$130,000 in sales. A 270% increase in revenue. All for a customer acquisition cost of $0.
That’s the results underwear brand Huha had when one of their videos went viral on TikTok. Here’s what their founder had to say about it:
@wearhuha What a viral tiktok video actually means for a #smallbusiness 💖 thank you to everyone for your comments, shares, and ORDERS from my previous video. Much love! #womeninbusinesstiktok #smallbusinesscheck ♬ The Journey - Sol Rising
(Shout-out to the fantastic DTC Newsletter who originally featured this!)
The bottom line: if you’re not already, it’s time you took TikTok seriously. This guide will walk you through how to create a TikTok marketing strategy. It’ll cover who uses the platform and how to set yourself up with a business account. To wrap things up, we’ll go through how other ecommerce companies use the platform - which should give some ideas you can use to sell your own products on TikTok.
Then the rest is up to you! You never know, it could be the next channel you add to your ecommerce marketing strategy.
Which audiences are on TikTok?
TikTok can get a bad rap. It’s still associated with teens and derided by older generations because of it.
That generalisation doesn’t hold water any more. TikTok has long since found a broader audience outside of teenagers. While the majority of its users are Gen Z, 32% of all its users are now aged 25-34 and more than a fifth of the United States population used the app in 2021.
Compared to other social platforms out there right now, TikTok is on a rocket trajectory. A lot of us (including yours truly) have been signing up to the video-sharing platform recently. It’s on track to overtake Instagram’s 1.4 billion users and have 1.8 billion active users by the end of 2022 (that’s more than the entire population of China btw).
It's no surprise that ecommerce are starting to include TikTok in their social selling strategy. up to the power of TikTok. Just last year, AdWeek reported almost half of all TikTok users went on to buy a product they first saw on the app. The Huha example above is just one of many success stories companies are finding on the app.
TikTok vs. Instagram - which is better for your brand?
Not sure which of the social networks to focus your marketing efforts on? Consider two things.
Firstly, who are your customers? As covered above, TikTok is massively popular with Gen Z. Most millennials, however, still prefer Instagram.
And secondly, how do you work? For example, if you’re a pro at creating video content, then TikTok is a good fit. If the visual content you’re creating is mostly high-quality, glossy photos, then Instagram would suit you better.
You don’t have to settle on one or the other though. Lots of brands create video content for TikTok, then crosspost on Instagram Reels.
(P.S. We've got you covered if you want to be on Instagram, too. Here's our guide to creating Instagram Ad campaigns).
Setting up your brand’s TikTok account
To create a TikTok for Business account, all you’ll need is a smart phone and access to the internet. If your company provides you with a business phone, download the app on that. If you have to use your personal one, I’d suggest turning off TikTok notifications so you’re able to switch off from work in your downtime.
Here’s the steps to follow:
1. Download the app - Just head to whatever app store your phone’s operating system uses and download TikTok.
2. Create a personal profile - You’ll have to create a ‘personal’ profile first - either by popping in your email or signing up with your work Windows or Google account.
3. Switch to a TikTok business account - Go to your profile and select the menu from the top-right, then ‘setting and privacy’. That’ll take you to a full menu of options. Under ‘Account’ heading, select ‘Manage account’ and then pick ‘switch to Business Account’. It’ll ask you to select which industry your business is in.
4. Fill in your profile - Almost there! Now all you have to do is brand your profile, include a link to your site and write a short description of what your company is all about.
5. Log in on your work computer - Okay so this one’s optional. But if you want to dip in and see how your posts are doing and reply to comments, it might be easier to do that from your work computer. TikTok lets you do this - you just won’t be able to create content through your desktop browser.
6. Now start posting your TikToks! If you’re not sure where to start, TikTok’s Creative Suite is great for content ideas. It collects videos from businesses which are doing particularly well, and you can sort by most views, comments or shares.
Once you’re done, you’ll have access to the ‘Business Suite’ where you can view your post analytics and manage any TikTok advertising campaigns you end up running.
Getting started with your TikTok marketing strategy
Now comes the difficult part. Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all. Launching a new marketing channel can feel overwhelming and it’s tricky to know where to start.
My advice? Start small, experiment, and build on what’s been working. You don’t need to build an entire video studio before you get creating.
A short planning document will help you get started. And it’ll be super useful if you have to pitch this idea to your senior manager. Address these questions in your strategy doc:
- How does TikTok fit with your brand? - Write a couple of sentences justifying why TikTok is a good place for your brand to be present on. Maybe you’re trying to appeal to a younger audience, for instance.
- Who’s your ideal TikTok follower? - Paint a picture of what your perfect TikTok follower would look like and tie it to your existing knowledge of your brand’s customer base. Are they aged 22-25, live in the UK and super into make-up tutorial videos, for instance?
- What content do you want to create? - A branded business social account with no content is a sad sight. What types of content do you propose creating for your TikTok? Make sure you tie this back to the first two bullets. Skip to the next suggestion for some inspiration.
- What resource will you need? - What equipment do you need to create your TikTok content? Will you need help from a freelancer? Do you need a tool (like Dash) to store and organise all the extra content you’ll be creating? Here's why DAM is a great for ecommerce social management.
- What results do you expect? - Are you hoping your TikTok will help you sell products? If it makes sense to do so, set yourself a benchmark figure for sales or product units sold that you’d like to achieve. Results won’t be overnight, so give your TikTok experiment enough time to settle into a rhythm before you decide whether to continue with it or not.
Here’s one thing worth noting as you start to plan your content - the 7-second strategy. In short, creators found videos lasting exactly 7 seconds and using trending audio clips got lots more engagement than ones that didn’t.
Hootsuite did their own research on the 7s strategy and found it to be true. It could be something worth experimenting with as you start creating content. Although word to the wise, algorithms are notoriously fickle and can change regularly - so don’t base your entire strategy on this.
6 TikTok tips from other ecommerce businesses
You’ve set up your TikTok business profile and now you’re ready to actually start creating content. Where to begin? Here’s inspiration taken from brands using TikTok as a key part of their content strategy.
Note: No big name brands with huge marketing departments here! These examples are from ambitious, growing ecommerce brands with small marketing teams. Just like you!
1. Be authentic
First stop on our magical TikTok inspiration tour, let’s go back to where this article started and look at underwear brand Huha. In the viral video founder Alexa Suter was talking about, she tells the story of why she founded her brand. It’s not hard to see why it took off. It’s educational, speaks to a common problem women often suffer with (UTI infections), and offers hope with a solution that worked for Alexa - her own products.
Their TikTok is well worth a scroll through. Combining body positivity, humour and authenticity, their videos regularly clock up to 30,000 views.
Takeaway 💡 - If you have a story, tell it. Everyone loves a story and it’s one of the things that makes your brand unique. Be like Alexa and describe how your brand and products can come into being. It’ll help potential customers relate to your company.
2. Feature real, relatable people
UK skincare company Made by Sunday is a great example of how to run an account perfectly pitched to your target audience. They mix educational product content with memes, so watching a post like this is actually entertaining. And they’ve coupled it with relatable, funny vox pops from street interviews. Like this one, where some poor lady struggles to pronounce La Roche-Posay (honestly, same). It all feels fresh and perfectly on-brand.
Still from MadebySunday's TikTok account
Takeaway 💡 - Being authentic is so hard for brands to get right - and it’s properly cringe when they get it wrong. Take a leaf from Made by Sunday, instead. Try featuring relatable voxpops from your customers.
3. Don't be afraid to show off your product
Postal cookie company Love Clever Cookie’s TikTok is good enough to eat. Their products look fantastic (I WILL be ordering a box) so it’s a smart decision to feature them pride and place throughout their feed. They use satisfying ASMR-like clips of cutting cookies and voice-over videos of their founder going through the latest flavours. With almost 250,000 followers, it’s a strategy that’s clearly working well for them. Delicious!
Takeaway 💡 - Don’t be afraid to create content that puts your products front and centre. Find a way to showcase them in their best light and go for it! You only have a limited amount of time before a TikTok user continues scrolling, anyway.
4. Use viral audio clips and hashtags
Oprah-approved Clevr Blends make oat milk SuperLattes from mushrooms, antigens and probiotics. They’re pretty cool in our book - and that’s not just because they’re a Dash customer! 😇
Their most popular video, with 11,000 likes to date, is a short and satisfying clip of their Golden SuperLatte being poured into a glass, lit by gorgeous (and appropriate) golden hour sunlight. It includes the hashtag #morningroutine. Not only is it super relevant to their product, the hashtag has also clocked up 9.2 billion views.
@clevrblends You literally just add water 🤷♀️🌈🍄 #instantcoffee #latte #morningroutine ♬ original sound - wearjutieats
Takeaway 💡 -Using trending audio clips, hashtags and hashtag challenges are a great way to promote your products. If you can make it relevant to your brand and make it funny, then you’re onto a winner!
5. Mix up your content
Creators of the iconic Low Top sneaker, Filling Pieces fuse streetwear and high fashion for an affordable price tag. They’re also another Dash customer - represent! ✌️
With a young, fashionable customer base, the platform is a perfect outlet for the brand. So it’s no surprise their content is killing it on the platform, regularly racking up video views climbing toward the million mark. One of the keys to their success is a varied feed full of funny memes, product unboxing, sale hypes and giveaways.
Still from Filling Piece's TikTok account
Takeaway 💡 - Variety is the spice of life. Creating a diverse TikTok feed stops your followers from getting bored and lets you experiment with different types of content to see what works best.
6. Turn customers into micro-influencers
But the ‘super cool’ part? They automate creating TikTok user-generated content, making it part of the checkout process on the website. Turning happy customers into micro-influencers is a genius influencer marketing idea, in our books.
Here’s them explaining how it works:
@drinkolipop #greenscreen Reply to @aamaraaxo this is not a drill🚨!! you don’t need a following, just OLIPOP & TikTok 😉 #drinkolipop #olipop #paidbranddeals #olipoptiktok #soda #healthysoda #microinfluencers #contentcreatorswanted #bountyapp #ugc #contentcreation ♬ original sound - Ajani
They’re using a service called Bounty to help run it. And it’s pretty simple - for every 100 views, you get a $1. A quick search for the brand on TikTok turns up loads of UGC of people enjoying their drinks, so it must be doing pretty well for them!
Takeaway 💡- Social is social, first and foremost. User-generated content is a fantastic way to have micro-influencers promote your brand for you. It allows you to reach hard-to-find audiences and creates a buzz around your products.
Roundup - best practices for brands on TikTok
Here’s what we learnt from looking at the brands above:
- Tell your story - it’s what makes your brand unique, after all.
- Be authentic - know who your customer is and find ways to make your company relatable to them.
- Showcase your products - don’t be afraid to go in for the hard sell every now and then. Use TikTok to feature your products in their best light.
- Use trending audio clips - Using viral audio increases your video’s chance of going viral, too. Just make sure you can relate it back to what you do.
- Embrace UGC - Use platforms like Bounty to get your UGC programme off the ground and turn a customer into a content creator.
Get your TikTok content in order
You’re ready to start creating a load of videos for your TikTok. Before you dive in, take a minute to think about how you want to store, organise and use the videos you’re about to create.
Why? Because if you’re an ecommerce marketer, you’ll already be dealing with loads of assets every day - like product shots, email graphics, Instagram ads and Shopify banners. And now you’re about to add more content to the mix. How do you want to store it all and make it accessible to the rest of your team?
Google Drive, you say? There’s a better way. Using a flexible, affordable digital asset management (DAM) tool like Dash is the way to go. You can tag your video content by how well it performed, share easily with your team - and move all your other visual contents into Dash while you’re at it. Try it yourself for free and see what you think.
For further reading, check out Amy’s blog on how DAMs can level-up your social media marketing.