About Leslie Bishop
Leslie Bishop, the Executive Vice President of Global Strategy at 5W PR, shares her insight into TikTok influencer marketing with us today. Leslie has been with the agency for five years and has worked in public relations, primarily in the lifestyle space, for the better part of 20 years.
Leslie shares, “I really pride myself personally, but also at 5W PR, on working with brands both big and small. We love the challenge of working with challenger brands, but also get really excited when we get to work on some of the most nationally recognized brands in the world as well.”
What Makes TikTok Influencer Marketing Unique?
Leslie explains that companies using TikTok should take advantage of the many marketing opportunities.
She says, “There’s no question for me that as a form of communication and, more importantly, as a form of two-way communication with the consumer, there’s no better platform at the moment. The growth of the platform is not slowing down. There are over a billion users on the platform.”
In general, the most lucrative audiences on TikTok are Gen Z and younger because they have grown up with the platform. TikTok is a more complex platform to navigate if you’re not used to it, making it an ideal platform to market to younger generations.
TikTok Influencer Marketing Tips
Leslie explains that hashtags are an excellent way to boost your TikToks.
She shares, “Hashtags are a way to be part of the conversation… The algorithm is going to be a pretty dominant force in terms of what content people see across the platform. Using hashtags can certainly increase your chances of being included in a conversation that other people are searching for. It’s all about making yourself as discoverable as possible.”
She also recommends creating relevant content but not staying strictly within your niche. For example, a beauty brand or influencer only creating makeup tutorials can miss out on crucial ways to connect with their audience. Makeup-interested viewers have other interests outside of beauty products, so create content that appeals to the entire person.
Leslie adds, “You can miss out as a brand on capturing new audiences, new eyeballs, new people by experimenting with content that sort of stays in your world to some degree, but also that allows you to move to other categories.”
With many of her clients, Leslie finds that brands no longer want to be ‘just’ a makeup or hair product brand. They want to be viewed as a lifestyle brand that is the entire package.
In terms of metrics, she recommends focusing on engagement metrics heavily.
“It’s always going to be about engagement, right? How many people are seeing your content, which goes back to the broadening type of content and the conversations you’re becoming a part of? The algorithm, not just TikTok, but across the majority of social channels, the algorithm has created a much more interesting marketing and PR space.”
She explains that modern algorithms eliminate demographic stereotypes.
For example, a demographic might be millennial moms who are in their 40s with 2.5 kids on average. Previously, brands may have assumed that all these moms were within the same audience.
However, now with social media, you can touch more people within a demographic with more specific content. The platform may even show the same content to other consumers interested in that topic on their feed.
Leslie notes, “It’s just about creating a ton of content and not overthinking it. This is the space to be playful, to be creative, to experiment, and to let your consumer tell you what they are interested in and what they love. You’re going to find out really quick, but you can’t find out quickly if you’re not producing enough content and if you’re not producing content across a broad range of topics.”
TikTok trends change every single day. Leslie shares that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the daily changes because, by the time you are talking about a trend, it’s over.
“Sometimes a trend can be super viral, and it just explodes and happens very quickly… We have teams [at 5W PR] that literally what they do is scour all of the social platforms for the content. It’s why as a brand, it’s really hard to do it on your own. This is what I think a lot of brands that aren’t native to the platform find so challenging.”
The Biggest TikTok Influencer Marketing Mistakes
Leslie explains, “I think the biggest mistake from a brand creating their own content is not producing enough content and trying to be too precious about it.”
Timing is crucial for TikTok. Since trends change so rapidly, brands need to upload relevant content immediately rather than nitpicking it until it’s just right.
“I would say brands that are trying too hard to get that content perfect or overthinking whether or not they should be a part of that conversation or that trend [is a mistake.] Some of the biggest brands in the world, McDonald’s, for example, are doing great work. The NFL is doing excellent work right now… This is the place to experiment.”
Another significant mistake is that brands work with influencers who are not genuinely interested in their product and brand. Leslie shares that viewers immediately pick up on this disconnect.
She notes, “For the majority of brands that are looking to work with either micro or sort of that mid-level influencer, it’s really critical to work with people who genuinely love your brand and have a passion for it. The content’s going to speak for itself. It’s going to feel more integrated across their platform. The consumer will be far more engaged.”
In addition, brands shouldn’t try to perfect or control an influencer’s content when collaborating. Leslie regularly tells clients that the opposite of controlling an influencer’s content is content that truly resonates and connects with the influencer’s audience.
“I think the best thing that brands can do is let go and believe in their influencer partner if they’ve done the work, they’ve done the research, they know this is a great partner for them. Then trust that and let the influencer do their thing.”
In the future, Leslie would love more genuine partnerships between brands and influencers. Instead of brands feeding a script to the influencer or telling their consumers what they want them to know, look at it as a two-sided relationship.
“Brands are going to be forced as they have been in the past to really take stands on things to be with their consumer, to hold hands with them, to really put their money where their mouth is and a lot of places.”
Leslie concludes that 5W PR will continue offering more and more for their clients in terms of insights, their consumers, who they should partner with, the content they should create, and much more so that their clients can continue making great marketing and PR decisions.