TikTok: Trends, Case Studies, and Tips

Digital Marketing

Let’s be honest, everyone is talking about TikTok. Generation Z can’t stop making them, Millennials are adding it to their social consumption next to Instagram and Facebook, and Boomers are starting to engage on it as well. Meanwhile marketers are quickly trying to capitalize on this hyper-engaged audience.  

As the app continues to skyrocket in popularity, many brands are hungry to create content that will engage a new audience. But ask any social media guru, and they’ll immediately tell you that TikTok is a totally different beast than other platforms.

So where do you begin with TikTok? How do you know if it’s right for your brand? Keep reading and we’ll give you all the details on how to succeed on the app.

A Brief History of TikTok

TikTok is a video-based social media platform, originally dominated by Generation Z.  

Music is a huge part of many TikTok trends and videos, probably due to the fact that the app used to be known as Musical.ly, where users would lip sync to songs or audio clips. That concept still exists in many videos on TikTok, but more commonly songs go viral by being used in dance trend videos, where thousands of users do a choreographed dance or action to a specific song.

However, the app is changing quickly and trends are also a large part of the TikTok ecosystem. Not only do trends encourage users to actively participate and post videos, but they also create a sense of community within the app. In general, TikTok videos are goofy, authentic, and raw. You won’t see lots of editing like you might on a platform like YouTube or Instagram.  

With TikTok defying many traditional marketing tactics, brands are trying to keep up and figure out the best way to succeed.

TikTok Case Studies

Our Work on TikTok with Banila Co

Many brands that we work with have asked us about TikTok, and when Banila Co approached us to create a TikTok strategy, we knew they were a perfect fit.

Banila Co is a Korean skincare brand who launched in the United States market. Their most popular product is Clean It Zero, a 3-in-1 cleansing balm that removes makeup and cleanses skin without irritation. They’re incredibly popular among Gen Z and have a low price point, making them an ideal brand to try out TikTok.

We reached out to a range of TikTok influencers—some with tons of followers, some with fewer followers, as well as a differing ages. We sent them a free tub of Clean It Zero and gave them minimal instructions. All they had to do was create a video of them melting off their makeup with Clean It Zero to the song “Melt” by E40 and include the hashtag #TheMeltChallenge.

No influencers were paid, and we didn’t provide a ton of guidelines for the videos. We wanted the content to be organic and creative, which TikTok influencers excel at.

The goal of the challenge, like most social campaigns, was simply brand awareness. Specifically, with this campaign, we wanted to create a movement that would inspire other users on the app to take part in the challenge.

#TheMeltChallenge Results

The videos made by influencers were really creative and authentic. One video in particular has over 65,000 likes!

@beatsbydeb so satisfying to melt this makeup off🤤 #TheMeltChallenge @banilacousa ♬ Melt - E-40  

We saw the trend start to expand beyond the individuals we sent product to, with other users taking part in #TheMeltChallenge (with or without Clean It Zero).

Overall, we were pleased with the results of the campaign, especially since there was minimal cost and high-quality videos that came out of it!

Tips for TikTok

There are a lot of brands on TikTok trying to make it work—from Ralph Lauren to Chipotle, brands are desperately trying to connect with a younger generation that is averse to and unimpressed with traditional marketing techniques.

Assess Your Social Workload

Lots of brands want to start posting on TikTok, but they may not realize how much work goes into creating these videos. It requires a lot of creativity and effort to make videos that do well, which includes researching trends. And even though videos generally have minimal editing, you will still need to take time to do a little bit of work on them in post-production.

If you choose to do it in-house (instead of working with influencers to create the videos), you need to find employees who can be naturally goofy on camera without coming across as super cheesy or corny. Not every company has employees who are willing to put themselves out there on camera like that, so that is a consideration as well.

Bottom line: if your team is already struggling to find time to manage your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram accounts, you shouldn’t be on TikTok.

Work with Influencers

One of the easiest ways to break ground in TikTok is to work with influencers. This is still a relatively new platform, but there are still people monetizing off their following—even people who aren’t old enough to drive yet!

The influencer work we coordinated for Banila was on a product exchange only basis, requiring no additional cost to the client on top of the cost of goods and shipping.

Keep in mind that as influencers grow and more begin to take advantage of monetizing their audiences, just sending free product might not be enough. But, with smaller influencers, that option will likely always be there. Of course, you’ll still want to create your own brand account so that you can be tagged in the post from the influencer, and can also repost those influencer videos to your page to populate your brand's feed.

Make Raw and Authentic Videos

TikToks are an interesting combination of raw and authentic, as well as rehearsed and choreographed. The production value is low, so that part doesn’t require much more equipment than your smartphone.

Where the bulk of your investment in TikTok lies is making the content feel natural, fun, and not forced. Every piece of content you create should feel authentic. We know these words are somewhat vague and seem like trendy filler words, but they’re really the key to succeeding on TikTok.

Don’t Be an Infomercial

TikTok is the last place you want to traditionally promote your product. Whereas on platforms like Instagram or YouTube, you can document how to use a product or show features, that will absolutely not perform well on TikTok. In order for campaigns to be successful, something besides your brand has to be the feature—whether a challenge, dance, or trending song.

Your product becomes secondary or even tertiary to the point of the video. The focus should be on some kind of challenge, dance, or specific action that involves your product.  

Follow TikTok Trends and Challenges

TikTok thrives on trends and challenges that sweep through the platform. Staying updated with the latest viral trends and participating in relevant challenges can significantly boost your visibility. Joining these trends allows your content to appear in associated feeds, increasing the likelihood of discovery by a broader audience.

Utilize Hashtags Strategically

Hashtags are the lifeblood of discoverability on TikTok. Incorporate a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags relevant to your content. Use trending hashtags to reach a wider audience, but also include niche hashtags to target specific communities or interests.

Research and select hashtags that align with your brand's niche and resonate with your target audience. A strategic combination of these hashtags can improve the discoverability of your content and encourage engagement from users who share similar interests.  

Optimize Video Quality and Length

TikTok is a visual platform where high-quality content thrives. Ensure your videos are visually appealing, well-edited, and optimized for TikTok's vertical format. Use clear and vibrant visuals to grab attention and maintain user interest.

Keep your videos concise and to the point. Aim for a length of 15 to 60 seconds to align with the platform's user behavior. Snappy, engaging content keeps viewers hooked and encourages them to watch until the end, boosting engagement metrics.

It’s Not for Everyone

So many brands are hungry to connect with Generation Z, and at first glance TikTok seems like the perfect place to market your product to them. However, not every brand is right for TikTok.

For example, if your brand has a high price point, you’ll likely not be able to eventually convince a teenager to invest in your product. Or maybe your brand simply isn’t geared towards young people—like a treatment that reverses wrinkles or a product for heart health.

However, many brands would do well on TikTok, even if they seem unconventional. Fast fashion brands would do well, as well as health-conscious food and restaurants.

Staying updated with the latest TikTok trends can significantly boost your content's visibility and engagement.

TikTok Trends

To help you leverage TikTok trends and strategies effectively we gather some useful insights and tips to help you navigate the platform effectively:

Viral Challenges and Hashtag Trends

TikTok is constantly buzzing with new challenges and hashtag trends that quickly gain momentum and engage users worldwide. These challenges range from dance routines, lip-syncing, comedy sketches, cooking hacks, DIY projects, to fitness routines, and more. Monitoring and participating in these challenges can significantly enhance your brand's visibility and audience engagement.

Music-driven Content

Given TikTok's close association with music, trending songs and sounds often spark new trends and challenges. Users create content by lip-syncing, dancing, or performing skits to popular tunes. Keeping an eye on trending music can help align your content with popular songs, boosting its chances of virality.  

Nostalgia and Throwback Content

Nostalgia-driven content that taps into past trends, fashion, or pop culture references often strikes a chord with audiences. Leveraging nostalgia by reviving old trends, celebrating anniversaries, or recreating iconic moments can resonate with users' emotions, leading to increased engagement and shares.

Sustainability and Environmental Awareness

TikTok users are increasingly drawn to content centered around sustainability, eco-friendly practices, and environmental activism. Brands and creators promoting eco-conscious messages, DIY upcycling, zero-waste living, or highlighting environmental issues can gain traction and support from users passionate about these causes.

Strategies to Leverage TikTok Trends

  • Timely Participation: Act swiftly to join trending challenges or hashtags while they are still gaining momentum to maximize exposure.
  • Inject Brand Relevance: Seamlessly integrate these trends with your brand's identity, products, or messages to ensure relevancy and authenticity.
  • Engage Creatively: Put a unique spin on trends. Add your brand's creative flair or storytelling elements to stand out in the crowd.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage user participation by inviting your audience to engage with these trends and create user-generated content related to your brand.
  • Consistent Monitoring: Regularly monitor TikTok's "Discover" page, explore trending hashtags, and engage with content creators to stay updated with emerging trends.

Leveraging TikTok trends effectively involves creativity, agility, and a deep understanding of your audience's interests. By strategically aligning your brand with relevant trends and consistently engaging with the TikTok community, you can amplify your brand's visibility and connect with a broader audience on this vibrant platform


Beyond creating a TikTok account for organic traffic, brands now have more options.

TikTok Advertising

TikTok Advertising serves as a platform enabling businesses to showcase their products or services to TikTok's vast user base. Through various ad formats like In-Feed Ads, Spark Ads, TopView Ads, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects, brands engage users in distinct ways. In-Feed Ads seamlessly integrate as native content within users' feeds, while TopView Ads present full-screen visuals upon app launch. Branded Hashtag Challenges encourage user participation, fostering community engagement. Additionally, Branded Effects offer interactive augmented reality experiences. Advertisers can precisely target audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviors. By creating campaigns, setting objectives, and monitoring performance through analytics, brands can optimize their ad efforts. TikTok Advertising operates on CPC or CPM models, empowering brands to drive brand awareness, engagement, and conversions effectively.

TikTok Shop: Explore E-commerce on TikTok

TikTok Shop is an integrated e-commerce feature within the TikTok app, offering users a seamless shopping experience directly on the platform. This feature allows brands to showcase their products through shoppable videos, enabling users to explore, view product details, and make purchases without leaving the TikTok app. By integrating shopping functionalities into the TikTok environment, TikTok Shop enhances the connection between product discovery and purchase, providing users with an immersive shopping journey within the app. It aims to streamline the shopping experience, making it more convenient and engaging for TikTok's diverse user base to discover and buy products showcased in videos directly from the platform.

Need a little help getting your TikTok off the ground? Want help determining if TikTok is right for your brand? Reach out to the Blue Wheel team today!

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