Social & Influencers

Why brands and agencies are hiring TikTok creators

From vitamin brand Care/of to TBWA, several companies are hiring people who understand the app.
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Illustration: Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Photos: TikTok/Burger King/SmartSweets, Getty Images

· 5 min read

When Greer Hiltabidle found out that she got a job as a TikTok creator for agency 360i earlier this year, she felt like “the ‘working world’ was finally catching up to new ways of storytelling.” Now a senior TikTok creator at the agency, her feelings about it are largely the same.

“You get to basically be the Swiss Army knife of the agency,” Hiltabidle, who has 83,000 followers on her personal TikTok, told Marketing Brew. “You’re a director; you’re an actor; you’re a filmmaker; you’re a writer. You do wardrobe, set design,” Hiltabidle explained, noting that she’s also integrated with the creative team and works on strategy.

Hiltabidle’s day-to-day work, she told us, is 50% filming TikToks and 50% creative ideation and wearing “different hats.” In a recent TikTok for Burger King, she played a Leo who orders “attention,” “praise,” and “compliments” at the drive-thru. In another, she nervously runs through her “drive-thru anxiety script.”


She previously not only worked as a TikTok influencer (which she still does on her own time), but also worked at other agencies.

Hiltabidle is not alone: On LinkedIn, there are more than a dozen brands and agencies attempting to hire TikTok creators.

Hope-Elizabeth Sonam, head of talent experience at flexible talent marketplace We Are Rosie, told us a full-time salaried TikTok content creator can make anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000 a year, or $25–$50 an hour if they’re freelance. Others in the industry hiring for these roles said that the average compensation is between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

Marketers often need to find some way to keep the hungry hungry hippo that is the TikTok content machine fed, so many are crafting both full-time and contract-based jobs to make that happen. Typically, the platform-native creators hired for these roles are tasked with coming up with ideas for TikToks, producing and filming them, and keeping up with the app’s trends.

On the agency side…

“Hiring TikTok content creators isn’t the future, it’s the now,” Bridget Jewell, Dentsu Creative’s group creative director, Social Creative Lab, told us. Dentsu, which owns 360i and other creative agencies, started hiring full-time, internal TikTok creators in March 2021 and now has three (and counting) on staff, including Hiltabidle. They typically create organic content for multiple clients, but occasionally mix some paid in, too.

“TikTok as an engine really necessitates and demands daily content,” Rob Jewell, agency Power Digital Marketing’s chief growth officer, told us, adding that the best people to deliver that content are the people most accustomed to making it: TikTok creators. The more content a brand or agency has to work with, he noted, the more data it has to inform future TikTok strategies.

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Power Digital currently has seven TikTok creators/editors who spend their days keeping a pulse on industry news and trends, as well as gathering client feedback and research and development intel. They’ve created TikToks for brands like FabFitFun and SmartSweets.


Its TikTok creators don’t manage influencer partnerships—Power Digital has a separate team for that, Jewell said—and the content they create is both paid and organic. Some of Power Digital’s clients, Jewell told us, “spend anywhere from $25,000 a month to hundreds of thousands in media dollars” on TikTok.

Other agencies are also looking at the role from a demand perspective. “There’s a real need from a client standpoint,” Shannon Nunn, managing director at TBWA\Chiat\Day, told us.

TBWA is actively interviewing for two TikTok creator roles, which will be tasked with creating a mix of both organic and paid content.

“Whether it be a passive need or a proactive need, clients like Hilton, Nissan, and the Mayo Clinic are coming to us asking for this type of capability. They want to be on platforms like TikTok, so we really just need to build out that capability,” Nunn said.

…and the brand side

Companies like shipping tracking platform AfterShip and wellness brand Care/of are hiring for TikTok roles, too.

Maddie Boardman, Care/of’s brand director, told us that it decided to hire a TikTok creator to help grow its organic presence on the platform. The company is in the midst of interviewing candidates now.

Care/of started its TikTok channel “in earnest” in early April; and as of early August, it had around 2,000 followers. Part of the TikTok creator’s role at Care/of will include helping grow that following, but Boardman told us that the main thing she’s looking for in a TikTok creator is expertise in and comfort with the channel.


“We’re not saying you need to have a million followers by any means,” Boardman told us, explaining that Care/of is interviewing people with smaller followings that are “platform-native” and know when to use a trending sound or how to connect with people in comments, for instance.

“The way I think about it is: In the way that you would hire a professional photographer for ongoing photo shoots, or a freelance writer for blog content, we know that this is a really specific skill set. And while the platform is newer, there are folks who have real honed experience in TikTok, and we know the power of the channel,” Boardman said.

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