Work with TikTok Creators to supercharge campaign engagement
Q&A – TikTok Creator Ben Black, aka @ben
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Deciding where to allocate their hard fought budgets is a constant challenge for marketers, who not only need to see results and ROI, but creative new ways to reach audiences, and real overall value.
What do some of the most successful TikTok brand campaigns have in common? Creativity? Check. Fun? Of course. Bringing people together? Naturally.
But perhaps the most powerful tool available to help secure brand success on TikTok is the Creator – the most enthusiastic, passionate and prolific users whose platform know-how is sure to supercharge any campaign.
More than just influencers, TikTok Creators provide real value to both audiences and brands through their creative expertise and energy. The popularity of their content helps form strong, positive and inclusive communities around them, which means they can drive deep engagement on behalf of brands.
Videos featuring Creators consistently perform above benchmarks in three key areas: engagement, click-through rates and view-through rates. Nothing amplifies a brand's message like a TikTok Creator.
Creators also aren’t boxed in by specific category verticals – they can dabble in multiple genres of content and still be authentic to themselves, with their distinct humour and personality shining through.
With over 12,500 Creators whitelisted by the TikTok team, the Creator Marketplace is where brands can connect with the very best creative talent on the platform. Each Creator's platform data is provided to help brands identify the right person for their campaign. TikTok's in-house Creator solutions team can also work with brands to find Creators best suited to their goals and offer support and guidance in developing and executing campaigns.
Below we explore some recent best-in-class examples of brands working with TikTok Creators, and provide tips for identifying the right talent for your brand’s needs and how to work with them effectively.
By building unique, playful Creator partnerships, brands can directly harness their creativity and skills without needing to employ intermediaries – marketers can even think of Creators as a new kind of creative director.
Partnering with Creators gives brands a new dimension to express their own personality, and impact culture by collaborating with some of the foremost people driving it.
Just ask Asos, Nike, Subway, Spotify, Pretty Little Thing and Fendi – a few of the rapidly growing number of brands who are seeing an unprecedented level of impact thanks to working with TikTok Creators.
Harnessing the creativity and skills of TikTok Creators
Asos saw incredible results in its recent #AySauceChallenge, collaborating with top Creators such as Abby Roberts, Estare, Elmo,
and Loren Gray. The campaign invited the TikTok community to “channel their Asos vibe” and show off their three best outfits with a series of outfit changes over three weeks in the UK and US, set to bespoke music and an interactive augmented reality Branded Effect.
Globally, the campaign recorded over 1.2 billion video views in just six days, with 488,000 videos created and 167,000 users taking part, all of which exceeded expectations. Working with Creators allowed Asos to tap into their enormous combined following to drive exposure on a massive scale, with the creative achieving an engagement rate of 15.79%, well above benchmarks.
Asos commissioned a brand lift study, which revealed some impressive results. The campaign achieved a 25% increase in aided brand awareness and a 10% increase in brand association with being 'trendy'. Ad recall also saw a 50% increase.
Asos – putting Creators at the heart of #AySauceChallenge
What have been your favourite brand collaborations?
Working with Nike is definitely up there. I’ve always liked Nike growing up, wearing their shoes and clothes, so then being able to work with them was really exciting. On top of that it involved filming with professional footballers, like Ronaldo in Italy, Neymar in Paris and De Bruyne in Manchester.
Can you share how you worked with the brand and how it benefited from your TikTok expertise?
As it was Nike’s first campaign on TikTok, they came in very open minded. They had a good idea of what they wanted the campaign to be based around, but let me go free with my ideas. As I’ve been on the platform for some time, I have a good understanding of what content performs well, which would hopefully make it feel less like an advert and more awesome – but still get the awareness of the product across.
What do you look for in brand collaborations?
I always love working with brands when it’s a true partnership. When the Creator gets to have a lot of input into the video idea, it will perform better as they understand what videos will perform well with their audience. A little direction from the brand to make sure you’re reaching all of their expectations is good, while still allowing the Creator to create something people will want to watch.
How have you refined your approach to brand collaborations as you’ve gained more experience?
When I first did brand collaborations, I wouldn’t have a lot of say in the content and the videos would always have an advert feel. Being someone who consumes a lot of content, I just switch off straight away as soon as I get that advert feel from a video. Putting myself in the shoes of the consumer, I want to make something I want to watch. The main thing I’ve learnt is you can still make awesome videos people want to watch, whilst still achieving what the brand is looking for. As I’ve gained more experience, I’ve realised I don’t need to over complicate it – something Nike and their agency were completely behind. On #MagicBoots, I turned up to four different locations on four different days with an idea, my phone and tripod – and it’s been one of the most successful TikTok campaigns.
Which brands work best with TikTok Creator collaborations?
I can’t think of a brand that can’t work with a Creator on TikTok – it’s just a case of creativity. If a brand is associated in the same industry as content that the Creator is known for, it will tend to have a better outcome. Some of the brands I’ve worked with you wouldn’t see as an easy fit, but have ended up being really successful campaigns.
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Spotify (right) and Nike (far right) are among the brands seeing success from partnering with Creators on TikTok
With its vibrant and engaged global community, TikTok is proving the perfect platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to reach new customers in 2020. The backbone of the global economy, it’s been an extremely tough year for SMBs everywhere, and these businesses are now relying on digital advertising more than ever before.
Recent third-party holiday research commissioned by TikTok revealed that people come to the platform to discover new products and are also inspired to purchase them. With a 100 million-plus EU community, it doesn’t matter whether a brand sells dog collars, candles, clothing, art, virtual cookery lessons, or mindfulness coaching; SMBs of every kind are discovering there’s an audience for them on the platform.
TikTok is a space that allows SMBs to build relationships with other like-minded businesses too. By leveraging hashtags such as #smallbusinesscheck (2.8 billion views) and #smallbusinessowner (920 million views), brands can share their unique business stories and journey with others, building communities and ecosystems of support.
"From the highs to the lows, smaller brands have a journey to share with their audience, organically and through targeted advertising. With many brands having already jumped in, TikTok is the place for them to reach, engage and connect with their ideal customers in a dynamic and impactful way," says Lisa Friedrich, head of SMB Europe for TikTok.
With the recent launch of Ads Manager, TikTok now provides businesses with all the tools they need to share their products with the world quickly and authentically, says Friedrich. To support the ad platform, the TikTok for Business SMB Hub features step-by-step how-to guides, creative inspiration and campaign optimisation tips to help businesses get the very best from their ads.
Nike partnered with a top TikTok football Creator on its new boot launch, inviting users to showcase the tricks they could achieve in the #MagicBoots Hashtag Challenge.
Central Creator Ben Black – known simply as @ben – kickstarted the campaign, collaborating with footballers Andy Robertson, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne on original videos posted to @ben’s own channel. As well as this, Nike offered an incentive for @ben to gift the user with the winning entry a pair of #MagicBoots.
Nike also engaged footballers Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Leah Williamson, Ryan Sessegnon and Georgia Stanway to produce videos for users to draw inspiration from, posted to Nike’s official page.
Two ad placements supported the Challenge – TopView Lite and an In-Feed ad. The Challenge involved over 69,000 users, creating more than 161,000 videos – generating over 317 million views and over 46.5 million interactions. Nike’s TikTok account following increased by over 60% to 566,500.
And @ben even described working with Nike as one of his favourite TikTok brand collaborations (see box below).
“This was a complex and engaging campaign that pushed TikTok users to embrace different elements, such as the Magic Boots narrative, talent showcase and soundtrack,” comments TikTok’s head of Creator solutions, Julien Wettstein.
“TikTok Creators played a significant role in the campaign’s success, ensuring an effective kick–off and high reach within Nike’s key demographics.”
Nike launches #MagicBoots with @ben
The Tiktok Creator Marketplace (TCM) is a tool to help brands and Creators foster more effective collaborations. From foodies to fashionistas, all 12,500 Creators on the TCM are approved by TikTok based on content quality, engagement rates and other performance criteria.
Marketers can view Creator profiles, follower demographics and performance analytics to see who is trending with their target audience and pick the right fit based on their goals. They can search by region, topic and reach, and filter by attributes such as content topics.
Through the TCM, marketers can reach out to Creators directly and discuss the campaign and its terms. If a marketer is selecting Creators for a campaign using a TikTok ad format, such as a Hashtag Challenge, a brand partnerships manager will walk them through the remaining execution process.
TikTok also offers Creators support, such as a dedicated community manager to help with onboarding and building their profile. Creators can also partake in topic–related masterclasses to update their creative toolkit and community guideline knowledge, and to create educational content as part of TikTok’s Creative Learning Fund.
Finding your perfect match on the Creator Marketplace
TikTok Creator campaigns should be a two–way partnership. Popular Creator Sherice Banton, who has over 1.5 million followers, shares some tips:
Top tips for working with TikTok Creators
What have been some of the most successful brand/Creator collaborations on TikTok and why?
The most successful campaigns are usually attributed to the perfect combination of music, Creator and creative concepts. Such an example would be the fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, for which Will.I.Am produced a track and involved a group of top female Creators. We have also run some very successful campaigns for film studios, such as Sony Pictures’ Charlie’s Angels, where our Creators dressed up in character against the soundtrack of Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey and Miley Cyrus.
Which brands work best with TikTok Creator collaborations?
There is no limitation around which brands work best – it’s more about how they reinvent themselves. We have had very successful collaborations with legacy brands such as Burberry, who took a different ‘TikTok’ approach to feel native to the platform. The key is to be open-minded and involve the TikTok community to ensure the content resonates. We also recommend marketers find the right Creator that matches the brand’s personality and stands behind the product.
How does TikTok select Creators to join the Creator Marketplace and how diverse is it?
Our community team vets our Creators based on their content quality, following and brand safety. Diversity is a key success factor of our platform – in terms of content but also Creators. We have sports Creators, artists, singers, fashion Creators and even an ice cream maker on the platform.
What kind of support is available to help marketers manage Creator collaboration projects?
Our team supports clients from finding the right Creators, to contract and delivery of the content. We have a dedicated team of campaign managers who work hand-in-hand with our sales team to ensure seamless execution. For clients who prefer a self–service approach, we offer the Creator Marketplace. We also collaborate with a number of talent agencies to ensure we work with a diverse set of Creators and partners.
For brands that have never worked with TikTok before, what can they expect from working with Creators?
TikTok Creators are a breath of fresh air, and are used to putting their personal spin on an idea, which brands should embrace. We recommend brands involve Creators from the beginning of a campaign, starting with the development of the creative concept. Brands have been surprised how much value a Creator can bring, as you can easily amplify your message and tap into their community. Working with Creators can also be more efficient in terms of cost and time, as they can turn around briefs very fast from the comfort of their homes.
Q&A – Julien Wettstein, head of Creator solutions, TikTok
Creator videos helped drive better than expected results for Asos's #AySauceChallenge
Content from TikTok Creator @ben, a host of top footballers and TikTok users helped the #MagicBoots Hashtag Challenge boost Nike's account followers by 60%
Sherice Banton advises brands to tap into fellow Creators' expertise and individuality
Help them love the brand like you do and understand the culture, history and messages – give them as much knowledge as possible. Creators are TikTok experts, but you’re the expert on your brand.
Let the Creator be themselves. Within the campaign concept and brief, let them put their spin on it and do it in a unique way, to get the right connection between the brand message and the Creator’s audience. The result will be more natural and successful.
Tap into Creators’ TikTok expertise. No one obsesses over TikTok trends more than they do. If you want to make an idea ‘more TikTok’, let them tell you how to do that, as they have the experience of what content engages and resonates with their audience.
Think TikTok first, rather than treating it like an ad.
Above all – dare to be bold, and have faith. There is no one better placed to help brands succeed on TikTok than Creators – they know the platform better than anyone.