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Use These 5 Strategies to Increase Engagement With Gen Z on TikTok

By collegemktgrp | February 15, 2022 | Brands/Advertisers

For brands and advertisers, TikTok is a wellspring of opportunity to market to new audiences and increase engagement, no matter the industry. 

Based on TikTok user statistics, no one is more engaged than Gen Z — nearly 38 million users fall into this demographic. They spend the most time on the entertaining and informative short-form video app and drive sales made both on and off the platform.

With this many college students using TikTok, it has swiftly moved to the forefront of many social media marketing strategies.

Gen Z loves TikTok because it’s real people sharing real experiences and opinions. The content is sincere and from the heart. So when marketing to students on TikTok, it’s important to focus on organic growth and building an authentic, connected community.

Before you launch your TikTok marketing plan, consider these 5 strategies your brand can implement to improve your online presence, content, and reach towards college students. 

1. Tell Your Brand’s Authentic Story

Gen Z consumers base their purchasing decisions on trust. To earn their trust, be transparent about who your company is and what you stand for. Showing your human side will resonate with your audience and demonstrate you’re about more than just a profit.

Tell the story of how your product or service came to be with organic TikTok content. What inspired you to do what you do, and what keeps you going? Who are the people that you’re most excited to connect with through your product?

Enlist your customers and followers to help tell that story. The jewelry brand Mejuri does this well — they feature TikTok videos of their customers wearing jewelry to showcase how it can be styled in real life. 

But they don’t stop there. They also ask their customers to share videos of them wearing Mejuri’s jewelry while sharing the story of how they came to own that piece. By giving their customers a voice, Mejuri demonstrates that the customer’s experience is the most important aspect of their business, not the sale.

Relationship building is a big part of establishing and growing online communities that are loyal to your brand. By incorporating customer-driven content into your storytelling, they’re now a part of it. 

Pro tip: You can also use this approach when creating content that showcases how your product is made, how it can be used step-by-step, or how it can be incorporated into your daily routine.

Learn more about how your brand’s story can connect with college students >

2. Encourage Influencers to Share Your Brand

When an influencer promotes a product or service from their platform, the impact can be significant. 

Users like @mikaylanogueira@skincarebyhyram, and @teresalauracaruso are so influential they’ve sold out products for brands like Ulta, Cerave, and Amazon.

With the vast number of influencers on TikTok, it can be daunting to find the right ones for your brand. Start by looking at trending hashtags and users with the most views — you can also search for top influencers on Google. 

Now you’re ready to start a conversation about how a partnership will benefit both parties. You can offer free samples, discounts, or make them an affiliate. By making them an affiliate, they’ll likely feel more encouraged to promote your product since they’d be entitled to a small percentage of the profits.

Give influencers creative freedom in this partnership, but be sure that all aspects of your expectations have been communicated. You have certain deadlines you’ll want met, products promoted, and ownership of the content created. 

If you’re looking for more organic growth versus paid, the top influencers may be out of your reach. There are many influencers out there looking to grow their network, and who have the potential to gain a wide audience. Target those users in your search.

Read our full guide to learn how to partner with a TikTok influencer >

3. Pay Attention to Trends

TikTok is a reactive, trend-driven platform so it’s important to join the conversation and stay relevant.

Brands across all industries are expected to use the platform more in 2022 for their marketing efforts. This means that content will move faster than before. 

You can stay ahead of the curve by using the “Discover” tab to find out what’s trending. Whether it’s a challenge, a new dance, or a hashtag you can be on the ball with creating content that can be shared to that channel.

Another way to get noticed is by finding your target niche audience. Sure, you may be looking at how to connect with Gen Z or college students, but which ones? Athletes, artists, aspiring chefs? Tailor your content specifically to who needs to see it, then use hashtags affiliated with that niche.

You can also create your own TikTok challenges, which then promote user-generated content. The TikTok generation loves to be seen and heard — if you give them a reason to post a video talking about your brand, they’ll probably do it. 

Keeping on top of TikTok trends does take a lot of time and will require you to immerse yourself in the app to cut through the noise. When you do, it’ll be well worth it!

4. Drive Engagement With Scarcity

The scarcity tactic ultimately comes down to the idea that people will place a higher value on items that they believe are rare. Using this tactic can generate wider interest and engagement in your brand and product.

You can do this by creating a TikTok challenge and placing a time limit on it or offering a special promo to the first users who participate. Users have to decide quickly whether or not they are going to do the challenge, which can encourage them to immediately follow through.

The success of your campaign may depend on the number of users you reach. This is where your influencer could come in to drive their followers to the challenge, boosting engagement.

You can also introduce a product on TikTok and offer a promotional price for a limited amount of time. Treat it as a one-time offer — they have to act now or otherwise miss out forever! Again, your influencer can use promo codes for limited amounts of time to drive traffic to your product.

You don’t want to overuse the scarcity approach as users will catch on, but it can certainly help you as you’re starting out on TikTok or if you have an exciting new product to launch. 

5. Post Your TikTok Videos Elsewhere

While TikTok offers limitless possibilities, don’t forget about the other social media channels out there. 

Cross-posting your TikTok videos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter can spark the attention of other demographics that may not be on TikTok. 

Gen Z is the big catch — you want to cast a wide net and maximize engagement with your brand. 

To share your TikTok content on other platforms:

  • Instagram: Open the TikTok app and the video you are going to share. 
    • Tap the “Share” button and select the Instagram icon. 
    • Select “Stories” from the options provided.
  • Facebook: Find the video you want to share. 
    • Tap the “Share” button and select the Facebook icon.
    • The video should automatically share to Facebook.
  • Twitter: Save your TikTok video to your camera roll.
    • Open the Twitter app and compose a Tweet. 
    • Attach the video to your Tweet and share.

Another benefit of this social media marketing approach is that you’ll save yourself time by cross-promoting your TikTok content on these other platforms. 

Turn Engagement into Conversions 

Marketing to Gen Z means having a brand presence where they are. You can use TikTok to creatively educate, entertain, and engage your audience. It’s truly unique from the platforms that have come before it.

Remember that less is more on this platform. Don’t overthink your content or insist on being a perfectionist — Gen Z appreciates authenticity. Focus on relatable, organic content that showcases your brand’s values and how those values connect to your audience. 

It’s important to remember that gaining impressions across your social platforms is one thing, but conversions take a more in-depth strategy.

Discover how to build a loyal base with your social media strategy >


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