5 Tips for How to Work with TikTok Creators

July 20, 2021

person using TikTok person using TikTok

By: Katie Stoller, Senior Manager, Digital Connector/Influencer Strategist

It sure seems like all anyone talks about these days is TikTok, and for good reason. I recently co-moderated a Clubhouse room where panelists discussed insider tips and tricks when working with creators on TikTok. The conversation was so dynamic and engaging that I compiled some of my top takeaways here!

TikTok – So Hot Right Now!

The entertainment platform is experiencing exponential growth across all ages and brands are taking notice. Even Instagram took note and mentioned that they are “no longer a square photo sharing app” anymore, nodding to the success and popularity of TikTok. While many brands may not be ready to commit to building out a strategy for their own TikTok presence, many are trying to tap into the popularity of the platform (and create their own Ocean Spray moment) by partnering with TikTokers to co-create content on their behalf.

At Golin, we’ve helped brands authentically establish their own TikTok presence and leverage the power of creators to reach new audiences. Check out these five best practices for working with TikTok creators.

#1 – Finding the Right Talent: Quality Over Quantity

Picking the perfect creators for your program may seem like a challenge with millions of creators pumping out content on TikTok every day. How do you put together a roster that is going to accomplish the desired goals for your brand?

Given the fact that really anyone can ‘go viral’ on the platform, it’s often more important to find the right partner to authentically convey your campaign narrative than someone with a huge number of followers. With so many content niches, there are creators that cover everything. For example, a topic as granular as #organizingtiktok has 522M+ views.

Once you have aligned on the type of influencer you’re looking for, a good place to start your search is the TikTok Creator Marketplace. This TikTok owned tool is free to use and is a search engine for talent that lets you filter by the categories you care about, the target demo you’re trying to reach and the average views and frequency of the creators’ content.

Another way to find authentic TikTokers is to tap into creators who produce quality content on other channels, like Instagram or Twitter. Just ensure that their content translates from other channels since a creator’s popularity may not always resonate on all social media platforms.

Tools are great and allow us to quickly gather potential creators, but thorough vetting is still crucial to ensuring the list is spot-on for a given program.

#2 – Pricing: What the heck is this going to cost?

Unlike when partnering with Instagram creators where there are more standardized pricing ranges for sponsored content, TikTok as a newer platform doesn’t have the same rigor around budgeting. Because follower counts, video views and engagement are so variable, pricing out content is not as easy since because of that variability. As with any pricing, the golden number is uncovered when a negotiation takes place and both sides of the deal are comfortable. That’s really the bottom line. The creator needs to earn enough to want to do a phenomenal job for the brand, and likewise, the brand wants to pay the creator a fair rate that will encourage the best work. One thing to note is that newer creators with substantial view counts sometimes have not done as much sponsored work and are inexperienced at negotiating or setting their price. It is the responsibility of the brand to ensure the creators know the amount of work it will take to accomplish the goals set forth in the brief and pay creators based on that lift for their given tier. One way to do this is to price campaigns similarly based on level (following, views, engagement) regardless of experience doing sponsored work. The recent TikTok strike brought to light some issues regarding compensation and race where Black creators were not being compensated fairly. While pricing is not an exact science, it is crucial for brands to accept rates and negotiate based on data before coming to a number that is fair from both sides.

#3 – Setting KPIs: Getting on the FYP

There are many ways to set KPIs for a program on TikTok. Each program will have different goals, so it’s important to set KPIs that are customized to each individual program.

The most obvious performance indicator would be views, watch-time or even link clicks which show how often the video was served up and how many people found the video worth engaging with. Ultimately, every marketer’s dream is to have their videos make it on the For You Page (FYP). This is the main place people spend time on TikTok and where they see recommended videos outside of people they follow. The platform looks at a variety of factors (engagement, affinity with your interests and past watched videos) to determine what gets discovered and shown more broadly. Producing quality content that the platform can help push out to new audiences via the way discoverability is prioritized.

Beyond quantitative factors, when discussing KPIs it’s important to include a qualitative review of the comment section, as well. The overall comment quantity will affect engagement rate, but the actual comments themselves can be very informational on how the video was received by the audience. TikTok is unique in that many creators interact with comments for a few hours after a post goes live. We’ve seen some great conversations within the comment section that helps drive home campaign messaging and lends even more credibility when the creator is engaging in deeper conversations about the brand.

#4 – Content: Let the Creator do their Thing

People come to TikTok to be entertained or educated or often a little of both. When working with content creators, be sure to brief them extensively on the program, but also let them have that artistic freedom to put their personal stamp on the content. The best collaborations are when the creators truly love the brand and can share that love in a way that resonates with their audience through their personal voice.

According to Tubefilter and its report on a recent consumer survey, 49% of TIkTok users have purchased a product after seeing said item promoted and/or reviewed by another TikToker. Companies are even dedicating sections of their stores to showcase products that have gone viral on the platform (i.e. Amazon’s Internet Famous product page). This Korean iced coffee McDonald’s hack that went viral on TikTok is now being covered in mainstream media. Don’t over complicate things – sometimes people just come to TikTok to watch others clean and discover a brand-new cleaning product in the process. As TikTok famously states “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.” As brands begin or continue to navigate TikTok, it’s important to remember this platform is fun, it’s vibrant, it’s about expression. Have fun with it and watch the views roll in!

#5 – Just Get Started!

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it with the next latest and greatest social media platform – it is the Wild West on TikTok. Yes, it’s been around for a minute now, but TikTok is still in its infancy compared to established players like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The biggest learning is – JUST GET STARTED! It’s ok if your channel strategy isn’t built out yet. It’s ok if the content isn’t always featuring the most popular trends or is 100% polished (we’ve even seen that less polished and scripted content tends to outperform anyways). The beauty of social media is it is so easy to perform simple tests and learns to see what works best for your channel and your paid partners’ channels. Get out there, get creating and see what works best for your audience!