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Having a TikTok ecommerce strategy is a great way for brands to create a digital experience for consumers and advertise their products and services in a low-cost, organic way.
TikTok’s tone and dynamic center around escapism, creativity, and entertainment, which is exactly what consumers needed when the world went into lockdown. In just 2020 alone, the app jumped from 40 million monthly active users to over 1 billion users of all different ages and backgrounds, making it the fastest growing social media platform of all time.
If your brand is interested in TikTok, here are five ways to have meaningful engagements with your target audience.
There are five main avenues for brands to spark engagement on TikTok: brand channels, influencers, in-feed ads, viral challenges, and disruptive activations. Each avenue has its own best practices and strategies to consider when creating brand content.
When your brand launches its TikTok channel, you’ll want to establish authentic conversations with your audience. You can do this by utilizing popular tropes in TikTok storytelling, such as pointing to text bubbles around your screen or fun transitions. It’s important to choose stories that make sense to your brand’s values and products, as you would for any other social media platform.
People are most likely already talking about your brand or industry on TikTok, so creating a channel is a great opportunity to join the conversation.
Finding the right influencer on TikTok is somewhat similar to the process on other social media apps. You’ll want to partner with influencers who make sense for your brand’s products, values, and mission.
You can look for TikTok influencers on the app’s influencer marketplace. It’s important to remember that most influencers are native to the app; they don't usually have big followings on YouTube or Instagram. Keep your eye out for the rising stars of TikTok. They could be great, inexpensive content collaborators for your brand.
With the influencer’s permission, their content can be reposted on your brand’s page. Keep in mind that using reposted content isn’t a great long-term strategy. This is recommended more for brands that are just starting out because TikTok’s algorithm discourages reposted content and suppresses views on these videos. A better long-term TikTok ecommerce strategy would be to work with your influencers to create specialized content for your profile.
TikTok offers brands commercial-quality advertisements with a much smaller price tag. Your brand can invest in both self-service offerings as well as services with TikTok’s sales teams.
When creating your ads, it’s important to make them feel native to the app, just as you did for your content on the brand profile. You can achieve this by utilizing the same storytelling tropes in your ads as you do in your content.
A brand can gain a lot of recognition if it leans into TikTok challenges. These challenges can be new dances, partner activities, games, really anything you want. Some challenges snag millions — sometimes even billions — of views.
Viral TikTok content can cause products to fly off the shelves. The entire country of Finland ran out of feta after a pasta dish featuring the cheese made international news. You won’t find the same level of virality on Twitter or Instagram. Their viral posts may garner a million views, maybe 10 million if it’s really popular. The most popular campaign on TikTok garnered 90 billion views.
This virality comes from the app’s content creators. Brands can begin campaigns through challenges, and content creators put their spin on these challenges, free of charge to you.
There are two golden rules to keep in mind when coming up with branded challenges. Create something the TikTok community wants to take part in, and put thought into the hashtags you use. TikTok uses hashtags to display content to relevant audiences, so irrelevant hashtags will lead your content to the wrong people.
Disruptive activations are unique ways to create engagement with your brand. An example of a disruptive activation is creating original music for users to repurpose in their content. Some brands have even created reality shows and had their users audition in their videos.
One of the best ways to engage with your audience is participating in TikTok trends. TikTok’s algorithm favors currently trending content and can get your videos in front of a lot of people. But getting it right is vital. Your “cool factor” will increase and customers will have fun engaging if it’s done right, but it can come off as forced if it’s done wrong.
Finding trends is a manual process that requires time in the app to find them. You’ll want to stay on top of the freshest trends, as trends that have made it to the Discover page or the news are likely already on their way out.
Hiring people who understand the app will be the most important part of your TikTok ecommerce strategy. Employees who are TikTok natives will know how to find the current trends, challenges, and rising stars on the app. Talent like this is the best weapon in your strategy.
Brands can start with a low budget and implement a test and learn strategy. Try out hero personas, recurring faces, product-focused content, or anything else that comes to mind, and see what sticks. There’s a conversation for everyone on TikTok, and finding yours can lead to incredible engagement that brands only dream of on other apps.
Watch the on-demand webinar, “TikTok Marketing Crash Course: How TikTok Can Help Your Brand Drive Billions of Views,” to learn more about how your brand can have meaningful engagements with consumers on this wildly popular social media platform.