As a day-to-day user of TikTok, I have become acquainted with all of the unrevealed functions of the app, some even taking me by surprise - so what is it that makes TikTok defy all odds of social media marketing, and why should you use it for your business?
If you haven’t heard of the global phenomenon that is TikTok, we’ve got to ask: have you been living under a rock? At first thought, TikTok can be recognised as the platform where you engage in viral dance videos and do ridiculous trends, and overall, an app where you can scroll aimlessly before you go to bed.
However, TikTok has long since evolved from an entertainment app to a real and valuable source of revenue for eCommerce businesses - this is reflected in the whopping $13.2 that businesses acquired from TikTok in 2023 alone; sounds intriguing, right? Read on to unlock the tips and tricks of the TikTok trade!
6 Reasons You Should Use TikTok for Your eCom Business
Now, if you were asked ‘Who are the primary users of TikTok?’ your immediate thought would be younger generations who have no idea what they are talking about from time to time; as a Gen Z member myself, I can vouch that this stereotype needs to be locked away forever; throw away the key! So, why is this? A common theme for Gen-Z TikTok users is that they use the app as a search engine - a video-based search engine where the answer to any question is the click of a button away; we have YouTube for that, right? Why do we need another one? The question lies in the answer of first-hand experiences - in seconds, you are subjected to another HUMAN who has the same problem as you in a condensed video; is this HEAVEN?
The All-In-One Search Engine
More often than not, I have found myself utilising TikTok as a search engine; being in a situation where you can easily search into TikTok for the outcome gives people a first-hand experience of someone else tackling the same problem. Using TikTok to search for problems, you can witness a video made from the user's perspective, with first-hand problem-solving and connecting with other people from all across the world in a comment section where you all have the same driven idea of what you want to solve.
TikTok has almost instant updates on news and events happening in the world at any given moment. For example, a breaking news story about an internet sensation gets released. Give it 2 minutes before a volume of videos about that piece of information are posted on TikTok, and then you'll continually see it, over and over again, not to mention the trending hashtags, trending sounds, and keywords that add this process. Are you still with me? It's time to dive into this never-ending loophole of viral content creation.
‘TikTok Made Me Buy It!’
Admit it, have you ever seen a really important purchase that another person has made on TikTok, which has led you to buy something… we’ve all been there! The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag went viral as people were searching it to find quirky furniture and helpful household items.
This hashtag expanded to YouTube videos; influencers were buying these items to review, which grew even more traction to the hashtag. Thus, the TikTok shop was born. Before, viewers had to leave TikTok to purchase the items in the caption link. Until TikTok had the ultimate lightbulb moment, why make them leave the app?
Tiktok’s function to list your products and tag them in your videos was revolutionary, but what happened next? People love a good bargain… but TikTok shop users took this to the HIGHEST extent. Products are now being listed for as little as 20 pence! That’s right, you heard me! It’s a tool to grab the attention of your customers and make them use that given TikTok shop feature, which equals becoming more viral and receiving attention.
So, why is TikTok shop so popular with well-recognised brands? Take ‘Made By Mitchell’ for example; the makeup range was unrecognised by many people until founder Mitchell Halliday decided to put products onto the popular shopping forum but with a twist. The prices on his makeup products are as low as possible, but is this a smart move? In my opinion, yes! He is driving as much traffic as possible with the talk and news of his prices being so low, word of mouth, and people sharing these products on TikTok made this particular store go viral! It is also important to include Key and Trending words in your product listing; customers will search for items that are in season right now!
Promoting Your Products on TikTok Shop
Okay, so far, we have the main reasoning behind TikTok shop and why this is doing so well; how can viewers count on the legitimacy of this site? When I first wandered through the never-ending abyss of TikTok shop, I remember thinking, ‘Am I going to be scammed?’ and abandoning my cart due to the uncertainty. But, much like everything else on TikTok, people trust the word of mouth that is circulated through the use of live videos and reviews.
As you can see above, customers are making sure that the products are real. One big tactic that brands use is getting familiar faces, like Gemma Collins above, to pack orders.
Yet again, more traffic is being driven to the site due to the famous figure physically packing the order. This will then circulate, and screen recordings of the live video will be shared with the news of ‘Gemma Collins is packing my order’, and other people will want to be able to flex that the famous figure packing their order - the cycle is never-ending.
Consumer spending on TikTok in the last year has surpassed $2.5 billion globally - which is a whopping number that reflects the sudden surge in interest in the platform!
A Focus on Reactive Marketing
If there was one app that encapsulated reactive marketing, it would be TikTok. The app strives for reactive marketing, the hustle to recreate a trend which spotlights your very own niche and, in my opinion, creates the best work.
TikTok viewers don't appreciate overly edited content, pointing toward the main point of TikTok: posting what's natural! People want to see YOU and YOUR company, not overly edited versions of yourselves, which make you seem unnatural. Create a trend, add your main message and text, but don’t paint yourself to be someone you aren't. Reactive marketing can also help build a stronger brand reputation as you are showing your activity on TikTok and how quickly you can respond to a trend - think of the rewarding nature of a viewer complimenting your speed and reaction to the viral marketing, good, right?
If you get a potential client, you don't want them to delve deeper and discover that you aren’t representing what your company stands for. Show personality, show humour, and the most important thing is to show that there is a human behind the account and not ChatGPT running your TikTok account! Include those emojis in your caption. Utilise your symbols! People LOVE to see someone relatable when listening to information; it makes the facts and statistics easier to listen to!
TikTok is the main influencer collaboration platform in TikTok; this is so people can make their point in a 30-second to 1-minute-long video. TikTok content aims to be brief so you don't lose attention spans.
Way back when, the influencer collaboration go-to platform would be YouTube, where influencer reviews would be embedded in a very long video. At the time, people would've watched the entire length of the video. As of recently, over a minute-long videos have been doing increasingly well! Defying all the odds of viewers only wanting to watch up to 30-second long videos, it has been proven that 1 minute and over videos are the new favourite on TikTok - are we slowly seeing TikTok evolve into a platform that matches YouTube?
The key is to be subtle with your content so they don't recognise any overly edited content. Today’s celebrities are influencers who have been recognised because of their talents from TikTok. They are well-known faces in today's limelight, hence why you need these familiar faces to upsell your products. However, the majority of these influencers don’t use overly edited content to draw in their views and engagement - micro, nano and mid-tier influencers mainly focus on the aesthetically pleasing views on their easy-on-the-eye videos as opposed to making everything look perfectly edited. Influencing for influencers is commonly known to be self-taught, meaning they use what they know to promote the product or service they are selling easily.
If a potential customer hears about your new product being endorsed by their favourite influencer, they will mention or send this to everyone around them; this is the main traction that will grab the viewer's attention. It’s like getting Elton John to review a snazzy pair of glasses; soon, everyone will be wearing them! How cool does this sound?
Engaging and Interacting
So, reflecting on my last point, how on earth do you sign these familiar faces to promote your product? Your main key to connecting with an influencer is making sure you engage and interact with different people that you think may be interested. Shoot your shot with these influencers, comment on their posts and slide into their DMS. Look for influencers whose style and aesthetic match your brands.
For example, if you sell clothing and wanted to push your products to an influencer to gain their attention, you could create a video such as ‘Outfits in the style of *INFLUENCER*’, which would not only gain the attention of the influencer but their fans also! Use keywords that the influencer's audience would search for or want to see on their For You Page. It will gain the attention of more people than you think! Also, another note is contacting influencers on other platforms if you can’t reach them on TikTok; do as much as you can to get this collaboration.
The video length that will get the most attention, as mentioned before, is longer videos that go in-depth as to what your product does. Shorter videos do well, but longer videos pushing this product will gain more engagement. For a view to count, your video has to be watched all the way through. If someone leaves your 50-second video halfway through, the view won't count, and the attention will be lost.
Alternatively, you can try to relate your niche to trending content; do your research weekly to discover what this may be.TikTok will push this popular content, which means your information is being pushed if you're disguising it as a trend. As I mentioned before, heavily edited videos won’t do as well as minimally edited content, so don’t overdo it. People like to see easy-on-the-eye and engaging content; involve your team members as much as possible! Make yourselves known as humans, not robots! TikTok will also push popular and trending sounds; overlay your videos with these, even if you mute the sound and it’s just for show. The more engagement, the better!
How To Grow Your TikTok Audience & Drive Conversions
Now that you know all the good stuff, how on earth do you grow your audience to eventually drive your conversions? Luckily for your business, TikTok has all the tools included!
TikTok offers a range of Ads, including Infeed ads, TikTok ads that are posted through a TikTok ads manager, and Shopping ads. These are the three key adverts that will help your TikTok eCommerce growth.
Infeed ads are a way to grab someone's attention easily. They appear when you're scrolling down the FYP (For You page) and also on the Explore page or someone's account. They appear spontaneously and can be disguised as a regular video to make people unaware that they are watching an ad. This is common for very quick adverts; these can also include picture ads, which appear the same way as Infeed ads.
TikTok ads are another beneficial tool, as these give you insights into your ad analytics. They can be video ads, picture ads and interactive ads.
Shopping ads would be most beneficial for your Shopify eCommerce business. You will drive a higher conversion rate if you use these given ad techniques as they softly sell your product or service; they are skippable and don’t force anything in anyone's face! But it is a perfect way to showcase what you can sell to people.
This tool allows you to integrate your products seamlessly into existing ads. It offers an option to direct viewers to your eCommerce store or a specific product by swiping right on the ad. This can significantly boost your conversion rates as these ads garner more attention than regular videos.
While some of these ads may incur costs, they are invaluable for visibility. They blend in with regular videos, making it less likely for viewers to scroll past them, thus increasing engagement and views.
Finding Your Audience and Using Other Platforms to Do This
The most important thing to remember is that your audience will only come to you sometimes. You will need to drive traffic to your TikTok account through your posts and content and by utilising your other social networks; in doing this, you’ll have a kickstart audience to refer to when posting.
So, how important is finding your target audience? Once you have built your foundation audience, you need to expand. If you have received traffic from your Instagram audience, you will need to find your TikTok audience. They are two very different apps that have different audiences. Instagram is aimed toward a more experienced and older audience who believe in general advertisement - Instagram has seen a rise in users aged 35-44 by 15.7% since mid-2023; TikTok is aimed toward people who take risks and have fun with content. So, trial and error is the best way to go about finding what content resonates the most with your audience. From my perspective, posting at set times doesn’t affect the amount of traffic you get to your site. Be spontaneous with your content! It will surprise you when you don’t need a set time and date to post your content!
How to connect TikTok to Shopify
Read here on how to integrate your Shopify to TikTok shop! Godspeed!
In terms of products you can sell on TikTok shop from your Shopify store, these can be anything! Begin by uploading your most popular products; choose familiar ones, products that people will have heard of by mouth.
Ready to Take TikTok By Storm?
TikTok, known for viral dances and trends, offers immense potential for eCommerce. The platform's diverse user base, instantaneous updates, and 'TikTok Made Me Buy It' trend have birthed the TikTok shop phenomenon. By leveraging reactive marketing, engaging content, influencer collaborations, and strategic advertising, businesses canthrive. Utilising tools like Infeed ads and Shopping ads, connecting with influencers, and exploring one's audience is key. Integration with Shopify further fuels growth, making TikTok a potent ground for expanding business horizons. Want to know more? Get in touch NOW for advice on what is trending on TikTok THIS WEEK and how you can use these trends to enhance your Shopify store! You won’t regret it!