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Last updated: 03/23/22

TikTok Marketing: The New SEO

As of January 2022, TikTok had 1 billion Monthly Active users worldwide (see more updated TikTok data here). At this point, we’re no longer talking about who missed the TikTok marketing bandwagon but rather who’s still too stubborn to invest in its value. And yes, by that, I mean the potential for the kind of virality that’s almost unheard of these days on other social platforms — but more than that, I mean a long-form marketing opportunity for increased brand exposure, identity, and relevance among your most important consumer demographic.

It’s time we start treating TikTok marketing more like SEO.

TikTok marketing is not going away anytime soon (although that 2020 scare did have us worried), and it’s a far more significant challenge and opportunity than it’s been boiled down to. So instead of pretending it’s going to eventually go away, or hiring an intern and crossing your fingers, it’s time to approach TikTok like the long-term marketing play it is. 

First, let’s talk about a timeline.

When discussing SEO, we’re always talking about seeing results in 6-12 months. We’re comfortable with that because it’s been an established marketing strategy for so long that marketers have enough confidence to convince their teams that the investment is worth the 6-month payoff.

Well, guess what? TikTok has now been around for more than 6 years, and there are plenty of brands we can highlight to show us the platform’s long-term value. Check out these brands that have done a great job scaling with strong TikTok marketing.

When we talk about TikTok, however, most companies are expecting “virality” in 3 weeks. And while I love the ambition (and yes, it can occasionally be done), the TikTok marketing opportunity cannot be minimized to whether or not you get a “viral” video within 3 weeks. More often than not, success on TikTok takes persistence and patience, just like other forms of marketing.

Let me tell you instead, what you can expect to achieve with a strategic 6-month approach to TikTok marketing:

1. 50-100 unique video assets that you own complete creative rights to.

Let’s pause there for a moment. I could honestly stop the blog here because WOW. That in itself is hugely valuable. I could talk for hours about the value of a TikTok video. It’s so much more than how many views/engagements it gets when first posted. We’re talking about ad creative, shareable UGC, YouTube Shorts, testimonials, etc. And if you’re not already repurposing all your video content for IG Reels, that’s a whole other conversation. Not to mention — much like all the blog content you’ve spent years accumulating on your site — TikTok videos can keep gaining new viewers at any point, be picked back up by the FYP months later, or even be optimized & reposted to reach a whole new audience. In short, video content is now king & each video will keep gaining value with time.

2. Specific audience and keyword targeting

Users are absolutely asking TikTok for answers just like they are Google, and the platform gives you a unique opportunity to answer them. Hell, the “respond to comment” feature literally allows you to answer questions that users didn’t even know they should be asking!

Take your top 10 most-searched keywords on Google, and you’ve got a perfect list of niches to target through TikTok. For example, take one of our most beloved TikTok clients, Vessi Footwear. In one video, we can promote Vessi’s waterproof shoes directly to nurses while simultaneously reaching a whole audience of teachers with another video. The reach of each of your videos is not limited to the friends or immediate network of your current followers, but rather whoever TikTok thinks cares most about it. So if you can get teachers to care within the first 3-5 seconds of your video, TikTok will show it to more and more of them. Likewise, this can be happening with any other niche at the exact same time. It’s like boosting, but instead of handpicking the people you think care, your content has to speak for itself.

@vessi Teachers are AMAZING💙 Enter through link in bio & share with your fav teacher!! #freeshoes #teachersoftiktok #supportteachers #waterproof ♬ original sound - George Akram

3. More social listening than you’ll know what to do with

Not only will you learn what your audience does/doesn’t want to see based on weekly video performance, but they will absolutely let you know what they think of your product: No filters, no BS, and plenty of trolls. 

This insight expands your social listening well beyond just your followers who already know and love your brand. Every day, your videos on TikTok will reach someone who’s never heard of your brand before. Giving you a unique opportunity to hear from groups you may not have originally thought to market to.

4. Brand trust & loyalty from none other than the infamous GenZ

Gen Z takes its purchasing power more seriously than any other generation. In addition to generally spending less — and only on brands they align with — they also do their research. And that’s not happening on site reviews or yelp. It’s happening on social platforms like TikTok.

TikTok users like connecting with brands, with 73% reporting that they feel a deeper connection to companies they interact with on the platform.” And a whopping “67% of users say TikTok inspires them to shop— even when they weren’t planning to do so.

In 6 months, you can expect your customers to find a library of genuine influencer & customer reviews on your product — on the platform where they’re looking for it. And yes, a few of them may even be considered “viral.”

For years now, brands have been treating TikTok like one big Gen Z trend that goes right over their heads. And while it is an extremely unique platform — and should be treated as such — it’s also not going away anytime soon. In fact, just by nature of holding the attention of so many, it’s even beginning to shift the way other social platforms are operating.

If you haven’t started utilizing TikTok as a part of your marketing strategy, it’s not too late. However, like any other channel, when you’re late to the party, you need to expect to put in a bit more effort to catch up. Your marketing hours on TikTok in 2022 have to work a lot harder than they did in 2018, and that’s just the reality.  And while that reality has changed a lot since 2018, the narrative still sounds the same. Which is why even today, when brands test out TikTok for the first time, they secretly expect that 3-week virality. When it doesn’t happen, they second guess whether TikTok is worth the headache. 

We’ve guided plenty of brands through their “TikTok is a phase” days into their “TikTok is one of our biggest lead generators” outcomes. So long story short, it is indeed worth the headache. But you’ve got to be ready to take it seriously.

Try approaching your TikTok marketing a little more like you do your SEO, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Want to talk about a strong TikTok strategy for your brand? Contact us today by clicking here!

Author

Madison-1-Retouched(sized)

Madison Grover

VP of Social

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