The TikTok Marketing Strategy for Brands (Updated Feb 2023)

September 26, 2023
TikTok Marketing Strategy, today, is like what buying real estate in Australia was 20 years ago.

For me, growing up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne (Bentleigh to be specific), Brighton was where the dreamers moved. When we first moved there my parents purchased a ramshackle, nicotine-stained, Federation-style house that needed to be knocked down. We slogged it out in that place for a solid 2-3 years, eventually moved out, demolished, and rebuilt. Ten years post-purchase my parents essentially flipped the place for a 10-12x return, setting them up for the rest of their lives.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is TikTok in 2022. A place where creators with 1 million+ followers are being minted overnight, and a platform that can truly transform your brand. But it won’t be here forever.

TikTok profile growth compounds fast

Intriguingly, you can see how quickly attention is being reduced on-platform by the number of creators minted overnight, from The Information & Trendpop. Talent (creators) often act as long tail signals for what happens for brands. Yes, this is another new platform to pull resources from your marketing budget. But the sooner you make that investment, the sooner you can start to see the short and long-term benefits of the channel.

TIkTok Profile Growth greater than 1 million

A good example on our own roster is Will Gibb, his growth from March 2021 to today has been remarkable. 200k followers to 1.3m and growing at a rate of 2% per month:

Will Gibb TIkTok Growth

From our perspective, every $1 put into the platform now, will have an order of magnitude of impact, versus $1 in 2-3 years from now. I cannot quantify what that is yet, without having the data in hindsight. But it’s pretty clear from the chart above that brands need to move quickly.

A background - the Inception & Fundamentals of TikTok

TikTok, for all intents and purposes, has found a gap in short-form social content by offering honest, polish-free content that you’ve come to expect on Instagram. Everyone harps on about Gen Z being the focus of the platform because they want authenticity, but the reality is that it’s just the dominant platform full stop. 

Per AppFigures, it was the most widely downloaded app as of May 2022.

TikTok Marketing Strategy

This User Generated Content phenomenon was born on Instagram stories but blew up on TikTok. It means that “brand truths” (whether a marketer likes those truths or not) cannot be circumnavigated on the platform. That’s not the end of the world though, and as a Marketer, CMO you need to just embrace it, like Ryan Air.

If you publish highly polished content, that ignores what people are saying in the comments or tries to persuade someone about what your brand is, you have zero chance of success on TikTok.

Neuralle's TikTok Marketing Strategy

A TikTok marketing strategy requires you to understand the fundamentals of the platform, which I feel we've explained above. (If we haven't, let me know!)

The way we run things on TikTok at Neuralle is to have an initial test, particularly if you don’t have any profile on TikTok. If you do, then naturally that’s where our advice starts to change, but the test project often looks like so:

Month 1 -
Identify the strategy. Specifically;

  • a) What makes your brand distinct?
  • b) How does that translate into content formats on-platform and what are the core hooks?
  • c) How would you achieve your goals i.e. Organic Growth over Conversions? Or another distinct approach?
  • d) Install the pixel to harvest that data(to get the data already being pushed onto your side from Instagram and Meta platforms)

Month 2 -
You need to begin with organic content at least 2-3 days a week, and amplify the content to get to this glorified 1,000 followers that the TikTok Agency Account Management team always harps on about to us. It unlocks a few features, particularly link in bio features, but will also create some social proof for when you start running Social Ads later on.

Engagement is absolutely crucial to this, you can’t just schedule a post and leave it be, your team needs to be living on-platform. This is a living breathing beast, and it’s why so many people come to an agency like us.

By now you should also be creating UGC focused ads if you're going to tackle conversions, minimum 3 creatives per month at the average life of any ad on platform is 10 days. Some die within a few days, get used to that shitty feeling.

Month 3 - This is where you need to start advertising if Conversions are your focus.

The ephemeral nature of TikTok means that you need to be cycling three 3x Ad Creatives over a 10 day period, refreshing consistently.

Now obviously if you start with three, and one of those continues to garner significant CTR's, Thump Stop Rates and Conversions, you keep it.

But the general rule we’ve found is that 10-14 days and it burns out. When running an Ad Account, you need to keep the performance churning, so you cannot underestimate the importance of affordable, consistent creatives as an agency owner.

If you start to get that momentum, which is what this platform is all about, that's where you can expect to see signficant improvement in performance.

See this brand in the beauty space that was previously paying $35-40 cost per lead on Meta platforms (Facebook & Instagram), their average is now sitting at $17.36 on TikTok. That's a 49.6% reduction in their cost to acquire the exact same customer! If that doesn't convince on the potential of this platform, I'm not sure what else will.

Beauty Education Brand performance
CPL Performance on a Beauty Education Brand

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re considering TikTok right now you’re still earlier than most, you’re going to have to learn to be a little more honest on this platform, and TikTok will require an initial investment (like any platform).