You may believe TikTok is targeted at the dance-loving, banana-bread-baking Gen Z consumers of the world, but there is so much more to the platform than many give it credit for.
TikTok, when used correctly, can be an excellent tool for PR. When utilising it to the best of its ability, you can create some brilliant stories, help out journalists, and build some juicy links.
Most of the advice out there focuses on how to use the app for organic social, but if you just open your eyes to the full potential of TikTok, you’ll find a whole side to the platform that can help elevate your PR stories.
Find your brand’s community
- 49% of users have made purchases from brands after seeing them advertised, promoted, or reviewed on TikTok.
- 67% of users say TikTok inspired them to shop even when they weren’t intending to.
- There are 39 billion views on videos with the hashtag#tiktokmademebuyit.
I could reel off hundreds of stats about how influential a touchpoint TikTok can be, and in all honesty, I’m a prime example. If you take a look around my bedroom and you’d be able to spot the Uniqlo bag that went viral for saving as much space as Mary Poppins’ handbag, the Sony headphones that were a top recommendation from tech reviewers, and the packing cubes I’ll be taking with me on every holiday from here on out.
Just my buying habits alone prove that the app can be revolutionary for e-commerce clients. It’s a great way for paid and organic social teams to really elevate their brand and get noticed. But what about when you’re not actually creating content on the app? What about when your KPI is coverage and links?
Tailor your ‘For You Page’ to your clients
It’s clear that TikTok takes customers all the way from discovery, to action, to buying. That’s partly due to the fact it’s brilliant at creating hyper-personalised, niche community groups.
For example, if you love reading, you’re most likely on #BookTok and will have seen plenty of Colleen Hoover recommendations. If you love using the latest technology, you’re probably already on #TechTok. There’s also #CatTok, #FoodieTok, #NostalgiaTok, #SwiftTok, #CleanTok… I think you get the picture.
Whilst your organic and paid teams might be targeting these niches with influencers or ads, us PR folk can still use them to our advantage. Studying these community groups (or ‘communities of practice’ if we’re getting really academic), can be great for your PR strategy.
If you want to get into the heart of your client’s community on TikTok, create a separate account and tailor your FYP to study trends. Like and comment on content th
at’s relevant to your client, and almost immediately you’ll notice super relevant videos popping up on your screen. The algorithm is incredibly specific, so you’ll be able to use this curated content to pick up on trends really quickly.
How to create PR coverage and links
Journalists absolutely want to cover trending stories on TikTok. From opinion pieces about the app’s usage, to editors’ reviews of TikTok famous products, to simple news stories letting readers know what’s blowing up on the app, the headlines are endless.
Here’s how you can capitalise on TikTok stories and make them work for your client:
Put the brand in the middle of a trend
The first step is to use your knowledge of industry trends to find a story angle that will fit your client like a glove. Just scroll through your client-tailored ‘For You’ page every day, and see what is repeatedly appearing.
Once you’ve found the right trend or story, it’s time to get your client involved. They need to be able to comment or add something to the story that a journalist will care about. There are a few ways you could approach this:
Tutorial press releases
Journalists often write articles about how to participate in a new trend, so create a press release with expert advice.
Maybe it’s how to recreate a new viral recipe (why does she put the ice cube in with the salmon and rice?) Perhaps people want to know how they can have nails like Hailey Bieber. Or maybe they want to fit in with the cottagecore aesthetic and are after some styling ideas.
If your client can comment and offer advice on a topic that’s trending, a journalist is far more likely to use your press release.
Measuring the impact and giving statistics
In Digital PR, we all absolutely love to whack out a Google Trends statistic, so why aren’t we all doing this with TikTok? It’s possible to see how many views different hashtags have on the app, so make sure you’re taking note. This can be really helpful if you’re trying to create an index of ‘The most popular X on TikTok’.
Likewise, if suddenly your entire FYP is full of people trying that crazy luxurious hot chocolate in Paris, why not check if Google searches have gone up for flights to France? Figure out if relevant trends are having a real-world impact and let your client be the one to inform the press about it.
Giving advice on whether a trend is safe
Remember when ‘slugging’ was the hottest new skincare method? Ask a skincare client if it’s actually safe.
What about those pimple patches that are going around? Do you have a medical client who could comment on whether they really work?
Find out if your client could offer their expert opinion to help anyone interested in a trend.
Trends can rise and fall really quickly on social media, so it’s essential that you always act fast and treat TikTok press releases like you would any other reactive PR story. Make sure your angle is strong, you’ve got good stats in there, and crucially, your client has something to say that will enhance the story.
Journalists know that TikTok articles perform well, so give them all of the information they need and you’re onto a winner!
Create an integrated approach
Using TikTok for your press releases is a great way to start using the app to your advantage. But if you really want to go above and beyond, work with your colleagues in SEO and organic social to create a truly integrated approach.
If there’s a trend that your client could benefit from, bring in the organic social guys to create content and work with influencers to generate buzz around your client. Then make sure your SEO team has you ranking high in Google for whatever terms the trend is related to. And of course, get the PR team to outreach articles to journalists putting the brand at the centre of the trend.
Granted, not every story or campaign needs to have all the bells and whistles. But when organic works hand in hand across organic social, SEO, and PR, magical things can happen.
If you’re interested in learning more about how TikTok could work for your brand organically, get in touch.
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