If you’ve been searching high and low for influencers to work with on TikTok, you’re not alone. As more brands have added the platform to their influencer marketing strategies, more marketers have been tasked with finding the right content creators to partner with. If you’re one of them, we’re here to help.
In this blog post, we’ll explain how to find TikTok influencers that align with your brand and take your marketing to the next level.
First Things First: What Is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform similar to Instagram. Instead of pictures, though, TikTok focuses on short-form videos, often accompanied by music, hashtags, and memes — so many memes.
The app is incredibly popular with younger adults, especially Gen Z (hence the memes). And that popularity is only expected to grow. By 2023, eMarketer predicts TikTok will overtake Snapchat in total number of U.S. users (89.7 million versus 89.5 million).
Instagram still leads the U.S. with 127.2 million users, but TikTok is closing in. Worldwide, TikTok’s estimated 1 billion users trails Instagram’s 1.5 billion — but what’s half a million people when you’re the hottest app on the planet?
TikTok has been available on iOS and Android since 2018. Yet the short-form video app has only recently gained popularity with advertisers, thanks to its astronomical user growth in 2019 and 2020. In fact, TikTok for Business, the app’s own how-to website for marketing on TikTok, just launched in Summer 2020.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s dive in to actually using the platform and finding TikTok influencers to work with.
How to Find TikTok Influencers
TikTok is a platform unlike any other. Its young user base, fast-paced content, social awareness, and collective understanding of memes and current pop culture make it an intimidating space for brands to enter.
Unless, of course, you’re working with TikTok influencers. These content creators are masters of the platform, know what works and what doesn’t, and can help your business resonate with your target audience. Here’s how to find them.
It’s an obvious answer, but we have to say it: just google it first. Try starting broad and then narrowing down once you have a feel for who’s out there. For example, you could search for “top TikTok influencers,” and then narrow it down by niche or vertical, as in “top TikTok fashion influencers.”
Search for Hashtags
Hashtags are an essential part of TikTok; almost every post has them.
Simply searching for hashtags in your industry or niche can lead you to content creators that would align well with your brand. When you find a TikTok influencer who uses a hashtag your business relates to, it’s likely that influencer’s followers are interested in the hashtag, too.
Keep a list of relevant and trending hashtags to look up. Note which ones point you in the right direction (and which ones are duds) to refine your search as you go. Things move quickly in the world of TikTok, so leverage the app’s Discover feature to stay on top of trending hashtags.
Once you find an influencer who matches your goals, reach out to them. If they don’t provide contact info in the platform, do a little extra searching to find them outside of it. (Remember, “outside” of TikTok includes other influencer-focused platforms like Instagram, where anyone can now share links in Stories.)
Research Areas of Interest
What’s your ideal influencer interested in? Are they all about exercise and healthy eating, or are they passionate about traveling on a budget?
Finding influencers who match your main industry can be as easy as searching like you would for hashtags. Try searching a variety of terms related to your vertical or brand, as content creators may not use the exact keyword you’re used to.
It may also help to dig a little deeper to look into an influencer’s bio to find out what they’re truly interested in. And don’t forget that they are likely active on other social media platforms, too. Cross-referencing their TikTok bio with their Instagram or Facebook profile may give you insights you would have missed if you looked at TikTok alone.
Check Out the Competition
What are similar brands doing on TikTok, and who are they working with? Checking out your competition is an easy way to find the content and creators that are already resonating with your target audience. You can search for a brand both to find out who shows up in their videos (or tags them in theirs), and to see related brands and influencers in TikTok’s suggested accounts.
Whether or not you want to work with the exact same influencers as a rival is up to you. Once you know who they are, though, you can use that information to find similar influencers — ones who aren’t already tied to a competitor.
Use a Specialized Tool
Of course, you can always go straight to a specialized solution. Influencer marketing tools like Tagger and HypeTrace were built specifically to search and compare influencers on social media platforms. You can use these tools to filter influencers by channel, topic, location, number of followers, and more.
A quick Google search will give you multiple options for tools for finding influencers on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms.
Hire an Agency
Like TikTok influencers, agencies are also valuable subject matter experts. Their expertise lies in helping brands like yours connect with the right content creators for your business goals. In addition to facilitating new partnerships, an agency can help you manage partners, create and optimize campaigns, or even run your entire affiliate marketing program. How much or how little they do is up to you.
If you’re finding the search process too difficult or time-consuming, reach out to an influencer marketing agency.
Influencers: The Key to TikTok Success
TikTok is unlike any other social media platform. Like its heavily Gen Z audience, it’s young, full of creativity and potential, and focused on living in the moment. In other words, brands can’t simply set up shop and expect to advertise on the platform the same as on Twitter or Facebook.
The most successful marketing on TikTok is achieved when brands fit in, participate, and remain authentic. And partnering with content creators who know the platform and its people is an excellent way to get started.
For more tips for finding influencers and other marketing partners, watch our on-demand webinar, “Taking Ownership of Publisher Growth.” You can also find an in-depth guide to the different types of affiliate partners in our Ultimate Guide to Partner Marketing, or read up on the latest news about sharing links in Instagram in this blog post.
Tell us in the comments: How do you currently work with influencers on TikTok, and how do you discover new ones?
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Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.