American Marketer


How to use TikTok for influencer marketing campaigns

April 20, 2021

The number of adult U.S. TikTok users grew 5.5 times in the past 18 months. Image credit: Popcorn Growth The number of adult U.S. TikTok users grew 5.5 times in the past 18 months. Image credit: Popcorn Growth


By Sheryl Teo

TikTok burst onto the social media scene in August 2018. Less than two years later, the video-sharing app has seen more than 2 billion global downloads.

TikTok is a unique platform that demands a new approach from marketers hoping to capitalize on its massive audience.

Ironically, the brands struggling to master marketing on TikTok generally have found social media marketing success on platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

But just because a marketing strategy works on one platform does not mean it will translate to another. Specifically, repurposing your Instagram content for TikTok influencer campaigns would be a huge mistake.

How the TikTok algorithm works
Influencer marketing success on TikTok is all about the platform’s unique algorithm.

The For You page accounts for individual user preferences, with the algorithm considering each user’s in-app habits and then recommending content accordingly.

For example, the app might log that a user watches certain videos all the way through, indicating a strong preference for that kind of content.

The For You page serves content even when a user is brand new to the platform. His or her earliest likes and clicks will play a major role in generating the recommended content he or she sees.

Brands that establish an early rapport with users are unlocking potentially valuable relationships.

Sheryl Teo Sheryl Teo

To use TikTok to its full potential as an influencer marketing tool, make sure you are following these three rules when creating and sharing your influencer campaigns:

Track and analyze performance
The need for brands to track and understand the performance of influencer marketing campaigns might seem obvious, but this is not always the case.

Some agencies will give influencers a unique coupon code, but that only tracks the final conversions. Instead, offer each influencer a unique tracking link that monitors everything from the number of clicks generated to the number of free trial sign-ups to the number of eventual paying customers.

Rather than designating an entire campaign as pass/fail, do an in-depth analysis to see what worked well and what has room for improvement.

Continually learning from past experiences is the key to a long-term strategy and understanding how to use data in marketing.

Obtain a healthy sample size
Most campaign managers or agencies run a campaign with an average of five influencers and then deem it a success or a failure. Unfortunately, five is far from statistically significant — it does not show any meaningful, representative potential.

A five-day trip to Florida during a severe hurricane season might make you wonder why anyone lives there, but spending more than five days in the Sunshine State could tell a completely different story.

Do not give up on your TikTok marketing campaign until you have put in some time and worked with a sufficient number of influencers.

Optimize and reiterate
Using data in marketing is an ongoing process, and you should not expect to see immediate success.

Influencer marketing on TikTok demands discipline, and only a consistent approach to testing and analysis can yield the groundbreaking results that you want and need.

If you cannot dedicate the necessary time to your strategy, it is worth having a data-driven professional sift through your campaigns to choose what to nix and what to keep to help you scale toward success.

IT SOMETIMES feels like social media apps are a dime a dozen, but TikTok’s rise has outpaced the growth of its predecessors.

Consequently, the brands that master influencer marketing on TikTok today will set themselves up to master marketing in the days to come.

Sheryl Teo is founder of Popcorn Growth, an influencer marketing agency. Reach her at