What marketers can learn from TikTok’s formula for success

May 2021 5 min read Written by Papirfly

In this article, you’ll learn…

  • What makes TikTok so successful
  • What marketers can learn from the platform
  • Actionable insights for your next campaign

TikTok has taken the social media scene by storm garnering 689 million users by 2021. Immediately after launching, it landed especially well with younger generations with quick-fire viral dance routines, lip-sync videos and challenges.

But if you think TikTok is just for teenagers, think again. Artists, celebrities, publishers, influencers and global brands are now capitalising on its potential.

The social platform might seem like it has a secret formula for creating overnight success, but in the words of TikTok themselves, the app is driven by a simple mantra to ‘Inspire Creativity and Bring Joy’. In this article, we unpack what that means and explain how it can be translated into five real-world marketing lessons.

#1 Content quality over production quality


TikTok creators embrace whatever filming conditions they are presented with on the day and generally don’t spend time and budget on professional sets and lighting. That’s because they know their audiences are more interested in seeing the content itself and are less concerned with its production value.


While a global brand might not want to put their name to anything that looks unprofessional, the lesson here is that it’s not the most important thing audiences care about. The kind of authenticity that comes with low budget production can even add a certain charm to your content.

Focus on the single idea that your brand needs to get across and bring it to life from there. Think of your idea as the foundation for your content, rather than prioritising what it looks like. This goes for videos with budgets big and small.

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#2 Make every second count


The perfect platform for short attention spans, TikTok keeps viewers coming back for more with bite-sized chunks of highly engaging content. With videos between 15 seconds and a minute in length, creating successful content for TikTok is an exercise in keeping things concise and getting to the point. This leaves no room to deviate from a subject or go off on long rambling stories. Done well, it’s quick, punchy and much more powerful.

The average consumer attention span is approximately 8 seconds (Microsoft)


The trick is to keep it simple. By making sure that your content follows a single, clear narrative from start to finish, your audience is more likely to remember the message you are trying to get across. This is easier said than done when the content you are creating isn’t confined to the time limits of TikTok, but it applies to almost any kind of marketing material that you are producing.

Avoid the temptation to cram in extra messaging just because you can. Time-poor audiences expect short-form content, and you have a much better chance of getting through to them with one clear message in comparison to many different points. Think of the old analogy of catching tennis balls. One or two at a time is easy enough but when you get a barrage of them you’re likely to drop them all.

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#3 Tell your audience something they don’t know


The most successful TikTok creators tend to stick to a specific niche and get creative within them. In fact, it’s arguably the most niche-driven content creation platform out there. When people tune into a particular creator, they are doing so to see content that’s focused on something very specific.


As you gain a following based on the type of content you’re creating, your audience will come to expect a certain amount of consistency. Being generic might seem like an effective way of reaching the most people but, in reality, it can make your content seem out of place or remove what initially attracted your hard-earned following.

Carving out a niche is a great way to ensure that your content is providing something useful. It should set the direction of everything you create and be driven by an in-depth understanding of the audiences you are trying to reach.

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#4 Be the first


TikTok’s ‘For You’ page is where many creators look to find ideas for their next post. However, the platform also lends itself well to trying out something different and has seen many irreverent, off-the-cuff videos become the next big trend.


Jumping on a trend can be hugely beneficial and has the potential to be the starting point of a string of successful content. However, your marketing strategy doesn’t have to become attached to what’s already been tried and tested.

Get inspired to create something original. Starting from scratch can sometimes be daunting, or just too time-consuming, so if you’re stuck for ideas, try looking at existing trends or content you’ve already created and adding to it in a new way.

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#5 Build a relationship with your audience


Part of the reason that TikTok has more than 2billiion total downloads is its capability to capture and show off the authenticity of users. No matter how many thousands of followers the platform’s top creators have earned, they still understand the value in throw-away content, often shot at home. In comparison to other social media platforms, there is a trend to focus on fun, relatable content in favour of showing off unattainable lifestyles at glamorous locations.


Your content may have the core purpose of driving sales, but that doesn’t mean there is no room to show your brand’s true personality in what you create. Authenticity drives credibility by instilling trust in audiences and resonating with them on a more personal level. 

To make a brand appear authentic, marketers need to create content that’s consistent with its identity and key values. Content that’s inconsistent can leave brand messaging open to different interpretations, lack clarity and lose the trust of its audience.


In summary:

  • Focus on the quality of your ideas, not just production value
  • Know when to keep it snappy and get to the point 
  • Create content that serves a purpose for your audience
  • Don’t be afraid to try something different
  • Let your brand’s true personality shine

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Find the formula for your next campaign

Of course, there is no definite formula for success. As TikTok proves in its billions of interactions, what’s in trend can change by the minute. So, if you’re going to have any chance of getting ahead, you need a marketing platform that allows you to create a steady stream of consistent content and react fast to changes in the market.

With a suite of asset creation features, BAM by Papirfly™ can help your teams do just that, and in a matter of minutes. Plus, you can ensure that everything they produce is on-brand by using bespoke templates.

Don’t miss another moment. Book your live demo today.

by Papirfly

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