Social Media

The Best Brands on TikTok

By Hali McKenzie Reese, Social Media Strategist

The app that swept the nation at the pandemic’s peak is now many consumers’ most beloved app and businesses’ most bewildering phenomenon. Trending dances, sounds, filters, and a mysterious algorithm have users scrolling for hours on end. 

So how can brands make sense of it all, and how can they organically promote their products without getting lost in a sea of content? It’s not an exact science, and some of it might be pure luck, but a few brands are riding the TikTok wave successfully. Let’s explore what some of the most popular brands on TikTok are doing and how you can make it work for your brand.

Influencer Partnerships

Dunkin’ was one of the first brands on TikTok to utilize influencer marketing when they partnered with TikTok superstar Charli D’Amelio. During this partnership, Dunkin’ launched several new menu items and collaborated on various videos. Dunkin’ saw a 57% increase in app downloads and a 20% boost in sales for all cold brew coffees after this partnership. 

Influencer marketing has many benefits, including more user-generated content that can be utilized on brand channels and creating a positive association of your brand with an influencer and their audience. However, you don’t have to partner with a TikTok megastar for this to work for you, as relevance is more important than reach. Micro-influencers often have the highest engagement rates with their audience compared to bigger influencers, giving you a better bang for your buck. Look into partnering with influencers who have a niche audience that aligns with your own. 


Song is straight 🔥. Show us your moves to ‘The Charli’ while you drink ‘The Charli’- using #CharliRunsOnDunkin @charlidamelio #dunkin

♬ The Charli – Dunkin’

The Consumer Approach

ESPN is already a popular brand across social media, so it comes as no surprise that they have gained a large following on TikTok. ESPN’s social media strategy ‌is specialized for each platform. If you want news and updates, follow them on Twitter. If you want highlights, check out their Instagram. For TikTok, however, they have discovered that people just want to be entertained, so their content features mostly user-generated content and memes, like this epic compilation of trick shots…


This trick shot compilation 👏 (via @Michael Shields) #trickshot

♬ 24K Magic x Wow x Havana x My Oh My – carneyval

Develop Your Own TikTok Presence

Determining how to showcase a different side of your brand in a way that relates to the content your target audience already consumes is a great first step in developing your presence on TikTok.

Try Trends   

TikTok videos flourish with music, and Milk Bar knows this well. The bakery chain does an extraordinary job of using trending audio in their videos. 

Viewers enjoy seeing brands join in or put their own spin on a TikTok trend. TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes content that participates in the current trends on the app, delivering those posts to users who are interested in those trends. Joining in on these trends can increase visibility and engagement with your brand. If you’re unsure where to find the latest trends on the platform, check out the TikTok Discover page for inspiration. 


A cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow ice cream sammie…literally gorgeous #icecream #foodtiktok #desserttiktok #cookies #fyp

♬ original sound – Jeremy Shane

Know your Niche

The Washington Post was one of the first brands to utilize TikTok, but it’s not the content you would expect from such a notable brand. The newspaper actually uses TikTok to post comedic skits about the latest breaking news. WaPo knew that its intellectual journalism would not be easily digestible on the platform, so this comedic approach helped them attract young readers who want to follow the news but struggle to digest their traditional long form written content. The Post was able to leverage its existing content in a way that was appealing to the app’s target audience. Even their bio is simple: “We are a newspaper.”


The Food and Drug Administration proposed banning menthol cigarettes and flavors in cigars. #sticktothestatusquo #hsm

♬ original sound – Jacob Sutherland

There’s no way to know for certain what will bring your brand to the top of the TikTok charts, but these four content-creating techniques are a great place for all brands to start.

See you on our For You page!