A simple 3-step process to figure out which one fits the bill.
Just the other day, I had a huge dilemma at work.
I was busy preparing the brief for my upcoming campaign, minding my own business when my manager casually sauntered up to my desk and said: “How about we try engaging TikTok influencers this time round? We’ve never done it, but I think we can give it a go.”
I was thrown. For the past five years, my brand has mainly stuck to using Instagram-native influencers to promote our launches and campaigns. And we were pretty successful — and comfortable — with it.
On the other hand, branching out to TikTok was like exploring a foreign, unfamiliar land to me. A really scary, unforgiving land.
Sure, I’m no stranger to spending an exorbitant number of hours a day idly scrolling on the platform (as we all do), but to actually do marketing on it? That I wasn’t sure if I could pull off.
But that got me thinking: how do brands actually figure out if influencers from a platform are good for them?
Do successful brands usually lean toward engaging influencers from one particular platform for more effective marketing? Or is it all about having a good mix of both — using them interchangeably depending on the situation?
So if you’ve been having the same dilemma as me, not to worry. After some extensive research, I’ve come up with what I feel is a pretty straightforward way for you to access how suitable influencer marketing on each platform is for your brand.
And here’s the simple 3-step process:
It’s actually quite easy to convince yourself that your brand should engage Tik Tok influencers.
After all, the platform’s stats are pretty darn impressive.
It currently boasts 1 billion monthly active users, with almost 200 million videos being watched per minute. And these stats are only going to get even better this year.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that many brands are clamoring to get a piece of this new and uprising customer-attention pie.
But here’s where I’ve got to stop you before you get too far ahead of yourself.
Before we even delve into the differences between an Instagram influencer versus a Tik Tok influencer, we need to be crystal clear on one thing: who is your customer persona?
You need to have a very clear picture in your head of your customer persona: from his/her demographics to his interests, hobbies, goals, and pain points.
Why is this so important?
Simple. The type of people that uses Instagram actually varies quite largely from the ones on Tik Tok. Have a look at this diagram of user ages between the two platforms below:
Now, if say your ideal customer persona is a 50-year-old person, you’re more likely to gain traction on Instagram as compared to Tik Tok.
Engaging a slew of Tik Tok influencers on a platform where your audience is most likely not going to be on just doesn’t make much sense.
Conversely, if your brand is highly geared toward Gen Zs, then you might be better off curating and creating content for that target group.
To sum up, this first step is for you to stop yourself from following the hype and really ask yourself: is this platform even suitable for my customer persona?
Don’t just engage Tik Tok influencers to appear in trend or cool — that usually backfires quickly.
Now that we’ve got the first step out of the way, the next thing you’ve got to ask yourself is: what’s my main goal for my campaign/launch?
Because your answer will determine which platform is more suitable for your objectives. Here’s how each platform differs:
- TikTok: TikTok is well-known for its short and innovative video material. The content here is usually more geared toward humor or entertainment, and it’s been that way for a while. The potential for campaigns to go viral can be incredibly high.
- Instagram: On the other hand, Instagram is the product of months of work by influencers. Influencer campaigns may or may not go viral, depending on the influencer’s popularity. If anything, Instagram is more about style and imagery than it is about everyday content.
So how do you decide which platform suits your objectives (assuming both platforms fit your brand)?
For example, if the whole purpose of your campaign is to raise awareness quickly of a product or brand message (and hopefully go viral), your best bet would be Tik Tok. With the way its algorithm works, you’re very likely to see some success in that area as compared to Instagram.
However, if your campaign is to engage in long-term gradual brand image building, Instagram would be a better fit.
With the more carefully curated nature of influencers there, you’ll get a more consistent and aesthetic image that matches what you’re aiming for.
In a nutshell, be very clear on what you’re aiming for your campaign — because the last thing you want to do is to set out on a platform that doesn’t match your goals.
Before you get all pumped up that you finally have a clearer idea of your influencer platform of choice, there’s one more thing to keep in mind: what content do you want the influencers to create?
Because there’s a VAST difference in the type of content that Instagram influencers make versus TikTok influencers, as well as their nature.
Here are the four main ones:
- Type of Content: Instagram influencers are all about carefully curated content. On the other hand, TikTok ones are raw, homegrown, and insistent on entertaining their audience — which means fewer edits and filters and keeping things organic.
- Following Trends: Instagram influencers are less invested in trends, rather they are focused on keeping their personal image aligned to the brands. Tik Tok influencers, however, are ALL about hopping on the latest hashtag challenges and keeping in trend.
- Audio: Instagram influencers are less audio-focused in their content, while TikTok influencers are more audio-centric.
- Competition: Instagram influencers are in a highly competitive market, whereas TikTok influencers are considered a fairly new and upcoming thing.
Bear these four in mind when you’re crafting the deliverables for your campaign.
Most importantly, as I’ve mentioned before, DON’T chase the hype. Rather, choose the best one that really fits your brand and your campaign objectives.
Hopefully, these three steps have simplified your decision in choosing the right platform of influencers for your brand.
And at the end of the day, there might be no right answer. After all, I’ve seen some brands challenge the norm and have been wildly successful on platforms that no one expected them to be.
If anything, I daresay you’re more aware of the difference in influencers between each platform.
Here are the three steps for your reference:
- Clarify your customer persona
- Set objectives for your campaign/launch
- Set content deliverables
How do you know which platform to turn to for your influencer marketing? I’d love to see your ideas in the comment section below!