TikTok Influencers: A Quick and Easy Introductory Guide
by Infegy Research Team on April 13, 2021
You’re ready to invest in a TikTok influencer strategy. That’s a good move. Every type of consumer and customer is on TikTok (so you can dispel the notion that it’s only kids who don’t buy things).
TikTok is a melting pot of enthusiastic content creators and consumers talking about brands and products they love, which have powerful influence on buying habits and purchase decisions.
This red hot social media platform allows you to identify and leverage influencers in ways not seen elsewhere on social media. Brands would be wise to pay special attention to them.
But there is a nuanced approach to TikTok influencers. From identifying influencers to analyzing and planning an influencer strategy, there are important learnings for you to take away. Our latest research report on TikTok campaigns and influencers found some key data points that paint a revealing picture about TikTok influencers and how brands can leverage them.
In this article, we’ll present three quick data-driven attributes and reasons why TikTok influencers should be a major part of your marketing and branding strategy. Let’s do it!
Not All TikTok Influencers are Famous
Influencers on other social media platforms? Insta-famous! Polished. Stylish. Glam and luxury.
Influencers on TikTok? Normal people, doing normal things.
We started this article by describing the uniqueness that TikTok influencer strategies offer. Why? Because anyone could be or become an “influencer” on TikTok. The natural, authentic, quick-sharing nature of TikTok videos enables users, from everyday people to known personalities, to quickly gain traction and grow audiences.
For example, sometimes the top influencers for certain topics aren’t even specific - the leading influencers for some audiences could be “moms with a sense of humor”:
You can’t fake it on TikTok as much as you can on Instagram. In fact, in our first report on TikTok user trends and brand opportunities, we found that one of the top most successful types of content fell under the category of “Real and Raw” -- as in: unedited, in-the-moment, and authentic.
One of the most prominent hashtags on TikTok is #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, where ordinary people talk about the best purchases they’ve made.
Leverage authentic, human voices on the TikTok platform to promote you and your products.
Everyday people boasting about an exciting purchase they made could be an essential element of your influencer strategy.
Authentic TikTok Influencers are the Ultimate Goal
On TikTok, consumers share authentic, slice-of-life content.
The most impactful campaigns will follow this lead. A celebrity showing off a product won’t go as far as a known personality providing a glimpse of their real-life and which products they love or services they may need.
Here is a dermatologist who successfully grew a large TikTok following just posting interesting or helpful (and sometimes gross) videos.
This dermatologist wasn't (and still isn't) an influencer by the preconceived definitions of what an influencer typically is. They're just posting content that relates to their job and happened to grow the channel thanks to the usefulness of the information and/or personality.
Frequently, these personalities catch fire on TikTok because their audiences trust them or seek to emulate them. Whether it’s buying the same pair of shoes the influencer loves or modeling their lifestyle (like becoming a successful farmer or handy home repair person), authenticity is critical.
That’s why we sometimes like to refer to these influencers as “Role Models” or “Idols.”
Inside the TikTok report, we explored how these authentic influencers don’t just succeed in the area of accumulating a large following. They get passionate groups of followers who are sometimes smaller in numbers but more significant in how devoted they are to the influencer.
The “Role Model Matrix” uses social listening analysis of how these influencers rank by how passionate their followers are, and it proves how people mention and engage with these followers.
If you conducted your own research with our social listening platform, you could identify the influencers, or role models, who fall in the right area of the matrix for your unique situation.
Next, we’ll quickly touch on how TikTok influencers provide you powerful insight on users and your target audiences.
TikTok Influencer Content Leads to More Brand Mentions and Better Insights
In the battle for early TikTok brand prowess, it is influencers that can elevate your efforts over basic advertising and marketing on the channel.
All it took was one partnership with the influencer Charlie D’Amelio for Dunkin’ to overtake Starbucks in brand visibility on TikTok.
Authentic influencers offer incredible benefits to your team if you were to partner with them. Not only would they help you develop and grow your audience, but they will also give you essential insights about consumers and your potential customers.
TikTok users express behavioral themes in response to influencer posts. These audiences also share details about themselves and describe themselves in specific ways (such as mom, artist, coffee addict, etc.).You can analyze these audiences and learn about who they are, what they talk about and what is important to them.
For example, 14% of video reactions to the #EyesLipsFace TikTok campaign by e.l.f. Cosmetics came from Moms:
Just learning that a certain audience segment, in this case moms, responded best to a TikTok campaign is incredibly enlightening to your overall TiKTok strategy, including influencers.
Conclusion: Change Your Mindset of What an Influencer is on TikTok
You’ve learned here how TikTok influencers are different. They exist in various forms. Brands succeed in partnering with them in different ways.
It takes changing your perspective a little bit on what an influencer is and can be on TikTok. Not all TikTok influencers are famous. They could be a mom. A donut superfan. A doctor.
But it’s clear: TikTok influencers, however they present themselves, offer huge opportunities for success for your brand or business, regardless of industry or category.
That’s because every type of audience member or customer is on TikTok and waiting to be reached by you.
Are you ready to reach them?