Innovative Employer Branding On TikTok

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an enormously popular short-form video-sharing social media platform that has taken the internet by storm. Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, (and known as “Douyin” in Chinese), TikTok lets users create short videos of 15 seconds or less (60+ seconds with a verified account), as well as share, view, and discover similar content from other users all over the world.

Content on the platform can be found in a multitude of genres -- including dancing, singing, acting, cooking, parenting, fitness, comedy, and more. TikTok’s stated purpose is “to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and precious life moments.” All content capture, editing, and posting can be done right from a user’s smartphone.

TikTok, created in September 2016, is flourishing in the global market -- covering over 150 countries and available in 75 languages. From 2016 to 2020, TikTok’s userbase has grown to 800 million active users worldwide. In the second quarter of 2020, TikTok became the #1 top-grossing app on iOS App Store globally. TikTok took a big bite of the pandemic market. During the COVID-19 lockdown, TikTok cut across age and social barriers, providing engaging and entertaining social content to their audience when other applications failed to deliver. As its popularity continues to surge, TikTok will likely surpass 1.2 billion average monthly active users, according to the new forecast from mobile data and analytics firm App Annie.

The platform’s immense popularity among the Generation Z cohort also makes it a valuable potential recruiting tool for companies looking to establish a presence where young people congregate in droves.

Which Employers Should Consider TikTok?

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube are typically populated by an older, more established audience. Employers looking to connect with a younger pool of potential talent are much better off focusing their outreach efforts on TikTok.

Members of Generation Z (those born roughly between 1995 and 2010) are known for their enthusiastic early adoption of new social media platforms. Of U.S. TikTok users, 62% are under the age of 30, so employers looking to connect with younger talent will find ample opportunity on TikTok, both before and after they enter the workforce.

How Would It Benefit Your Employer Brand?

TikTok offers businesses a medium of communication, engagement, and interaction with users, especially because TikTok has higher engagement rates among users than other social media platforms. Businesses frequently use it to reach and engage with young audiences, encourage user-generated content, and partner with relevant influencers in a creative and playful environment.

TikTok levels the playing field for small and large businesses alike. The platform uses a different algorithm than competitors like Instagram and YouTube, so even accounts with no followers can post a video that goes viral and gets millions of views. Furthermore, TikTok content can be created quickly and on a shoestring budget, meaning ordinary or spontaneous content has the same chance of gaining buzz or going viral.

TikTok is primarily about entertainment, but offers a unique way for employers to reach a captive younger audience with talent branding where they dwell. If done successfully, it’s a way for employers to synergize with a platform younger generations are using to seek entertainment. This helps establish a positive subliminal association with a brand.

4 Fun Ways to Boost Your Employer Brand

So how can TikTok be used to market a company in the talent race? Players need to be innovative. The fast-pace of modern society has given rise to short attention spans, which has in turn given rise to the popularization of short-form video content . Most young people are seeking pure entertainment on TikTok and will quickly scroll to the next video if they find your content overly promotional or too stereotypical. They know what you’re trying to say after three seconds. Your videos have to be fun, interesting and eye-catching. Here are some secrets to creating a successful employer branding video that’s a hit on TikTok. (We provide many fun video examples, remember to turn "sound on"!)

1. “What is it like to work at X?”

A video starting with a person asking, ”What is it like to work at X?” is very straightforward and targets a specific audience. The trick is to quickly get attention, raise curiosity, and make sure they watch the entire video. The video format is simple - an employee extols the virtues of working at the company. It looks like this person is talking about their career experience, but it’s really an employer soft-branding by talking up the attractive benefits and value propositions that make the employer brand stand out.

Here is a great example of “What is it like to work at Tencent?” with 957K likes and 24K shares in China! (The video is equipped with English subtitles for your convenience.)

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Interesting right? But don’t worry if you don’t have a verified account that can post videos over 15 seconds. Here is a great 15-second example “What is it like working at Google?” with 473K likes and over 5K shares.

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Vlog style is an alternate method, titled as “One day working at X” or, “One day tour at X”. This is when you can invite powerful influencers for a tour and appear in their vlogs! This helps you better predict the video impressions and hit a specific target audience based on the influencer’s followers.

Check out this “A day in the life of a Googler” with 444.6K likes and almost 5.6K shares!

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2. It’s FUN to Work Here!

Company culture and its brand personality permeate every working day for employees. Employer branding should be talent-centric. Recruiters need to understand the values potential talent considers when making career decisions. Benefits are an important and obvious value measurement, however, a lot of focus among younger generations has shifted to business culture, self-development, and brand personality. Recruiters need to identify the company’s unique culture and showcase it in their videos.

Many recruiters find excuses that smaller companies can’t compete with giant brands. That’s not true! In fact, smaller companies can be more creative and dynamic in fine-tuning their culture. Here is a fantastic example of showcasing brand culture. The video shows the company’s annual Christmas cosplay competition for all employees. The video is not only interesting and entertaining, but also makes you wonder, what is this company? It looks FUN to work here! The culture is so clear: youth, vitality, and creativity.

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You can have a company-wideHalloween party while working from home:

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This company sent employees hats for them to decorate for the Company's Christmas Zoom party!

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For my company holiday party this year, they sent us all hats to decorate for the zoom call. Challenge accepted #gilmoregirls #starshollow #ismellsnow

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Office culture can even be blended with #dance. Here is an office dance video with 210K likes and 5.4k shares! The light, fun, and collegial office atmosphere is on display for all to see.

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3. Tempt With Food

One innovative employer branding TikTok video style is FOOD. A company cafeteria is a place where employees relax, refuel, and socialize. Food is an immensely popular category on TikTok. As users scroll through their video stream, a video prominently featuring food immediately grabs their attention.

Here’s an example of a video showcasing a company’s nightly employee dinner. It has 69K likes and the reason it became a hit is the large variety of appetizing dishes it features. This account only posts company daily meals and introduces what’s in the cafeteria each day. Their average video has 100K likes and in almost every video, there are people commenting, asking about the company and how they can work there.

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4.Marketing HR

Another innovative way to create employer branding video content is marketing recruiters themselves. Many HR departments are posting videos helping young professionals succeed at interviews by sharing the top things HR folks want to know.

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This video seemingly has nothing to do with the employer brand, yet it’s accumulating followers and views, allowing for stable video visibility which enables recruiters to serially discuss the brand in its subsequent videos.

Here’s another video showing off what makes a good resume in HR's eyes.


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Tips For Making TikTok Videos

  • Always be entertaining

As mentioned above, users come to TikTok seeking entertainment and pleasure. Funny videos always catch more attention than bland content that’s obviously marketing.

  • Close to life

People gravitate towards things they can relate to. An official company account with an official company introduction should be on the LinkedIn page, not on TikTok. Recruiters can just leverage one interesting aspect, like a fun company event, delicious company meal or cool office interior.

  • Audio is important

Be selective with the soundtrack: sometimes it’s the key to making a video go viral.

  • Use keywords and hashtags in the title

Keywords and hashtags will increase the visibility of your videos.

  • Authenticity

TikTok advises the brands they work with that fun and creativity are more important than video production quality, so the content brands put out on the platform should feel authentic and created by real people they want to connect with.

  • Produce, produce, produce

No one can create a viral video by design. Continuous production of the same style/category of videos will give you a better chance of one of them going viral.