Evan Horowitz of Movers+Shakers: How TikTok Can Help Your Brand Drive Billions of Views
Written by: Satta Sarmah Hightower
“TikTok doesn't exist in a vacuum. TikTok offers you the opportunity to spark a cultural conversation that can flow well on and off the platform.” — Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers
In the nearly five years since its launch, TikTok has amassed over 689 million users in more than 150 markets, according to Business of Apps.
While tweens, teens, and millennials are flocking to the site, some brands are more cautiously wading in and trying to figure out how to incorporate the video sharing app into their consumer engagement, sales, and marketing strategies.
TikTok is now the fastest-growing social media platform in history, so brands can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines, says Evan Horowitz, CEO and co-founder of the creative agency Movers+Shakers, which created the most successful marketing campaign on TikTok ever.
Every day, millions of TikTok users post 15-second video clips that range from the inane to viral dance challenges, whipped coffee recipe videos, and time-warped before-and-after transformations, according to TikTok.
All of this content fits within TikTok’s mission to “inspire creativity and bring joy.” Horowitz says the platform has rapidly grown in recent years, but what’s even more interesting is that TikTok is also undergoing rapid demographic changes.
“What we saw over 2020 was just that it grew and aged out faster than any platform in history. In large part, this is fueled by everybody being at home,” Horowitz says. “While we entered 2020 with pretty much everyone on TikTok being Gen Z, leaving 2020 and now in 2021, only about half of TikTok is Gen Z. The other half is over 25.”
“What we expect is that this growth curve is going to continue. It's going to continue to age up,” Horowitz says. “And what that means for brands is that TikTok, which might not have been relevant to you in 2019, is now relevant for most brands because a big segment of their audience is spending a disproportionate amount of their social media hours on TikTok.”
5 Ways Brands Can Win on TikTok
Horowitz outlined five key ways brands can conquer TikTok.
Your brand can create its own branded page and organic content on TikTok. To do this, simply create an account, set up your profile and begin posting. Though TikTok offers several custom tools for brands, including real-time content performance metrics, it’s important to realize that posting your own organic content is just table stakes.
Horowitz says brands also can tap into TikTok’s robust influencer community to drive their strategy and increase their participation on the platform.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a good place to find influencers. Similar to how you’d execute your brand’s influencer strategy on Instagram or YouTube, find influencers who have a dedicated or niche following, but who also align with your core brand values and mission. Brands also should “focus on influencers who are native to TikTok, who really grew up there,” Horowitz says.
From there, you either can repost your chosen influencers’ content on your own brand page or commission influencers to create custom content for your brand page in your brand’s style and tone, which Horowitz says is much more effective.
Virtually every social media platform is now pay to play, and TikTok is no different. The company has what it calls in-feed ads, a traditional ad product that’s very similar to a Snapchat ad or an Instagram Story ad. You can either create your own ad using TikTok’s self-service ad platform or by collaborating with your creative agency. You can also reserve an ad slot by working directly with TikTok’s sales team.
“TikTok has unleashed a new dimension of vitality. On normal social media, if you make a video, that video can go viral — it could get 1 million or 10 million views, which is awesome.
But what TikTok brings to the table is that it’s normal on TikTok for people to then start creating [additional] videos to add another level of virality." — Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers
Horowitz adds that it’s typical for hundreds of thousands or even millions of users in the community to begin creating videos organically for a brand.
The best example of this is the branded campaign Movers+Shakers created for Elf Cosmetics. Elf’s #eyeslipsface campaign attracted over 3 million user-generated videos, over 4 billion views and scores of non-sponsored celebrity videos — making it the most successful TikTok marketing campaign in history.
“This is how we get to these billion-view campaigns. Movers+Shakers as an agency has actually passed 90 billion views on our TikTok campaigns. A lot of that is through this type of virology where we're unleashing a groundswell of TikTok community participation in joining the branded campaign,” Horowitz says.
Disruptive activations aren’t your typical 15-second video on TikTok.
Movers+Shakers has launched several of these activations, from the first-ever TikTok reality show, highlighted on Business Wire, to creating a holiday show for a client around the holiday season.
“It's just an out-of-the-box way to create engagement and entertainment on TikTok,” Horowitz says.
How to Shape Your Content Strategy on TikTok
As brands build their presence on TikTok, Horowitz says they should focus on telling an authentic story and being true to themselves. Whereas brand pages are highly curated on Instagram, on TikTok brands can be more approachable.
“Any marketer, after spending a little bit of time on TikTok, immediately understands how different the world is in terms of visual aesthetics, storytelling styles and cultural norms. You want to figure out how your branding translates into the TikTok world.” — Evan Horowitz, CEO of Movers+Shakers
Music is another important consideration. TikTok pays the license fee for consumers to add music to their videos and offers a royalty-free library for brands. However, companies creating branded content on the platform will need to buy their own license.
“Music is super important. That's the difference from other platforms like Instagram, where you can throw a royalty-free track on the back of a video and it’s cool,” Horowitz says. “When we’re developing TikTok videos [for clients], we're thinking about the music at the onset, because the music really helps tell the story on TikTok in a way that’s not really as relevant on Instagram.”
If your brand is deciding whether to launch a TikTok channel, Horowitz says it’s crucial to be “thoughtful and methodical about where you invest your time and energy.”
For big brands with big budgets, it may make sense to be as ubiquitous on TikTok as they are on other social media platforms. However, smaller brands with limited budgets will need to consider whether the platform aligns with their audience development and engagement goals.
“The guiding principle should be, ‘where is your consumer and where are they spending their time?’” Horowitz says. “That’s an assessment each brand has to think about with their audience.”
Watch the full webinar to gain insights into how your brand can successfully use the most popular social media app of all time to connect with your audience.