Doing influencer marketing — and doing it well — can seem daunting. With a seemingly endless number of platforms, networks, and channels to monitor, brands not only are expected to know the value each one provides, but they also must have a strategic plan for using them.
Two apps, specifically, are essential for influencer marketing in its current form: Instagram and TikTok. While both harness the power of visual content, they each cater to different audiences and pursue disparate goals. That said, it can be challenging to identify those objectives and understand how each platform can accomplish said goal while maximizing a brand’s reach and growth. Something that is critical to getting this right is understanding the differences of the platform.
The differences between Instagram & TikTok…
In summary, TikTok is a discovery platform, while Instagram (generally) is a place to learn more from people you’ve opted into hearing from. The differences are critical when thinking through your brand strategy.
How to Use TikTok for Marketing
Let’s start with TikTok, an app built for influencers and creators to share content with potential mass appeal. And with 1 billion monthly users around the world, TikTok offers unparalleled influence and reach for the Gen Z market while rapidly expanding beyond young audiences.
For brands interested in connecting with this audience through authentic brand storytelling, TikTok is an exciting opportunity to create engaging content that goes beyond what is typical of social media marketing. The best part? This creativity tangibly rewards your business. TikTok has more than 1.5 billion downloads globally, meaning your brand has the potential to reach a ton of people in countless markets. The exposure, reach, and connectivity truly set it apart.
There are three effective ways to use TikTok as a marketing tool. Brands can work with influencers and creators to create and share content with their audiences. They can create their own profiles to use as branded marketing channels. Paid advertising is also an option, though a new one that will likely become more popular with time. Do be mindful, though, that these paid advertisements are relatively expensive. A brand takeover can cost $50,000 per day, and an influencer post could run you $600 to $1,000.
The best way to maximize TikTok’s potential is to use all three approaches, with an added emphasis on the first two recommendations. Partner with influencers and put your content out into the world. When those influencers create content using or showing your product, your brand gains credibility and reaches your target audience simultaneously.
If you’re looking for a little more detail on how TikTok’s For You Page (or what we refer to sometimes as a funnel) works, stay tuned for a future blog post where we’ll analyze this in detail. For now, understanding the below means you’ll be able to maximize working with creators on the platform.
Advantages of Instagram Marketing
With the knowledge of TikTok as a marketing tool in mind, under what circumstances should you use Instagram instead? The first thing to consider is your audience. Instagram is more demographically balanced and dependable, with an almost even split between men and women and a core user base of people ages 25 to 44. As a result, Instagram enables brands to work with a broad, diverse selection of influencers. Because TikTok users range from people 13 to 55 and beyond, it offers a similarly broad user base.
There are other reasons why Instagram is good for marketing, such as the app being a much better tool than TikTok to encourage purchases directly. Brands can take advantage of built-in shopping tools that TikTok does not offer. TikTok is a place for storytelling and cultivating relationships with an exclusively young Millennial and Gen Z audience, so brands targeting people outside of that group should be careful not to use it exclusively just because it’s popular.
Both Instagram and TikTok give you the advantage of being able to use a business profile. This lets you access metrics that tell you how your posts and stories are performing and highlights features that will help you run advertising campaigns. You can also use the business profile features to track how your followers are engaging with your content.
To learn more about how to make the most of TikTok as a marketing tool, check out our “TikTok Creator Playbook.”
Choosing the Platform That’s Right For You
To determine how to best market to your target audience and whether Instagram or TikTok is the best platform for that approach, consider the following and how they align or don’t align with your goals:
On Instagram, users typically see content only from their friends and the people they follow. TikTok, however, is optimized to show users the content of people they don’t follow, thereby exposing them to new accounts. If you’re looking to do influencer marketing with established influencers who have a lot of experience — especially those outside Gen Z — Instagram might make more sense.
Speaking of discovering content, TikTok’s algorithm is more advanced than Instagram’s when it comes to delivering content to users who aren’t already connected with creators. The app’s “For You” page, where users spend most of their time, shows viral content, while Instagram users have to navigate with multiple clicks to land on the discovery page.
This means that the potential of your TikTok campaigns is virtually unlimited — unlike on Instagram, where the best case is that some percentage of your influencers’ followers see the content. On TikTok, a whole new audience of people could view and engage with your content if it’s compelling enough and takes advantage of the app’s algorithm in the right ways. This is nearly impossible on Instagram.
Depending on your strategy, audience, and story, you might find that going viral works better for you on one of these platforms than the other. Instagram posts go viral when users shock or wow their followers with news or behavior. This is rarely something that happens with branded content positively. Instagram is a safe, reliable bet when considering it as a marketing channel — not an opportunity to send your brand into the stratosphere through virality.
On TikTok, content goes viral more naturally and not because of the number of followers users have. The “ForYou” page algorithm and curation teams at TikTok influence what content makes it onto the “For You” page, but it’s an excellent platform to use if you’re working with influencers who don’t necessarily have a massive following.
Think of it this way: TikTok presents a new frontier where it’s possible to achieve breakout success, virality, and results that far outpace your marketing spend. On Instagram, you get what you pay for as long as you know what you’re doing.
Whether you use Instagram for influencer marketing or pursue influencer marketing on TikTok, building a presence with your target audience on these channels through authentic brand storytelling is more important than ever. You might use both platforms or invest more heavily in one — either way, know your stuff before diving in. The more you consider which choice makes the most sense for your brand, the better the results will be.
Interested in partnering with us on your next TikTok or Instagram campaign? Set up a time to chat with us here!