TikTok Marketing Success: The Power of Understanding Your Audience

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

Most of us change our behavior depending on who we’re around, whether we like to admit it or not. Just think about all the times you started something new: a job, a school, a city, a sports team, or a hobby. Or, how about how you acted on a first date or the first time you met your partner’s parents?

When we’re around new people, we often try to gauge what they like and position ourselves accordingly, at least to a certain extent. Creating a successful TikTok marketing strategy is kind of the same.

Don’t get it twisted—we’re not saying you should be fake or lie about who you are. But before you can grow your TikTok brand, you need to understand your target audience (who are you trying to impress?) and learn how to cater your content to appeal to them.

Whether you’re creating organic content or managing paid ads on TikTok, the tips in this guide will help you secure the spots on the For You Page (FYP). Let’s get your content in front of the right people!

Tip #1: Look Beyond Demographics

When we think about our ideal customers, we often consider the typical demographics: age, location, gender, income, ethnicity, etc. We start building a marketing strategy around this data and expect to receive sales or leads. But the truth is, when we rely solely on these demographics, we limit our customer profiles to only a small percentage of data.

Let’s say, for example, you’re selling football cleats. Your target demographic might be young men in the U.S. between 15 to 18 years old. This data can help you get started, but the segmentation is too broad to create a tactical marketing strategy. Not everyone between the ages of 15 and 18 needs football cleats.

The solution? Psychographic data.

Psychographic data can help you better understand your audience, allowing you to build a robust customer profile by allowing you to segment your target audience by things like:

  • Interests
  • Fears
  • Likes
  • Goals
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Lifestyle
  • Social status
  • Activities
  • Opinions
  • And more.

TikTok provides multiple targeting options for you to reach your desired audience. Whether you’re posting organic content or boosting ads through the TikTok Ads Manager, advertisers have multiple options to make our Marketing strategy a winning strategy on TikTok.

Tip #2: Set Up Your TikTok For Your Ideal Audience

Now that you’ve identified your buyer personas using psychographic data, the next phase of creating a winning TikTok marketing strategy is content creation and distribution.

TikTok has become a place for content creators across multiple categories to share their lives, thoughts, and (in some cases) expertise with the world. Users may hop on the app to learn the newest skincare tips with the @dermdoctor, or how to be the best sniper in Fortnite with @granpagaming. Both of these successful TikTok influencers know what their audiences want and almost exclusively make content within their respective niches.

There may be For You Pages that include both of these influencers (there are surely gamers who are into skincare!), but TikTok works hard to curate each FYP page with videos they think users will like best. So, if your target audience isn’t on the app to learn the latest viral dance, you probably shouldn’t be creating dancing videos.

Your TikTok content has to be relatable to your specific audience to increase your chances of getting impressions, comments, likes, shares, and duets. Let’s talk about how this varies for organic content vs. paid ads.

Success with Organic Content

Start by knowing what pain points you want to solve for your target audience. If you sell hair care products, you could focus on reducing frizz. Or, if you sell homemade ice cream with customizable gift packaging, you could speak to the struggles of gift-giving. Also, you’ll need this video to capture your audience’s attention within the first two seconds. No pressure.

Here are four steps to win with TikTok organic content creation:

  1. Hook them in. Put the most important or captivating part of your message within the first three seconds of the video to capture the attention of the TikTok user as they scroll through their FYP.
  2. Use relevant keywords in your captions. Many Gen Zers are using TikTok as a search engine. Optimize your caption to frame your product or service as a solution to commonly searched questions on Google and TikTok.
  3. Utilize hashtags. Hashtags are equally as important as keywords, as they categorize and track content related to a specific phrase, theme, category, etc. Find the hashtags that are most used by your target audience to increase your chances of your video appearing in front of those following that specific hashtag. 
  4. Pick trending music and sounds. TikTok audio works just like hashtags, allowing you to select trending music or sounds for your audience. You can even turn the audio volume down if it doesn’t particularly fit your video, but users who click on that sound will still have a greater chance of seeing your content.

Engage with your audience. Try to respond to the comments on your videos as much as you can. If people ask questions, upload a “reply with video” response to answer them. This will help boost your video and keep users engaged with your account.

Success with TikTok Paid Ads

TikTok has changed the game when it comes to video ads. As you scroll through your FYP, you’ll notice most TikTok video ads are homemade and simple. Those fancy high-end agency videos we’ve been used to over the years won’t have as much success on TikTok compared to the video Andrea made in front of her bathroom mirror in her latest “Get ready with me.”

Here are some tips to win with TikTok Paid ads: 

  • Keep it simple. Your video should appear low-budget, mimicking typical user-generated content. Make sure your content aligns with what your ideal audience likes to consume. 
  • Less is more. TikTok has robust targeting options, allowing advertisers to segment their audiences. Don’t aim to reach 1M profiles. Instead, use targeting options to narrow your content based on age group, location, and audience interests. TikTok segmentation also enables the selection of phone types and cell phone companies.
  • Implement your research. Use what you learned from your demographic and psychographic research and add it to the segmentation option in the ads manager. 
  • Follow TikTok Guidelines. If you’re creating an ad on TikTok, you must follow all of TikTok’s copyright procedures. TikTok Ads has a great selection of approved music lists to use with each video.
  • Have a clear call to action. Make sure your CTA is clear and that any landing pages align with your offer.

Use TikTok analytic tools. TikTok Creative Center will help advertisers understand what type of content is working best in the app.

Tip #3: Create For Your Audience, Not to Go Viral

Nearly everyone equates TikTok success with going viral. Of course, having a viral video is a tremendous way to gain traction on TikTok, and some creators and brands are lucky enough to gain overnight fame with one video. Emphasis on the word “lucky.”

Going viral shouldn’t be your primary goal, especially not off the bat. It will happen naturally if your content is good and resonates with your audience. Plus, you won’t gain as many followers if you have one viral video but not much else to offer on your page. Why should users stick around if they’ve already seen the best you’ve got to offer?

How Jumping on Viral TikTok Trends Can Hurt Your Marketing Strategy

Don’t jump on a video trend just because everyone is doing it. Sure, you might get good impressions, but you risk attracting the wrong audience. Users who don’t fit your target demographic likely won’t interact with your videos—at least not in the ways you’d hope—which will tell TikTok that your content is either:

  1. Not good enough to show.
  2. Not meant for your target audience’s FYP.

This could hurt your TikTok marketing strategy in the long run. If you decide to hop on a trending video train, copy the style while adapting the message to your audience. When building your TikTok brand, your main goal is to be relatable rather than trendy.

How to Measure Success in TikTok Marketing

So you’ve posted a few videos and gained a decent following on TikTok. How do you know how well your page is performing?

Understanding TikTok analytics is vital for the success of your marketing strategy and future content creation. The following metrics will help you understand whether your video resonates with your targeted audiences.

  • Views: This is the total number of times your video has been watched. It’s obviously an important metric to track, as it shows how many eyeballs have been on your content.
  • Likes: The number of likes on a video indicates how many people enjoyed and engaged with your content. It also serves as a good measure of how relatable and entertaining your video is.
  • Comments: Comments show the level of engagement and interest from viewers. People who enjoy your video may comment to express support, share extra knowledge, or ask questions. If that is happening, you’re on the right track. Remember that haters will always hate; you may have negative comments, but that doesn’t mean your videos are bad. Plus, even negative comments will boost your video on the platform!
  • Shares: Shares are a great indicator of how strong and engaging your content is. If a user likes your video enough to share it, it resonates with them enough that they want their followers to see it, too. As a bonus, their following list is likely made up of members of your target audience. 
  • Completion rate: This metric shows the percentage of viewers who watched your entire video, indicating if it was engaging enough to keep their attention until the end.

For TikTok ads, there are a couple of extra metrics to pay attention to:

  • Conversions: The data that tells you how many times a user completed the CTA you had for them (filling out a contact form, completing a checkout process, etc.).
  • Cost per acquisition: This metric represents the cost of each goal completion. You get this number by dividing the total budget spent on the ad campaign by the total number of goal completions received.

The best way to win on TikTok is to relate to your target audience. But you can’t be relatable if you don’t know who they are. Take the time to research and understand your prospective followers, their interests, and what type of content they engage with. Then, use this knowledge to craft captivating and visually appealing videos that capture their attention.

When you prioritize your audience’s goals and needs over your sales offer, you’ll start to see success on the app. Remember, your marketing strategy shouldn’t be to go viral but to be helpful and build strong relationships with the users who matter most to your brand.

If you want help understanding how TikTok Ads work or need guidance on planning a TikTok marketing strategy, reach out here. We’ve got a whole team of social-savvy marketers eager to help you grow your TikTok page. Happy posting!


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