How Brands Collaborate with TikTok Creators

How Brands Collaborate with TikTok Creators

TikTok

Businesses have been embracing TikTok as a place to build their brands with their own content. Many more are also finding ways to connect with TikTok Nation through relationships with popular TikTok stars. A recent case in point: TikTok influencer Bella Poarch has been tapped as an HP HyperX ambassador. Now brands are figuring out how to find influencers who can actually create content such as TikTok videos for them. Creating relationships with TikTok stars can help a brand become more culturally relevant in ways they might not be able to do acting on their own. Let’s take a closer look.

How Brands Are Finding Creators

Competitions and hashtag challenges have proven to be a reliable way for brands to connect with content makers—and essentially make creators part of their marketing team. “It’s no longer about trying to get that one creator with a giant following to mention your brand once,” notes Ali Fazal, VP of marketing at influencer management platform Grin. Rather, as Fazal points out, it’s a way to “integrate the creator into their overall marketing strategy.” The trick is to find influencers who genuinely, organically, love the brand. “Creator classes” is the term that’s been coined to describe the influencer teams that result—teams that are made up of individuals with specific interests and skill sets.

Consider the 11 influencers in the Major League Baseball’s inaugural creator class, which was curated with the help of input from die-hard MLB fans. As Kathryn Buckles, the director of brand and content marketing at MLB, notes about the group,  “One is an esports player, one is more comedic. We also have someone who focuses on youth baseball, and a food creator that likes to replicate ballpark dishes.” In short, different influencers are bringing unique skills and interests to bear. As part of the relationship, creators have access to MLB merchandise and can attend games and visit the MLB offices.

For Gatorade, its creator class, called the Social Squad, came together through “tryouts” in which TikTokers submitted videos for consideration. Nine influencers were chosen from a pool of 1,500, and this select group will be creating content for Gatorade’s TikTok through November. Again, the individuals—from Clifford Taylor IV, formerly a walk-on for the Florida Gators, to Caitlyn Schrepfer, a professional soccer freestyler—bring a variety of talents and perspectives to the table.

Diverse as creator classes can be, a common thread among the influencers should be passion for the brand: super fans are naturally going to tell an authentic story. When Chipotle used TikTok to put together a 15-person creator class, for example, they were won over by Georgian Wyatt Moss, whose video showed Moss and friends eating Chipotle—in all 50 states (since Chipotle doesn’t have a location in Hawaii, Moss took his Chipotle on the plane ride out and ate it once he arrived!). Members of Chipotle’s creator class are rewarded for their passion: they are eligible for up to 50 free entrees, and can pay a visit to the Chipotle test kitchen. They also receive priority consideration for future paid campaigns—crucial to budding creators hoping to make a living as influencers.

TikTok Creator Marketplace

These brand/influencer collaborations are definitely mutually beneficial, and TikTok is invested in helping to make them happen: TikTok Creator Marketplace, currently in beta in the United States, is the official TikTok platform where brands and creators can connect. Think of it as a sort of dating app—a way for brands and influencers to “meet cute,” or at least connect in a mutually beneficial fashion. Participating creators sign up in hopes of connecting with brands and paid sponsorship opportunities. Participating brands can view creator profiles, audience demographics, and engagement metrics, then reach out to potential brand influencers via push and in-app notifications if they sense a possible match. Creators have an opportunity to review campaign details and a contract in order to make an informed decision.

Lessons Learned

Does collaborating with an influencer on TikTok make sense for your brand? Some thoughts before you proceed:

  • Make sure you already have a strong TikTok following. Brand ambassadors won’t stick around if they don’t have an audience. Alternatively, partner with a personality that comes with their own built-in following.
  • Mix it up. As the above examples indicate, a strong creator class is made up of diverse voices. Putting together an influencer team that looks at your brand from different angles or celebrates different aspects of the experience casts a wider net—and can help you reach a new, wider audience.
  • Choose creators aligned with your brand. As noted above, passion for your company will translate into authentic messaging. Take time to understand who a creator is—and whether they are the right fit—before bringing them on board.

Contact True Interactive

Hoping to explore what TikTok and other social platforms have to offer? Contact us. We can help.

Why TikTok Has Embraced Social Shopping

Why TikTok Has Embraced Social Shopping

TikTok

TikTok has partnered with Shopify to make it possible for TikTok users to shop directly in the TikTok app. The headline here? Social shopping has become huge! Read on to learn more:

TikTok Made Me Buy It

TikTok, the video app that has taken Gen Z by storm, is perhaps best known as a go-to for short-form entertainment and memes. It’s not that products have been ignored. But up to now, TikTok has featured influencers who talk up merch—from clothing to household goods—and users could only buy those products through ads on the app.

Things have changed.

Now, with the Shopify/TikTok partnership, Shopify merchants participating in a pilot program can add a shopping tab to their profiles, then build a “mini-storefront” including prices, photos, and an “add to favorites” button. As Marketing Dive explains it, the storefront “leads users to [the brand’s] website upon checkout by syncing their product catalogs.” The shopping pilot is currently open to Shopify sellers in the U.S. and U.K., and will launch in other regions in coming months. (Merchants must have a TikTok For Business account in order to participate.)

The move is a savvy one, indicative of an understanding of a simple fact: users find merch that speaks to them on TikTok. According to The New York Times, two-thirds of TikTok users have been inspired to shop, even if that wasn’t their original intent when accessing the app in the first place. The phenomenon has gained enough attention that it even has a hashtag: #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has garnered more than 4.7 billion views on the app.

TikTok isn’t alone: apps like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter have all jumped onto the social commerce bandwagon. The data supports this trend: a recent eMarketer report reveals that social commerce sales in the U.S. have exploded, growing 35.8 percent this year, from $26.97 billion in 2020 to $36.62 billion in 2021.

Although TikTok is relatively new to this crowded field, it’s already demonstrated that it has a talent for making merch go viral. As we have blogged, TikTok collaborated with Walmart last December to host a shoppable livestream event. The response was . . . significant, with viewership exceeding expectations so spectacularly that a second event was scheduled for March 2021.

It’s also worth noting that TikTok Shopping is meant to appeal to brands large and small. As Blake Chandlee, the president of global business solutions at TikTok, said in a statement, “TikTok is uniquely placed at the center of content and commerce, and these new solutions make it even easier for businesses of all sizes to create engaging content that drives consumers directly to the digital point of purchase.” And brands are taking note. Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics is pegged to be one of the early TikTok Shopping adopters.

Why the News Matters

These developments underscore how big social shopping (also known as retail social commerce) has become. As noted above, eMarketer has acknowledged the multibillion-dollar industry retail value that social commerce represents. The market research company goes on to make a bold projection, predicting that 2020’s $26.97 billion in sales “will more than double by 2023, when we predict retail social commerce earnings will hit $56.17 billion.”

eMarketer also notes that social shopping is particularly popular with the surging Gen Z population. That’s good intel for brands hoping to reach this audience. Per eMarketer, more than half of U.S. social media users aged 18 to 24 have used a social channel to make purchases. eMarketer also says that in the United States, it’s the Millennials who are most likely to rely on social media networks as important information sources when deciding what to buy.

What Brands Should Do

How to incorporate social commerce into your marketing plan? We recommend that you:

  • Understand your audience. Are you reaching out to Gen Z? Boomers? Not all social commerce platforms are the same. TikTok resonates with Gen Z and Millennials. Boomers tend to gravitate to Facebook. Ask yourself: who am I trying to reach, and where can I find them?
  • Learn how to use the tools available to you. Each platform will have its own requirements for creating content. In addition, all of these popular sites will demand a strong understanding of how to use visuals—anymore, it’s essential that brands know how to create powerful imagery.
  • Appreciate how influencers can be a powerful ally to your brand. How might you partner with influencers to reach your audience online—and fan the flames of demand?
  • Make sure you are teed up for success. As we’ve blogged, many businesses have struggled to manage the surge in demand that can happen when they attract more shoppers with an intent to buy. Make sure your online fulfillment is up to handling an uptick in sales.

Contact True Interactive

Now more than ever, there are multiple ways brands can connect with their audience—and facilitate purchases. Contact us to learn more about leveraging the exciting digital opportunities out there.