The popular social video app TikTok has been downloaded over 3 billion times. It only continues to gain popularity, picking up an ever-widening audience of brands, influencers, and everyday users as it grows. As the app has matured, it’s become an excellent tool for eCommerce brands that’s not yet overly saturated with branded content.
While TikTok’s algorithm caters to brand and user discovery, building an engaged follower base on the app should be top of mind when deciding how your brand will make its mark.
Why eCommerce brands should be active on TikTok
TikTok is becoming increasingly popular as a search engine for consumers looking to discover new products; the world of marketing frequently discusses how TikTok rivals Google when it comes to searching for brands to buy from. The social channel has a reputation for being just for Gen Z, but the demographics range beyond this one generation.
The unique sub-communities on TikTok cater to all ages, making TikTok a viable marketing resource even for brands with audiences of any age. There are also influencers for a variety of different industries on the app, from parenting to eSports. Because of this diversity, your brand may be more likely to discover potential customers on TikTok than on other social platforms.
How your brand could go viral
The “For You” page algorithm on TikTok determines what content goes viral, selecting highly-rated content to display to users. Even smaller brands or creators new to the platform can go viral because the algorithm doesn’t consider follower count or whether an account has posted successful content in the past.
It focuses more on the quality of the video based on the reactions (e.g., shares, likes, or watching the entire video) of the initial users that interact with it. This levels the playing field, allowing newcomers to get their content in front of a wider audience of relevant consumers. It also places more emphasis on your most active customers, as the first few people to view your TikTok video will decide its fate with their interactions.
How to grow your audience on TikTok
Growing your TikTok audience is a fantastic way to widen your brand’s reach, increase community engagement, increase your odds of going viral, and gain new customers.
Work with micro-influencers
Micro-influencers have smaller followings than traditional influencers (usually under 25,000, but the number is flexible). This smaller community allows them to have a more personal relationship with their followers who share their specific interests. Their raw, authentic content is more relatable than celebrity content, and their lifestyles feel more affordable and attainable.
Together, an intimate following and authentic content make micro-influencers extremely influential to their communities. As an added bonus, smaller-scale creators are more likely to work with brands they genuinely love, and they are more budget-friendly. Working with a few micro-influencers may be a better way to reach more TikTok users who are likely to buy from your brand than partnering with one macro-influencer who posts a variety of topics.
There’s a growing number of unique communities on TikTok, such as BookTok or mom influencers, that trust creators due to shared hobbies and interests. These niche communities provide excellent opportunities to work with micro-influencers and attract users to your TikTok profile.
Be sure to check out our report, “The State of Influencer Marketing” to get up to speed on the latest insights to power your influencer strategy.
Brand spotlight: How DMC grows on TikTok
Crafty TikTok micro-influencers have helped widen the audience of DMC, an embroidery brand, by posting videos that help viewers improve their stitching skills. In addition to the ability to shop products from each video, viewers can explore DMC’s TikTok feed directly from an on-site gallery that automatically populates the page with new TikTok videos as creators upload them to the brand’s account.
With Pixlee TurnTo (an Emplifi company), DMC is able to tag products in each TikTok, then collect and publish TikTok videos from the brand’s influencers to create a streamlined path to purchase.
Reshare user-generated content (UGC)
UGC is hugely influential with shoppers, and over 90% of consumers consider it more helpful than brand-created content. UGC is what TikTok is all about. Most of the videos on an everyday user’s “For You” page come from other people just like them and don’t look edited or over-produced like some brand content may appear.
There are likely already consumers on TikTok posting about your brand or product. Finding these posts with a UGC platform allows you to reshare this powerful content on TikTok and beyond. Resharing UGC on TikTok shows your community that you’re invested in the media they share and that you appreciate your customers. This goes a long way toward building brand loyalty, and the reshared content gets seen by even more users.
Brand spotlight: How Revel Nail uses TikTok
TikTok is a perfect platform for cosmetics brands like Revel Nail. The company’s unique line of nail dip lends itself to beautiful UGC that it can reshare to engage viewers. In particular, videos showcasing the “TikTok method” of applying the brand’s nail dip to make it last twice as long have been wildly popular.
Revel Nail knows the value of UGC in TikTok videos. That’s why the company seeds UGC from TikTok at crucial parts of the shopper journey, featuring real customers’ nail videos on product pages. This provides an extra layer of social proof for shoppers while inspiring them to connect with your brand on TikTok.
Utilize trending audio clips, hashtags, and effects
TikTok lets its users include hashtags, captions, and music in videos to make them easily searchable. You can add keyword-optimized captions and trending hashtags to your videos to make them more likely to be seen by a wider audience. Especially for brands, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag can increase your exposure on the app while helping users find your product.
Trends come and go quickly, so it’s essential to maintain real-time engagement with your online community. This can help you discover trending audio clips to add to your brand’s videos, or popular effects like “Versailles Run.” Staying active with TikTok trends makes it more likely that users will interact favorably with your content, which encourages the algorithm to recommend your videos to others.
Athletic apparel brand HYLETE creates different types of video content while mixing up hashtags and audio clips to determine what resonates best with the brand’s audience.
Reuse TikTok content from the app
Reusing TikTok content from the app is simple because it’s already in a format that has enormous appeal and fits other social platforms. You can adapt your videos to Instagram highlights, Instagram Reels, or YouTube Shorts to maximize value and direct traffic back to your TikTok. Whether you’re creating a valuable piece of content in-house, sourcing UGC from customers, or working with influencers, it can only improve your TikTok visibility to repurpose that content and share it far and wide.
You can also feature shoppable TikTok content from your brand on your website. This works well on product pages like Revel Nail’s and TikTok galleries like DMC’s. The more places you reuse TikTok content, the more opportunities you create to gain new followers and potential customers.
Post consistently and at optimal times
TikTok users want a steady stream of fresh content in their feeds. By posting frequently and consistently, you’ll increase engagement and ensure your brand stays top of mind for viewers. In addition to consistency, it’s also important to think about what time you post your content.
This works as a helpful starting point for posting times, but as you collect more account analytics through the app, you can determine which times your target audience is active. This will give you a more personalized approach to when you should be posting.
Kickstart your TikTok marketing
The TikTok algorithm is like a positive feedback loop. You don’t have to have many followers to reach your target audience, and once you get a few pieces of content that do, you’re more likely to gain followers.
As you build your TikTok strategy, remember to spend time interacting with your community’s content. Resharing UGC, rather than putting out your own, is the best way to generate engagement on the app. Choose content that matches what your community typically shares in order to ensure your posts don’t feel like ads.