TikTok has seen explosive growth since around 2017 and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Commonly used by Gen Z (ages 16-24) and Millennials (ages 25-40), the platform is all the rage amongst younger generations. On average, these users don’t respond well to traditional commercial media, instead they prefer short, relatable content on new media platforms. Hence why TikTok is so popular among these age groups and also why it’s such a fantastic marketing medium when selling to those demographics.
Ecommerce sellers have a lot to gain should they adjust their product marketing strategies to fit in with current trends. Here are 4 tips to help integrate TikTok into your marketing strategy.
Get to know TikTok
To work with TikTok, you’ll need to understand what makes it… tick.
Content on other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook performs well when the creators have a huge following. Their videos and posts become viral because their followers enjoy and promote them.
TikTok is different.
The platform doesn’t necessarily favor large creators. It’s known to pick up all kinds of videos from small accounts and push them exactly where they need to go. TikTok fosters a massive trend culture — the platform embraces users trying to ride the waves. Posts often go viral when they are part of an existing trend. For example, a video with a popular song in it like “Best Ever” by Polo Frost has a bigger chance of going viral than a less known sound. That song already has over 2.8 million videos.
Trending sounds and challenges can help sellers increase their overall popularity. If creatively leveraged, sellers can hop onto some of these trends to effectively promote their brand.
That process begins with plenty of research. Building out your likes with inspirational gems and videos relevant to your goals is a great place to start.
“Understand” the algorithm
Unless you have insider knowledge, it’s impossible to fully understand how TikTok’s discovery algorithm works. Nonetheless, aspiring creators need to have an idea of how and why videos appear on users’ feeds.
TikTok has actually released information that helps frame the answer. According to TikTok: “The system recommends content by ranking videos based on a combination of factors — starting from interests you express as a new user and adjusting for things you indicate you’re not interested in, too”.
These factors include things like:
- User interactions: the videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments posted, and content you create
- Video information: details like captions, sounds, and hashtags
- Device and account settings: language preference, location, device type, etc.
Each of these factors and more play into TikTok’s recommendation system at a personal level. The result is that every “For You” page is always completely unique to the user. What’s most important is that good content will always find its way to the right people.
This info also implies a few things that are good for the overall health of the platform and its content like:
- Content has a high chance of appealing to locals initially before it goes viral.
- Informative or entertaining videos can always grow over time, they don’t just fall flat if they don’t get picked up immediately.
- Genuine content with sounds or hashtags that were once popular can always make a comeback.
Sellers looking to leverage TikTok as a marketing medium should create videos that are relevant to their core demographic before thinking about how to loop everyone in. Even just focusing on a local audience can prove to be a powerful strategy. A popular local video can quickly become a viral international sensation.
Focus on what’s currently popular
A great place to start is to adapt useful or entertaining content to formats that are currently succeeding. Embrace the trend culture and try your hand at riding some of those waves.
Educational videos, for example, never go out of style. Some people just do them better than others. Take note of their tone and how they present their info, and use some of that energy when making content relevant to your industry. Even SaaS companies can make videos sharing tips on excelling in the space, handling a specific challenge, or brief tutorials on using advanced features of their product.
Ecommerce sellers should leverage trends relevant to their business to increase engagement and eventually brand awareness. These could be anything from tutorial videos, lip-sync challenges, doing a simple task, virtual tours, to even something like harnessing the power of a dance challenge. It’s easy for users to mimic a dance or idea and spread a trend without directly advertising the creator’s brand.
The key is to get creative. Popular sounds don’t even have to be used accurately if you’ve got a knack for irony and comedic timing. Sometimes tastefully throwing people off is all its takes. It’s all fair game and can lead to massive success.
There’s also always the route of working with influencers. Even though you don’t need a community to get noticed initially, someone with an active community can help propel your brand forward. Partnering with an influencer gives sellers an alternative avenue to promote their content organically. Check out TikTok creator marketplace for more info.
Lastly, special occasions trend highly on TikTok, so sellers can create content around holidays and events. This is another area where creativity goes far. There are countless obscure minor holidays to capitalize on, some of which have audiences that would love to see the day get some attention.
Take advantage of TikTok’s editing tools
At the heart of TikTok’s success is its suite of editing tools. More often than not, these tools are a big part of why content goes viral on the platform.
From the basic cut functionality, to the ability to stitch together different video clips, to the array of unique effects, filters, and sounds, TikTok’s editing tools promote a nearly boundless creative range. This feature-rich editing workshop is perfect for creating eye-catching and entertaining content.
Don’t let the possibilities intimidate you though, some of the most creative content is simple by design.
Sellers should familiarize themselves with all the editing tools the app has to offer to demystify some of the content they come across. It’s only then that you’ll be able to distill your best ideas.
There are two phases to producing a TikTok video, lets call these capture and edit.
In the capture phase, the app gives you a video progress bar at the very top of the screen. This fills up and cuts off as you tap the record button. From here you also have access to a number of features:
- Sounds: select from a huge range of sounds to add to your video
- Flip: toggle between your device’s front-facing camera and its primary camera
- Speed: control the speed of the recorded content
- Beauty: applies a skin-smoothing feature that hides imperfections
- Filters: choose from upwards of 40 filters that change the look of your clips
- Timer: set a countdown to record, as well as a limit for the duration of that clip
- Flash: toggle is available if you’re using your device’s primary camera
- Effects: choose from nearly 200 signature TikTok effects
- Upload: upload media from your camera roll
Beneath it all you’re able to select from either a 15s or 60s format, or you can go to Templates to choose from some video presets.
Once you’re done recording the video’s content you then advance to the editing phase.
The editing pane gives you access to some of the features from the previous capture screen.
- Filters: add a filter or stack another one on top of the one used while recording
- Adjust clips: adjust individual clips used in your video
- Voice effects: choose from a number of fun voice effects
- Voiceover: append new audio over the original media
- Sounds: add a sound or replace a previously selected one
- Text: add text over your clips
- Stickers: choose from a broad selection of stickers to add to your video
Once you’re done editing your video, the Post pane presents a range of basic publishing options. Among those options are toggles for Duet and Stitch — you’ll want these turned on if you want users to weave in scenes from your video into theirs.
Duet and Stitch
It won't be long once you start exploring TikTok content that you'll come across videos that feature someone else's content. More often than not, that's because of either the Duet or Stitch feature.
Duet lets you build on another user's video by recording your own video alongside the original as it plays. Stitch allows you to clip and integrate scenes from another user's video into your own.
These features enable you to easily collaborate with other users. In order to use them though, the creator of the content you want to integrate would had to have toggled on those features for that particular video. To use either of these features, tap the Share button on the video you want to work with. You'll then see the option to use Duet or Stitch depending on what the original user has enabled.
Don’t just talk the talk… Tik the Tok
Ecommerce sellers not already using TikTok shouldn’t keep ignoring the platform. It’s a fantastic medium for both sales potential and brand awareness.
Familiarize yourself with the platform and dissect what successful creators are doing. All you need to know is how to identify what works, understand why it works, and recognize how it was made. Then you can adapt some of your content to work with popular trends.
Sellers can harness the power of those trends to gain popularity and in turn boost their brand.