Do you need a Chief TikTok Officer?

Short answer: yes, but probably not with that title.

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I’m so sore. I’ve thrown myself into two-a-day workouts to get ready for a kinda crazy opportunity. Next Monday, I’m playing against the USA Olympic 3×3 basketball team. It’s a whole thing, which I’m documenting on my hoops Instagram. I managed to find time between cryotherapy and yoga to pump out some thoughts, though. Let’s talk about

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Do you need a Chief TikTok Officer?

First came the murmurings about Chief Social Officers (which no, we don’t need, but that’s an essay for another day). Now we’re in the halfdecade of Chief TikTok Officers

What is a Chief TikTok Officer?

Don’t worry, TikTofficers aren’t actually c-suite.

Chief TikTok Officer is a gag title, used by brands as a combined marketing campaign, recruitment tool, and user-generated content opportunity.

The real job at stake: an in-house content creator role. They’re usually targeting experienced content creators more than social media managers, often hoping they’ll be the face of the brand on that channel in exchange for a consistent paycheck and extravagant job title. The application process usually involves posting a public TikTok, generating some content and PR along the way.

Nerf’s probably the most famous example. An open casting call led to hiring Sophie Lightning, a Nerf TikToker turned Nerf Chief TikTok Officer. What was originally slated to be a 3-month, $30,000 engagement turned into a full-time gig for two years as Sophie became the heart & soul of NerfTok.


Always keep your head on a swivel at Nerf HQ😂 #nerf #fyp #viral

Maybe more amazingly, Sophie’s now moved to kitchenware company Made By Gather for a second Chief TikTok Officer title—by my count, the first to hold the role for two different companies.

Is there value in the gag title?

I see this one both ways. I asked my followers on LinkedIn and Twitter—theyyy hated it. Lots of mentions of it being unserious, or demeaning to social roles, or cringey. Overreactions, if you ask me—it’s not that deep (though I never loved being called a guru).

Considering the cultural temperature towards TikTok & the reality that short-form vertical content across all platforms is the need, I probably wouldn’t recommend a Chief TikTok Officer title. Maybe a good play pre-Instagram Reels, but it’s just too narrow for 2024 social.

John Deere’s Chief Tractor Officer is the happy medium.

Now this? This I get.

John Deere sells tractors. Tractors aren’t high on Gen Z Christmas wishlists. Content creators aren’t exactly out there making a ton of tractor content on their own. Social pros aren’t actively looking to work on tractor content.

So John Deere launched their Chief Tractor Officer position / campaign in an effort to not just recruit unexpected talent to their team, but show their commitment to social content.


Ready for the gig of a lifetime? Click the link in our bio to apply! Big thanks to our friends @Colton McKivitz @Tyrese Haliburton @Gabby... See more

Even more notably, the role comes with a cool $200,000 contract. Considering the average content creator makes around $44,000, that salary will certainly attract creators who want a more consistent income.

I had a long chat about the gig with Jen Hartmann, Director of PR & Social at John Deere. The more we talked, the more I found myself nodding along with the ideology of their campaign. They get that it’s their job to create a desirable role in title, pay, and creative freedom. They get that hiring an actual content creator will be more effective than transitioning a social pro to the role. They’re actively thinking about the long-term, looking for someone to build with for a full year. For a company that would struggle to convince a creative to come aboard, they’re doing all the right things, and getting a little PR / social love along the way.

I even like the Chief Tractor Officer title. Considering they’re likely gonna hire someone who’s got zero agricultural experience, offering a flashy name is as much a badge of trust as a show of the level of commitment they want from their CTO.

If you want more details (or consider yourself the future star of TractorTok), head over to John Deere’s site for the full press release.

So… do you need a Chief TikTok Officer?

No, not really. But you absolutely do need in-house content creators, whose speciality is content, who are charged with nothing but content. And if your brand’s not in a typical content-friendly industry, you might need to get creative with how you find the right content creators.

Whether you like the Chief TikTok Officer title or not, your brand’s gotta have someone with that job description to succeed in modern social.

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