TikTok is in its prime right now, but it won’t last forever. Rather than make predictions about when this reign will end, start focusing on how you can extract the most opportunities out of this channel for your brand.

Applying to TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is your first port of call to begin with TikTok influencer marketing. Read on to learn the benefits of the Creator Marketplace, how it works, and how you can join it.

We’ll also share the exact method we use to find and vet influencers on the platform, as well as tips to get started with your own TikTok influencer marketing.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media app known for its short, viral, and entertaining videos. Length ranges from 15 seconds to 10 minutes long. Covering topics from cooking demos to beauty tutorials, comedy sketches to dance routines, and more.

Since its debut in 2018, TikTok has grown at mind numbing speed to one billion active users. If you’re not an active TikTok user, it’s hard to comprehend how content creators, with a small follower base, manage to generate millions of views overnight.

That’s the beauty of TikTok. Content can go viral regardless of how many followers the creator has, which follows TikTok’s philosophy that good content will travel far.

Millennials fueled the rise of Facebook and Instagram. Now Generation Z is fueling the rise of TikTok, with 60% of TikTok’s active users being Gen Z.

McKinsey & Company research shows “searching for truth” is at the root of all Gen Z’s behavior. They value authenticity and expression of individualism.

An important insight to acknowledge, as these behaviors influence how they consume and build relationships with your brand.

It’s no wonder why TikTok has been able to create such a lucrative opportunity for brands. And they’ve done this by facilitating brand-influencer partnerships through its Creator Marketplace.

What is TikTok’s Creator Marketplace?

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace (TCM) exists within TikTok’s ecosystem as its own influencer marketing platform. Its goal: to nurture partnerships between brands and high-quality content creators.

TCM has given content creators a place to sell their content and collaborate with brands. Vice versa, it’s provided brands a place to find talented creators to collaborate on brand campaigns and repurpose high-performing organic assets into TikTok ads.

The Benefits of the TikTok Creator Marketplace

Aside from being simple to use and TikTok being a fun way to build content to market your brand, here’s why you need to take advantage of TikTok’s Creator Marketplace.

Reliable first-party data using TikTok’s API

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace API provides the necessary tools to boost branded content and monitor campaign performance. It gives you access to first-party data, so you can make data-driven decisions and maximize your ROI.

  • You can analyze core metrics of each creator
  • See their past performance with similar brands
  • Check out audience demographics
  • Discover video performance trends
  • Track campaign performance in real-time

Read more: How to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI in 4 Steps (And 3 Tips to Amplify It)

Reach out to the influencer directly

We always recommend to keep your influencer outreach simple, direct, and get to the point quickly. TikTok’s Creator Marketplace not only streamlines the initial influencer search for you, but facilitates a direct line of communication between you and the creator. When you find a creator you want to work with, you can send them a message through the platform.

Attract new audiences from across the globe

TikTok is the ultimate melting pot of global content creators. Reach new target audiences and broaden your brand awareness by collaborating with creators from other regions to help you tap into new markets.

How does TikTok Creator Marketplace Work?

Content creators interested in partnerships or sponsored posts can be invited to join or apply if they meet certain eligibility criteria including more than 10,000 followers. Once accepted, their TCM creator profile is listed in the ‘‘Creator Search’’ section of the dashboard.

With over 8 million active creators, you won’t have any trouble finding the right creator to advertise your product or service.

Once your brand account is all set up, you can start browsing through these creators by location and category, and even the number of views, followers or reach. You can reach out to the creator directly through the platform and start a conversation.

How do you join TikTok Creator Marketplace as a brand?

Getting listed as a brand on the Creator Marketplace is like creating an account on any other social platform. Brands can create a new account or if you already have a TikTok Ads Manager account, you can use that to log into the Creator Marketplace platform.

How to Find TikTok Influencers Using TikTok’s Creator Marketplace

After you're accepted into the TCM ecosystem as a brand or agency, you'll be able to build your first campaign! But first, you have to lock in the influencers you want to work with. In the video below, Cody explains how to do this.

Search for creators

Use the search bar to look up specific content creators or type in keywords matching your campaign description. The system will generate a list of creators that would be a great match for your campaign. As you scope out different creators, you can start compiling 'shortlists' of influencers that you want to work with.

You can set filters based on:

  • Where the influencer is located
  • Where their audience is located
  • Their follower count
  • Their average views

You can search with your brand name to bring up a list of influencers who have been mentioned by your brand, mentioning your brand, or posting about the product from the brand. You'll get a gallery of people who fall within any of these three categories.

Once you click on a profile, you get a more detailed overview of the creator including:

  • Followers
  • Average views
  • Core metrics (comments, shares, engagement rate)
  • Sample videos and sponsored posts
  • Audience demographics
  • Device usage
  • TikTok usage (how active they are)
  • Performance trends
  • Similar creators posting similar things

Use these metrics to help guide which influencers could be worth shortlisting for your campaign.

Invite to collaborate

If you decide you want to collaborate with the creator, you can add them to an existing campaign you've created, invite them instantly, or add them to a shortlist.

It’s impossible to get in touch with winning creators on TikTok. Unless they follow you, their DMs are unavailable to you. That's why the best place to reach TikTok creators is on the “marketplace.”

We see a 20-25% response rate when we send this direct message to creators: Hey {name}, my friends and I have been sharing your vids back and forth in a group chat. We love everything you post! I work for {brand} and we want to send you some product, no strings attached. If you wouldn’t mind sharing your address, we can send that right over to you!

Of the creators that respond and receive products, 30% of them will post a video about the product they’ve received from you. When they post about your brand, you’ll effectively get a shout-out that only costs you your COGS.

We’ve had videos hit 10+ million views from this alone. Not every video will go viral, but impressions are impressions.

For every video that gets posted for free, we send this follow-up message: {name}!!! That video was amazing! Thank you so much! We would absolutely love to use this on our platform to share with our customers. Do we have your permission to repurpose this? If so, we’d love to work out an affiliate deal with you.

You’ll get an emphatic “YES” from nearly every person you send this to. Once that happens, you put them onto a generous affiliate deal with a platform like Refersion, and run their video as a spark ad. You can repeat this as many times as you need.

Read more: How To Get Started With Influencer Affiliate Marketing & The Platform We Recommend

Manage Your Campaigns

Under Campaign Management, you'll be able to see who has opted-in and at what stage they are at in terms of their deliverables. If you'd like to communicate with them via email, you do have that option to double down on creating great synergy with the influencer.

Sometimes TCM will not track all the content that you know was part of the campaign. This is especially true if you are following our philosophy of seeding your product 'no strings attached' and the creators post for free.

Use MightyScout To Track Influencer Marketing Campaigns

To track the content efficiently and make sure you don't miss anything, we recommend MightyScout. It tracks, analyzes, and reports on organic influencer content via Instagram and TikTok.

Then, you've got Campaign Reporting which gives you an overview of each of the campaigns total videos, likes, comments, shares, and average engagement rate. It also tells you the number of videos and number of creators for each.

TikTok Influencer Marketing Strategy: How To Get Started

If you want to take your best shot at TikTok influencer marketing, here’s what you need to do:

1. Create content consistently

Firstly, start with a fresh account. If you already have an account that’s existed for a few months, it’s too late to try and go viral on that account. TikTok won’t push you out to enough people.

Secondly, be consistent. Work up to posting 2-3 videos a day on whatever topic you want. Make sure the topic is relevant to a broad enough base. We’ll never pop off on TikTok for talking about our seeding strategy, but we will pop off if we talk about how you can make money as a creator on Instagram or TikTok.

It’s really an exercise in direct response marketing. If you don’t know what that is or how to do it, here’s a primer.

2. Find influencers via the Creator Marketplace to seed product to

Same strategy as Instagram. Don’t do pay-for-post. Seed them product, get the videos, and then sign them up to an affiliate program if the video is good. That’s where you’ll make more money.

Read our guide on product seeding to familiarize yourself with this strategy.

3. Use Spark Ads to amplify performance

Spark Ads are some of the most powerful ads we’ve ever seen so far. CPMs are low, the content is sticky, and the videos hardly even look like ads. People love them.

Anytime you get a good video from an influencer, get usage rights and run it as a Spark Ad.

Our team used this TikTok Creator Marketplace strategy to win an award for our campaign with M&Ms. We increased their sales by 457% by doing everything you just read. You can easily do this too if you follow our exact method.

Wrapping Up

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace exists to make TikTok influencer marketing easier for you. The platform provides useful data about the influencers to help you decide on the right fit, reach out to the influencers directly, and analyze results using its campaign reporting tools.

Using the combination of TCM, the TikTok strategy steps we outlined, and outreach messages we shared in this guide — you’ve got everything you need to get on TikTok and start building an audience, one video at a time.