Mixing TikTok & Business | How Your Brand Can Capitalize On Hashtag Trends 

August 19, 2022

TikTok is a special corner of the internet where brands can flex their creativity, let their personality shine, and engage with the social media community in an authentic way. While there is tremendous value in big-budget hashtag takeovers and promoted campaigns, many brands are also choosing to participate in more niche community-driven TikTok challenges.

Earning quality brand awareness often seems like merely an added bonus for creative marketers pushing to get their brand on TikTok. It’s all about having fun with it, right? While video content can put on display a brand’s impressive marketing chops, there’s more on the line for brands than the average creator.

What is a TikTok trend or challenge?

Hashtag challenges are just one way that the app encourages creators to post new videos.

A TikTok challenge gives users a theme or task for a video. There’s an elevated sense of immediacy to getting your video posted and seen by as many people as possible. The most viewed videos get the most engagement. Each challenge is tracked with a hashtag, which makes the challenge gain popularity and eventually becomes a trend.

For example, a TikTok challenge might be a choreographed dance, an on-screen caption, using a product, trying a filter or even an audio clip. Creators put their own spin on each particular challenge. Some challenges happen organically (usually within a certain niche community, like beauty or fashion) and others can completely take over the platform.

Organic Brand Participation

If your brand has a robust social media presence, creating a video is a natural way to participate in a TikTok challenge. The theme of the challenge, or the way you interpret it, should complement your brand’s personality.

Trends can change daily, but videos may take weeks for a marketing team to put together. You want your video to have its moment before the trend is no longer top of mind. This is where the sense of urgency plays a role. Having a process in place for jumping on these trends will allow your brand to participate promptly.

Here are a few things to consider when ramping up your brand’s organic TikTok engagement:

  • Track TikTok hashtags daily
  • Watch other non-challenge videos for research (not just from brands)
  • See how other brands are participating in challenges (can be cross-industry)
  • Do a few practice videos before you publish
  • Potentially do a GenZ screener (your toughest critic)

Because many TikTok creators also promote their content on Instagram, themes usually make their way over to Instagram. Some creators even use exact videos to cross-promote content.

Theoretically, your brand could “participate” in a TikTok challenge using static Instagram content. This is more of a subtle way to appear trendy and engage with your target audience. It’s also an option that doesn’t involve many creative resources or even an active TikTok presence.

One of the easiest challenges to do this with is a caption. For example, the popular ongoing POV (point of view) challenge invites users to post using the on-screen caption.

This example from Zinburger uses the POV headline in an Instagram story to tout its easy online ordering.

zinburger ad

When Should Brands Get Involved?

First and foremost, consider the relevance of your brand in the TikTok space. Who is your target audience? Are they on TikTok? If so, then engaging with them on TikTok can be very valuable. If not, your brand may not need to add TikTok to its social strategy.

In an effort to not look like a boomer trying to use Gen Z slang, it’s always important to carefully deliberate your brand’s public perception. At the same time, embracing that “boomer” charm can work to your advantage if you play your cards right.

Additionally, some challenges might include a controversial topic or could be interpreted in a polarizing way. If you put your brand out there with a video, you run the risk of aligning your brand with some negativity.

Marketers are well-versed in what to avoid when managing a brand, so if your team makes the leap into TikTok, go for it!

Knowing The End Goal

TikTok engagement is slightly different from Instagram when it comes to measuring success. It’s less about solely engaging your existing audience and more about expanding the reach of your content – and your brand – to new people. Beyond the metrics, though, increasing brand awareness and fostering a niche community are both significant pay-offs of participating in a TikTok challenge. Other brand benefits include:

Jumping in on a community TikTok challenge is a fun way to show your target audience that you’re about more than just business – it shows that you’ve invested in making authentic connections that resonate.

Ready to take your brand to TikTok? Commit Agency can help! Check out some of the fun social campaigns we’ve launched recently and let us help you develop a strategy that aligns with what your business needs.