How to Get Started on TikTok as a Brand (Step-by-Step Guide)

Thiago Nogueira
Thiago Nogueira
Customer Success Manager at Insense
a group of friends filming TikTok videos
Insense is a marketplace to collaborate with creators for UGC, posting, and whitelisted ads. 
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Have you ever had people ask you why your brand isn’t on TikTok yet? Perhaps they were even putting pressure on you to open an account.

Here’s what we have to say about that: they’re right!

Why did we say that?

Well, this social media platform is booming and the demographic growth it has experienced in the past few years is just remarkable. 

You’ll be doing your business a huge favor if you make TikTok a part of your marketing strategy

How do you get started?

That’s what we want to show you in this guide.

By the time we’re done, you’ll have learned:

  • Why your brand needs to be on TikTok
  • Steps to get started
  • How to improve your brand presence

Let’s get cracking!

4 Reasons Why You Should Be on TikTok as a Brand

A common misconception people have of TikTok is that it's just an app to watch pranks and dance videos. 

Even though that’s correct, it’s not the whole picture. 

While there’s a ton of entertainment on the social app, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for brands to connect with their community in a very authentic way. 

How so?

A report by Statista shows that in 2020, the average U.S TikTok user spent about 858 minutes per month on the app.  

That tells you people are spending time on TikTok which means you can leverage that to grow your brand

That’s just one reason why you should be on TikTok. 

Here are some more:

Reason #1: Enhances brand authenticity

Brand authenticity refers to the extent to which consumers think a brand is true to itself and its customers

It helps consumers place more trust in a brand and makes them feel confident about what you stand for and who you say you are. 

In other words, brand authenticity shows your audience that there’s a human connection beyond the logo and name that they can interact with. 

What are we trying to say?

Being on TikTok can really improve your brand authenticity because you’ll be able to create user-generated content (UGC) which viewers trust and warm to. 

A Nosto study confirmed this when it showed how consumers are 2.4 times more likely to consider UGC authentic.

Reason #2: Provides organic growth

Another reason why you need to set up a TikTok business account is that it provides an avenue for brands to experience organic growth

You’ll be able to leverage your internal resources to get more followers and even increase sales without running paid ads

And it’s all thanks to TikTok’s algorithm which considers certain factors to make this happen for brands. 

So, how do you make the algorithm work for you?

You’ll need to:

  • Create interesting videos in your niche
  • Keep them short
  • Use trending hashtags and add sound
  • Write short engaging captions
  • Adjust your privacy settings so everyone can see your profile

If you do all of that, sooner or later people will start interacting with your content which then makes it easy for the algorithm to recommend your video to other people. 

And when that happens over time, people will start following you.

Reason #3: Provides access to a wide audience

As a business owner, you want people to be aware of your brand and what you can offer them. 

Well, TikTok is just the right platform to make that happen as statistics show that the number of monthly active users on the app is about 1 billion.

And with the introduction of TikTok’s translation feature, you now have access to even more people who don’t speak your native language. 

In addition, you have the opportunity to reach millennials and Gen Z; the generations with the most purchasing power. 

Reports show that they make up over 80% of the number of active users in the U.S. 

The point is you can build up your audience on TikTok because it has just about every category of people you’d like to reach. 

Reason #4: Reduces customer acquisition costs (CAC)

CAC is the total cost to your business of getting new customers. 

We’ve got good news for you – TikTok can help you reduce that.

How?

By working with TikTok creators or influencers who’ve built niche communities of trusted followers.

As such, their audience wouldn’t need much convincing when the creators recommend your product. 

This reduces the cost of acquiring new customers as you’d only have to pay the creator or influencer. 

It’s time for the fun part, let’s show you how to get started on TikTok!

How to Get Started on TikTok: 4 Easy Steps

It’s very easy to get started. You can either visit TikTok’s website or download it from the app store to sign up and log in. 

Then, you can start uploading content.

But beyond that, we want you to get the best results from this social network and make it big. 

For that to happen, we’ve put together four steps to get you on the right track.  

Step #1: Identify your target audience

Your success on TikTok or any other social site largely depends on finding the right audience. 

By right audience, we mean people who are more likely to enjoy and want your product or service

It’s this set of consumers who want to see your TikTok videos as there’s a very good chance that they’ll engage with them. 

Why do you need to identify your target audience?

According to Neil Patel, not going after the right audience can cost you time, traffic, and money.

Identifying your intended audience, on the other hand, will help you understand what they like and what challenges they face so you can create video content that caters to their needs.

This way, they begin to perceive your brand as being authentic which is one of the things you want.

Don’t worry, we’re going to show you how to discover your target audience.

  • Carry out a customer survey: This involves talking to people who already buy your product or are interested in buying it. How old are they? Where do they live? What interests them? What do they do?
  • Look at your competitors: Try to figure out who they sell to, who comments on their social media posts, and what type of content they get the most engagement from
  • Create personas: Personas will help you figure out the general demographics of your audience. You’ll get to learn more about their different personalities.
  • Leverage Google Analytics: You can use Google Analytics to determine who visits or searches for your site on Google

Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next step is to …

Step #2: Decide on your type of content

Video clips are the soul of the TikTok app so you need to decide what type of content you want to upload

That’s why we went with identifying your audience first. 

In doing that, you’ll come to learn what type of content resonates with them so you can produce something similar. 

There are a few types of creative content you can use for your first TikTok post and they include:

  • Reaction videos: Videos where someone reacts to another video e.g a product in use, movies, etc. 
  • Before and after: Content showing someone before they used your product and their transition afterward
  • 5 reasons why: Here you’re outlining several reasons why your product is exceptional
  • How to: This shows viewers how to use your product, like a tutorial, so they’ll know if it solves their problem
  • Us vs them: A comparison between you and your competitors

Whatever type you decide to use, you’ll need to optimize the content by using a captivating hook (so people watch till the end) voice-overs or music, memes, and text overlays. 

Step #3: Partner with creators

Creators are people on social media who produce engaging and useful content for their followers.

You can partner with them to create content for your TikTok account.

TikTok creators have got experience on the platform, they know what kind of content can be effective for your brand

So, you want to have them in your corner when starting out. 

Plus, people are always delighted to see them in your videos. An Inmar Intelligence survey found that 84% of shoppers made a purchase decision based on a creator or influencer’s recommendation. 

What’s more, 81% said they trust influencers more than they do traditional celebrities. 

Now, one major issue brands sometimes face with this step is finding the right creators to work with. 

We can help you out with that. 

By using a creator marketplace like Insense, you’ll be able to find creators to work with in no time. 

The process is quite easy. 

  • First, you need to sign up if you don’t have an account or log in if you do 
  • Then, create a brief where you’ll provide us with important information about your brand and the campaign
  • Using the details you filled out, you’ll be matched with the right creator(s) that fit your brand
  • Now you can start receiving TikTok content

Step #4: Use TikTok ads

This is another thing you can do even after posting your very first video. 

If you’re just starting or planning to start, you’ll probably be thinking you need to have a few short-form videos on your page before you dive into running ads

While that’s a great thought, there’s nothing wrong with kicking off your TikTok marketing campaign with ads. 

And you know what?

They’re very effective!

The return on ad spend (ROAS) for the average TikTok campaign is twice the offline sales efficiency

Ads that featured a creator had 65% higher two-second view rates. 

There are seven types of TikTok ads you can use and we’re going to briefly explain each of them for you. 

Type #1: TopView ads

This ad is like a ‘welcome video’ your audience sees on their For You Page (FYP) when they open the app. 

It’s a full-screen video with a maximum duration of 60 seconds. 

TopView ads typically look like this:

Image Source: TikTok

This ad type has the lowest skip preference among all formats and it also has the lowest annoyance level – 78% of people say they prefer TopVIew over other formats. 

Type #2: In-feed ads

If you want people to engage with your brand and get more followers, you should consider using in-feed ads. 

They pop up while you scroll through the FYP so they can easily pass as native TikTok content. 

Image Source: TikTok

In-feed ads are usually the fourth video a user sees while scrolling.

Type #3: Collection ads

This ad format directs users to browse through your Instant Gallery page or Catalog as it’s referred to on Instagram. It lets them access your products right there on the app. 

If you’re an ecommerce brand, this is ideal for you. However, you do need to have a product catalog prepared and a gallery page to upload it to. 

Type #4: Spark ads

Spark Ads is TikTok’s version of branded content on Instagram. They’re user-generated content produced by a creator that you can then boost as an ad. 

Image Source: TikTok

As you can see from the screenshot above, this type of ad usually gets more reach as they have a look different from regular ads.  

Type #5: Brand takeover

Similar to TopView ads, the brand takeover ad is shown to users immediately after they open the app. However, it literally takes over the viewer’s screen for a couple of seconds. 

You can connect this ad to your website to get traffic and sales or to a hashtag challenge. 

It uses a full-screen mode so it does a good job of grabbing the user’s attention quickly. 

Type #6: Branded effects

This lets you get creative by creating lenses, stickers, effects, and branded filters for your audience to use in producing content. 

It’s a good way to raise awareness for your brand since your audience will be involved. 

You can partner with a creator on this so that more people will be eager to participate.  

Type #7: Branded hashtag challenge

You can also create ads that’ll get people to participate in a challenge. It can be a regular post about the challenge that you can promote to reach more people. 

Image Source: TikTok

This ad format is a good way to spark engagement. Plus, it’s been reported to increase brand recall by 4x and brand awareness by 4.5x. 

4 Tips to Improve Your Brand’s Presence on TikTok

After posting its own videos, one thing any small business wants to see is people tapping the Add to Favorites icon on its content or hitting the Share button. 

It will serve as proof that you’re actually making strides. 

In this section, we’re going to show you a few tips that can help boost your presence. 

Let’s get started.

Tip #1: Add music and effects to your videos

Remember when we said videos are the soul of TikTok?

Well, music and sound are at the core of that soul.

According to TikTok, sounds are just as important as your visuals when it comes to creating videos

We’ve got some interesting stats to go along with this:

  • 73% of TikTok respondents said they will stop scrolling to watch an ad with sounds. It's like a pull force that draws people in. 
  • 88% said sound is a crucial part of the TikTok experience. 

We can say that sounds also contribute to brand awareness, engagements, brand favorability, and sales. 

Imagine using sound on the type of content that your audience is already in love with – that’s a recipe that can make your video go viral. 

How do you find sounds to use?

TikTok already has a library of songs to match your videos. 

You can access it by tapping the ‘+’ icon at the bottom of the screen. 

Instead of clicking the record button, you can tap Add sound at the top of that page and this will take you to the sounds page. 

Image Source: TikTok

Here, you can select trending songs to use. 

Tip #2: Use the right hashtags

Hashtags are a necessary addition to your videos if you want people to notice you. 

They have been and are still responsible for billions of views on TikTok. For example, #blackfriday has over 3 billion views on the app. 

Now, you get the idea of what could happen if you used hashtags.

Are they really that important?

Well, yes, and here’s why:

  • They help organize videos by making them searchable
  • They’re loved by TikTok’s algorithm so it’ll help your videos rank
  • You can use them to engage your audience and keep the notifications tab buzzing e.g a branded challenge ad

There are different hashtags you can use for your videos and they include:

  • Branded hashtags: This type of hashtag is created by brands in a bid to promote themselves. Users can use it if they want the brand to repost them
  • Product hashtags: An example is #Amazonfinds which is good for reviews, product discovery, and recommendations
  • General hashtags: You can use these to tag general content, e.g., #interiordesigns, #realestate
  • Community-based hashtags: These can be used to identify or direct your content to a specific audience, e.g., #dadtok, #singles

How can you use hashtags to improve your brand’s presence?

  1. Find hashtags relevant to your niche
  2. Mix up highly competitive hashtags with less popular ones
  3. Ensure they’re trending
  4. Create a challenge

Tip #3: Take advantage of trends

Trends refer to what’s cool on TikTok at the moment or what’s driving views and engagements. 

They can be creative formats, behaviors, or ideas that have been getting a lot of attention. 

For the record, there’s never just one trend – there are several of them and they are constantly changing. 

How do you take advantage of them?

First, you need to find what’s trending. 

To do that, you need to: 

  • Search for trends around a specific event
  • Check the Discovery page
  • Scroll through the FYP for repeated patterns across videos, hashtags, or sounds

When you’ve found what’s trending, you can jump on it by adding your touch to make it special, so it fits your niche.

Tip #4: Leverage user-generated content (UGC)

UGC is any form of content (in this case, video) that other people create for your brand. 

This content can be beneficial for your social media marketing campaign.  

Why?

To begin with, it’s authentic and as we’ve established, people want authenticity. They’re tired of seeing branded ads. 

90% of consumers believe authenticity is an important factor to consider when deciding which brands to support. 

UGC builds trust too. In fact, 81% of consumers would trust recommendations from their friends and family over brands any day. 

So, why not get those friends or people they trust to create content for your brand?

That’s what we mean by ‘leverage UGC’. 

“How do I even get this UGC to use?”

  • Look for regular people who’ve featured your product in their videos and ask them for permission to use that video
  • Collaborate with TikTok creators to produce UGC for you. 

Before we wrap up, let’s show you some examples of brands that are making strides on TikTok. 

Examples of Brands Nailing it on TikTok

We’ll be looking at three brands from different industries so you can see how well they’re doing and draw inspiration from them too. 

Let’s begin!

Example #1: Ryanair

Ryanair is an airline company based in Ireland. They’re among several airline companies that have an account on TikTok and guess what?

They’re killing it!

Image Source: TikTok

They have close to 2 million followers on the app and an average of 500k views of their posts. 

So, what are they doing?

Going through their profile, here’s what we’ve seen them doing:

  • Partnering with creators to produce UGC
  • Creating content using the duet feature
  • Using the airplane filter for their videos 
  • Using text overlays, music, and hashtags

Example #2: Gymshark

Gymshark is a British fitness brand whose growth is almost exclusively down to UGC. 

Image Source: TikTok

Most of their videos have between 30k to 6 million views and they have a follower count of 3.8 million.

What’s their strategy?  

They partner with creators to produce content or source videos from people who tagged them.

They also used text overlays, music,  and hashtags to rack up those views. 

Example #3: NYX Cosmetics

Our final example is NYX Cosmetics, a beauty brand headquartered in Los Angeles. Theirs is another case of a brand that has grown on TikTok all thanks to UGC.

Image Source: TikTok

NYX cosmetics has about 450k followers on TikTok and an average view of 8k. 

Their profile is filled with creators using their products so viewers can see how those products can be used. 

There’s the occasional product description video that they upload on their feed. 

Like the other brands we’ve discussed, they also used text overlays, music, and hashtags with their videos.

If you carefully observe all these examples, you’ll see that everything they do is what we’ve talked about in this guide. 

Alright guys, let’s bring this piece to an end!

Need Help Getting Started on TikTok?

If you made it to the end,  that means we did a great job getting your attention and you really want to get started on TikTok. 

Well, we’ve shown you how already so it’s time for you to start implementing.  

Don’t worry, you won’t have to do that on your own. 

We’re going to be with you every step of the way if you want us to. 

So feel free to reach out to us by booking a demo session. 

We’re looking forward to hearing from you and seeing your brand kill it on TikTok.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thiago Nogueira

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