7 Ways to Fail Using TikTok in Your Influencer Campaigns

One of the most famous commencement speeches ever delivered was delivered by comedic genius johnny carson. Carson’s speech on prescriptions for guaranteed misery in life was meant to be delivered as a reversal of the typical advice given to young people regarding a list of instructions for success. inspired by famed algebraist carl gustav jacob jacob to invert problems in order to determine a suitable solution, this is precisely how one can achieve success in creating a tiktok influencer campaign. by focusing on what will lead to a safe failure, we can use this as a mechanism to avoid it.

7 ways to fail using tiktok in your influencer campaigns:

1. don’t bother setting a goal for your campaign. hire all the influencers you can find!

One of the easiest ways to ensure the surefire failure of any marketing campaign is to follow the advice to “shoot! ready? Aim!” Without proper goal setting when approaching TikTok, it can be easy to hire hundreds, if not thousands, of hungry influencers who are excited to make money and make fun videos. Are they doing the right things? Are they doing the right things? Are you doing them in the right order? Without having a specific goal in mind, the campaign becomes more of a guess and a way to lose money than a recipe for success. Instead, consider following the smart methodology. As an example, consider a generic facial cosmetics company.

s – specific. the goal cannot be vague (for example, a specific goal could be $50,000 in new sales, directly attributable to tiktok).

m – measurable. right away, one could see the importance of measurability with tiktok. Ads are only directly clickable within a video, so how will you measure results: targeted coupon codes? a specific url?

a – actionable. Fortunately, this is a bit easier since the action is a sale. ‘a’ can also be seen as reachable. Using that version of the methodology, is the $50,000 in new sales realistic or just a hope?

r – relevant. Driving direct sales from a social marketing platform like TikTok is relevant to a direct-to-consumer facial cosmetics company. however, if cosmetics could only be purchased through a complicated process that requires a series of additional hurdles before purchase, similar to some b2b prospecting campaigns, then the objective would not be relevant.

t – timeline. over what period of time will the $50,000 in new sales directly attributable to tiktok be earned? a one-month goal is very different from a one-year goal. setting those smart goals will help the cosmetics company avoid the trap of not knowing why they are running a tiktok campaign in the first place.

2. there is no need to develop a buyer persona. everyone will want this product!

The fallacy of many first-time entrepreneurs is to assume that everyone is a potential buyer of their product. this optimism often leads to a lack of attention to the most likely buyers of the product. To combat this logical fallacy, it is often necessary to create what is known as buyer personas. doing so will help you get into the minds of the people most likely to make a purchase based on your tiktok campaign. For this example, let’s choose a more difficult product example: guitars. not just any guitar…high end guitars. ⦁ Do you have previous clients? The quickest way to understand buyers is by looking at your past sales – if you’re a newer brand, you may need to focus on your main competitors and their customers. in either scenario, some semblance of data is needed to get started. ⦁ Presumably if you have past customers or at least some data on who your competitors’ customers are, you have their email. By using a service like Clearbit, you can go through your social footprint, which becomes necessary to gain deeper insight into who your buyers really are. ⦁ now that you know the social presence, you can start to formulate psychological profiles. Who are your customers aspiring to be? who are your influences? Are they engaging with particular pieces of influential content on a regular basis, as seen in their likes and shares? ⦁ Can you draw any inferences about who their peers are? Here’s the magic: If you have decent psych profiles of your buyers in groups, you can use a tool like LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to try and find similar job titles and industries that can further enrich the data and show interesting connections. For example, are high-end guitar buyers all accountants for some strange reason? are they of a certain age? Are they professionals in their industry or just enthusiasts? Knowing who the potential buyers are will help the guitar company target everyone from influencers to keen buyers to would-be spreaders of their message, while avoiding demographics that don’t seem to be represented as buyers, at least on initial test round.

3. tiktok is all the rage right now. it will be perfect for my use case, right?

it is true that when a network is hot, attention tends to generate more attention. It’s also true that with the newer networks, an influencer with a rapidly growing audience may not know their worth, especially if this is their first time experiencing viral posts and overall social success. That being said, tiktok should not be used as the primary channel for each individual use case, as there may be much better network options out there.

The best way to evaluate this decision is to use a social channel utility matrix:

how would tiktok fit into a matrix like this?

  • Open Reach: Snapchat is a great example of a network that does not have open reach, as one must be a verified follower of the content. On the contrary, tiktok is like youtube where the created short form videos can be accessed by anyone. score than y.
  • visual: does tiktok support visual content? clearly it does. give her another y.
  • Casual: The casual quotient is often related to brand guidelines that require some use of language and adherence to the script. an example would include trying to reach b2b buyers on a complicated service on linkedin. Since tiktok’s primary demographic is younger, compared to the rest of the matrix, it’s the biggest y.
  • Professional: Similar to using casual content, this becomes a question of whether it feels normal to find professional content online. At the time of creating the matrix, Instagram and Pinterest received an N in our score, though both have matured over the years. currently tiktok would also get a n.
  • Detailed: Is it possible to post a complicated, long-form review of a product or service on tiktok? currently, the answer is no. That being said, depending on what happens with tiktok post m&a and the tech partners are aligned, longer form video may be the next evolution. would this matrix have any relation to the use of tiktok as brands of cosmetics or guitars in the above examples? probably not, unless the product details require a more detailed explanation of what was going on beyond a before and after video or duet.
  • Would this array have anything to do with the use of tiktok as brands of cosmetics or guitars in the examples above? probably not, unless the product specifications require a more detailed explanation of what was going on beyond a before and after video or duet.

    4. bigger must be better; hire the tiktok influencer with the largest audience and move on.

    Is bigger really better? one can only imagine how disastrous this strategy would be if it was not understood whether tiktok is the right channel to promote, to what audience and for what purpose.

    The next step is to determine the right influencer type for the campaign, which can be quickly determined using another matrix:

    Of the three types of influencers, which one best suits the needs of the campaign? If the goal is purely branding and the buyer personas are so numerous that the appeal is broad (such as a new flavor of snack food), then aspirational influencers with large audiences might be appropriate. however, in each of the guitar and cosmetic brand examples above, is this the case?

    For the cosmetics brand, a strong reach is desired to focus on sales. however, the most important demographic fit for buyers is likely to be peers, as the cosmetics niche caters to look and feel. if those pairs have a large audience, this is an advantage. Influencers have the innate ability to quickly and credibly inform their viewers about a product or service, driving sales. Emotional appeal is also a strong reason to use peer-level influencers, and buyers desperately want to acquire the emotional state of those who advertise the product as much as the product itself.

    for the guitar brand, since the product is a high-end guitar with a high price tag, content consumers should know that they can trust the opinion of the influencer, which leads many brands to favor one type authoritarian. Authorized influencers may not have the same reach as aspirational celebrity types, but they are more trustworthy, capable of reporting, and provide enough relevance.

    Having worked out the general types of influencers, a brand needs to be more granular as there is a lot of variation with tiktok influencers when it comes to their likelihood of influence. influence probability can be quickly distilled into:

    result = (reach * engagement * relevance) – cost.

    reach: This is easier to determine as tiktok will show the overall audience size each influencer has.

    Engagement: Every brand and influencer network seems to have a different method of calculating engagement. You’ll find several great articles here on the influencer marketing hub to help you choose the method that best aligns with how you might measure engagement. For simple purposes on tiktok, one can divide the overall views a post receives by the number of followers an influencer has. keep in mind that some posts are more evergreen and popular for long periods of time than others, so engagement is a moving target.

    relevance: By using the matrix of influencer types, relevance is better understood. however, for argument’s sake, consider the cosmetics company one more time. Is the cosmetics-focused tiktoker who is 20 years younger than their main buyer persona more relevant with their consistent reviews of all cosmetic products than a tiktoker who belongs to the perfect demographic who has never reviewed a cosmetic product on their channel ? you are assigning an adjustment percentage and it will absolutely be a guess (at least initially), however it will be a very educated guess.

    cost: some tiktokers are very open with their fees and others are not. The cost to consider here should also include all of your hidden costs, such as the cost of the product to you, shipping, and any other intangibles.

    Going through this exercise will help narrow down drastically, in rough order, which tiktok influencers are the best to hire based on simple math.

    5. You don’t need to test your presentation, just email everyone right away!

    There have been numerous sales books written on the art of pitching. interestingly, much of the material in those books has to do with pre-qualifying those releases. While some success can be achieved by directly reaching out to all of the influencers discovered in the previous steps, the failure rate of mass launching will be much higher.

    instead, embed a test culture and focus on providing only the best pitch, which means focusing on converting copies and proper value exchange.

    Brands should avoid submitting multi-page submissions with brochures, statistics pdfs and a brand guide. it’s too much!

    Since the hard work of determining who to contact has been done, now is the time to focus on reaching those people with a simple, clear, and desirable message. the time to exchange large amounts of brand information can always come later.

    when it comes to trading value, be exceptionally explicit. explain what you are willing to provide in exchange for very specific actions. the worst pitches we see tend to be vague and open, as well as long and out of focus.

    Finally, submit your initial releases in batches, so you can test them. if no one is opening your emails, then the subject should be changed. If influencers are opening the emails but no action is being taken, then you’ll need to focus on your message. if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to improve the field value being offered. if none of that works, are you really reaching out to the right tiktokers?

    6. tiktok is good enough by itself. why do anything else?

    The worst thing a brand can do when faced with a successful campaign is leave it alone and let it function in isolation. The social landscape is exceptionally rich and diverse, allowing savvy brand managers to make use of the ecosystem in a way that constantly expands the returns on their initial investment in influencers. If there are successful tiktok posts that meet the overall campaign goals, what else can a brand do? Co-opt: If a brand has permission to do so, why not transition the post as an embed on landing pages for social proof? on a blog offering a written transcript of the review, or compile it with similar reviews as a “love wall” or mega blog post? do the same, this is a low investment way to extend success. amplify: amplification can mean spreading a post on the same network, spreading eyeballs to that post on other networks like twitter and facebook, amplifying the post via tiktok ads, or a combination of all of these by reposting on another network channel, which are then advertised to similar audiences. ed retargeting campaign to improve the chances of conversion. email – the most ignored marketing channel pairs beautifully with tiktok. Since the tiktok campaign was determined to be doing well, there will be one or more excellent reviews. These reviews can then be compiled into an email drip campaign for potential buyers, inactive customers who once purchased, or used in conjunction with a valuable consumer rewards coupon. never let influencer content live in a vacuum; it can be used in a myriad of ways to extend its use.

    7. never look back. the campaign was probably good enough when it started.

    The only way to know if the tiktok campaign was a failure or a success is to compare the result with your original goal. Over the course of a campaign, weak targets may be exposed, biases may be challenged, and adjustments may need to be made. the only way to fully understand the result is to perform an autopsy. In order to properly perform an autopsy, the brand must commit to taking a lot of notes throughout the campaign process. relying on memory over the course of a month or more will result in the loss of details associated with how influencers responded to the release, the amounts and number you chose to trade, how much time was delayed between the release and the published review, as well as how many revisions were required.

    was the objective achieved?

    was the target of expected buyers achieved?

    was the traffic better or worse than expected? why?

    what was the conversion rate? did it differ depending on the influencer? why?

    There are a multitude of other data-driven questions that require data-driven answers that can only come from extensive note taking and data acquisition throughout the campaign. From those answers new ones can emerge, such as whether it is necessary to involve different roles to increase the success of the campaign in the future, if the process can be modified to: 1. do more 2. operate faster 3. operate at a lower cost . Additionally, you’ll need to consider whether the campaign should be expanded to multiple channels, or even removed entirely due to other non-TikTok campaigns outperforming. By fervently concentrating on the details of the campaign once the campaign is complete, and by letting go of the emotions that may arise from those successes or failures, a brand can set itself up for success rather than fall victim to failure.

    To avoid the seven ways to fail your next tiktok campaign, consider signing up for a free intellifluence demo.

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