Social media marketing is indispensable in ecommerce, but which platforms to focus on heavily depends on your target market.
While older generations are on long-established platforms like Facebook, for Gen Z, TikTok is the place to be. So if they’re your brand’s target audience, you should be on there, too.
Here, we explore how to make use of TikTok for ecommerce marketing and what are the best practices to build your TikTok following. And videos there might only be 1 minute long, but there are many strategies you can use to optimize that time.
Related: Pinterest as a marketing channel for ecommerce
TikTok users want videos that are entertaining and authentic so avoid overproduced videos. On TikTok, being quirky is far more effective than being sleek and perfect.
Look no farther than Chipotle’s #GuacDance campaign for an effective example of quirky TikTok marketing.
You shouldn’t limit yourself to just being fun, however. Providing useful information to your TikTok audience can also create confidence in your brand. And if you can do so by repurposing your existing content, even better.
Related: Social media images design tips & best practices for DTC brands
You should also consider SEO when crafting descriptions for your videos. Identify and use the keywords that will resonate the most with your target audience and make it easier for TikTok to suggest your videos to them. Make sure that your keyword(s) are placed near the beginning of the description if possible. Don’t forget to include your brand name as well, and keep the description around 60 characters total.
An example of an effective TIkTok video description:
@underarmourWhen you’re running late and can’t decide between a sporty or straight from gym look 💪🏼 @averycyrus♬ Countdown – TikTok
For any social media marketing campaign, post volume is crucial, and TikTok is no exception. The number one rule of social media marketing is that you can’t create new customers if they don’t see your posts.
TikTok influencers typically post between three to ten times a day. Businesses will need to generate a similar number of posts to build their following.
You also need to post at all hours. Even though TikTok users spend nearly 900 minutes a month on the app, when they are online can differ a lot depending on their location.
So if you sell internationally and want to reach people all over the globe, you should post round the clock. Scheduling tools can help you automate posting videos to TikTok. The number of companies that rely on automated processes for marketing and other mission critical processes has jumped by 50% in the last four years alone.
Related: Delegating and automating tasks in ecommerce
Hashtags are key on TikTok, too. Track trending hashtags to use for your videos, but be ready to quickly change them and create new content when the tide turns. To find trending products on TikTok you can use a tiktok ads spy tool, look at the “Explore” tab, investigate the “Trending” section on the app, or search for specific hashtags that are related to products that you’re interested in.
Also, consider what hashtags your prospective customers and competitors use. There are tools available that suggest hashtags based on keywords you provide.
Branded hashtags can also be highly effective for increasing your brand visibility. Use promotions and discounts to encourage your followers to use them.
Related: Selling on Instagram
Coca-Cola’s #shareacoke campaign is an excellent example of a branded hashtag campaign done right: it used personalized labels on Coke bottles and customers could gift Coke bottles to their friends and family. The campaign went viral and is still being run today.
One of the most effective of TikTok’s paid advertising options is the hashtag challenge – an entertaining and interactive way to drive engagement with TikTok users.
In a branded hashtag challenge, you post a TikTok video asking users to upload their own videos where they perform an activity – singing a song, for example. They must include your branded hashtag in their post. The Galaxy8 hashtag challenge below resulted in over 30 million views.
@falcopunchI am happy to be a part of the #GalaxyA challenge. Write the A in the comments 🙈 #anzeige♬ Write My Story – Samsung
You can promote your challenge across all your social media. And you must give users a reason to participate in the challenge. It could be as simple as making the challenge really fun, or it could be discounts or giveaways. If you provide the right incentive, with some luck your challenge will go viral.
However there are also some images that just went viral on social media, let’s take for instance this Jimmy John Shark photo here. Check them out and for sure you’ll be surprised!
Just like any other platform, influencers can enhance your campaigns.
Related: Measuring the results from influencer campaigns
Find influencers with large followings in your target market and contact them to see if they will follow your brand or post content about your products. They are often willing to do it in exchange for samples or discounts.
If you have the budget, consider using TikTok’s paid ads.
*Note: Be aware that TikTok users can be resistant to traditional ecommerce advertising strategies, and may simply skip your ad, skewing your cost/benefit analysis.
TikTok’s advertising options include in-feed ads and brand takeover ads.
In-feed ads appear between others’ videos on a user’s “For You” page. They can include links to your website or even ordering buttons.
Brand takeover ads appear immediately when a user opens the app. They are full screen ads and also can include links back to your website or ordering buttons. Brand takeover ads are expensive, but they have substantial reach.
As a final piece of advice, don’t just focus on posting a lot. Of course, your own TikTok content should be consistent, strategic and regular.
But you also need to spend more time interacting with other users’ posts. While personalized comments are always best, you can still benefit from automating your interactions as well.
TikTok bots let you choose your accounts and hashtags of interest and then automatically like posts, follow their followers or even comment on posts. Your number of interactions will increase, and so will your visibility.
Instead of a conclusion
Keep an eye out for potential political issues with TikTok. For example, some countries have been concerned about alleged misuse of user data. While it is unlikely that any country would ban the platform, companies considering advertising on TikTok should keep up with the news about other possible roadblocks.
Adding TikTok to your ecommerce marketing mix is not that scary!
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