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TikTok has become a global sensation, prompting marketers to consider weaving a TikTok marketing strategy into their overall social media game plan.

But how? Is it as simple as mirroring strategies from your other social media platforms? And for global brands, is it better to adopt a universal approach or tailor it to specific localities?

Here’s the deal: TikTok needs its own approach. Creating content that seamlessly aligns with the platform is key. Whether your target audience is global or local hinges on your strategy.

Keep reading for expert insights on how to use TikTok for marketing.

How to approach your brand’s TikTok marketing strategy

Here’s a step-by-step guide to launching a global TikTok strategy.

Before getting into the best TikTok marketing strategies, it’s important to first assess whether your brand should even be on the platform. Like all social media platforms, it’s not for every brand

A good way to gauge whether there’s place for your brand on the platform is by looking at whether your audience is searching for it. TikTok has changed how audiences consume social media content, and for many, that involves using the platform as their primary search engine. 

Rise at Seven research found that TikTok is overtaking Google in several key industries. The social media platform is seeing more searches than Google for keywords in automotive, finance, fashion, travel, hair and beauty, home, gaming and technology sectors. Users are going to TikTok for money-saving advice, hotel reviews, #squatproof leggings, makeup tutorials and home decorating ideas.

So, if your brand is in any of those industries, you could find an audience on TikTok. But, while the platform might fit your brand, you need to ensure your marketing content fits the platform.

“A lot of brands think they have to be on TikTok, but they don’t know what they want to get out of TikTok.”

Paula Uccelli, project manager at VeraContent

If you’re certain there’s a place for your brand on the platform, consider the info below when creating your TikTok marketing strategy.

Create content in the TikTok aesthetic

Like any social media platform, you need to create content that fits the TikTok aesthetic and fills a content gap—either informing or entertaining your target audience. TikTok’s format is unique, with data showing that the best way to succeed is by creating native TikTok content

“We call this approach ‘TikTok First Creative.’ Our research finds that it is more effective than other content strategies and allows brands to optimize for efficiency because creative content made for TikTok works on other platforms too!”

Michelle Lim, global creative solutions lead at TikTok

Many brands share their TikTok videos on their Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts accounts—Meta and Google’s response to TikTok. However, beyond that repurposing, there’s little room for overlap between the content you create for your other platforms. 

Here’s why:

TikTok has an entirely unique aesthetic. It’s not nearly as polished as Instagram or Facebook. Highly curated, beautiful grids don’t matter. Content on TikTok is a lot more raw and human-centered. The trends come and go so fast that if you spend too much time editing and designing content, you’ll miss out.

“For success on TikTok, you need real people making timely content that catches your audience’s attention in two seconds or less. And you need to be doing this constantly.”

Paula Uccelli, project manager at VeraContent

Using TikTok for marketing is all about selling by entertaining. 44% of TikTok users prefer branded content that is fun and entertaining. As a brand, you need to prioritize joyful and engaging content over highly polished, branded content. 

This may mean stepping out of your tight branding guidelines and finding more subtle ways to highlight your brand. For example, a simple way to introduce branding is by the person in your video wearing brand colors or even a branded t-shirt. 

“The key to creating content for TikTok is having a human creating and appearing in the content. It doesn’t work when you just create graphic design content. It needs to entertain. And to truly entertain, it needs to be accessible. This means being in a language your audience understands.”

Paula Uccelli, project manager at VeraContent

Confirm that your audience is on TikTok

Who is your target audience and are they using TikTok?

Contrary to popular belief, TikTok is not just a playground for Gen Z. In 2021, 60% of TikTok users were Gen Z, but that number has now dropped to just 40%. Not because Gen Zs are leaving but because Millennials and older generations are hopping on, making the platform much more multi-generational. 

So, while many brands focus on targeting Gen Z with their content, it’s also important to consider the Millennials. In fact, they may be the audience more likely to interact with your brand since they’re 2.3x more likely to create a post and tag a brand than other platform users. 

Parenting-related content on TikTok is particularly popular among Millennials, with  #ParentsofTikTok having over 44 billion content views, and with other hashtags like #Parents, #NewBorn, #FirstTimeMom and #BabyTips all getting well over a billion views.

See below an example of a post by baby brand Baby Brezza that has over 500k views, nearly 15k likes, over 100 comments and around 1700 saves.

@babybrezza

Miss @Kylie Jenner said it best “I don’t like it” 💅🍼 The Formula Pro Advanced is the perfect addition to any bed side table 🙌🏻 #babybrezza #babyregistry #babyfever #babymusthaves #kyliejenner #formulaproadvanced

♬ original sound – Kylie Jenner

Besides age groups, consider your target location and whether it has a large TikTok user base. The US leads in TikTok users, with over 143 million, followed by Indonesia, with around 106 million and Brazil with nearly 95 million users.

It doesn’t have nearly the same following in Europe, with around 23 million users in the UK and 20 million in both France and Germany. Czech Republic, Norway, Finland and Denmark all have less than two million users.

Have the resources ready

Creating marketing content on TikTok is resource-heavy. While the content doesn’t need to be as polished and designed as other platforms, it still takes time to create the videos. Plus, it requires a much higher posting frequency. 

To maintain any sort of relevancy on the platform, it’s recommended to post a minimum of three to four times a week. Posting daily can boost your results even more.

Apart from creating the content, there’s the admin of posting the content. We’ve done a few tests at VeraContent and found that the platform “prefers” it when you create the content on TikTok. So, instead of creating videos with text and music outside of the platform, it’s best to upload your edited video to TikTok and use the platform’s tools to add other in-asset copy (the text on the video), captions and trending music.

You’ll need to develop a workflow or use a localization service that incorporates the entire process. In many cases, this involves having at least two people involved: the content creator filming the video and the community manager compiling and posting it.

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How to market on TikTok: Go global or keep it local?

As a global brand, you’ll need to decide whether to have one global TikTok account or create several local accounts. 

Regardless of the strategy you choose, you need to be aware of TikTok’s local-focused algorithm. When a user creates a TikTok account, the platform will promote local content by default. For example, if they create an account in Spain with a Spanish phone number, their For You Page will be filled with content by users in Spain. However, since TikTok also looks at your IP address, if that same user goes to Germany, they’ll also start seeing content by German-based content creators.

As users start using the platform more and actively searching and engaging with specific types of content, their algorithm adapts, suggesting content based on their interests and location. As a brand, this is your opportunity to jump into their TikTok world by creating entertaining content aligned with their interests.

While it’s a bit complicated, it’s not impossible to reach global audiences or even specific local audiences in countries you’re not based in. For example, at VeraContent, we post content for Ria Money Transfers’ global TikTok account. We’re posting from Madrid, but most of the audience is in the US—and the strategy targets a global audience.

Over time, you can gradually change the algorithm of your profile so that it shows your content to a specific local audience. Here’s how:

  • Use hashtags in the language of the country you’re targeting.
  • Create on-video text in the language you’re targeting—this is where it’s important to use TikTok’s tools to add the text in-app, as that way the algorithm can “read” the text.
  • Write captions in the language that you’re targeting.
  • Talk in your videos—if not in the language of your target audience, at least in their accent.
  • Engage with other TikTok creators from your audience country.
  • Add a location pin to your videos—note that this feature is not available on all accounts.

So, should you create a global account or several local accounts when targeting a global audience? It depends on your brand and strategy and, ultimately, what you want to get out of the platform. Since maintaining a successful presence on TikTok is so resource-intensive, many brands opt to focus on a global account and build from there. 

You can then add more localized strategies like partnering with local influencers, collaborating with local content creators or even building one or two localized accounts in key regions where you have a large TikTok audience.

See also: Global vs. local social media accounts: How many do you need?

Here are a few examples of how brands have approached global marketing on TikTok:

Ria Money Transfer TikTok marketing strategy: Global account with local content creators

Ria Money Transfer's global TikTok marketing strategy

Ria Money Transfer’s TikTok marketing plan is all about targeting a global audience. They do this with one global TikTok for business account, but with content that represents their entire global audience. For Ria, that audience is people living abroad who need to transfer money between countries.

We helped Ria set up their TikTok account and have been creating and managing its content since June 2023. The strategy involves working with local TikTok content creators to create user-generated content.   

We’ve sourced content creators from the Philippines, Chile, Morocco and other key regions representing the target audience Ria wants to reach. We then provide them with a detailed brief of what content to create, including a script—encouraging them to add in a local flair—brand guidelines, do’s and don’ts, how to shoot the video and the format we’re looking for. 

While all local content creators create the content in English, they do so in their local accent—making the content more representative of the brand’s global audience. Ria’s main focus is on sharing the experience of living abroad instead of selling their product directly on TikTok.

See below an example of a video from one of the local content creators incorporating French into the mainly English video:

@riamoneytransfer

Here are some ideas on how to use our Ria services during the holiday season! #holidays #season

♬ Curiosity – Danilo Stankovic

PopSockets TikTok marketing strategy: Highly localized content on select cities

PopSockets EU TikTok marketing strategy

Mobile phone accessory brand, PopSockets, took an entirely different approach and went highly localized with their TikTok marketing strategy.

Since the brand already had a localized social media presence in Europe on Instagram, they took the same approach—but a step further—with TikTok. While they have a PopSockets global and PopSockets Europe account, they also created highly localized content for the European cities they wanted to trend in, including London and Berlin, which is the focus of their UK and Germany Instagram accounts.

At VeraContent, our German community manager created extremely localized Berlin-centered content—mixing between German and English. The content was focused on trends in Berlin and other niche, current content like things to do or cafes to visit in Berlin. The goal was to attract a young audience in Berlin.

Below is an example of a video created by our community manager, which was the most viewed video on PopSockets Europe account in 2023. It has had nearly 13,000 views and over 500 likes.

@popsockets_europe

Grips are a game changer 🐬💗

♬ som original – Multi Digital

Speak TikTok marketing strategy: US-brand with localized TikTok accounts

Speak Korean TikTok marketing strategy

Speak, an AI language tutor, is another interesting example. Even though they are an American company, they decided to focus all their marketing efforts on Korea—including on TikTok—proving their concept there before moving to other markets.

They have a super successful strategy in Korea—where many of their videos have over a million views—and appear to be working to replicate that success in Japan.

Their videos teach different English words and phrases, with Korean or Japanese subtitles/in-video text to help locals learn.

Below is an example from their Korean TikTok account with nearly 300k views, over 5,000 likes, over 50 comments and nearly 500 saves.

Is your brand ready to launch your TikTok marketing strategy?

Getting ready for your brand’s debut on TikTok requires careful planning, particularly when deciding whether to go global or local. Just remember, TikTok thrives on entertainment, not direct sales. So, whichever strategy you go with, make sure to create human-centered content that you can maintain with a high frequency.

The key is to captivate your audience as fast as possible. And that’s why user-generated content does so well—since they’re the audience, they know what works.

Want our take on your global TikTok marketing strategy? Book a free call with our team!