September 22, 2022 Digital communications | Content

TikTok + Employer branding = True?

By Freja Nilsson

TikTok is the second biggest social media platform behind Instagram, and for many of us, it's a bit unknown. Contrary to common belief, TikTok is not just for teens who can't wait to post their next lip sync challenge. Today it has one billion monthly visits, with users of all ages.

Companies have started to build a presence on TikTok for different reasons, some want to spread knowledge about their products/services, and some want to show who they are as an employer. On TikTok you have a chance to reach thousands of potential candidates, but don't be on there without planning. In this article, we have gathered some best practices for success and tips on how to succeed when building your employer brand on TikTok.

Since 2020, the popularity of TikTok has dramatically increased, and as of January 2022, TikTok has one billion monthly active users. On TikTok, you can find videos about anything from cute animal videos, cleaning tips, conspiracy theories and, of course, dancing to trending sounds. Since TikTok's algorithm is extremely fast and adapts the content shown to you in seconds based on what you watch, the experience is unique for every user. According to Later, the TikTok algorithm recommends videos to the users based on the following factors:

  1. User activity (likes, shares, comments and re-watches)
  2. The subject matter (Caption keywords, Sounds, Hashtags, Effects, Content, i.e video transcripts)
  3. Location and Language
  4. Audio (sounds tend to trend and be very popular for a short time)
  5. "Not interested feedback" (for example, videos being skipped through)

The benefits of using video on social media are many, and earlier this year, our Copywriter and Web Editor Matilda Ekström wrote about how to engage your audiences on social media with video. What's unique with Tiktok (in addition to the algorithms) is that you have even less time to capture the attention of your audiences than on other social media platforms. The users scroll through the feed at a very fast pace. You have no more than a few seconds to capture the attention of your audience, research made by Meta shows that you have around 1-3 seconds to hook the users before they move on to the next video in the feed.

You might wonder who actually is using TikTok and if your target audience is there. It is a common assumption that only teenagers are using TikTok; that might have been true in the early days but isn't anymore. Here are some TikTok demographics from July and 2022:

  • TikTok is available in 150 countries, with most users in the U.S, Indonesia and Brazil. In Europe, the app was installed 102 million times last year.
  • 57% of TikTok users are female, and 43% are male.
  • 421.1 million users aged 18 to 24
  • 306.7 million users aged 25 to 34
  • 135.8 million users aged 35 to 44
  • 75.3 million users aged 45 to 54
  • 83.6 million users aged 55 and above
  • The average user opens the app 8 times a day
Statistics showing demographics of TikTok users

Source: Statista

It is already known that TikTok is an excellent platform for entertainment, and that was mainly what it was initially used for. However, more and more large corporations are using TikTok for both creating brand awareness and for employer branding. Some companies have succeeded and gotten millions of followers, for example, RyanAir (1,8 million followers), Duolingo (4,8 million followers) and The Washington Post (1,4 million followers). But how do you succeed as a company on TikTok and avoid the risk of being "cancelled"? How can you use TikTok to position your company as an attractive employer?

There is no straight answer to those questions, but this article will give you some insight into the niche of corporate TikTok and give you some tips on things to do and to avoid when posting on TikTok.

Corporate TikTok

On TikTok, content is commonly divided into different niches, such as "dancing", "cooking", and "cleaning" where the different niches have their own hashtags. For example, cleaning has the hashtag #cleantok (with 49,5 billion views). One niche is "corporate TikTok", which in short, is about people working in the corporate world sharing funny and relatable videos about, for example, working from home.

There are some creators in this niche that have been really successful, and the people behind the accounts have become influencers sponsored by, companies such as Microsoft. Some examples of corporate TikTok creators are @corporatenatalie (430 k followers), @loewhaley (2.7 million followers) and @Rod (1.5 million followers). The target audience is mainly millennials 25-35 years old that still are new in the corporate world. However, these creators only represent themselves and not the companies they are working for. Still, this niche shows a place on TikTok for content related to the corporate world (if you do it right).

Screenshot from TikTok - CorporateNatalie
Screenshot from TikTok
Screenshot from TikTok


Why use TikTok for employer branding?

There are several reasons why you should consider using TikTok as a part of your employer branding strategy. Of course, it depends on which categories of employees you are looking for. If you only seek senior executives, TikTok might not be the best option. However, most companies seek employees of a wide range of ages and experience levels. TikTok could also be used for promoting certain parts of your company as an employer, for example, a trainee or graduate program.

In our latest Careers survey, we noticed that jobseekers are showing increased scepticism towards employer branding initiatives that are perceived as too commercial and thus untrustworthy. The videos posted on TikTok are the opposite. They are often filmed with a smartphone camera and should be perceived as effortless as possible. This gives your company the possibility to show a more personal and "real" side of your company by letting your employees create the videos themselves. However, this requires that you trust your employees enough to let them control your TikTok account. It also requires that you are prepared to show a more humorous side of your company by letting your employees participate in trends.

TikTok also creates the opportunity to connect with younger audiences that might not be the right age to apply for a job at your company, but you could still work with building awareness of your company. A strong presence on TikTok can also help you build trust with potential hires and employees by creating a consistent image for your company. It can also help you reach new people who may not have seen your ads in the past or who don't have time to read through job descriptions on other sites.

But there's more than just having a presence on TikTok—you need to make sure that what you're posting is accurate, engaging, and true to your brand values. The types of content that companies who use TikTok for employer branding use are varied. Some companies post content about what it is like working at the company (showing office surroundings etc.) but the content that tends to succeed the most is when the employees post relatable content or participate in different trends. Some examples of companies that have succeeded with their efforts on TikTok are:

Yellow Express

Yellow Express is an Australian parcel delivery company that managed to get 3.6 million likes and 25,6 million views on this TikTok with the caption "When the marketing girl comes downstairs to make us do her stupid TikToks" and then showing the other workers in the office being tired of always being needed to participate in TikToks. The video was related to a trending sound, so they created the perfect combination of taking up a trend and making it relatable for their company.

Screenshot from TikTok
Screenshot from Yellow Express' TikTok

Biteable

Biteable is a company that does an online video maker and have taken another approach when it comes to their TikTok account. There is only one person posting, and her content is more about personal and relatable struggles that she experiences as a young person being new in the corporate world while working at the company. She uses ironic captions such as "send help" and hashtags such as #corporateproblems #corporatelife.

Screenshot from TikTok
Screenshot from TikTok

I Love My Job

I Love My job isa recruitment agency based in the UK that managed to combine a trending sound, "This is How We Do It" by showing the perks of working at their company. This video shows the employee dancing and celebrating that she finally has found a job that offers a great culture. The video received 268 positive comments praising the importance of good company culture.

Screenshot from TikTok
Screenshot from TikTok - comments on Yellow Express page

KPMG Switzerland

A company that hasn't succeeded with their employer branding initiative on TikTok (yet) is KPMG Switzerland. Why? Some of the content posted is far-fetched and difficult to understand, and some content tries to be relatable but fails.

An example of a TikTok that hasn't gotten any reach is this video of two employees standing up and working and then doing a handstand, and the sound is a remix of the Stranger Things theme song. The sound has nothing to do with the content shown in the video, and it is unclear how flexible working relates to the content shown in the video. The message of the video thus is hard to understand, which can explain why it didn't succeed.

Screenshot from KPMG's TikTok

TikTok do's and don'ts

Choosing to be present on a new social media channel can feel scary and overwhelming, and it is also associated with some risks. What if the content you spend time and effort on creating doesn't succeed?

Here are some tips when creating videos on TikTok as a company:

  • Don't try too hard: Do not spend too much money and effort on your videos since it will be very clear to the users that the video was created for commercial purposes. Avoid showing logos and other kinds of branding.
  • Don't be too serious: TikTok is not the place for serious, corporate videos. You need to show a more relaxed and funny side of your company. If you're not prepared to do that, then TikTok is not the right channel for you.
  • Be fast: Trends on TikTok generally only live for a few weeks, so it is important to pick up things fast, create the videos, and get them approved and posted. If you jump on a trend too late, chances are high that you will receive negative feedback; if that is the case, it is better not to post that trend at all. It is also still possible for your company to be seen as an early adopter if you start working with your presence on TikTok now.
  • Have trust: To be able to post content fast, you need to choose someone that you trust to manage your TikTok account so that that person can work independently to create the content fast. Since it often is the employees themselves being shown in the videos, you need to trust them.
  • Look at what others are doing: If you have no idea where to start, start by doing your own research and see what kind of videos succeed and don't succeed. Look at other companies that have succeeded on TikTok for inspiration (Walmart, Ryanair and Duolingo, all have over 1 million followers) and companies within your industry.

Other examples of large international corporations on TikTok:

What's next?

If you need help building your employer brand, Comprend has plenty of talented consultants ready to help. We have helped many companies build their employer brands, for example, Spirit Energy, and we also have updated Webranking research about what jobseekers expect from companies. Get in touch!

Charlotte Naversten

Charlotte Naversten

Content strategist

charlotte.naversten@comprend.com

+46 73 985 55 77

Cola Herrero-Driver

Cola Herrero-Driver

Head of Client Services

cola.herrero-driver@comprend.com

+44 (0)20 8609 4911

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