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How To Win At TikTok Influencer Marketing

By collegemktgrp | August 13, 2020 | Brands/Advertisers

When it comes to marketing to Gen Z, social media marketing is really important. Gen Z is the first fully connected generation: they’ve grown up with smartphones, the internet, and yes, social media.

They also make up more of the U.S. population than any other generation, which means your brand can’t afford to ignore them.

Gen Z is all over social media, but that doesn’t mean marketing to Gen Z college students on social media is easy.

While ad targeting tools make finding your audience on social media easy, Gen Z is very savvy when it comes to digital marketing. They can tell whether you’re worth their time almost as soon as they see your ad or online profile.

Being seen on social media isn’t the challenge — it’s being heard. Getting Gen Z interested in and engaging with your content can be tough.

That’s where influencer marketing comes in. By partnering with an influencer who boasts a strong online following that aligns with your brand, you have the chance to get Gen Z college students to care about your product (or at least to give you a chance).

And one platform where college influencer marketing is really taking off is TikTok.

The Impact of College Age Influencers on TikTok

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to post short videos, typically featuring music, dancing, lip syncing, comedy, and other entertaining talents. It’s one of the largest social media networks in the world, and is the most downloaded app of 2020.

TikTok has quickly become the most popular app for Gen Z college students. Given that it isn’t as saturated as Instagram or YouTube (for now), influencers on the platform have been able to grow audiences quickly.

Over 40 TikTok influencers have more than 10 million followers each. But you don’t need a superstar to make a difference.

TikTok is full of micro- and nano-influencers, some with under 1,000 followers. These influencers are easier to access than their more famous peers, and they speak to a very specific niche audience.

These influencers have followers that listen to them. When it comes to a purchasing decision, Gen Z college students are more likely to listen to their peers and social media influencers that are in their age group than to any other form of marketing.

Starting Your TikTok Influencer Marketing Campaign

To make the most of influencer marketing to college students, you first need to answer a few questions:

  1. What are the specific goals of your influencer marketing campaign?
  2. What KPIs will you use to measure the success (or failure) of the campaign? Views, likes, comments? User-generated content with mentions of your brand? Web traffic, purchases, sign ups?
  3. Who is your target audience? You need to know this to make sure that they’re using TikTok, and to figure out which influencers might be a good fit for your brand.

Finding and Connecting With TikTok Influencers

Now that you know your goals and your target audience, you can start looking for influencers that will help you reach that audience and those goals. There are a number of ways to find potential TikTok influencers:

  1. Search for them on Google. Google knows everything. If your brand sells soda, search for “soda drink TikTok influencer” and see what you find!
  2. Look at which hashtags are trending, and research who’s creating the top content in those hashtags. You can also use the mobile app to search for specific hashtags.Pro tip: Search for #ad to find influencer-generated content quickly. From there, you can dig into specific influencers who may be a good fit for your brand.
  3. Research influencers on other social media platforms, and then see if they’re building a following on TikTok. Since TikTok is the future, there’s a good chance you’ll find influencers are working to migrate to the platform.
  4. Use an influencer marketing platform. Influencer marketing platforms are like social media for advertisers. On a platform like Julius, Upfluence, or FanBytes, you can search for influencers based on category, location, and of course, social media following.More importantly, these platforms will tell you everything you need to know about an influencer’s audience — their age, their income, their gender, interests, locations, and more.

How to Work with a TikTok Influencer

Once you’ve made your wish list of influencers, it’s time to start reaching out with your ideas, goals, and budget.

As you work toward an agreement (made official with a signed contract), consider some of the following tips:

  1. Give your influencer creative control. They know what works on the platform, and they know their audience.If you make them follow your script, the content is unlikely to land. Focus on giving them the goals and main message of the campaign, and let them do the rest.If there are specific words, points, or visual elements you want included in the final deliverables, be sure to communicate them to the influencer.
  2. Make it clear that you own the content the influencer creates and plan to repurpose it in the future.
  3. Set deadlines clearly so you get your content when you need it.
  4. Always include an exclusivity clause in your TikTok influencer contract, so they can’t work with your competitors within a certain time frame.
  5. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that ads be identified as such. With TikTok influencer marketing to college students, that can be as simple as using the #ad. Just make sure you require your influencer to use this hashtag.

Once you’ve found your influencer, it’s time to start reaping the rewards of the partnership.

Remember your goals you laid out earlier? You need to measure the associated KPIs as your influencer posts content, and make sure you’re hitting the mark.

If the content isn’t performing as well as you’d like, work with the influencer to refine the approach. Try a TikTok Challenge or Duet, or play off a pop culture trend to go viral.

It’s also possible that the influencer you’ve found isn’t the perfect match for your brand, which means it’s time to move on. It could also mean that TikTok isn’t the best platform for your brand, which brings us to our final point.

Beyond TikTok: The Wider World of Influencer Marketing

As powerful as TikTok influencer marketing is for reaching Gen Z, it isn’t the only player in town. Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook are all powerhouses, and they’re all popular with Gen Z.

You may find a lot of value in researching influencer marketing opportunities on these other platforms. Read our guide to wider world of college age influencer marketing >

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