Why Employees Are the Biggest Brand Opportunity on TikTok
by Derek Franks on March 3, 2021
What if your team had a fleet of influencers ready to promote your brand on the hottest social media platform out there?
What if we told you, you’ve already hired those influencers?!
TikTok is the channel your brand can’t afford to ignore. And your employees are the influencers that can propel and transform your brand strategy and perception on TikTok.
In our new TikTok analytics report revealing TikTok trends and brand opportunities, you’ll discover how employees, like baristas and delivery drivers, hold the key to brand perception, hiring, product adoption, and so much more.
Ahead in this article, we’ll introduce you to your next TikTok influencers: your employees. Here’s why company employees are the driving force behind brand engagement on TikTok:
Employees Have Leverage on TikTok - Even More Than a Brand
Employees provide one of the best brand opportunities on TikTok. Their content drives high engagement and provides brands with new avenues of conversation and influence with the masses.
Employees offer authentic, slice-of-life content that captivates audiences and keeps them coming back for more. For that reason, they often drive more engagement on TikTok than company pages.
Starbucks employee TikToks, for example, get much more engagement on the platform than Starbucks brand account:
One reason for this might be that people, in general, trust their peers more than companies. One study found that employees were 3x more trustworthy than a brand.
So, if employees are trustworthy and more engaging, it stands to reason that they could have significant influence on target audiences and customers...
Employees Drive Product Adoption on TikTok
The fact that employees are such big drivers of conversation on TikTok means that they have a significant impact on driving people to buy and influencing new product development.
This holds true with our Starbucks example. Baristas and other Starbucks employees nurtured a thriving community on TikTok. They drive high engagement about the brand on their own without any company involvement. This far-reaching conversation organically drives interest in new products and information about potential customers:
This trend has such a big windfall in the TikTok community, it even had customers walking into stores and asking for a drink invented on TikTok.
Baristas posting on the platform were responsible for a new fan favorite drink: white mocha with sweet cream cold foam and extra caramel drizzle. The drink is often requested by customers as the “TikTok drink”.
And the “TikTok Drink” on the platform itself? It has 9.5 million views on TikTok.
"Not only are employees influencers, they serve as a vector for discovering your brand’s audiences and learning more about them."
Employees Influence Brand Perception, Help You Learn About Audiences, and Could Improve Hiring
Inside the TikTok report, you’ll find the 4 most impactful types of TikTok content that drives high engagement. One of those is “Real and Raw.” The gist is this: authenticity wins on TikTok.
No frills. No filters. The true self is what TikTok users want.
So, it’s only natural that employees simply sharing their day-to-day would drive heavy interest, especially if those employees are entertaining or sentimental in some way.
UPS delivery drivers, for example, play a substantial role in brand perception on TikTok.
Social listening analysis of their TikTok content shows how you can map out the web of conversations stemming from employee conversations and conversations of consumers talking about their UPS driver. This helps you to understand what other topics and interests UPS drivers’ audiences discuss:
Everything from dogs to dancing are leading topics of interests from the people interacting with UPS drivers. There is a seemingly endless rabbit hole of conversational topics that could be used to research and understand the audiences who engage with UPS drivers.
Follow how TikTok users engage and the types of topics mentioned in those conversations. This can help you get to the heart of what matters to the types of people who UPS resonates with on the channel.
So, not only are employees influencers, they serve as a vector for discovering your brand’s audiences and learning more about them.
Additionally, you could use this to understand how employees feel about their job, and why they love it. This means TikTok could be used to recruit and hire new employees into the company.
Organically growing conversation with and about employees, such as delivery drivers, proves the power of leveraging employee personalities on TikTok.
Getting to know how audiences respond to and connect with employees provides more information about who the brand appeals to and why. The high volume and rapidly expanding topics and user interests shared online validate implementing a robust employee TikTok strategy.
Your Brand Has to Get it Right with TikTok
TikTok offers your brand or business a treasure trove of un-mined potential as far as branding and understanding audiences. You shouldn’t ignore it. But you also want to get it right.
An example of a company that missed that opportunity? Sherwin-Williams.
Their company let an employee go after they rose to popularity and acclaim for his TikTok videos. These videos were clever, entertaining, and informative clips of him mixing paints with weird items like blueberries to make new colors.
Sherwin-Williams apparently didn’t like that this was how the employee was spending their company time and gave him his walking papers. Big mistake.
This was an incredible opportunity for the company to recognize a self-made, organically grown influencer - one they didn’t have to pay untold amounts of money to prop up their company on TikTok.
Let that be a lesson: TikTok is a place where unplanned, unsolicited success can happen for your company at any time. Don’t doubt its potential. Don’t douse the flames when you got something hot.
TikTok gives brands a huge opportunity to connect with audiences in a real and authentic way. Unlike other social media channels, TikTok is a playground for employees to be themselves and build audiences for their companies just by being themselves. A great TikTok strategy may be for brands to just let employees do their thing.
If you want to learn more about your online audiences and identify their wants, needs and interests, there may be no better way than to analyze TikTok conversations.
Analyzing how consumers engage with employees on TikTok will be key for understanding your target customers. To do that, you’ll need the only social listening platform capable of TikTok analysis. Contact our team to see what it can do for your team today.