How to Leverage TikTok to Engage Gen Z

Sparks Marketing
Branded Tik Tok Campaigns

Attention brands — if you’re searching for the right platform to reach Generation Z, look no further than the mega-popular social app TikTok. Downloaded over 1.2 billion times since its launch in 2017, the video sharing platform is currently dominating the social scene, especially among Gen Zers. In this post, we’re talking about branded TikTok campaigns.

The reasons behind the app’s surge in popularity have everything to do with its features, most of which cater directly to members of the younger generation. The app is all about short-form content, it’s simple to use, and given its overall viral nature, seems to offer a better opportunity to "go viral" and give users a chance to become social “influencers.”

“TikTok doesn't necessarily bring anything especially new to social media, but it brings together the most popular and Gen Z-adored features under one app,” notes Business Insider. “Vine's video snippets for copious amounts of content consumption; Instagram's user feeds for easily following influencers; Twitter’s trending hashtags for keeping up with what’s going viral; and video game-inspired techniques for encouraging in-app spending.”

Given it’s huge level of success, the app is showing no signs of going anywhere, anytime soon, making now the right time for brands to consider leveraging it if they want to engage Generation Z with branded TikTok campaigns. From creating original, viral content to instituting hashtag challenges, branded takeover ads, and more, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

“The app is attuned to modern usage trends, and caters to an audience looking for a new and exciting way to connect,” says Social Media Today. “And clearly, based on the download stats, it's hitting the right notes with users.”

Ready to explore three brands successfully utilizing TikTok to reach Generation Z with innovative marketing campaigns? Let’s go!

Westminster Kennel Club Celebrates Dogs

In today’s world of social media influencers, one sector that just keeps on growing is the pets space. Think about it, you (or someone you know) probably follow at least one pet-centric account on Instagram or another social channel. Pet influencers are everywhere on social media these days and that’s something the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and its partner social media agency, Glow, take into account to generate buzz and excitement for the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — a favorite annual event for people of all ages who are passionate about dogs. Who doesn’t love pet-centric branded TikTok campaigns?!

“Every year, we're looking into how we can expand the social presence while keeping the mission of the Westminster Kennel Club in mind, which is celebrating companionship of dogs,” Sarah Pine, Glow's director of account services, says to Mobile Marketer. “A big part of that is, how do we reach new and younger audiences,’ both bringing to them information about responsible pet ownership, but also awareness to the brand and show.”

Naturally, Glow and Westminster take to TikTok to launch a buzzy social campaign that gets people hyped about the 2020 show, with its first video generating more than 20,000 views in just 24 hours.

“For Westminster, Glow’s goal is to insert dog content into whatever is trending on TikTok and to join conversations that are happening on the platform,” notes Mobile Marketer.

The campaign is all about celebrating the dogs competing in the show in a way that’s fun and most importantly, resonant with members of Gen Z — all wins for branded TikTok campaigns.

“A TikTok video of Loki the golden retriever lounging on a couch with a bag of Fritos, interspersed with shots of flawlessly groomed dogs completing obstacles at the 2020 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — the caption, ‘my dog’ versus ‘other dogs’” — has garnered over 367,000 views from Gen Zers on the platform; some feat for an event that tends to attract an older audience,” notes Ad Age on the types of videos being shared in the Westminster Tik Tok campaign — in this case Loki, being shared by pet influencer Jaden Kinglsey (currently at 991,000 followers) who’s working the show this year.

By combining pets, social influencers in the pet space with sizable Tik Tok followings, videos that hit all the right notes with members of Gen Z (including researching accompanying songs Gen Zers are loving), Westminster sees its TikTok account grow to over 5,000 followers and generate over 28,000 likes — impressive and a totally “pawesome” example in the world of branded TikTok campaigns!

Get an even deeper dive into the show’s successful TikTok campaign here.

Chipotle and the #GuacDance Challenge

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Generation Z is completely obsessed with . . . avocados! So what better way to reach them on their favorite app than to celebrate National Avocado Day? Chipotle does just that, taking to TikTok to celebrate the “holiday” with a “GuacDance” challenge, encouraging users to show off their love of guacamole through dance. The challenge generates over 250,000 submissions and 430 million video views during its six-day run — amazing metrics when you’re talking branded TikTok campaigns.

“The campaign [is] TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the U.S. The promotion result[s] in Chipotle’s biggest guacamole day ever, with more than 800,000 sides of the condiment served,” notes Mobile Marketer. “The quick-service chain's avocado usage jump[s] 68% to 18,500 cases, or more than 420,000 pounds of the fruit, for National Avocado Day on July 31.”

What’s more, the challenge features the viral “Guacamole Song” by musician Dr. Jean, adding to its viral hype. Chipotle also takes advantage of prominent YouTube influencers Loren Gray and Brent Rivera to generate even more hype for the challenge.

Guac AND dancing? A win in the world of branded TikTok campaigns!

Hyundai and the Super Bowl

What do people look forward to the most during the Super Bowl aside from the game itself? The commercials! And in 2020, Hyundai does not disappoint, generating large amounts of buzz with a campaign that features several prominent Boston celebrities, including Rachel Dratch, John Krasinksi, and more. To generate even more excitement for the commercial, Hyundai uses TikTok, becoming the first automotive brand to dive into the world of branded TikTok campaigns.

“Hyundai's TikTok video stars former ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member Rachel Dratch, who also appears in the Super Bowl spot, completing the #onedayafterwatching challenge,” notes Mobile Marketer..“The popular TikTok challenge urges people to share videos of how watching a TV show or movie changes their behaviors.” In a meaningful move, we see how spending time in Boston to film the Hyundai Super Bowl spot helps Dratch reconnect with her childhood home.

The goal of the TikTok campaign is all about engagement and sharing as it hops on an already established challenge on the platform.

Another stellar example in the realm of branded Tik Tok campaigns, especially one that’s all about storytelling and sharing.

When it comes to engaging Generation Z on the social media platforms it gravitates to most, a powerful route is building a TikTok campaign — and it’s something more and more brands are utilizing.

“While it might be challenging to get your content to go viral like the bigger brands, TikTok could be a great tool for getting into sync with younger audiences,” notesHubspot. “And since the app is so new, you can pretty much experiment with any strategy you want to see if it works.”

Tik Tok branded campaigns appear to be the route of the future and when it comes to your next promotion, there’s no time like the present to experiment with this ever-growing platform if you want to engage with Generation Z!