TikTok: Time is Running Out to Get Ahead of This Powerful Business Trend

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Branded Hashtags Open the Door to a Wider Audience and Loyal Followers

Usually, businesses have to spend a lot of money to get in front of their target audience. In addition to cost, gaining the attention of your ideal client also often involves risk and considerable effort. 

The beauty of TikTok is that it can be relatively inexpensive and significantly impactful for your business and the biggest cost to you is time. Business owners need to get ahead of the trend to reap the most rewards while understanding that no social media platform is effective without a strong strategy.

We love helping clients use TikTok to showcase what is special about themselves and their business. Good people and good businesses need to be showcased so that they can be seen by more people that resonate with their offerings and values. TikTok disrupts the traditional marketing world because it bypasses the need for expensive and tedious social media posts that look pretty but get little engagement.

TikTok is quickly changing the digital marketing game with its high reach and extremely well-executed algorithm. With over 300 BILLION worldwide downloads, Tiktok could be the key to marketing your business in 2022, and…it could cost you $0. Tiktok is officially no longer for children, with over 1 billion users, the app officially surpassed Google with daily users this year and the ability to market on this platform is easy and can cost you nothing. There are many ways you can leverage Tiktok as a digital marketing platform for your business, but one way that you can start is by leveraging a branded hashtag challenge. We recently launched a branded hashtag challenge for one of our clients and the results were staggering; if you are a business with a large pool of clients, this article is for you!

Have You Ever Heard of Branded Hashtag Challenges?

Branded hashtag challenges are a TikTok phenomenon that could help launch your business into the TikTok market, and the best part is this tactic relies solely on user-generated content. You don’t need to show your face or convince your employees to act because your audience will do it for you.

What is a Branded Hashtag Challenge?

Using hashtags on TikTok is very similar to how they’re utilized on Instagram — they help users find content and communities they’re interested in and can increase your post’s visibility. For example, if you want to learn more about the new Ipad that just launched you could use hashtags such as #ipad12specs #ipad12tutorials and so forth, from there you will find thousands of videos that help you learn more about the new iPad.

When it comes to your brand, you want to create an interesting hashtag that captures your brand name as well as something engaging for the user to work with. For example, for McDonalds, they could do #MyMcdonaldsMoment and showcase all the ways families, friends, and individuals engage with their McDonalds meal/location/playpen/etc daily. 

TikTok hashtags challenges utilize a unique hashtag to prompt users to “join in” by executing a specific action and posting their content using the hashtag. To execute, we would create collateral that tells clients what the contest is and how to join in the fun. This can be through social media posts, standing banners/flyers as well as directly through word of mouth. In order to generate user content, you should create some kind of winnable prize surrounding the contest so that people join in. Once launched, people will post their content and will use the hashtag so that as a business owner it’s easy for you to view the submission and select the winner.

These challenges can include recreating a viral video, executing a popular dance routine, showing off a secret talent, or sharing a personal story. Whatever the challenge, the bottom line is to have fun while inadvertently having clients engage with your brand.

When brands sponsor hashtags, they then become Branded Hashtag Challenges. These can be an incredibly effective way to boost awareness, drive engagement, and build a bigger fanbase for your brand. 

Why are Branded Hashtag Challenges Working?

It’s simple. Instead of speaking at your audience by serving up traditional ads, you’re enabling them to express themselves and engage with your brand. It effectively switches audiences from passive to active participants in your marketing and has your clients provide advertising for you. 

User-generated content can be some of the most captivating and compelling marketing tools which can transform users to brand partners in the span of a 30-second video. The beauty of this platform is you no longer have to attempt to understand your users and create content that speaks to them– because they will create it for you.

Since TikTok is primarily based on remixing sounds and actions, you give users the ability to create freely without feeling the pressure of coming up with a completely original concept. This results in a 17.5% median engagement rate on Branded Hashtag Challenges.

How To Properly Execute a Branded Hashtag Challenge?

You need to be able to provide direction without stifling creativity. 

People think that branded content needs to be highly branded, and that’s just not the case when it comes to Branded Hashtag Challenges.

While your challenge should have a clear connection to your brand (whether that be your product or your purpose as a business), you don’t need to centre the actions of the challenge around those things.

Think of the challenge from the perspective of your consumer. What would they relate to? What would they enjoy doing? What would they share with their friends?

When creating your parameters with these questions in mind, you can avoid launching a challenge that gains zero traction.

Some examples of successful Branded Hashtag Challenges include:

1. #DoTheScottsSlide

This challenge was sponsored by Scott’s lawncare and encouraged users to perform a specific dance move seen during their Super Bowl commercial on their lawns to enter a sweepstakes competition. 

Key Aspects:

    • Specific & Recognizable Action
    • Specific Location
    • Opportunity for Prizes
    • Clear connection to the requirements & the brand

Results:

    • Over 2 billion video views in just two days
    • 1.4 million user videos created
    • 19% engagement rate

2. #LiveYourFreedom

Doritos sponsored a campaign supporting Pride Month and invited people to celebrate and live the freedom of being who they are and want to be. This challenge coincided with their limited edition Rainbow Doritos and communicated the company’s support for the LGBTQI+ community. The challenge asked users to duet and sing along with the Gloria Groove version of “Freedom.”

Key Aspects:

    • A clear connection to a cause that reflected brand values
    • Specific Audio
    • Opportunity for creativity and expression

Results:

    • 1.05 billion video views
    • Engagement rate of 14.4%
    • 17.3% increase in ad recall

3. #PerfectAsIAm

In launching their new fragrance “Perfect,” Marc Jacobs sponsored this challenge to ensure their message of acceptance and “perfect just as you are” reached their audience. The official challenge soundtrack was “Good As Hell” by Lizzo and was accompanied by a video of Rickey Thompson acting as a hype man spritzing video duetters with the perfume.

Key Aspects:

    • Celebrity Influence
    • Specific Audio
    • A clear connection to brand values/product messaging.

Results:

    • 10.1 billion video views
    • Massive lifts in brand awareness and ad recall

Conclusion

When utilized correctly, Branded Hashtag Challenges can garner great success for brands. By reviewing the above case studies and seeing how their challenge concepts connected to their brand, products, and audience, you can replicate their success for your business.

While your small business may not create a challenge that gets billions of video views – it could, and that’s the beauty of TikTok.

You can create a challenge that targets your ideal audience and let the users do the work.

Thanks for reading!

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