TikTok Marketing: How to use TikTok for Your Ecommerce Brand

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TikTok Marketing is one of the most prominent marketing strategies today. With the social platform taking the world by storm, many ecommerce brands have already gained tremendous success in using the platform for their marketing strategy. 

For example, Gymshark managed to build a content strategy around TikTok that brought about 3.6 million followers to date. Even tech-media giant – Washington Post – also uses TikTok to gain more followers and engagement with a much younger audience. 

If you want to follow the steps of these brands, we’ve got you covered with our TikTok marketing guide. 

What makes TikTok an effective marketing platform 

TikTok is a short-form video app where you can share your thoughts, content, and talents. The social platform exploded during the pandemic, and the app has been downloaded 3 billion times globally. 

Celebrities, brands, and everyone in between have jumped to the platform to share their content, realizing that it’s a great way to connect with their target audience and fans. It became a platform where brands have gone seriously viral from just one video, leading to sell-out products and a ton of publicity. 

The popularity of TikTok exploded during the pandemic
The popularity of TikTok exploded during the pandemic

Interestingly, there’s a perception that TikTok is just for GenZ and younger, but that isn’t true. In fact, 59% of 18-34 years olds use TikTok. This is mainly due to the app’s ability to match users with the content they want to see. 

The app uses a content algorithm to match viewers up with videos that it thinks users would like to see, with videos being served in their home feed (known as the “For You Page” or FYP). This made going viral with organic content much easier than any other social media channel like Instagram or YouTube. 

For ecommerce businesses, it opened more opportunities to build an audience and eventually increase sales using organic content alone, unlike other platforms where it’s all about relying on paid advertising (though this is an option on TikTok too).

How to use TikTok marketing for your ecommerce brand

Like every social media channel, building up a community takes some time. You need to do a lot of trial and error, and you need to be consistent about it. Fortunately, there are some ways you can give yourself a head start.

Use TikTok sounds

After merging with Musical.ly, TikTok has kept closer to Musical.ly’s roots by allowing users to add sounds to short-form videos. Adding sounds can help your content go viral, especially if your video is relevant, funny, and entertaining. 

With TikTok, you can reuse a sound used by another creator or use the app’s Sounds Library. If you’re up to it, you can create your own TikTok sounds that could go viral. 

For example, here’s Milk Bar joining in the ‘Have You Ever Been in Love’ trend to promote their desserts. 

@milkbarstore

Tag your dessert bestie #desserttiktok #fyp #dessert #foodtiktok #foodies

♬ cute sound –

Top Tip: If you’re feeling creative, find a sound that’s not necessarily on TikTok but is going (or has gone) viral elsewhere. For instance, a famous dialogue from a viral or trendy movie or TV series. Put a spin on it and make it your own. 

Use hashtags

Like other social channels, you can use hashtags to help reach your target audience. If used correctly, hashtags can not only help you with content discoverability but also help build a community for your brand. 

There are different types of hashtags you can use. Here are just some of them: 

Trending hashtags: TikTok trends are short-lived. But, if you capitalize on these trends, it can help your brand with engagement and reach. Using trending hashtags shows that your brand is relevant and fun. Just make sure that you use hashtags that are trending at the moment

General/Industry hashtags: Consistency is key in social media marketing. While general hashtags might not give you viral content, they will help your brand stay relevant. 

Niche hashtags: This type of hashtag give you more specificity to your target reach. For instance, if your brand is about #photography, your niche hashtag could be #travelphotography or #foodphotography. Similar to general or industry hashtags, niche hashtags will increase engagement and keep your brand relevant while targeting a more specific reach. 

Branded hashtags: If you want to attract new followers or boost engagement, branded hashtags are the way to go — this type of hashtag you can use to promote your products. Chipotle’s #ChipotleLidFlip Challenge is one of the success stories that leveraged branded hashtags. 

@chipotle

Wherever you are, show us how you flip ya lid. #ChipotleLidFlip @johnnysumner_

♬ Flip – Future

Top Tips:

  • Use hashtags to identify competitors and conduct competitor research. Make it a habit to check what other brands are doing so you’ll stay updated on the latest trends. 
  • Trending and industry hashtags are very effective in increasing your reach. The only drawback is that these hashtags are also very competitive. Always combine niche or branded hashtags with trending and industry hashtags to make up for it. 

Organic content works best

One of the best things about Tiktok is that it allows small businesses to do successful content marketing despite a limited budget. This is because organic content works best on TikTok. 

Compared to other social platforms – where stylish production and glossy imagery/video work best – TikTok’s audience wants to see real content that looks organic. Hence, less money is spent on ads. 

When creating organic content, focus on your brand. TikTok offers the best way to tell your brand story to your audience. Here are some organic content tips that you can use: 

  • Try using TikTok Live to showcase your products or even behind the scenes. It will help showcase your brand authenticity. 
  • Showcase your brand’s personality and communicate it with your target market. Remember how Wendy’s roasts people and other brands on Twitter? Think of your brand’s personality and relay it via TikTok. 
  • Connect with your audience via comments. What better way to showcase your brand than by talking to your target audience directly, right? 
  • Be consistent in publishing content. You can easily get forgotten if you’re not posting regularly. 

Work with influencers

When working with influencers, there are two main things you need to do correctly: (1) Setting your goals and (2) finding the right influencers. 

It would help if you were clear with what you want to achieve with the influencer for your campaigns. Think about your budget, the campaign length, and resources. 

Once you get that covered, you can start looking for influencers that match your goals. You don’t need to focus on their follower count (although that helps). Unlike other social platforms, working with influencers on TikTok should be focused on the quality and lifespan of the influencers’ videos. 

Fortunately, you won’t have any problem looking for TikTok influencers. TikTok took control of managing influencers, making it easy for brands like yours to pair up with the right influencers via TikTok.

TikTok launched Creator Marketplace to help businesses connect with already popular content creators. This enables you to locate creators aligned with your brand to get more eyes on your products. 

There’s still value in working with smaller TikTok influencers who might not have the same number of followers, especially if you’re in a niche industry or your product solves a specific problem.

Top Tip

  • TikTok’s audience prefers organic content. They hate the feeling they’re being marketed to, so make sure your content with influencers doesn’t feel and look like the typical ‘salesy’ ad content. 
  • Give your influencers the creative freedom to do their own thing. These influencers know their audience better than you. They have more insights on how to reach them. 

Social commerce

Following on from influencers, there’s also TikTok Shopping, a social commerce solution allowing TikTok creators to promote and sell products on the platform. 

This allows TikTok creators (including your brand account) to add a shopping bag to their TikTok profile that links to products they recommend or sell, with a smooth and integrated checkout process. Make sure you have a TikTok for Business account and run your online shop through Shopify to take advantage of this feature.

Social commerce is predicted to change the future of shopping. So it’s worth getting on board and ahead of the curve for your brand. Some brands are even live streaming on TikTok to drive product sales through their shop.

TikTok Ads

Running TikTok ads can be a great way to gain reach and traction on the platform. You want your ads to look as organic as possible and reach your target audience. You can target your audience by gender, age, location, language, interests, behaviors, and device details.

You can also run different types of ads, including in-feed ads, image ads, video ads, spark ads (boosting organic content from your account or others), and carousel ads. You can also access other ad types if you’re a managed brand with a TikTok sales rep.

As well as this, you also choose your objective for your TikTok campaign – awareness, reach, consideration and conversions – and manage your budget. All campaigns are managed using TikTok Ads Manager. The process is similar if you’ve advertised on other social platforms before.

Top Tip: Combine TikTok ads with your organic campaigns. As per Tiktok, “Organic + Paid = Always Engaged.”

Key Takeaways:

TikTok marketing has shown to be highly effective for a whole host of ecommerce brands. Of course, it can take a bit of getting used to and some time to create regular, engaging content, but it can work really well, especially if your target audience already uses the platform.

If you want to try TikTok marketing for your brand, here are some key takeaways you should consider: 

  • Use both generic and niche hashtags all the time: Hashtags aim to increase your reach. Using generic (highly competitive) and niche (specific) hashtags can give you expanded reach. 
  • Combine organic with paid ads: TikTok knows best, and they’ve said that pairing your organic content with paid ads will ensure your target audience is always engaged. 
  • Give influencers creative freedom for content: Look for influencers who know your business (or at least the products you’re selling). Give them creative freedom because they know how to capture their audience’s interest better than you. 

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