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Three Influencer Marketing Strategies for Standing Out on SkinTok

how to stand out on TikTok with your influencer marketing

In 2012, most of us would probably ask the beauty counter at our local department store for skincare recommendations. In 2022, we’d ask TikTok. The short-form video platform, which surpassed 1B monthly active users last year, has had a profound impact on the beauty industry, fueling record-breaking sales of makeup products like E.L.F.’s Poreless Putty Primer and Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara. But TikTokers don’t just care about cosmetics: skincare influencers have also made the platform their hub, cultivating a close-knit, education-oriented community known as SkinTok

The first rule of SkinTok? Products are creators’ top priority. Whether they’re trading tips for acne treatment or sharing soothing self-care routines, TikTok’s skincare authorities put their holy-grail finds in the spotlight. From a brand’s perspective, that means breaking into SkinTok is the ultimate engine for growth. With TikTok playing an increasingly integral role in e-commerce (according to the platform, over 50% of TikTok users search for products or shop on the app), brands that don’t invest in relationships with influencers are ignoring a massive audience of potential customers. 

So what’s the most effective way to make inroads with SkinTok’s valuable creators? Read on for three influencer marketing strategies that your brand can implement to compete with TikTok’s buzziest skincare brands. 

A skincare influencer applying a face mist, by Kalos Skincare via Unsplash.

Tailor Your Products to Skincare Influencers (and Consumers)

SkinTok’s loudest voices aren’t just fans of the occasional Friday facial—they’re skincare experts. Many prominent SkinTok creators, including bonafide superstar Dr. Muneeb Shah (@dermdoctor), are actually licensed dermatologists. But even influencers who don’t have an MD are deeply knowledgeable about skin health, and hold strong opinions about what works (and what doesn’t). 

Because products reign supreme on SkinTok, the best way to attract creators to your brand is to launch offerings that aren’t just effective, but also speak to the specific interests of skincare influencers and their followers. Whenever possible, incorporate creators’ opinions into your product development process, and update the messaging surrounding your offerings to highlight applications that align with your audience’s priorities. 

Gen Z-oriented skincare brand Bubble took this advice to heart when it debuted in late 2020. Prior to hitting shelves, the brand conducted extensive focus group research with teens, and continues to regularly survey Gen Z consumers about their unique preferences. Thanks to its democratic approach to product formulation and marketing, Bubble closed 2021 with $13.4M in Earned Media Value (EMV), achieving a 53% growth in the metric between H1 and H2. 

Engage Your Community With Product-Focused TikTok Challenges 

There’s a reason why TikTok influencer marketing campaigns have become practically synonymous with challenge contests. These initiatives embrace TikTokers’ creativity by allowing creators to put their own unique spin on a concept, and foster community by encouraging interaction between participants. In line with SkinTok’s broader emphasis on products, the most successful challenges from skincare brands revolve around specific offerings, inviting creators to show off the results they’ve achieved from their application. 

Whether you’re looking to hype a product launch, or drum up excitement around an old favorite, consider making it the focus of a contest for creators. First, send the offering to a handful of established skincare influencers, and invite them to kick off the challenge by sharing their own entries, along with relevant information about the initiative, such as guidelines and prizes. If this initial content is compelling, other creators are likely to follow suit, resulting in a surge of activity about your brand.

Eucerin’s #28DaysOfEucerin campaign serves as a strong example of this best practice in action. In early 2022, the brand kicked off the new year with a “wellness challenge” that saw self-care advocates such as Caleb Marshall (@thefitnessmarshall) use Eucerin products for four weeks and document the results. Bolstered by the initiative, the brand powered $20.5M EMV in Q1, a 1.2k% quarter-over-quarter spike. 

The hands of a TikTok skincare influencer holding a serum, by Christin Hume via Unsplash.

Piggyback on Current SkinTok Trends

Like TikTok more broadly, SkinTok is full of trendsetters. Buzzy ingredients like retinol and niacinamide have exploded in the community thanks to creators’ endorsements, while established, inexpensive products from brands like CeraVe have seen new waves of enthusiasm thanks to “dupe” content. While TikTok trends are hard to predict, most viral conversations share one common thread: they’re started by creators, not brands. 

You’re probably eager to tap into TikTok’s hype-cycle, but don't waste time planning the next big topic to sweep SkinTok. Instead, stay plugged into existing trends, and scope out opportunities to riff on organic conversations. Remember that creators are the authorities on TikTok—you’ll see far more success following their lead than trying to make them conform to your brand’s agenda. 

For proof of this principle in action, look no further than natural bodycare brand Tree Hut. The SkinTok favorite saw its EMV surge 270% year-over-year, netting $18.0M from May 2021 to April 2022. This impressive growth stemmed almost entirely from an influencer marketing strategy built around mounting popularity of #ShowerRoutine TikToks. By establishing long-term relationships with #ShowerRoutine creators such as Dyana Montaque (@eunoiaglow), Tree Hut successfully reaped the benefits of aligning itself with a trending content genre. 

SkinTok contains the pulse of consumers’ skincare conversations today, and the platform represents a can’t-miss opportunity for brands in the category. For a complete guide to TikTok influencer marketing for skincare brands, including key strategies, top creators, and spotlights on leading brands, check out our full report, How to Win on SkinTok. 

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