5 Brands That Stand Out on TikTok (and how they did it)

Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has completely upended the social media game. With over 2.6 billion downloads worldwide, TikTok has become the newest internet hub for all things pop culture, memes, and whatever you make of it. That’s the great thing about TikTok. The For You Page, which acts as a landing page for its users, is controlled by an almost scarily accurate algorithm that seamlessly pushes the type of content you like to see. Love to cook? Chances are that your For You Page is filled with all kinds of delicious recipe ideas.

But when it comes to marketing your brand on TikTok, it’s a whole different ball game than Twitter or Instagram. With the majority of TikTok’s user base being under 30 years old, it’s important to consider what kind of content works for young people, especially for Generation Z. Born between 1996 and 2012, Gen Z doesn’t fall for the same marketing tactics that previous generations did.

What marketing works for Gen Z? Authenticity, transparency, and a genuine display of a brand’s values. It’s important that your brand establishes its authentic personality to stand out on TikTok. The curated aesthetics that worked for millennials on Instagram won’t necessarily have the same effect on a generation that puts more value into self-awareness, irony, and relatability.

So how can your brand succeed and stand out on TikTok? There are actually many ways you can approach creating a successful TikTok account for your brand.

Let’s take a look at some of the brands that stand out on TikTok and their strategies.

Washington Post – One Man Show

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the first brands that really embraced TikTok and excelled at it. Run by Dave Jorgenson, Washington Post grew its TikTok audience back in 2019 with its self-aware and satirical coverage of the 2020 Democratic Primaries and humorous behind-the-scenes footage of the Washington Post newsroom. Jorgenson embraces and stays on top of the most popular TikTok trends and Gen Z humour, while telling news events in a way that is digestible and, more importantly, entertaining to young people.

Washington Post benefits from having a single person run their TikTok account. Essentially creating its own brand influencer, followers have become familiar with Jorgenson and his personality. Washington Post’s TikTok page feels more cohesive and connected with Jorgenson as the “star”.

@washingtonpostThe Group of Seven leaders committed Friday to donating 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines, including 500 million from the U.S. #G7Summit♬ original sound – We are a newspaper.

Chipotle – User-Generated Content

Like Washington Post, Chipotle’s TikTok is also full of videos that are timely and on-trend with what is trending on TikTok at any given time. But unlike Washington Post, there is not a “face” of their TikTok account. In fact, Chipotle is a brand that embraces user-generated content on TikTok, reposting videos from real people who are already making TikToks about Chipotle. Having a mix of user-generated and original content allows Chipotle to easily stay on top of trends and showcase its brand personality to viewers.

@chipotleThe more you know amiright (via @dboeckman_8 ) #chipotle #realizations #talktome #goodpoint #fyp #funny♬ original sound – Chipotle


Starface – Free Sample Marketing

Sending out free samples to real people is another great marketing strategy to get your brand recognized on TikTok. Starface, known for its bright yellow star-shaped acne patches, grew its TikTok audience by sending its highly recognizable acne patches to both real customers and celebrities. With TikTok users of all sizes rocking Starface’s patches, the brand was able to successfully increase its brand recognition on a mass scale.

@starfacethat’s me ? #starface #skincare #tiktokstar #celebrity #pimple #star #stickers #foryou♬ original sound – Tik Toker

ASOS – TikTok Takeover

ASOS offers another unique approach to marketing on TikTok. The online fashion retailer utilizes TikTok takeovers. ASOS often has popular TikTokers take over their TikTok for a week to promote the brand’s products. In March 2021, popular makeup TikToker Abby Roberts took over ASOS’s account, getting the brand over 1 million views in the span of a week. These TikTok takeovers pull hundreds of thousands of views to ASOS’s account, gaining the brand attention it wouldn’t have otherwise had on TikTok.


@asosapril fools! we look so alike help? @abbyroberts #abbyroberts #asostiktakeover♬ Break it off – ??☺️

SNL – Traditional Media

SNL stands out amongst the other brands mentioned, taking a more traditional route to run their TikTok account. On the surface, SNL’s TikTok doesn’t look too different from their YouTube channel. It is simply clipped from the show. But why does this work for SNL? They carefully choose clips that appeal to Gen Z’s satirical and ironic humour. You won’t find the infamous Gen Z Hospital sketch, but rather sketches that feature cast members like Pete Davidson who already has significant appeal to Gen Z. Curating their content to TikTok’s younger user base allows SNL’s videos to garner millions of views and even become trending audios.

@nbcsnlBlow this up ?♬ Yeet – Saturday Night Live – SNL


There are endless different paths your brand can take to succeed at TikTok. Whatever route you choose, remember that it is important to hone in on authentic stories. Because of the nature of TikTok’s algorithm, the voices of real people have the potential to reach a wider audience in a way that is more difficult on other social media platforms. Use this to your advantage. Because many TikTok users respond well to authentic and real content, high production content is not always the best route. Embrace trends, interact with your customers and have fun with your TikTok content.

Looking for help to stand out on TikTok?

StoryTap can help you produce a library of authentic and unfiltered videos from your customers. These videos are fully tailored to your needs as a brand and can be curated for numerous social media platforms, including TikTok. StoryTap’s story-led video automation can give your brand content that matches exactly what TikTok users are looking for: real people with real stories. With StoryTap, Success on TikTok doesn’t have to be difficult.

Book a demo today and learn how StoryTap can help your brand elevate its TikTok content to the next level.

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