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TikTok Influencer Marketing: 2024 Guide to Successful Campaigns

Some TikTok influencers make thousands of dollars daily with sponsored posts and featured content. They’re also inspiring their community.

Alyssa Hirose April 24, 2024
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Influencer marketing works: when a trusted source tells us that something is great, we’re inclined to want to try it out. It’s like when your cool cousin recommends a new restaurant or your best friend won’t shut up about the spin class that’s changed their life.

Influencers have a real impact, especially on TikTok, where creator partnerships and ad campaigns run the marketing world. According to an eMarketer forecast, influencer marketing spending in the U.S. will reach almost 6 billion dollars in 2024.

To make sure that your brand’s marketing dollars are well-spent, here’s all you need to know about how to find and work with TikTok influencers. Spin class-wise, you’re on your own… we’re busy that day.

Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.

How does TikTok influencer marketing work?

TikTok influencer marketing is a type of social media advertising. A TikTok influencer is a creator who has a substantial and engaged following on TikTok. This can range from nano-influencers with less than 10,000 followers to mega-influencers with more than one million followers.

Influencer marketing occurs when a brand exchanges money, goods or services with a creator in exchange for promotion on the creator’s TikTok channel. Brands do this because an influencer influences (duh) their followers, and promotion on an influencer’s channel should lead to more sales for the brand.

Take this campaign from cosmetics brand Milk Makeup with TikTok beauty influencer Dasia Janae, for example.

@dajjrambo

Me and @milkmakeup Hydro Grip go togethaa real bad 🤞🏾💦 @sephora #GlowyMakeupRoutine #SephoraSquad #ad #MilkMakeupPartner

♬ Ooh La La – Jessica Jolia

The brand and influencer will generally make a deal—for example, posting a certain number of TikToks in exchange for a certain amount of money. Sometimes there’s affiliate marketing involved, too.

TikTok influencer marketing best practices

It’s time to make a plan. Here’s a guide to follow when getting started with influencer marketing.

Understand your audience

Who are you marketing to, anyway? Understanding the interests and needs of your audience is an essential first step to take if you want to set up successful influencer marketing campaigns.

To see who you’re reaching on TikTok, dive into your TikTok analytics (Hootsuite can help make sense of the numbers) and check out the gender and location breakdown of your audience. You can even see what time your followers are most likely to be online—take note so you can use a scheduling tool to post your TikToks at the best times.

Thinking of your audience as a homogenous group isn’t very useful when it comes to designing campaigns, though—try creating buyer personas to get a specific idea of a few imaginary individuals that could make up your target audience.

If your current TikTok following doesn’t quite match up with the audience you’re seeking to attract, consider rethinking your TikTok marketing strategy. Partnering with the perfect influencer should help… let’s move on to step two.

Find the right influencers

Bookmark this step. Print it out and frame it. Get it tattooed on your forehead (backwards, of course, so you can see it when you look in the mirror). Pinpointing the right influencer for your brand will make or break a marketing campaign, and it’s crucial that you do thorough research before agreeing to join forces. This is not Love Is Blind.

And you don’t need to blindly scroll to find the right candidates, either. There are agencies that specialize in connecting brands with creators (The Influence Agency, The Shelf, and Single Grain are a few) and influencer databases (like Brandwatch and Upfluence). Plus, you can search for influencers on TikTok’s creator marketplace, too.

@tiktokforbusiness

TikTok Creator Marketplace is the best way to discover creators for your next campaign. Within this tool, you’ll access features including: 💡 TikTok Creator Marketplace search: Find the perfect creator 💡 Open Application Campaigns: Let creators pitch ideas to you! 💡 Invite Links: Reach out to creators, not on TTCM Download our insights one-sheeter at the link in bio! #TikTokforBusiness #TikTokCreative #TikTokTips #CreatorMarketing #CampaignPlanning

♬ original sound – TikTok for Business

The more followers and reach an influencer has, the more money they’ll charge to create content—but if you have a smaller marketing budget, you can still collaborate with nano- and micro-influencers. In fact, partnering strategically with a few nano-influencers can make a significant difference in your brand’s reach.

It’s not all about the follower count—pay attention to the influencer’s engagement rate to make sure that their audience is genuinely connecting with them.

Set goals

This step can be done even before you start reaching out to influencers. Brainstorm specific goals you’d like to reach with your campaign—are you trying to gain a certain number of followers? Make a certain number of sales? Maybe you’re gearing up for a product launch and want a ton of TikTok users to sign up for a giveaway.

Not all of your goals need to be quantitative, either. For example, making meaningful connections with the influencer’s followers or even establishing a positive relationship with the influencer themselves should be obvious goals.

Be clear on expectations

Transparency and clarity is important when it comes to any business agreement, and especially important when it comes to the ever-changing social media landscape. Setting explicit expectations and coming to a clear agreement with a content creator will help to make sure that neither party is disappointed in the end result.

It may help to find examples from other campaigns from brands or influencers you love (hey, later in this blog post, we do just that) to give the creator an idea of what you’re expecting.

Be direct about what you’re offering (money, products, etc) in exchange for the campaign, and ensure you understand what sort of content the creator will produce. Do you expect the creator to deliver metrics that show how well the campaign performs? Let them know. If you want to see and approve the content before it goes live, be clear about that process, too.

Collaborate with the influencer to create the content

Remember that creators are creative, and that partnering with an influencer means they still have control over their own content. If you just want someone to read off a script, you’re better off making an ad.

You can provide the influencer with general guidelines, but remember that they have a brand image, too, and their followers love them because of the content they usually post. The creator’s personality is an asset to your business, and the campaign should celebrate the influencer’s brand as much as your own.

Track your success

The work isn’t done when the campaign goes live. Now’s the time to pull up those TikTok analytics, measure your website traffic and see what impact the influencer marketing actually had on your businesses. You may want to create a report to demonstrate the campaign’s success.

Like many things in the social media universe, TikTok influencer marketing isn’t an exact science (maybe the algorithm is doing you dirty—here’s how to hack it). Figure out what worked and what didn’t, and use what you’ve learned to make your next partnership even better.

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10 top TikTok influencers of 2024

Unless you’ve got that Coca-Cola money (Pepsi money is also okay), you probably won’t be partnering with the most-followed influencers on the planet—but you can learn from them and the brands they work with.

You may not see these influencers on your FYP very often (that’s because TikTok’s algorithm shows you videos it thinks you’ll like, and your specific interests may not align with their niche—after all, you’re unique and special and not like other users), but they’re still on top when it comes to follower count, and their strategies set a standard for modern influencer marketing.

1. Khabane Lame (@khaby.lame)

This Italian creator’s funny hot takes have rocketed him to stardom on TikTok. His lighthearted comedic edits and reaction videos have amassed him 161.4 million followers (pretty impressive considering he almost never speaks… but facial expressions are universal, which probably helps with his global appeal in any language). Sprinkled throughout his classic comedy TikToks are marketing partnerships with big brands, like this one with Pepsi.

@khaby.lame

My first Super Bowl & my first time in Las Vegas #pepsipartner . Can’t wait to come back. Big thanks to Pepsi!

♬ suono originale – Khabane lame

2. Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio)

Charli D’Amelio is probably the most iconic Gen Z influencer in North America (look for her sister later on this list too). The now 19-year-old first gained traction on the social media platform by posting dance videos, and her TikTok account is now made up of lip syncs to trending sounds, glam videos from a-list events and photo dumps. She has 152 million followers, a huge potential audience for her brand partners like Be Happy Snacks.

@charlidamelio

happy national popcorn day to all @Be Happy Snacks go to walmart to celebrate :)

♬ original sound – charli d’amelio

3. Bella Poarch (@bellapoarch)

Continuing this streak of Gen Z TikTok stars is Bella Poarch, who has 93.9 million followers. She’s held the title of the most-liked TikTok of all time for several years (over 64 million on her “M to the B” video) but she’s diversified significantly beyond face-wriggling now. Her content ranges from lip syncs to promotions for her music to brand collabs with skincare, fashion and lifestyle brands: here’s one with Vans.

4. Addison Rae (@addisonre)

This creator also found fame in dance videos on TikTok. Nowadays, her 88.6 million followers are on board for behind-the-scenes content from the music and movies she’s making, slice-of-life videos and beauty- and fashion-related vlogs—for example, this collab with Ilia Beauty.

@addisonre

My perfect everyday makeup routine🥛🍓 @ILIA Beauty #iliapartner

♬ original sound – Addison Rae

5. Zach King (@zachking)

Zach King has the most-viewed TikTok of all time (2.3 billion likes for Gryffindor!) and has amassed 81.2 million followers. His channel is full of special effects, mind-boggling stunts and other magical content, as well as collaborations with companies like Royal Caribbean and Netflix.

@zachking

Trying to channel #AvatarTheLastAirbender … still needs some work 🤦‍♂️ @Avatar: The Last Airbender #NetflixPartner

♬ original sound – Zach King

6. Dixie D’Amelio

Right behind sister Charli is Dixie D’Amelio, another dancing queen. She has 56.4 million users following her business ventures (she and Charli launched D’Amelio footwear in 2023), photoshoots and many brand collabs. Here’s a campaign she did with Takis that really leans into her legendary older sister status.

@dixiedamelio

 roll with the og 🔥 @Takis #takis 

♬ original sound – dixie

7. Spencer Polanco Knight (@spencerx)

This creator earned his 54.8 million followers through what he calls “mouth music”—his impressive beatboxing videos range from tributes to famous musicians to alien-inspired beats to gaming-related content. On the gaming side, there’s been plenty of opportunity for marketing collabs, too, like this one with Call of Duty.

@spencerx

#CallofDuty Sound Effects Expectations vs Reality 🗣️🪖#CODPartner Amazing things happening at #CODNext check it out 👀 #GamingOnTikTok #MW3 #GamingSkills

♬ original sound – Spencer X

8. Michael Le (@justmaiko)

The gals aren’t the only ones dancing on TikTok: creator Micheal Le’s smooth moves have earned him 57.1 million followers. He also does partnerships with brands like PUBG Mobile.

@justmaiko

#ad The UGC MODE in PUBG MOBILE’s WORLD OF WONDER is nearing its first anniversary, offering exciting activities such as hide and seek, blade ball, and parkour. They also have a new Virtual Projection Device, that enables character to dance at parties! 👀🔥Try it out for yourself @PUBG MOBILE #PUBGMOBILE #PUBGMWOW #PUBGMCREATIVE #DANCEINWOW

♬ Mach 5000 Megamix (Bonus Track) – Beasts On Wax

9. Hiroaki Nakabayashi (@bayashi.tiktok)

Hope you’re hungry. 54.2 million users follow Japan native Hiroaki Nakabayashi’s outlandish cooking videos for the mouthwatering visuals and satisfying ASMR. His collaborations are appropriately food-related, like this one with Coca-Cola.

10. Loren Gray (@lorengray)

Loren Gray was the most-followed person on TikTok in the 2019-2020 era and today remains at the very top of the social network’s most popular creators (she has 53.9 million followers). Now, most of her content is made up of funny relatable videos—hey, who hasn’t pooped their pants as an adult—or videos related to her music career. Brands that she has collaborated with lately include Veyes Beauty and Tamagotchi.

@lorengray

literally addicted to my Tamagotchi Uni 💫 this is the first @Tamagotchi device to have the Tamaverse! my character can go shopping, travel, and more! i get to raise a unitama that’s one-of-a-kind with different personalities and various accessories. get yours at @target and @Amazon ! #TamagotchiUni

♬ original sound – Loren Gray

Oh, and don’t forget the super weird yet successful TikTok campaign with State Farm mentioned later in this blog post. Keep scrolling.

5 examples of successful TikTok influencer marketing campaigns

What does great influencer marketing look like? Instead of telling you, we’ll show you (much like Alix Earle does with mascara).

L’Oreal’s partnership with Alix Earle

Creator Alix Earle has a lot of beauty-related videos on her channel, and many of them are partnerships with L’Oreal. The TikTok below has over 7 million views, almost 200,000 likes and hundreds of comments—including comments like “Now THIS is how you do a mascara ad” and “The transformation is crazy it looks so good.”

@alixearle

I’ve been getting so many questions about this new mascara I’ve been using #lorealparispartner #panoramamascara #lorealparismakeup

♬ original sound – Alix Earle

Why this works:

  • The video clearly demonstrates the quality of the product—show, don’t tell
  • It starts with a hook (“I never switch out my mascara, but…”)
  • The influencer replies to comments asking about the mascara, continuing to engage with followers in conversations that promote the product

Poppi’s partnership with Emily Mariko

This fridge restock video by Emily Mariko heavily features the soda brand Poppi. With hashtags #PoppiPartner and #SodasBack, all signs point to influencer marketing. The video has 24 million views, over 300,000 likes and thousands of comments.

What’s great about this campaign is it doesn’t really feel like marketing. This looks and feels just like every other video the creator makes, it just happens to feature a specific product.

Why this works:

  • The video clearly shows the product—the brand is front and center
  • The type of content still fits with the influencer’s regular ASMR-style restocking videos
  • It’s satisfying to watch, if not particularly practical (who has an entire shelf of soda in their fridge?)

T-Mobile’s #TMobilepaidmeforthis campaigns

While some brands try to be sneaky with influencer marketing, T-Mobile is taking a different approach with their partnerships labeled #TMobilepaidmeforthis. It’s a literal and transparent disclosure of the deal that the brand has made with the creators. Here are a few examples, from Gen Z influencers to senior TikTokkers.

@annaxsitar

the self care staycation is finally here, thanks to @T-Mobile Magenta Status ✨💛 #TMobilePaidMeForThis

♬ Hold It on to You – Muspace
@grandma_droniak

i got a boyfriend! i just gave him his first gift thanks to @T-Mobile #TMobilePaidMeForThis

♬ original sound – grandma_droniak

Why this works:

  • The content is conspicuously labeled as paid, so the campaign feels transparent and authentic
  • In most of these videos, the branding isn’t super in-your-face (the brand name is mentioned but not dwelled on too much)
  • The content feels true to each individual creator; there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach and each influencer’s video feels true to them

Get Your Guide’s partnership with Joe Ando Hirsh

This Titanic-referencing video is a collaboration between creator Joe Ando Hirsh and Get Your Guide, a tourism company. It’s a humorous take on marketing that involves creator Niamh Adkins, too.

@joeando

we’re boatroverts ⛵️@GetYourGuide has over 100,000 curated things to do in 150+ countries – go make memories! #getyourguidepartner

♬ original sound – Joe

Why this works:

  • The video is geared towards a niche market—introverts—that uses TikTok heavily
  • It’s not too serious (see: off-key DIY background singing)
  • Two influencers are better than one; this video promotes the brand to the audiences of both creators

State Farm’s theme song collab with Loren Gray

Okay, this one’s a big swing… but it appears to be landing. State Farm took influencer collaboration to the extreme in releasing this “theme song” with Loren Gray (who you’ll recognize from the aforementioned list of the world’s most-followed influencers).

@lorengray

here it is! the theme song for #AgentStateFarm #ad 🎬 @Arnold @Jake from State Farm

♬ I’m the One (Theme Song from Agent State Farm) – Loren Gray

Is it odd for a very stylish Gen Z creator with millions of followers to be singing for an insurance company? Yes, but the reception has been quite positive (comments include “Ngl this sounds good” and “this goes hard” and “okay state farm pop princess”).

Oh, and there’s a dance challenge involving a ton of other popular creators, too.

@lorengray

these are so cool! 💃🏼#AgentStateFarm #ad do this dance and tag me! dc: @jaedengomezz

♬ I’m the One (Theme Song from Agent State Farm) – Loren Gray

Why this works:

  • State Farm really invested in this collaboration; it’s clear there was a lot of time and money put in to the campaign
  • The dance challenge further promotes the brand and generates even more buzz around the song
  • The song is… actually quite good? We think?

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By Alyssa Hirose

Alyssa Hirose is a magazine editor, playwright, comedian and comic artist based in Vancouver, B.C. She attributes her great sense of humour to 9 years of braces and good ol' elementary school bullying (unrelated, unfortunately).

Read more by Alyssa Hirose

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