TikTok Marketing – An Inside Look At How Brands Have Found Success

There is no denying the ample amount of controversy surrounding the Chinese-owned app, TikTok. Although the future of the app remains uncertain, there is one thing we know for sure: over the past few months, TikTok has become an extremely powerful marketing tool. 

TikTok Marketing

TikTok Marketing Quickly Became A Valuable Tool

With over 800 million monthly active users and an average daily view time of 52 minutes, TikTok has become the latest go-to social media platform. This is especially true in regards to Gen Z. This generation lives on this app. Since Gen Z and young millennials make up most of the app, this has provided brands a very unique opportunity. By taking advantage of TikTok marketing, companies were able to reach new audiences they hadn’t reached on other social media outlets.¹

CEO, Keith Kakadia of Sociallyin stated, “Capturing the younger audience can mean the difference between life and death for your brand and TikTok gives businesses the opportunity of life in another generation.”

How Brands Can Market On TikTok

There are a few different options when it comes to marketing on TikTok.

  1. The brand can create their own channel
  2. The brand can work with influencers
  3. The brand can pay to advertise on TikTok

For the most part, a lot of brands do a combination of their own channels and working with influencers. This gives them the greatest ability to spread content to the broadest audience possible.

Brands Succeeding On TikTok

While TikTok might not be an appropriate marketing tool for every brand, there is still large number of brands finding success on the social media app. Keep reading as we discuss a few brands that stand out on the app.


For over a year, Chipotle has been leveraging their presence on the app to engage young people. And now, they are one of the most followed brands on TikTok. The brand has seen an extraordinary amount of success when it comes to TikTok Challenges. These Challenges are a crucial part of the social media platform. It’s essentially a creative prompt that results in thousands of responses from creators who have put their own unique spin on the given prompt.

TikTok Marketing

The Lid Flip Challenge

The first Challenge from Chipotle was inspired by one of their very own employees who had a rather unique way of assembling burrito bowls. However, the brand knew that simply developing a Challenge is pointless unless you’re able to convince TikTok users to partake in the Challenge. This led to Chipotle enlisting the help of well-known Gen Z creators such as Gilmher Croes.


I Love @chipotle 🤩 I challenge you to try the #chipotlelidflip , can you do it?🤣 #ad

♬ Flip – Future

Chipotle launched the #LidFlipChallenge to celebrate free delivery for digital orders for Cinco de Mayo. And to join in the lid flipping fun, all users needed was a phone and a Chipotle burrito bowl.

This challenge was extremely successful. In just the first six days, 111,000 videos were submitted. This resulted in 104 million video views. And even more impressive, the views on this Challenge hit 268 million just a month later. In addition to all the views, the Lid Flip Challenge created a record-breaking digital sales day.²

National Avocado Day

In honor of National Avocado Day, Chipotle created the #GuacDance Challenge. Working with TikTok creators Brent Rivera and Loren Grey, they asked guac fans to put their own flair on Dr. Jean’s viral dance hit as a tribute to guacamole on the one-day guac isn’t extra at Chipotle.

Over 500 million impressions from 250k fan-submitted videos were generated by this Challenge.

The Washington Post

The Washington Post is using TikTok to show you the real people behind journalism. Rather than sharing serious videos on the app, the company takes a more light-hearted approach. This can easily be seen in a number of their videos.

@washingtonpost𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. ##tigerking♬ Lion King – reggiefisher15

@washingtonpostCut off my own head in photoshop, please enjoy♬ Banana Boat (Day-O) – Harry Belafonte

Attracting A New Generation

They are a perfect example of how a company can succeed on a given social media platform by talking directly to the apps specific audience. The brand is extremely aware of the generations using TikTok which is why they have tailored their content to a younger viewer.

By adding TikTok marketing to their strategy, The Washington Post is attracting young readers. While some may say their videos may lack the traditional professionalism of a newsroom, younger generations don’t see it this way. Now young viewers see a company full of individuals that they can relate to.

e.l.f. Cosmetics

With the right strategy, cosmetic companies can do very well on TikTok. The social media platform is a natural fit for this industry as transformation-style videos are extremely popular as well as health and beauty tutorials/recommendations.


Sound is a key part of TikTok, which is why e.l.f. decided to commission a song called “Eyes Lips Face” (the brand name’s acronym). The brand then asked fans to post videos using the song and show off their “(s)e.l.f. confident moves.”

“My personal favorite TikTok campaign done by a brand up to this point is the “Eyes, Lips, Face” hashtag challenge put on by E.L.F cosmetics.”

    – Keith Kakadia, CEO, Sociallyin

It was an instant success. The challenge became so popular that celebrities such as including Jessica Alba and even Terry Crews joined in on the fun. As of today, this was the fastest-growing TikTok campaign of all time. And, according to a press release from e.l.f., the TikTok community contributed nearly 5 million videos, reaching 6 billion views.

@terrycrews##eyeslipsface I’M SO PRETTY.!##budgetfashion #♬ Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.) – iLL Wayno & Holla FyeSixWun

TikTok Marketing At Its Excellence

TikTok has the power to make songs go viral. “Say So” by Doja Cat is a perfect example of that. So when e.l.f. opted to commission their own catchy song, that was TikTok marketing at its best. And on top of that, the song ensures that users never forget what their name stands for.

A Social Media Professional’s Opinion

When asked about his favorite TikTok marketing moment, Kakadia responded the following: “My personal favorite TikTok campaign done by a brand up to this point is the “Eyes, Lips, Face” hashtag challenge put on by e.l.f. cosmetics. They went into the campaign with a goal of 1 billion views and came out with nearly 3.5 billion views.”

He added, “With a median viewing time of around 3-5 seconds, you have to be on the ball when it comes to content or your efforts will be wasted. This is why going the extra mile, (like hiring a songwriter, rapper or graphic designer) to take your filters, music and video efforts to the next level can make or break your TikTok campaign.”

Does TikTok Fit Your Brand?

Not every brand is going to find a natural fit with TikTok. One of the best ways to figure out if TikTok is right for your company is to take a look at your Twitter account. Does your brand have a lively persona? If you’re taking risks on Twitter to connect with your audience, then TikTok is most likely an appropriate tool to add to your existing marketing strategy.

“If you are a brand with a history of creating light hearted content that has entertainment value, then TikTok has been a great platform for reaching your audience.”

    – Peter Bray, CEO, Bray & Co.

The CEO of Bray & Co., Peter Bray added, “If you are a brand with a history of creating light hearted content that has entertainment value, then TikTok is a great platform for reaching your audience. However, for most brands TikTok isn’t appropriate . . . yet, which is why less than 5% of brands have used TikTok as part of their marketing strategy.”

However, as seen with The Washington Post, even a professional brand can find a way to make TikTok fit into their marketing strategy.

Seek Help From The Experts

Interested in adding TikTok to your marketing strategy? Be sure to use Agency Spotter to find the perfect social media agency to help you tackle the unknown.


¹ Later | ² Shorty Awards |

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Nicole Schuster
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