From hashtag challenges to "flip the switch" dances, there are several ways for your brand to genuinely join in on the TikTok craze.
With numbers like that, it’s time to jump in— especially if your brand wants to reach younger audiences, as 69% of TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old.
Not sure how to get started? We’ve got 9 ideas for awesome TikTok content below.
Bonus: Want to know how a viral social video creator makes millions of dollars in sales? Download the free guide now.
9 Ideas for Engaging TikTok Videos
1. Create a branded hashtag challenge
As with other social platforms, hashtags are a mainstay on TikTok for searching and sorting content. But hashtag challenges are especially popular on the platform.
Challenges use specific hashtags to encourage users to create videos on a theme, as part of a campaign or viral trend. If TikTok had existed in 2015, you would have seen a lot of videos tagged with #IceBucketChallenge.
A number of companies have used branded hashtag challenges to great effect, but the reigning champion is Chipotle. They use National Avocado Day (also known as July 31, 2019) to launch the #GuacDance hashtag challenge on TikTok.
Avocado lovers were challenged to share a dance inspired by their favorite topping, using the Guacamole Song from children’s entertainer Dr. Jean, tagged with #GuacDance. Simple enough, right? It resulted in a mind-blowing 250,000 submissions, proving that the love of guac is universal.
During the six-day campaign, Chiptole also saw a record-breaking 430 million video starts with the hashtag #GuacDance. It translated into real sales too: Chipotle served more than 800,000 sides of guacamole on a single day, as a result of the challenge.
A few things you can learn from the #GuacDance success:
- Make it easy. The Guacamole Song is an earworm, and her original dance is simple and silly. No serious dance skills required.
- Make it fun. What do people love best about your brand? A challenge that celebrates your most beloved products, qualities or promotions is likeliest to succeed. Customer research and insights can help here.
- Have a goal in mind. Are you trying to drive orders, like Chipotle? Raise brand awareness? Be clear on what you want to achieve so you can measure your impact.
2. Share an educational video
You may think that TikTok is just for goofy, irreverent content. But it’s actually an amazing platform for sharing informative content in an approachable, easy-to-digest format.
Some doctors have built huge audiences by making videos about timely topics like coronavirus and vaping. Dr. Danielle Jones, aka MamaDoctorJones, has racked up more than six million views with her videos about sexual health, pregnancy and periods.
For doctors like Jones, TikTok is the perfect place to reach teens and young adults who need this information, and may not have their own trusted health providers to talk to.
Socially-minded businesses have an opportunity to get their messages across. Misinformation is rife on social media, and it’s important to counter it by being in the conversations.
3. Partner with an influencer
Working with a creator on TikTok gives you an opportunity to connect with their audience and benefit from their creativity and unique style.
For example, Mucinex (yes, the stuff you take when you have a cold!) partnered with influencers on a #TooSickToBeSick campaign. The campaign, which ran in late October, promoted the message that a seasonal illness shouldn’t ruin your Halloween fun (though now we would definitely say “Stay Home” instead).
@dreaknowsbestDon’t let a cold limit your fun this holidays! I am ##TooSickToBeSick ????♀️ ##Mucinex ##Sponsored♬ #TooSickToBeSick – Join The Challenge
Each video included the hashtag, as well as a #Sponsored tag to denote that they were part of an influencer marketing campaign.
There are a few ways to partner with influencers on TikTok, including:
- Account takeovers. Allow a TikTok creator to post content directly from your account. Typically takeovers will be cross-promoted on both your account and the influencer’s.
- Hashtag challenge: Partner with influencers to promote your brand’s hashtag challenge to their audience.
- Endorsements. Get influencers to promote your brand or product on their own channel, as part of a campaign (like Mucinex) or a product review.
Here are a few tips for working with influencers on TikTok
- Find the perfect match. Don’t just partner with the biggest influencer who you can find. Make sure you’re working with someone whose values and audience aligns with yours. Do your homework to ensure they’re a good fit, and build a foundation of trust and respect.
- Be authentic. An influencer is valuable because they have a genuine voice that their audience loves and respects. To be an effective partner, you need to let them have creative freedom in the content they create for or with your brand. Come up with a game plan together, but don’t be too controlling.
- Measure impact. As with every aspect of your social strategy, it’s essential to have a goal in mind. Track the outcome of your influencer partnership, whether that’s sales, audience growth or campaign participation, to measure your success.
4. Celebrate special occasions
TikTok marked International Womens’ Day (March 8) with the hashtag #SheCanDoIt to celebrate female creators.
The occasion was a springboard for accounts focused on women’s rights and history to get a turn in the spotlight, like Herstory Talking, which honors notable women from past eras:
@herstorytalkWoman of the Day: Zelda Fitzgerald ##shecandoit ##womenshistorymonth ##history ##shecan ##fyp ##foryoupage ##respectwomen ##didyouknow ##facts ##funfacts♬ original sound – herstorytalk
UN Women, a global nonprofit for women’s rights, also leveraged International Women’s Day to got more than 400K views on their #GenerationEquality campaign.
@unwomenOn 8 March, International Women’s Day, join us in speaking out & standing up for women’s rights. ##GenerationEquality starts now! ##SheCanDoIt ##IWD2020♬ original sound – unwomen
TikTok users aren’t seeking out serious videos about gender equality every day. But on International Women’s Day, UN Women and Herstory Talking had the perfect opportunity to share important, timely content.
Every brand should keep track of upcoming events and holidays, especially those with particular relevance to their products and brand story.
Your social media content calendar can help you plan for those occasions so you never miss an opportunity to capture audience interest.
5. Create a tutorial
When I was a teen, my makeup skills were limited to applying mascara and Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. But today’s teens are capable of serious capital-l Looks, thanks in large part to the proliferation of beauty tutorials on social media.
@fentybeautyIssa contour ##makeuphack with @priscillaono with SUN STALK’R BRONZER and PRO FILT’R SETTING POWDER! ##tutorial♬ original sound – priscillaono
But it’s not just beauty. Tutorials of all varieties play well on social media. Everyone wants to learn something new, especially if you can break it down into 60 seconds or less.
Quick cooking tutorials are also popular on TikTok. Often, creators cross-promote their YouTube channel where they offer recipes in more depth and detail.
Fitness is another subject that’s huge on TikTok, with a ton of workout tips and ideas from creators.
@kikifitness10 MIN ABS LETS GOOO???? ##abworkout ##abwork ##sixpackabs ##fitnessgirl ##fitnesstip ##fypp ##toronto♬ Lose Control – Meduza & Becky Hill & Goodboys
Whatever your brand does or makes, find a way to bring it to life with a TikTok tutorial. Styling tips, product demos… the opportunities are endless. Dive in!
@sheertex##styletips with Sheertex–layering for a frosty winter ???? ##checkthisout ##tiktokfashion ##whattowear ##gotolook ##style ##tutorial ##4u ##foryou ##fyp ##4yp♬ Evil Spider – BENEE
6. Cover current events
Many viral trends live and die on TikTok alone. But the outside world has an influence too— pop culture and major news infiltrate the platform, where they take on a new life.
The Washington Post (yes, the venerated newspaper) is particularly good at turning topical events into TiKTok videos. After all, current events are their brand. By finding ways to transform those topics into engaging video content, they’ve racked up more than 390,000 TikTok followers.
Viewers of the bizarro Netflix series Love Is Blind will appreciate their nod to the show in this video about their love of… subscribers.
@washingtonpostWe really love our readers ##newspaper ##paywall♬ original sound – washingtonpost
But they’ve also tackled the coronavirus epidemic with videos about hand hygiene and self-quarantine. Serious topics are delicate, as your funny video may veer into insensitivity or poor taste. But the Washington Post demonstrates that it’s possible to achieve a balance of humor and information.
@washingtonpostTo help combat coronavirus, don’t shake hands. ##CoronavirusHandshake ##ElbowBump ##ParentTrap♬ original sound – sherrihillofficial
7. Join a viral craze (or create your own)
Once it hits critical mass, it enters the mainstream consciousness— like when SNL’s Kate McKinnon and Elizabeth Warren did the Flip the Switch challenge.
@nbcsnl???????????????????????????? ???????????? ????????????????????????.♬ Nonstop – Drake
Dance challenges are themed around a particular track, a particular sequence of moves, or both. Flip the Switch is an example of the latter, featuring the titular Drake song and two people switching places in front of a mirror.
Some brands may be worried that participating in a dance craze will make them look like the Steve Buscemi meme:
The trick is to be genuine. If you’re not enjoying yourself, the video will feel stiff and fall flat with viewers.
Embrace the silliness and have fun with your dance challenge. That way, even if you don’t go viral, you’ll still have a good time with your team.
8. Create a branded filter
As with Instagram and Snapchat, creators can add lenses and AR filters to their videos to create special effects.
Brands can take advantage of this feature by uploading custom filters. For example, NY Fashion Week (which invited a number of TikTok creators to its 2020 shows) created a special photo booth filter to accompany the events.
Creating effects and filters requires design expertise on the part of your team, so it may only be worthwhile for a major event or occasion. But when done well, filters can boost brand awareness and grow your audience, as well as generate a ton of on-brand content from your followers and fans.
9. Run a contest
Uniqlo launched the first multi-market campaign on TikTok in June 2019, asking participants to create videos of themselves wearing their favorite Uniqlo pieces with the hashtag #UTPlayYourWorld.
The contest was open to creators from the US, France, Japan and Taiwan, and winning videos would play in select stores of the participating countries. The contest was a huge success, and the #UTPlayYourWorld hashtag has over 700 million views.
The contest tapped into the support of Uniqlo fans and promised them something that all TikTok creators want: a larger audience for their videos. It was a win-win and an example of how user-generated content can help your brand.
User-generated content (UGM) boosts your credibility and trust, especially when it comes from trusted creators. When you reuse it with permission, you build relationships and loyalty. And it saves you the time and cost of content production.
Here are some best practices for user-generated content.
10. Still stumped? There’s always old milk
We’re not recommending this strategy. But great content can come from truly unexpected places. If you take this gentleman up on his milk offer, let us know!
oh ……. my god pic.twitter.com/o42CIQC7Pp
— Rebecca Jennings (@rebexxxxa) March 6, 2020