Connect With Creator Culture to Succeed on TikTok

How UGC breaks the ad fatigue cycle with up to 44% lower costs

TikTok isn’t going anywhere. Why? Because short-form video is now mainstream. What started out as a platform for comedy videos and lighthearted dance routines has evolved into a full-fledged entertainment, educational and community hub with more than 1 billion monthly active users globally.

TikTok isn’t just an awareness play, either. With the platform rolling out novel shopping features like end-to-end commerce, TikTok now covers the consumer journey from brand awareness to product consideration and conversion. What makes it so powerful? Much of the product and brand content across the journey is created by the TikTok community and seen as authentic by users.

People have even begun to use TikTok as a search engine. From the highest rated beauty products and trends to the best local restaurants, 40% of young consumers turn to TikTok for research, according to recent data.    

As a brand that relies on digital for revenue growth, you would never omit your search engine strategy from your paid and organic tactics, right? It’s time to think the same way about TikTok.

Brands need a TikTok playbook

In 2023, 68% of brands plan to invest in TikTok, according to’s Digital Advertising Trends 2023 Report. Yet, many brands have found it challenging to get up and running on the platform, largely because they can’t rinse and repeat existing social media playbooks.

TikTok is unique in how creators and consumers approach it. While Instagram and Pinterest excel in aesthetic and visually stunning content, TikTok audiences reward brands and creators for authenticity, relatability and hopping on trending audio and video with smart iterations that are relevant.

Let’s consider how the most successful brands on TikTok approach short-form video.

First and foremost, their strategy feels like a natural extension of the platform. The delivery and style of their posts typically nod to user-generated content (UGC). It looks and feels like it was made by a creator, not a brand.

How do you achieve that look? TikTok is all about showing up raw and real. Companies that try to look too polished get little love as audiences tune out of content that looks like advertising. Instead, take cues from organic content. Mimic caption styles, text overlays, opening hooks and storytelling formats. Incorporate popular storytelling and content constructs like “a day in the life,” “outfit of the day,” “get ready with me” and similar in your videos to simultaneously blend in with native content while standing out from competitors.

3 keys to UGC success

The key to successful UGC content is three-fold:

First, identify your niche to find content creators that align with your brand. It’s even better if they are already fans of your offering.

Second, create a detailed brief that explains what they can and cannot show in the video. A common faux pas is not aligning on set props and what can be shown in-frame in advance. It can result in re-shoots and longer production windows.

Third, give creators room to do things their way. You hired them to tell a story in their voice and style, so tread lightly with wanting to feature all your brand or product USPs in the content.

How Huel turned to creators

Winning brands are turning to creators to scale content production effectively across organic and paid efforts. Here’s how Huel, the European provider of nutritional products, did it.

Huel worked with’s Creator Connect, a platform that simplifies the process of creating and deploying user-generated video on TikTok and other social media channels. It connects brands with a network of content creators to produce expertly crafted videos. 

Huel found foodie-forward creators to partner with for a set of unique UGC videos. These core assets were added to dynamic templates that pulled available items from Huel’s products and launched on TikTok. With this workflow, Huel’s ads would always feature up-to-date products, turning three creator videos into multiple dynamic variants. Ultimately, this helped Huel break through ad fatigue. The brand also tested creative iterations such as captions and product UI, which resulted in a 44% lower cost-per-session. 

Getting started with TikTok and UGC is all about finding the right partnerships and creator collaborations. Fast-moving brands are recognizing the opportunity for revenue growth through authentic content and are investing heavily in this space. Consumers frequently follow a brand or buy a product after watching a TikTok. This is the time to get your brand the love (and conversions) it deserves with a little help from creators.

Oli Marlow-Thomas is the chief innovation officer at He uses his industry expertise and vision to identify, harness and bring to fruition new ideas that will offer customers the best in multi-platform strategy with game-changing creative tools.