How to win at TikTok (according to TikTok)

TikTok is not a social media platform. It is an entertainment platform.

That’s how Khartoon Weiss, TikTok’s Global Head of Agency & Accounts, described the world most downloaded app Bee The meetingan annual business and marketing summit held in Banff, Canada.

What is the difference?

People don’t “check” Tiktok. They look at it. And, Weiss says, “that little hub of behavior is everything.”

So what does it mean for marketers?

In this post we share main learning points van Weiss’ on-stage presentation. But that is not everything!

Weiss shared more detailed insights in one of The Gathering’s intimate ‘inner sanctums’. And below we have the scoop for you.

Embrace the shift from me to we

TikTok is not a platform for YOLO, FOMO and selfies. Instead, it’s family and inclusive.

You look into everyone’s living room. And they look into yours.

It’s a collaborative space that rewards optimism. “Microcommunities” crystallize around hashtags like #crafttok, #planttokand #DIYtok.

The experts within these communities share “complex information so conveniently summarized”. This in turn creates even more experts and more knowledge to share.


#learnotiktok #diytiktok #diytok #painter’s tape #oddly enough #Paint

♬ Still feel it – Portugal. The man

As a brand, this means you must: focus on providing entertainment or edutainment.

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Find your place in these existing communities and contribute unique value. Turn your assets into multiple TikToks and learn what works for your brand along the way.

And leave the comments on your content open – the community will tell you what they think. Use their insights to guide your ongoing TikTok strategy.

Be real, not retouched

You know who isn’t big on TIkTok? The Kardashians. “We’re really keeping it on TikTok,” Weiss said. “They are not accepted on the scale of a Jessia.”

So who is Jessia? A singer from Vancouver who went from here:


TikTok is too beautiful #Welcome2021 #RareAesthetic #belly #🍑 #pretty #pleasure #fyp #neversentwoprettybestfriends #wtf #bop #waste #New Year #new ones

♬ original sound – JESSIA

On this:


Tour with @OneRepublic was a dream #the next time #a republic #tour #pov #tour #tourlife #fyp

♬ Next time by Jessia – JESSIA

After her song caught fire as a body positivity song that spawned countless TikTok duets.

TikTok is all about “the next generation language and the new digital media behaviour”.

“It’s challenging if you want it to be great, but the community has no problem accepting whatever you want to bring out,” Weiss said.

And that community acceptance is critical. TikTok’s algorithm focuses on a content chart, not a social chart. That means what you see in your feed is what the community brings to the surface, rather than who you follow.

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On this front, #smallbusinesstiktok leads. How? You guessed it: by telling real stories behind the scenes and product creation.

“Small businesses have turned their creativity into content and now it’s commerce automatically,” Weiss said.


Guess what scent they will be? #small business #ZFlipClackdown #halloween #ghostmber #ghost season #slime monster #cute #newproductalert #cutesoaps #for you #froliccreations

♬ original sound – Meg ✌

Real, real stories create that visibility in the content graph. And the best people to tell those heartfelt stories about your brand may not be working for or with you (yet).

Understand the power of creators

“We’ve redefined what celebrity means,” Weiss said. “And we are driving the migration from the attention economy to the creative economy.”

An important example? Like Jessia, 7 of the 10 Best New Artist nominees at the 2022 Grammys got at least some of their momentum from TikTok.

Makers nurture discoveries. And discovery creates demand.

“We consume things and we convert by product because it embodies the communities and the people we want to emulate,” Weiss said.

For marketers, this means empowering and learning from creators who understand the platform.


#advertisement created a new level on @candycrushsaga

♬ original sound – Andrea Love

Unlearn everything you’ve learned,‘ said Weiss in her inner sanctuary. “It’s not how the next generation speaks. You’ve always had advice from agencies – why not allow creators? Creators help you unpack your brand and think about ways to connect with your audience.”

Watch Discovery as Lower Funnel (aka #tiktokmademebuyit)

“When every touchpoint becomes an opportunity to buy, every strategy becomes a trading strategy,” Weiss said. “It’s a brave new world where media and entertainment have found their way into content, creator and commerce.”

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Rather than social commerce, TikTok likes to think of this as “community trade.”

“Thousands of makers are jumping in, and they’re delivering product efficiency and product advocacy,” Weiss said.

Witness the case of 54-year-old Trinidad Sandoval:

She created a nearly 3 minute TikTok showing her favorite eye cream in action. Trinidad thought only her 70 followers would see it. No.

She went viral and led the 10-year product sold out pretty much everywhere within a week.


♬ original sound – user3761092853451

This was not a paid partnership – it was brand loyalty and advocacy in action.

This all boils down to one important lesson for brands: TikTok is not like other platforms and it is impossible to fake your way to success.

Most importantly, be real and put community first. Create a great product. Build that loyalty. And the community will drive your brand discovery.

Want to learn more about how to get the most out of TikTok? Check out the resources below!

Expand your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can schedule and publish posts for best times, engage your audience, and measure performance. Try it today for free.

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