TikTok Influencer Marketing: How to find the right influencers for your brand using TikTok Creator Marketplace

TikTok is the hot ticket in town, especially among Gen Z. Known for its virality of entertaining short-form videos, TikTok influencer marketing has given brands the opportunity to appeal to a very wide audience.

However, much like Instagram 2014 days, this wave of crazy organic performance will potentially end one day.

But the biggest challenge for brands is finding the right influencers to work with.

So if you are thinking about finding and collaborating with influencers on TikTok, we're going to walk you through how you can find the right ones for your next influencer marketing campaign.

Benefits of TikTok influencer marketing

Compared to other social media platforms, TikTok is the most meritocratic social network there is — meaning success and influence are based on demonstrated abilities rather than wealth or social status.

It might not have the same user base numbers as Facebook and Instagram, but engagement and brand loyalty is next level.

Beyond how many followers the TikTok influencer has, it's much more about whether a piece of content resonates with TikTok users. And if it does, they'll show you more of it.

Let's see this in action.

TikTok Influencer Marketing Case Study: How we executed an award-winning influencer campaign for M&Ms

Our client, M&Ms, was recognized as a CommerceNexty finalist for our Mother's and Father's Day Influencer campaigns — and won the award for Best Use of a New Channel!

When comparing their results to 2020 sales: 

  • 67% increase in sales of Mother's Day gifts 
  • 457% increase in sales of Father's Day gifts

So how and what brought this influencer marketing campaign to life? Let's dive in!

With consumers living in quarantine for over a year due to the COVID-19 crisis. We wanted to work with M&M's to help people connect with others on social media who they may not have been able to see in person.

Also, it was important to find diverse and inclusive influencers and to leverage TikTok as a social media platform to execute on this vision — helping people feel included by championing fun.

As an influencer marketing agency, tactically speaking, we didn’t do anything different to bring this campaign to life. 

It’s just another case study surrounding product seeding, but another reason why you should finally try it for yourself internally and get a win with influencer marketing!

The absolute gold in this case study is comparing the minimum numbers we see when reaching out to influencers with 'no strings attached' messaging in comparison to what metrics M&M's experienced ...

tiktok-influencer-results-comparison

And organic is only half of the value here. 

Again, if you seeded product to 100 influencers, which lends itself to a minimum of 30 influencers posting 60-90 assets — you'll have all of this content to repurpose into your paid social efforts (just make sure to get content rights to use it!)

For M&M's the IGC (influencer-generated content) was worth a lot. It outperformed traditional creative in paid social marketing A/B tests. 

Check out one of the posts from their Mother's Day Campaign below: 

 

Finding the right TikTok influencers

There are lots of ways to approach the influencer discovery process — using hashtags on the 'discover' page, influencer databases, and using third-party platforms as a discovery tool to name a few.

But searching for influencers through general social platform searches, TikTok bios, and trawling through hashtags can feel like you're looking for a needle in a haystack.

The best way to go about finding influencers on TikTok 

Not every post is viral-like on TikTok. But the uncapped potential of organic virality, brand awareness, and sales through creator posts are 10x other platforms right now. And the best place to find the best TikTok accounts and work with influencers efficiently is through TikTok's Creator Marketplace (TCM).

TCM is essentially TikTok’s owned version of an influencer marketing platform, facilitating connections between content creators and brands. This marketplace is a game-changer to say the least. 

Why you need to take advantage of TikTok's Creator Marketplace's free search tool:
  • Reliable data 
  • Direct communication
  • Extremely easy to use

And, it's free! TikTok doesn’t charge advertisers to use this platform so this is a free search tool for influencer discovery and outreach.

Creators and brands can connect, discuss campaign details, negotiate rates, and ultimately partner directly with each other for sponsored or gifted posts. 

After you sign up and you're let into the TCM ecosystem as a brand or agency, your first step will be to search for creators.

Content creators interested in partnerships or sponsored posts can sign-up which reveals their statistics and analytics. 

A TikTok creator profile gives brands access to more info like demographics, follower geography, follower age range, video performance, and more. It's important to take note of this so you can find the best influencers that align with your target audience.

If you're debating macro vs micro-influencers (5k - 150k follower count), we always say that micro-influencers provide more value to a brand. 

They may not have the same number of followers but their engagement rates, conversions, and reach are generally more superior.

How to find TikTok Influencers using TikTok's Creator Marketplace

Use the search bar to look up specific content creators or type in keywords matching your campaign description. The system will generate a list of creators that would be a great match for the campaign.

Further, the platform allows users to search for creators based on specific campaign needs. i.e, from a specific country or in a specific industry. You can peruse a list of creators that match different search filters and then assess their content creation ability and analytics.

As you scope out different creators, you can start compiling 'shortlists' of influencers that you want to work with. 

You can set filters based on where the influencer is located and where their audience is located, their follower count, and their average views. 

You can search with your brand name to bring up a list of influencers who have been mentioned by your brand, mentioning your brand, or posting about the product from the brand.

You'll get a gallery of people who fall within any of these three categories. 

tiktok-creator-marketplace-gallery

Once you click on a profile, you get a more detailed overview of the creator including:

  • Followers
  • Average views
  • Core metrics (comments, shares, engagement rate)
  • Sample videos and sponsored posts 
  • Audience demographics
  • Device usage 
  • TikTok usage (how active they are)
  • Performance trends
  • Similar creators posting similar things

If you decide you want to collaborate with the creator, you can add them to an existing campaign you've created, invite them instantly, or add them to a shortlist.

How to manage a TikTok influencer marketing campaign & get reporting on how it went 

As you get these going, it's now at the point to "Create Campaign", which you can funnel everyone on a shortlist into the campaign.

The campaign notifies each individual creator, and you can begin negotiations directly on TCM (or even better, toggle "Free Product" to avoid this). You are limited to 1-20 influencers per campaign, which is more than enough for most brands. 

The nice thing about TCM is that influencers raise-their-hand if they are interested.

Watch the full video of TCM Campaign Management in Cody's video.

Under Campaign Management, you'll be able to see who has opted-in and at what stage they are at in terms of their deliverables. If you'd like to communicate with them via email, you do have that option to double down on creating great synergy with the influencer.

Then, you've got Campaign Reporting which gives you an overview of each of the campaigns total videos, likes, comments, shares, and average engagement rate. It also tells you the number of videos and number of creators for each.

In addition to TCM tracking the content that is sponsored under Campaign Management, sometimes TCM will not track all the content that you know was part of the campaign.

This is especially true if you are following our philosophy of seeding your product 'no strings attached' and the creator's post for free.

To track the content efficiently and make sure you don't miss anything, we'd recommend MightyScout. It tracks, analyzes, and reports on organic influencer content via Instagram and TikTok.

How much you can expect to pay a TikTok influencer for content

There are so many variables at play here, which makes it hard to navigate how much to pay an influencer.

There's no set standard across the industry — influencers set their own prices and basically get a feel for what brands are willing to pay. Or, agents are involved and mark up the price because they take a cut.

Here are four contributors to pricing:

  • Size and engagement
  • Deliverables
  • Usage rights
  • Length of term

With that said, for TikTok influencer pricing you can expect to pay anywhere between $25-$125 per post for Micro-influencers and between $1250-$2500 per post for Macro-influencers on TikTok.

If you seed free product to the influencers, this is how you can keep the price low and focus your budget on repurposing the influencer-generated content into your paid media campaigns.

Repurposing TikTok creative for other ad platforms: yay or nay?

Absolutely! We repurposed TikTok creative in Facebook or Instagram Ads all the time. We also recommend setting your campaign goal in TCM to 'produce ad creative' from the start.

Better yet, TikTok now has Spark Ads which allows brands to create ads from organic TikToks. This is an option when setting up campaigns in TCM where you can request creator authorisation if you want to do Spark Ads with them.

How to ask a TikTok influencer for content

When you're setting up a campaign in TCM, you can use a custom template or standard template that goes out to all of the creators.

Here is a basic format to follow for your TikTok outreach message: 

Intro:

Who You Are & Who Your Brand Is

Why Them / Perfect Match for Our Brand/Product: 

**Contract INSERT: What You’re Looking For:

CTA:

Once you've sent the invites, the waiting game begins! TikTok will track the success of your outreach by updating the status of the messages under the "My Activity" tab.

There are four status functions:

  • Waiting for reply: Once your campaign has passed review, the status updates to waiting for reply where the creator has 72 hours to get back to you.
  • Connected: This means the creator has accepted your invitation and it's your turn to follow up with next steps.
  • Contact Decline: The creator is not interested in your campaign as this time.
  • Expired: The campaign will expire if the creator doesn't reply within 72 hours.

Get started with TikTok Influencer Marketing

What are you waiting for? Apply and start using TikTok Creator Marketplace for your influencer campaigns. It's free and saves you burning budget on fancy tools.

It's easy for brands to start collaborating with established TikTok creators through TCM, and the comprehensive analysis you can get on a single TikTok creator is super useful to help you find the right influencers for your brand.

Just remember — relevance over reach and engagement over followers. TikTok is home to thousands of high-quality content creators and the results we've seen are dynamite!