With 2022 drawing to a close, it’s clear that TikTok is no longer an optional add-on to brands’ influencer marketing strategies—it’s an essential component of any successful creator-led promotion. Over half of all campaigns run on the CreatorIQ platform today include TikTok, a dramatic leap from just 13% of campaigns two years ago. As more and more brands capitalize on TikTok’s potential to drive full-funnel results, marketers must work harder than ever to capture, and keep, audiences’ attention.
As both TikTok and the creator economy have matured, data-driven decision making is playing an increasingly critical role in brands’ success. However, at its core, the creator economy is still powered by people. In order to maximize the impact of their campaigns, brands need to invest in real, human relationships with online advocates. But how can marketers forge partnerships with TikTok creators that result in lasting growth?
To answer that question, CreatorIQ recently joined AdWeek, TikTok, and creator growth agency chloédigital for a workshop at Social Media Week Europe. Titled Maximizing Your Creator Relationships: TikTok on How to Drive Real Business Results in the Creator Economy, the session explored best practices that brands can use to strengthen their individual relationships with TikTokers.
The panel discussion was moderated by Tim Sovay, CreatorIQ’s Chief Business Development and Partnerships Officer, and featured:
- Alex Broadley, Creative Partner Manager at TikTok
- Chloé Watts, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at chloédigital
Read on for a few key takeaways from our conversation, and be sure to watch the full event using the link below!
Identify TikTok Creators who Speak to Your Target Audience
Over the past decade, the rise of social media has given birth to myriad niche subcultures. This is particularly evident on TikTok, where creators have formed numerous communities around interests both general (beauty, music, and food) and highly specific. #HorrorTok, for example, is a hub for scary movie buffs, while #CleanTok caters to users who get genuinely excited about household cleaning.
For marketers, the fragmentation of popular culture on TikTok presents an opportunity to reach consumers in a hyper-targeted, hyper-personalized way. TikTok creators who already live and breathe the world of your ideal customers are uniquely equipped to introduce these customers to your brand in a manner that is both direct and authentic.
Identifying the right subcultures to tap into, and the right creators to carry your message, may require a test-and-learn approach. TIkTok’s Alex Broadley recommends that influencer marketing teams take time to immerse themselves in various TikTok communities, and engage with their participants—through both owned and creator-led conversations—to understand how they fit into the platform’s cultural fabric.
“Creators are so impactful because they’re part of niche communities already. They’re coming from a place that’s really genuine and authentic—they’re speaking to their audience because that’s who they are at the core. And they’re working with brands in a new way. They’re building these deep relationships with brands so that they can speak authentically to their audience about that product or service.”
Alex Broadley, Creative Partner Manager, TikTok
Foster Long-Term, Mutually Beneficial Relationships
Any marketer knows that it’s far more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than it is to recruit a new one, and the same is true for creator relationships. But sustained, long-term partnerships don’t just save influencer marketing teams precious resources—they also resonate more authentically with audiences, and authenticity is the No.1 currency on TikTok.
The best way for brands to ensure that their advocates stick around? Establish partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Rather than approaching a TikTok creator with a transactional, one-time contract, brands should demonstrate that they’re genuinely invested in their partners’ long-term growth and well-being.
Chloé Wills, who works with more than 900 creators at her agency, chloédigital, noted that one of the most common mistakes she sees marketers make with regard to partnerships is neglecting the human element of brand-creator relationships.
“If you had to put yourself out there on social every day—it’s scary, it’s intimidating. But [creators] are overcoming their fears to be in this space because they believe that they can build community, and they can build a business. So humanize them, and humanize yourself. They’re looking to partner with brands that really see them.”
Chloé Wills, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, chloédigital
Fair compensation is a crucial component of any mutually beneficial partnership. While many established creators are prepared to negotiate contracts, others, particularly on TikTok, are still learning how to ask for payment that reflects their value to brands. Instead of requesting that creators set their own prices, Chloé advises brands to be transparent about what they are willing to pay their partners, then let TikTok creators accept or refuse the offer.
“You are not investing in a post or a TikTok video. You are actually investing in a creator’s well-being. You actually care about the human on the other side—it’s not a transaction.”
Chloé Wills, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, chloédigital
Set TikTok Creators Up for Success With Data-Backed Insights
As with any marketing initiative, it’s important that brands consistently monitor how content from their partners is performing across relevant KPIs. Visibility into specific TikTok creators’ impact enables teams to identify which partnerships are most successful, and which could use improvement.
On a more granular level, comprehensive performance data also helps brands understand how creators fulfill unique roles in the marketing funnel. For example, CreatorIQ’s Tim Sovay explained that some partners might prove highly effective at driving e-commerce, while others might be better suited for top-of-funnel awareness campaigns. In order to achieve full-funnel results, influencer marketing teams must account for each TikTok creator’s key strengths, and build communities of advocates aligned with each stage of the customer journey.
“Two creators can look very similar in content, in audience makeup, in size, in views, and one has the propensity to drive e-commerce, while the other may drive equally important top-of-funnel metrics like reach and engagement. Building those cohorts over time helps you optimize, but you also need to set those goals up front, so you can clearly communicate to creators what the hope or expectation of the partnership is.”
Tim Sovay, Chief Brand Development and Partnerships Officer, CreatorIQ
Brands aren’t the only parties that benefit from marketing analytics. Creators themselves are often hungry for deeper insight into the demographics and preferences of their audiences, as they can use this information to refine their own content strategies. When marketers gather data on a specific partner’s performance or fanbase, Chloé recommends that they share their findings with that creator to support them on their own growth path—and help them produce stronger content for brands.
The creator economy is now valued at $100B, and TikTok remains a key driver of this growth. As brands move to keep up with the expansion and evolution of the influencer marketing industry as a whole, investing in holistic, long-term relationships with TikTok creators should be a top priority.
Looking for more best practices for planning, executing, and evaluating effective creator-led TikTok campaigns? Download our complete Guide to TikTok Influencer Marketing for Major Enterprises.