TikTok Influencer Marketing Guide: The Best Strategy + Examples in 2023

Table of Contents

Woman using TikTok for an influencer marketing campaign on her phone

TikTok is quickly becoming the most popular social media platform, especially among young audiences, and it has huge potential for influencer marketing thanks to its algorithm.

In this article, we will show you everything you need to know to be successful at TikTok influencer marketing.

Why you should be doing TikTok influencer marketing

The first reason is its popularity. TikTok has approximately 150 million monthly active U.S. users and it continues to grow. 

But not only that, small influencers have engagement rates of 17.96% on TikTok, 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube. On the other hand, big influencers have engagement rates of 4.96% on TikTok, 1.21% on Instagram, and 0.37% on YouTube.

What does that mean? It means 2 things.

First, much more people engage with influencers of any size on TikTok compared to other social networks. And secondly, smaller influencers on TikTok do very well. 

What makes this platform unique is that even someone with 0 followers has the potential of becoming viral and getting millions of views. Believe it or not, this is very common on TikTok. You might have heard about this “virality” component.

Below we explain how this mysterious algorithm works.

Now combine this with the fact that in early 2020, TikTok reached a total lifetime user spending of $300 million dollars in Google Play and the App Store.

Types of influencers

Before you continue, you need to understand the different types of influencers there are:


      • Nano-influencers: 1,000 – 10,000 followers

      • Micro-influencers: 10,000 – 50,000 followers

      • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000 – 500,000 followers

      • Macro influencers: 500,000 – 1 million followers

      • Mega influencers: 1 million – 5 million followers

      • Celebrity influencers: Over 5 million followers

    This is the accurate categorization, however, you will hear a lot of people grouping the first 3 types of influencers as “micro-influencers”.

    Smaller influencers are becoming more popular in recent years for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they are seen as more authentic by people. This happens due to the fact that they don’t have massive followings and they don’t usually work with brands.

    This contributes to the second reason, which is their higher engagement rates than big influencers.

    Since they are seen as more authentic, their followers feel a stronger connection. This makes people more likely to convert to customers.

    And as we mentioned before, micro-influencers have a massive potential in TikTok.

    On the other hand, big influencers are able to individually reach more people. Which is great for brand awareness.

    Their disadvantage is that they usually charge a lot more than small influencers, so you need to make sure that their engagement and conversion rates are appropriate before hiring them.

    How much do TikTok influencer marketing cost

    To give you an idea of how much do TikTok influencers charge, we gathered some estimations. These should help you set your expectations, however, they aren’t exact figures.


        • Nano-influencers: $5 – $25 

        • Micro-influencers: $25 – $250

        • Mid-tier influencers: $250 – $2,500

        • Macro-influencers: $2,500 – $5,000

        • Mega-influencers: $5,000 – $25,000

        • Celebrity influencers: Over $25,000

      In some cases, instead of cash payments, you can offer free products, discounts, or commissions as the compensation method.

      How the TikTok algorithm works

      In the beginning, there was a lot of confusion surrounding the TikTok algorithm since many people with virtually no following could get huge numbers of views.

      However, now we have a better idea thanks to a press release from TikTok showing how they recommend videos to users.

      What they showed is that they are able to understand your interests very well.

      These are the main factors that influence content recommendations:

      1. User interaction

      The strongest indicator of interest for TikTok is how users interact with the videos. The algorithm takes into account your likes, comments, shares, follows, videos you upload, and most importantly watch time.

      The last one means that TikTok identifies you are interested in a certain topic when you watch a video from beginning to end.

      That’s why it seems like after you watch a single cooking video, suddenly all your For You page is full of cooking videos.

      It’s also why TikTok is so good at retaining people’s attention.

      2. Video details

      TikTok also takes into account the hashtags, captions, and sounds you engage with. Then, it recommends content with similar details.

      3. Device and account settings

      Have you noticed that TikTok recommends content from people in your city? That’s because the algorithm uses your location, language settings, and device type to make hyper-personalized suggestions.

      This factor is helpful for local businesses because their content will be shown to people in the same location.

      4. Other factors

      As a business trying to hire a TikTok influencer, you might be wondering, does the number of followers affect the algorithm? 

      In short, the answer is no. Followers and past video performance do not influence the algorithm. This is why everyone has an opportunity to get potentially millions of views.

      And that’s basically what we know about the TikTok algorithm at the moment. With this in mind, what is the best strategy for TikTok influencer marketing?

      The best TikTok influencer marketing strategy

      Best content for TikTok

      While the algorithm is very impressive, and sometimes it feels like any video could become viral, the reality is that you need to have a plan.

      The successful content on TikTok is different from other social media. And it’s because it follows a trend that we are seeing a lot in consumer behavior. A want for authenticity. 

      So this must be your main focus when you start marketing on TikTok. The more authentic you are, the better your chances of success.

      Need examples of authentic branded content? Check these ones out:

      The last example has 2.5 million views at the moment.

      As you can see, people prefer video content that feels human and without a million-dollar production behind it.

      You also need to create content that is interesting to your target market. The algorithm detects any signal of interest, so using trending hashtags, sounds, and getting people to watch from beginning to end is crucial.

      Best TikTok influencers and collaborations

      Should you go for small or big influencers? Taking into account the statistics we shared before, small-to-medium influencers are your best bet. Generally, they are less expensive and more authentic.

      However, you need to understand that short-term collaborations aren’t ideal on this platform. Instagram is the place for that type of campaign.

      But on TikTok, long-term partnerships work best based on everything we mentioned before.

      Let’s think about it for a second. If you pay for one post, it might not get the attention you expected due to the algorithm. Also, it could come across as not authentic.

      On the other hand, in long-term collaborations with people that actually like your products, the content will feel much more authentic. And even if a couple of posts don’t have much reach, it’s still TikTok. You have a good chance of striking gold with a viral and authentic piece of content.

      Many brands go through the effort of discovering, recruiting, tracking, and building a relationship with influencers and then just move on. Instead, whenever you are trying to hire influencers, think of it as a long-term partnership where both parties grow together. 

      Note: When you work on a long-term basis with any influencers, then they can be called brand ambassadors, but it’s the same thing.

      How to start a TikTok influencer marketing campaign

      In terms of setting up a campaign, TikTok influencer marketing works the same as in other social media networks.

      1. Planning

      The first stage of the process is planning. Here, you need to define the goals of your strategy as well as the metrics you want to measure in order to determine if the campaign has been successful.

      Ultimately, you want to increase sales, however, it shouldn’t be your only goal. Increasing brand awareness and building your community are other goals you should include as well.

      2. Finding TikTok influencers

      Then, you need to find the influencers that fit your strategy the best. To do this, brands typically search on the platform or get recommendations from other brands. 

      But for TikTok, the best method is to look at your customer base. Your main goal is to produce content that feels authentic, and who better to talk highly about your brand than a loyal customer?

      3. Tracking

      To optimize your campaign, you will need to track your influencers’ performance. Basically, you need referral links to track sales and clicks to your site. If you are also looking to build your community, then you should track your followers, subscribers, etc.

      The metrics you track will depend on your goals.

      TikTok influencer marketing tool

      SocialLadder is an influencer management platform that allows you to do the following things:


          • Discover ideal influencers in your customer base

          • Review applications

          • Communicate with every influencer from the same place

          • Let influencers create referral links to any product on your site

          • Track sales and clicks giving you a clear ROI for each influencer

          • And more

        1 TikTok influencer marketing tip

        TikTok knows what works best in their platform, and they know that authenticity goes a long way. 

        TikTok says it best on the homepage for their business platform:

        Don't make Ads. Make TikToks

        Make sure you follow their advice.

        Download our free ambassador ROI calculator!
        Great for budgeting and understanding ambassador value





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