How to create a stellar TikTok affiliate marketing strategy
TikTok has officially grown up. The addictive app famous for its quirky dances and irreverent pranks has gone from a schoolyard obsession to a global phenomenon—and businesses have taken note. TikTok is widely used by both small companies and vast enterprises to expand brand recognition and drive sales.
However, the brands capitalizing on TikTok’s growth aren’t just self-promoting from company accounts: TikTok affiliate marketing is making waves as the way for businesses to resonate with (and expand) their audience, cultivate trust, strengthen credibility and increase profits.1 The same goes for affiliates.
The endeavor isn’t as complex as one might think. Read on to learn more about the power of TikTok affiliate marketing and our expert tips on crafting a strategy that’ll make competitors green with envy.
Back to basics: What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing brings momentum to lead generation and sales that most business owners have been dreaming of since they first had the seed of an idea for their companies.
Affiliate marketers are influencers that weave a company’s products and services into authentic conversations that are already happening online.2 An influencer will make money when a business makes money—and it’s this incentive that keeps them pumped about promoting affiliate links and products.
Nearly everyone who scrolls through social media, reads a blog post or goes online—period—encounters some breed of affiliate marketing. Whether it’s a beauty blogger touting a new body balm or a parent on IG raving about a children’s book their child adores, affiliate marketing is seen as an organic, persuasive way to:
- Attract user interest
- Compel sales
- (Most importantly) humanize brands
How to build a TikTok affiliate marketing strategy
Powerful TikTok marketing can be an incredibly profitable and cost-effective way to generate leads, keep pace with competitors and improve affiliate sales. Businesses making their first foray into the TikTok app can start by taking the steps below.
#1 Outline the partnership
Before even setting foot on this social media platform, every company needs a blueprint that outlines what they want to get out of their partnership.
Any agreement brands make with their affiliates should set forth the following parameters:
- Compensation and payment terms
- A description of how the brand wants to be represented
- Every affiliate product and/or service that will be promoted
- Any liabilities, warranties and/or confidentiality agreements
A friendly (virtual) handshake is one thing; a binding contract is another. Ideally, brands will work with a seasoned TikTok agency that can help them ensure both parties are protected.
#2 Zero in on the right affiliate(s)
Going with an influencer simply because they have an impressive TikTok account isn’t enough to justify a relationship. Whatever the industry, businesses need to seek out affiliates who:
- Are dialed into the business’s target audience demographic
- Demonstrate a high level of engagement with their followers
- Harmonize with the brand’s identity, voice, and mission
In many cases, a brand’s budget and influencer marketing spend affect how they precisely locate the best affiliates. Generally, partners are found directly or through an affiliate program.
Alternatively, businesses can work with a digital marketing agency that pairs them with the candidates that will best help meet their TikTok marketing goals.
#3 Harness analytics to monitor the campaign’s progress
They say what is not measured can’t be managed, and this certainly holds true for TikTok affiliate marketing.
Examining data to determine if the partnership is quantifiably helping brands gain ground is the only way to know if it’s working. It’ll also help a business figure out whether to extend the relationship or try a different influencer marketing strategy altogether.
Tips for TikTok affiliates
Affiliates stand the chance of earning a healthy commission, and TikTok affiliate marketing could very well serve as a sweet side hustle.
#1 Upgrade to a TikTok business account
Now is the time to set up a TikTok business account for affiliates who don’t yet have one. This will allow affiliates to include a link in their TikTok bio that sends users to one of the following:
- The merchant
- A custom landing page
- Personal websites
There are many similarities between Instagram vs. TikTok. For example, like Instagram, TikTok doesn’t permit affiliate links in videos or captions; give #linkinbio a try to ensure users proceed to the next step in the process. And affiliates who promote multiple products from multiple merchants should also set up Linktree, which will take TikTok app users to a landing page neatly displaying all the relevant links.
#2 Select products and services judiciously
An affiliate’s followers should dictate the types of products and services promoted. If their TikTok audience is female and between a senior in high school and a sophomore in college, marketing a high-end, pricey cream for fine lines and wrinkles or age-defying facials will likely garner an eye roll and potentially an unfollow.
To this end, affiliates need to examine their TikTok audience and what makes them tick (and Tok). This should include an assessment of their:
- Purchasing power
- Habits and passions
- Pain points
Uncertain? Explore who they follow and engage with the most on TikTok to gain insights into the type of products and services that will snag their attention.
#3 Weave in products and products seamlessly
Ideally, an affiliate will choose to promote a product or service they would purchase or use themselves; this will enhance the reliability of the recommendation and increase trust. If the merchant has offered coupon codes for followers, be sure to mention them in related affiliate video content.
#4 Concentrate on the video’s opening
Research from Meta indicates that the first 10 seconds of a video are the most impactful.3 While an entire TikTok video should be captivating—this is a no-brainer—paying close attention to the first few seconds could be the difference between a user choosing to keep scrolling or watching it in its entirety (and earning affiliates their commission). Along with an intriguing opening, it is also important to be aware of when to post on TikTok as the timing could also help you reach a wider audience.
Why use TikTok for affiliate marketing?
Instagram and Facebook have dominated the affiliate marketing scene since the marketing strategy entered the digital age — but TikTok is quickly becoming the hottest place for businesses to invest in third-party advertising.
Short-form video content—TikTok’s specialty—can be incredibly effective for businesses to drive impressions and brand awareness among active users.3 In turn, affiliates can earn a commission.
Here’s why TikTok is so promising:
- Tremendous reach – TikTok has grown exponentially since its launch in 2016. To date, the electrifying app sees one billion monthly active users around the globe.4 This might not compare to other social media titans—Facebook has 2.9 billion monthly active users; IG has 1.47 billion—but TikTok is also the youngest species in the social media ecosystem. For a business owner and affiliate, this translates to the potential to reach an enormous number of prospective consumers.
- Terrific engagement – TikTok may have fewer users than its older siblings, but TikTokers are substantially more committed (so to speak) and engaged: TikTok app users spend roughly 46 minutes on TikTok per day.4 By comparison, people spend an average of approximately 30 minutes on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Naturally, the more time a potential consumer spends on a site, the greater an affiliate’s chance of catching their attention and inviting engagement.
- High potential for profit – Ever heard of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt? This hashtag alone has drawn upwards of 4.6 billion views.5 According to the New York Times, TikTok has a ferocious capacity for moving products ranging from cosmetics and appliances to clothing and tech accessories.
Sure, TikTok is still governed by youngsters, with 25% of its users between the ages of 10 and 19, and 22.4% ranging from 20 to 29. But Millennials and Gen X (some with deeper pockets than younger generations) are increasingly getting in on the game:6
- 21.7% of TikTok users fall between 30 and 39 years old
- 20.3% are 40 to 49, and 11% are 50+
And a tremendous part of TikTok’s appeal is that many marketing strategies align with the app’s overall feel: It’s fun. It’s casual. And it is—or at least it feels—genuine.
Partner with Power Digital for potent TikTok affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing has fundamentally changed how consumers learn about brands, buy products and services and become loyal to a business. And as consumers steadily turn away from traditional advertising after decades of being deluged with a “have not” sensibility, they use social media platforms like TikTok and the people they follow and admire to make purchasing decisions.7
We’ll find the influencers that will perfectly align with your brand’s image and purpose, create a growth strategy and manage the program so that you can kick back and watch your business reach its potential. For affiliates, our digital marketing agency will help strengthen your online presence and keep building your business.
Reach out to us today to start the conversation.
- Business of Apps. Most popular apps (2022). https://www.businessofapps.com/data/most-popular-apps/
- Investopedia. Affiliate marketer: definition, examples and how to get started. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/affiliate-marketing.asp#:~:text
- Meta for Business. The value of video for brands. https://www.facebook.com/business/news/value-of-video
- Oberlo. 10 TikTok statistics. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/tiktok-statistics
- The New York Times. TikTok shopping and the rise of ‘social commerce.’ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/02/style/tiktok-shopping-viral-products.html
- Statista. U.S. TikTok users by age 2021. U.S. TikTok users by age 2021 | Statista
- Forbes. 4 ways social media influences millennials’ purchasing decisions. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewarnold/2017/12/22/4-ways-social-media-influences-millennials-purchasing-decisions/?sh=706f902d539f