It seems like overnight, TikTok went from a mildly popular app from overseas, to Gen Z’s favorite social media platform and a rising marketing platform.
Taking cues from its famous predecessors—Vine and musical.ly —TikTok offers unlimited engagement potential, allowing users to create and post short, looping videos set to either sound bites or music.
Since its launch in 2018, the app has become a powerful channel for creative storytelling and marketing opportunities.
Here are some of the top brands that have gone all-in and are currently leading the pack on TikTok marketing.
What better way to engage the next generation of basketball fans than by joining TikTok?
The NBA was one of TikTok’s earliest adopters and has consistently been putting out a high-quality TikTok marketing strategy from the get-go.
Unlike its Instagram channel, which concentrates mainly on games and highlights, the NBA’s TikTok account is where you can get your fix of comedy, memes, and motivation.
They’ll often share videos of players exercising against the backdrop of dramatic music, twirling around the basketball court, or team mascots busting their best moves.
With an arsenal of cute animal videos to choose from, TikTok is the perfect fit for the San Diego Zoo’s existing stack of content.
Entertainment is their ultimate goal here. That’s why they stay on-trend, often making use of puns, pop culture references, and hashtags, and incorporating them in their videos in a unique and funny way.
The San Diego Zoo is a prime example of a brand that was able to identify a fitting platform and fully embrace it. Ultimately, this is far more productive than spending valuable time using platforms that make it tougher to connect with your customer base.
It’s no secret that Elf Cosmetics has been thriving on TikTok. Elf even made history in 2019 as the first brand to commission an original song specifically for a TikTok campaign.
The song, called “Eyes Lips Face” after the brand’s acronym, was written and recorded by singer Holla FyeSixWun and Grammy-Award winning artist iLL Wayno.
By taking a risk and administering the help of a few influencers to kick off the campaign, Elf’s TikTok marketing strategy paid off, with the #eyeslipsface videos reaching at total of 5.2 billion views thus far.
Chipotle has carved out a space for itself within TikTok, catering to audiences who favor the goofier, more slapstick style of humor.
As the first major restaurant brand to market itself on the app, Chipotle has been staying true to its brand identity since day one.
They’re consistently serving up whimsical, quirky content for which the TikTok community has a seemingly boundless appetite.
For Halloween, they launched a #boorito campaign that garnered over four billion views on the platform. And who couldn’t love their bio—” Less Tok, More Guac.”
HP’s relationship with TikTok is still in its infancy. But so far, it’s going strong.
In the spring of 2019, HP launched a hashtag TikTok marketing campaign at Coachella called the #HPCoachellaDreamland challenge.
They enlisted the help of some already established TikTok influencers to assist in hyping up the challenge. The largest was OurFire, who has 5.7 million followers.
By the end, the #HPCoachellaDreamland challenge videos had over 181 million views.
Levi’s recently teamed up with TikTok to leverage their new “Shop Now” button option, which allows consumers to make purchases through links directly from the app.
Levi’s has reportedly seen higher engagement, with product views more than doubling for each product shown using TikTok’s “Shop Now” button.
To drive more traffic to its e-commerce site, Levi’s also partnered with noted TikTok influencers Callen Schaub, Cosette Rinab, Gabby Morrison, and Everett Williams, who used Levis’ laser-powered Future Finish 3-D denim customization technology to create their own tailor-made pair of denim jeans.
Sabra may make delicious hummus dip, but they also have a sizable social media presence. They don’t have a ton of followers on TikTok yet, but their content is unique and engaging.
The brand even featured TikTok star Charlie D’Amelio in its first-ever prime-time Super Bowl commercial earlier this year.
As a supplement to its Super Bowl strategy, Sabra also recruited other TikTok creators to promote their new #HowIHummus campaign, amplifying them via in-feed TikTok videos during Super Bowl Sunday.
Red Bull has been an innovator in creating quality digital content for decades so it should come as no surprise that they run one of the most successful brand pages on TikTok as well.
Their account has over 4.2 million followers, and videos accompanied with the #givesyouwings hashtag have been viewed nearly 420 million times.
Having set the benchmark for next-level viral videos, Red Bulls’ TikTok marketing approach is something all brands should be taking note of when mapping out their own content strategies.
National grocery store chain, Kroger, was the first brand to develop a Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign.
Launched in mid-2019, Hashtag Challenge Plus allowed brands to access a separate tab that featured an in-app experience in which people could buy products from the campaign within TikTok itself.
Kroger partnered with four major TikTok influencers for the campaign, including Joey Klaasen, Cosette Rinab, Mia Finney, and Victoria Bachlet.
Kroger’s #TransformUrDorm campaign urged users to post videos revealing their dorm room makeovers. The TikTok influencers’ uploads collectively racked up a staggering three million views, and the videos uploaded using the #TransformUrDorm hashtag have been viewed 875 million times.
After investing most of their time sharing educational content on Instagram, Gymshark decided to start targeting younger potential fitness enthusiasts on TikTok.
In early 2019, they created their 66 Days: Change Your Life challenge and partnered with six influencers who had higher followings on TikTok than Instagram.
The purpose of the challenge was to have users set a personal goal that they wanted to achieve after two months. The winner of the competition would go on to receive a year’s supply of Gymshark goods.
After two months, the campaign’s hashtag, #gymshark66, yielded 45.5 million views.
Barely two years old with more than 500 million active users, it’s safe to say that TikTok has become a force to be reckoned with. And as the newest contender to the social media arena, its golden age is just beginning.
Therefore, if you want to tap into the next generation of consumers, your brand needs to have a presence in the platform where they’re spending the most time.
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