It's easy (and pretty fun) to sit here and point out what doesn't work or what has failed for brand partnerships, a la Terry Crews doing a TikTok ad for Amazon while wearing a $30k watch or our CEO James Nord's thoughts on Khloé Kardashian and Febreze.
But instead of focusing on what not to do, the Fohr team put together a comprehensive guide that helps you understand what you could do on TikTok, how to strategize for your brand, and why TikTok is taking off.
Need five simple ideas for TikTok content to try? Look no further.
“Don't Make Ads, Make TikToks”
TikTok directly told brands to stop trying to make ads happen—they're not going to happen. According to TikTok, this invitation was to inspire brands to be more creative, more authentic, and to create content that truly speaks to people.
"For brands, the mantra 'Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks' was an invitation to be more creative, more authentic, and to create content that truly speaks to people.” - TikTok.
It's all good advice, but how can you start to implement it? At Fohr, one of our core beliefs is that influencer content needs to educate, inspire or entertain an audience. Here are five different types of TikTok content that we've seen trending and performing well, and we suggest you try:
1. Relatable Moments, Motivation, and ~Positive Vibes~
Globally an average of 31% of TikTok users included “lifting my spirits” as one of the top three reasons for returning to the TikTok platform again and again. - Nielsen
People come to TikTok for the good vibes, and these dopamine hits make them stay and engage for longer periods.
Happiness was the most common emotion triggered by viral TikTok videos: 58% were made in a way that inspired happiness over other emotions, according to SEMRush findings.
What type of content makes you want to share something with your friends? The kind that makes you feel seen and understood or stems from a universal truth (cue: 'this is so me.’)
Other examples in this category are content that evokes 'That feeling when' or describes 'when X happens.' If it has the audience nodding heads, agreeing, or 'getting hit in the feels,' you're heading in this direction. It's content that makes you smile, and you'd like to pass that along to brighten someone's day.
This content can be inspiring, motivational, or vulnerable. POV (Point of View) is often used in captions and on-video captions to put viewers in the creator's shoes, creating a more personal and relatable experience.
2. Thrifting Ideas, Life Hacks, and DIY Projects
Viewers love to see and learn about something they can take part in, try out, and in most cases, post about the shared experience.
If your product makes someone's life easier in any way or saves them time and energy, it works well in this category. The trends are easy enough to DIY and participate in. Examples are the easy, simple-step recipes like the salmon rice bowl or the viral baked feta pasta dish.
60% of people scrolling through TikTok solo search for new recipes or DIY projects. - TikTok Research.
This also includes the 'TikTok made me buy it' trend, as it piques curiosity, demonstrates novelty, or can be defined as an impulse buy you can't live without. Tangible and demonstrable products with a clear benefit to their customers work well here, for example, “easy ways to organize your kitchen." Get out there and get crafty!
3. Art, Fashion, and Beauty Transformations
This category is where transitions shine: the before and after effect. Think time-lapses of a baker icing a cake, perfecting detailed nail art, or transitioning from a fresh face to full makeup.
This oddly satisfying content reaches deep into our subconscious brain. To achieve this, show your product off as it's working in that instantly gratifying way.
TikTok's transitions and editing tools give creators a wide array of opportunities to demonstrate a product, tell a story, or emulate a feeling. Allow influencers' creativity to flourish (and their editing & transition skills tested). This type of content can easily blend with the life hack or teachable category. But while the previous category feels easy to take part in and 'try this at home,' this category is more about admiring the pros at work.
4. Knowledge Sharing, Helpful Tips, and Offering Advice
It's true; you can learn something new every day. From vets telling you how to care for your pets, facts about the universe, or interview and career advice—this is education as entertainment.
59% of people scrolling through TikTok solo aim to learn current events or new trends. - TikTok Research.
There are plenty of users out there giving solid advice on TikTok (you'll see many dubbed as CEO) whether they're an expert in the subject matter or not. Focus on adding value to someone's life by teaching or demonstrating how your product works, for example, '10 easy gardening tips for plant killers,' or 'what the chemicals in your skincare products actually do.'
5. Challenges, Humor, and Dance Trends
What makes your brand humorous or entertaining? Truthfully all posted on TikTok should be entertaining; otherwise, why would anyone watch? But this category is reserved for talent, trends, and challenges to try just for fun. Many musical artists, celebrities, comedians, dancers, and athletes fall into this category because their content is fun to watch, emulate, or recreate.
When with friends or family, 66% of TikTok viewers participate in a hashtag challenge, 65% participate in a trend/prank, 57% learn new dances. - TikTok Research.
This category is the challenge or IB (Inspired By) route that many find hard to get right—creativity is essential. The goal is to make a splash or a viral moment: picture the Twitter accounts for The Philadelphia Flyer's mascot, Gritty, Wendy's throwing shade, or John Mayer promoting his latest album through TikTok videos.
We see brands choose this route first, aiming for virality. However, it’s important to remember that virality is not a sustainable success metric. We dive deeper into TikTok strategy tactics in our comprehensive TikTok survival guide.
While these trends can come and go quickly, the possibilities are endless as there's always a new song, new dance, or new trending challenge popping up on the platform.
A new TikTok mantra
Instead of reminding yourself to “make TikToks, not ads,” now you have a new mantra to run through your head when creating TikTok content: Inspire, educate, and entertain your audience.
The platform is still so young and is rapidly changing. TikTok is an entire experimental universe, and there's something out there for everyone. There's a lot less fear involved once you start, and we're here to help guide you.
To talk with us about finding TikTok influencers, starting an ambassador campaign, or have us run your campaigns for you, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.