can also explain them in a way that makes their audience feel more confident about making a purchase.
  • Giveaways: You can provide prizes for influencers to give away. This strategy is often used for lead generation because prizes can compel visitors to fill out forms.

Affiliate Links: You can ask an influencer to post your affiliate link in their content. Using this simple method, it’s very easy to track exactly

Content Marketing (Including Organic) on TikTok

Content marketing can work on any platform and works well on TikTok. The value of this platform to your content marketing may depend on how well your audience responds to bite-size video content.  

If you have a demographic that responds to video content, TikTok may be one of the best content marketing platforms to build on. There are nearly unlimited ways to benefit from the content you create.

- How does it Work?

Successful content marketing on TikTok is as easy (and notoriously hard) as creating good content. 

You can create as many videos about your brand or products as possible at no cost. Then you can succeed or fail by finding out if you can get them trending. 

Here are some examples of content marketing strategies you could put to use:

  • Guides: Improve the image of a complex or intimidating product by creating gentle guides that teach features, repair steps, or other information.

  • Commentary: Indirectly promote products by kicking up some dust with hot takes. Created opinionated videos about industry problems that your product doesn’t have—guiding viewers to investigate the alternatives.

  • Humor: You can be sure you’ve caught someone’s attention if you’ve made them laugh. Funny videos that feature your products can generate millions of impressions. 

- What Options are Available?

TikTok doesn’t provide specific tools for the use of content marketing. The metric and engagement trackers included in the business account dashboard can tell you a lot about how visitors interact with your content.

You can also get help creating and refining content in the Business Creative Hub. This hub was created by TikTok to showcase trending content and advice to help business content creators improve.

Supercharging TikTok Marketing with the Best Practices

It’s one thing to understand the platform and the features, but you’ll have trouble marketing on TikTok until you understand the users-both the creators and the audience. 

They have their own culture compared to other networks, and it makes them very receptive toward some types of content, and chilly towards others.

The following tips will help you jump into TikTok marketing without stepping on as many toes. It will help you understand what audiences here expect, and give you a better chance of

1. Create a Sense of Urgency

Urgency has always been an important part of marketing. On TikTok, it is absolutely essential. Millions of short videos are fighting for attention, and the ones that stand out are the ones that appeal to a TikTok user’s need for something unmissable.

In both your content and your ads, try to create urgency with elements like

  • Time limits that will run out
  • Competitive spirits over yet-unresolved events (For example, a major sporting event)
  • Showing off opportunities that have already been missed (For example, a prize you gave away in your last promotion)

The major energy drink brand RedBull is know for creating its sense of urgency by dedicating its TikToks almost entirely to death-defying feats. By sponsoring extreme sports, this brand earns millions of views from videos where you can barely look away.

2. Pull Viewers Through the Whole Video with Lists

Lists were already proven to be one of the most attractive forms of content before TikTok came along, but taking advantage of lists can also help you create content here.

Use lists (5, 10, 20) to give people a reason to watch your videos until the very end. Naturally, it’s helpful to count in reverse so that the most controversial number one spot is saved until the very end.

3. Create a Running Series for Higher Engagement

It is important to build permanent fans if you want to market effectively on TikTok. One way to create a sense of investment is to create a running series.

A series invites your viewers to subscribe by giving them something to come back for. You can close each series video with a cliffhanger or a dramatic reveal about the next video to come. 

Guess (the clothing brand) does series well. One series they ran in Halloween titled Halloween Costume Ideas Featuring Guess earned hundreds of thousands of views for each video in the set.

The old content in the series can be an excellent on-ramp for new followers. A series offers a much richer look at who you are, what you do, or what you believe. They can help turn a new viewer into a fan in only an afternoon.

4. Make Use of the Trending Hashtags

Hashtags serve to categorize content on TikTok. Creators can apply one or several hashtags to give their videos a better chance of trending among the people following that hashtag.  

These tags are also essential for TikTok’s search function. Users search for content by using hashtags and are directed to videos that are properly tagged. 

You need to include hashtags if you want your content to be at all discoverable in search. Never forget tags when posting any content.

5. Remember that Shorter is Often Better

TikTok users aren’t going to be impressed by videos that take up as much of the allowed time as possible. 

They are used to being entertained constantly, and they know they can make a single motion and be watching a new video the second they’re bored.

They are impressed by content that delivers the point quickly and effectively. Therefore, you should trim as much fat from your videos as possible before you release them. The faster you can make a statement or get a laugh, the better. 

The San Diego Zoo is one TikTok brand that uses short videos often. They deliver many of their videos under 10 seconds, and this is usually all it takes for them to get 10s of thousands of hundreds of thousands of views.

6. Curate and Amplify User-Generated Content (UGC)

When you’re active on TikTok, the users may take an interest in your product, company, or even sense of style when creating videos. When positive content is created by users, you should put it to use.

UGC often comes across as more authentic and may be trusted more by viewers who are wary of ads. You can repost positive UGC, or add snippets to your own videos to show your appreciation and spread the message even further.

For example, Chipotle is known for attracting tons of UGC from fans across the US. Trending videos that feature the Chiptole tag have earned 5 million+ views and more.

7. Take Influencer Suggestions Seriously

You can save yourself a lot of frustration on TikTok by treating influencers like the savvy performers that they are. One of the benefits of working with an influencer is getting the perspective of someone who already learned what users in the niche like.

The suggestions that they provide during partnerships should be seriously considered, especially if it involves how the audience may react to different types of content.

Jump Into TikTok Marketing

Now, you’ve learned what TikTok marketing is, why this platform outshines so many others, and how to take the first steps. You’ve also learned what tools are waiting for you, and what types of ads you can run. With the final insider tips we provided, you’re ready to jump into TikTok marketing and start building campaigns.

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