Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay. The app, which started as a short-form video sharing platform in China last 2016, has quickly evolved into a worldwide success. As of 2020, TikTok has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times and counting.
While the app has a generally younger market — the Gen Z social media users — that isn’t exactly a bad thing. Marketers know that catering to a younger audience is key to achieving long-term success. Plus, the high potential of virality of TikTok videos is a goldmine for businesses.
To succeed on TikTok, however, is nothing like other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Posting aesthetically pleasing content is not enough to grab your audience’s attention. TikTok is all about using the correct lingo, catching or starting trends, and of course, the TikTok memes in 2023.
Marketing on TikTok
TikTok is a social media platform where users and brands alike are encouraged to have fun. Compare the content on TikTok vs. Instagram and you’ll notice that Instagram content tends to be more polished. Marketing on TikTok isn’t simply launching ads; it’s about making impressions and connecting to your audience.
But — no matter how foreign TikTok Marketing may seem — it still deploys the basics of marketing on social media: paid ads, influencer marketing, and organic content.
TikTok’s launched its beta advertising platform just last 2019 and big brands quickly came streaming in. To start running ads, you’ll need to visit the TikTok ads homepage and tap on “Create Now”
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/business/en
Once you’ve successfully created an account, you’ll get access to your ads dashboard where you can start creating ads. There are three campaign objectives on TikTok:
- Traffic – Get more people to visit your page
- Conversions – Get more people to buy your product
- App Install – Get more people to download your app
Similar to Facebook’s ads manager, you can also choose to run a campaign with placements in other related apps. Alternatively, you can limit your ads to TikTok.
Targeting on TikTok is pretty straightforward, all you have to do is specify your audience’s age range, gender, location, language, and more. One interesting aspect of TikTok’s ads tool is the section for keywords that allows you to specify up to 20 terms to help you reach the right audience. This is extremely helpful if you’re trying to find new customers for your eCommerce store. Maximize your use of the 20 terms to target the right customers.
Influencer marketing on TikTok works just the way it does on other video hosting platforms like Youtube and Facebook. The key is choosing the influencer with the right audience and the type of content that would fit your brand.
The beauty of influencer marketing is that the bulk of the work would come from the influencer. After all, they already know what their audience likes. Sometimes, all you need to get your product out there is for it to be seen being worn/used by a popular personality.
TikTok has a ton of niches that cater to different interests and industries. Fashion items, in particular, have achieved viral success thanks to the hundreds of thousands of try-on and versatile styling videos.
However, if you are going to use influencer marketing, make sure your website is strong enough. For instance, if you are running an ecommerce store, you should consider getting reliable hosting, such as Cloudways eCommerce web hosting.
TikTok may just be the platform where organic growth is still highly possible. Compared to the algorithms of Youtube, Facebook or Instagram, which feeds users with content from accounts they already follow and interact with, TikTok’s is completely different.
TikTok delivers content to its users based on different factors such as interests they’ve indicated when they first signed up, videos they’ve viewed and interacted with in the past (just look at your TikTok history to see how effective the algorithm is at finding content you like), and other details like captions, audio, and hashtags.
If you’ve doubted the value of organic posting on other social media platforms, TikTok is the platform that will erase all your doubts. Take time to create branded content on your profile that’s educational, on-trend, and entertaining.
A Brief History of Memes
Memes have a surprisingly scientific origin, with the term first coined by a British biologist, Richard Dawkins. The biologist used the term to describe “selfish” genes or genes that reproduce on their own terms. Memes are thought to carry information, evolve, mutate, and be transmitted from one person to another.
While the way we understand memes today is completely different, one thing that remains the same from its original definition is the way it evolves and mutates as it spreads from one person to another.
Image source: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/distracted-boyfriend
The distracted boyfriend meme is quite possibly one of the most popular memes in the history of the internet. It began as an unassuming stock photograph until social media users started using it as a meme back in 2017 to demonstrate different forms of disloyalty.
To date, there are possibly millions of variations of the distracted boyfriend meme. And despite its ripe old age of about 4 years ( that’s pretty ancient in internet terms) people are still using it daily.
Face it, it’s quite difficult to create an ad that’s not automatically skipped or ignored by your social media audience. People aren’t on TikTok to be sold to, they want to be entertained. So, if you don’t add that entertainment value and go straight to selling, you can be certain that your content won’t perform well.
Meme marketing is the technique of using existing memes to package branded content and disseminating it on social media,
Now that we’ve covered the basic forms of marketing on TikTok, it’s time to discuss memes. Why are memes so popular today? And more particularly on TikTok?
- It’s Already Familiar
Viral memes are hard to miss, once they start trending — they’re everywhere. And this is a good thing! If you’re able to successfully hijack the trend and apply the meme to your brand at the peak of meme popularity, people will take notice.
The beauty of meme marketing is that you’re already provided with a template, all you have to do is fill in the blanks to make it your own.
- It’s Shareable
If done correctly, memes can be hilarious. If your memes aren’t shareable you’re doing it wrong. The best memes out there are screenshotted and sent to friends, shared on different social media platforms (yes, TikTok memes could find their way on Instagram and other channels!).
- It Keeps You Relevant
There’s no better way to show the world that you’re young and hip than through memes. Trending memes are often related to current events that your general audience would be familiar with. Sharing memes is a simple and effortless way to stay fresh and updated.
- It Makes You Relatable
Memes are so popular because they’re relatable, people share them because it’s something they personally experience. Using memes removes the barrier between brand and customer, presenting a more human side.
Unlike your usual polished content and ads, memes can help build a community around your brand and give your customers a sense of belonging.
Using Memes on TikTok
TikTok is all about trends, and memes are one of them. Once a meme goes viral, thousands of content creators and brands are expected to come up with their own versions.
We’ve listed some meme marketing techniques on TikTok and examples of businesses that are doing it right.
Engage with Relevant Content
Social media marketing isn’t all about creating the posts yourself. One of the most important aspects of meme marketing is being able to respond — fast.
It’s simple. If you can’t whip up a creative material just yet, the simplest way to respond is by leaving a comment.
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/@h1t1?
One of the most popular branded TikTok memes that went viral is the Someone Just Sold Me an Arby’s Menu meme by user John Casterline (h1t1). The video showed the TikToker with a television behind him that featured the Arby’s menu. In less than a week, the video received over 15 million views, millions of reactions, and over 40,000 comments.
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/@h1t1?
As a response, Arby’s left a cheeky comment. The video became so popular that other users created their own versions.
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/@arbys
The original poster continued to interact with the official Arby’s account, while the US fast-food chain used TikTok’s “duet” feature as an additional response to the viral post. Arby’s took it even further by creating a new menu item called the “$5 Missing Menu Meal” that was available for a limited time.
Learning from Arby’s TikTok meme success, using memes to build your brand on Tiktok doesn’t only include directly posting memes yourself, it also means being on the lookout for brand mentions. Arby’s social media team came across the post at midnight and quickly came up with a witty response via the comments section.
Keep your meme momentum going by creating follow-up content. TikTok is all about storytelling, keep your customers hooked on the story by expanding the narrative with more content. Once you’ve reached viral status, you can take your meme marketing beyond the platform to your other owned channels.
Get Your Employees to Participate
Nobody can predict what will become a meme on the internet. One of the most talked-about brand memes on TikTok was an unassuming video of Nathan Apadoca (420doggface208) who was longboarding to work while sipping a bottle of Ocean Spray’s Cran-Rasberry and lip syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s song, Dreams.
The video wasn’t one of those paid branded partnerships with content creators and that’s what made it so popular. As a result, the over 90-year-old brand got an instant refresh and a whole new audience. Ocean Spray also took the opportunity for some PR by gifting Apadoca with a brand-new truck and a huge supply of Cran-Rasberry.
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/@tomhayes603?
Tom Hayes, CEO of Ocean Spray, caught up with his version of the wholesome video. The video, which was the first video he posted on his account, has over 3.8 million views to date.
Getting your employees or other people behind the brand to jump in on the conversation is a great strategy to allow your audience to get to know you better. It also humanizes your brand and is a good break from the usual paid partnership with celebrities.
Leverage User-Generated Content
After noticing the number of times the brand was mentioned on TikTok, Chipotle decided to take advantage of the platform’s format and let its customers do most of the content for them.
One of the chain’s most notable TikTok campaigns was the #GuacDance challenge which invited users to dance to the avocado-themed meme song to celebrate Guacamole day. The campaign was a huge success, garnering over 250,000 submissions and translating into in-store visits with over 800,000 sides of free guacamole served.
Image source: https://www.tiktok.com/@chipotle?
Scroll through Chipotle’s TikTok profile today, and you’ll notice that most of the content on its feed was created by partner content creators. The restaurant group even launched a “Creator Class” for TikTok creators to help them brainstorm and strategize for the future of the brand.
Keeping track of trends on TikTok is a 24/7 job, if you can’t keep up on your own, it’s a good idea to partner with a team of experts who are in the know and can produce the content for you.
Chipotle’s “Creator Class” is strategic because it takes away the transactional partnership between brands and influencers. Instead, it’s a regular collaboration that’s rewarding for both parties.
Get Your TikTok Meme On in 2023
Humour is universal, and memes definitely deliver the humour. In a platform like TikTok where users are looking to be entertained, you need to hop on the meme train to succeed in any kind of business. Since TikTok memes are often attached to current trends and pop culture, adding your voice to the conversation will make your brand appear young and relatable.
In a platform where engagement is everything, TikTok memes will get you the response you need, especially when you also know the best time to post for your audience. The best thing is that responses don’t end in comments or likes, once you capture your audience’s attention, you may get free content out of it too.
Remember: Don’t lose your brand voice when posting and sharing memes. Always stay on-brand!