TikTok For E-Commerce: A Complete Beginner’s Guide
Most people are already familiar with TikTok.
In April 2020, TikTok ranked first in overall app store revenue, outperforming well-known websites like YouTube, Tinder, and Netflix. In September 2021, TikTok reported 1 billion monthly active users, placing it among the top 10 social networks globally.
Here's a brief explanation of TikTok if you're not yet familiar with it or the reasons it's so well-liked.
You may publish and share short videos (up to three minutes long) on the social media site TikTok, which covers a wide range of themes. If you spend a few minutes scrolling through your Discovery page, you'll see lip-syncs, choreographed dances, sports highlights, and personal vlogs. TikTok includes features like filters, stickers, and background music, as well as user communities centred around hashtags and influencers, much like Snapchat and Instagram.
But Wait…Story Time!
TikTok's beginnings, though, aren't the typical startup tale we're used to hearing about a group of buddies coming up with a wonderful concept and realising it in their parent's garage. TikTok originated from two separate apps.
The first, called Musical.ly, was introduced in Shanghai in 2014 but quickly gained popularity in the US. The second, called Douyin, was a comparable video-sharing application developed by Chinese internet company Bytedance in 2016. After just one year, Douyin's popularity exploded in China and Thailand. Bytedance acquired Musical.ly, combined it with Douyin, and formed what is now TikTok.
The majority of TikTok users, or gen Z, are younger audiences today. With an engagement rate for micro-influencers of over 18%, TikTok outperforms other platforms like Instagram (3.86%) and YouTube (1.63%).
BUT WHY TIKTOK??
TikTok, which was the most downloaded social media app in January 2020, developed into a haven for people to interact and find entertainment throughout the pandemic. The app offers a place for users to learn from one another, express themselves, and have a little fun, with everything from cooking videos to makeup instructions.
The social media platform is currently also making significant strides in the e-commerce industry.
The US social ecommerce market, which rose by about 38% to $26.77 billion in 2020, is expected to cross $50 billion yearly by 2023, according to eMarketer. And it makes sense that TikTok will join the social purchasing trend given the high rate of impulse purchases among millennials and Gen Xers.
In 2021, 47% of TikTok users claimed to have purchased after seeing it there, and 39% claimed to have learned about a brand or product they had never heard of before.
In 2020, the platform introduced TikTok for Business, providing business owners with the option to link their online store with their TikTok Business account, following in the footsteps of tools like Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shop. TikTok has developed into a hub for businesses looking to expand their reach and increase sales thanks to its extensive ecommerce capabilities, including analytics tools, product connections, and advertising opportunities.
The retail social commerce movement, which TikTok is a part of, is estimated to grow to be worth $80 billion in the US by 2025.
TikTok has produced a distinctive and important contribution to this business, which was expanding on its own. This is particularly true given the consumers' innate propensity for social shopping. Two-thirds of participants in a TikTok study from 2020 claimed that they were motivated to shop on the site even though they hadn't planned to.
Consider the trending hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. The hashtag has produced 11 billion views since it was first used, and customers, partners, and merchants continue to use it to find new goods and capitalise on popular trends. What’s funny is that unexpected TikTok purchases now are a meme unto themselves!
How Does This Boost Your Brand On TikTok?
The fact that TikTok encourages storytelling is one of its most distinctive features.
You can locate videos of folks sharing #nofilter stories about uncomfortable or humorous moments by taking a glance through your feed. Even if a video lasts longer than the allowed three minutes, TikTok creators can quickly captivate their audience and keep them interested.
TikTok breaks the social commerce pattern by employing storytelling to captivate its users rather than depending on the content that is flawless and polished. As a result, some of the brands that are real and unafraid to display their true colours are the most successful ones on TikTok.
So, if you're still new to TikTok, start by posting everyday original material to get to know the app. Learn how to use the tools and features, and don't be scared to play with them. To start growing your fan base, always point viewers back to your TikTok Business Account when you're creating content.
Of course, anyone may register for a TikTok Business account and occasionally upload a video. But there are a few marketing strategies you'll need to use if you want your products to go viral and generate traffic to your website.
How To TikTok?
One reason for this is that TikTok successfully combines a few distinctive characteristics that set it apart from competing for social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat:
~Only brief, sharp, and completely binge-able video material (though longer videos have also been introduced with success).
~A joyful, cheerful, genuine, and occasionally "messy" vibe that isn't stuffy or sales-y in nature.
~A strong focus on trends increases its cultural relevance.
~Attract a wide range of users: 25% of users are in the 10–19 age group, followed by 22.4% in the 20–29 age range, 21.7% in the 30-39 age range, and 20.3% in the 40–49 age range.
TikTok is the best platform for running advertisements that highlight your items because it has a strong visual component. However, unlike sites like Pinterest and Instagram, where users thrive on glossy, curated material, TikTok users desire authenticity and humour. The key, then, is to be yourself if you want to get your company seen!
A TikTok Business account and the TikTok Ads Manager, which provides useful tools for designing and managing various types of ads, are all you need to get started.
You'll see there are numerous formats accessible as you start looking at the various TikTok ad types. Here is a simple guide to help you distinguish between them because they are all priced differently and each has distinctive advantages:
Dynamic Showcase Advertisements: These ads are designed for huge catalogues and make use of your synchronised catalogue to show relevant products to interested consumers.
Collection Ads: To encourage immediate sales, this category of ad formats mixes product cards, video advertisements, and full-screen landing pages.
Spark Ads: This is a native ad platform that enables businesses to use TikTok postings and features in their advertising.
Lead Generation Ads: With the help of customisable forms, you can gather leads using these ads. You can also combine them with partners' CRM systems to help qualify and convert leads.
Collaborate With Creators & Influencers
The beauty of TikTok is that you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to become viral, even though paid advertising is an excellent method to get your company noticed. Simply because a creator discovered a product they like, gushed about it in a video, and shared it with their followers, many brands on TikTok exploded overnight.
Given that 53% of social media users claim that influencer posts have the most impact on their shopping decisions, this is not at all surprising.
But frequently, the creators of these popular videos are regular TikTok users who just want to promote the goods they love. Finding the producers to advertise your product is all that is required if you have a virally worthy product.
You can collaborate with creators and influencers to promote new items and drive traffic to your page by starting an affiliate program, which is one possibility. TikTok's Selling Center is a terrific resource to use, where you can create your promotion strategy and use the collaboration tool to identify producers who fit into your target demographic.
Once you've located an influencer that suits your objectives, you can have them post content with affiliate links to your website's shop, earning money each time someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase.
The Creator Marketplace, TikTok's official platform for connecting companies and creators, is also a terrific tool for finding influencers. You can search through the thousands of influencer profiles accessible until you find a creator that most closely matches your niche. Do you still require motivation to get going? For advice from other businesses that have succeeded on TikTok, visit the TikTok for Business Inspiration Center.
Making excellent TikTok videos is one thing, but getting people to view them is a very different challenge. But with the correct hashtag strategy, you may reach the folks who are most interested in your content.
Like Instagram and Twitter, TikTok has a hashtag feature that enables users to look for pertinent material and connect with others who share their interests. Using hashtags like #makeup, #sports, or #foodrecipes makes it easier for viewers to locate the artists and content they want without having to trawl through a ton of videos on their For You page.
But hashtags aren't only for casual users; they can also help TikTok businesses build their identities and attract new customers through the use of excellent ecommerce tools. Some of the 2021 hashtags with the highest growth rates were developed especially for brand marketing efforts, such as the #IFeelWeightless challenge from Bobbi Brown and the #ChipsGotTalent challenge from Chips Ahoy.
Search for hashtags like #SmallBusiness or #Entrepreneur to discover how other firms are promoting their products and producing content, and use that information as inspiration for your own company. Alternately, consider developing your hashtag that promotes your offering and perhaps even a clever TikTok challenge to go along with it.
You'll be able to increase brand awareness and, presumably, traffic to your online store as more and more consumers share content using your hashtag.
TikTok has also left its mark on traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises.
One of the biggest bookstores in Canada, Indigo Books and Music, for instance, claims that TikTok contributed to the creation of a "new demand lifecycle." Even in the company's quarterly results report, TikTok was mentioned.
Trader Joe's, Barnes & Noble, and Ulta are just a few of the large businesses that have "As Seen on TikTok" sections.
And for other people, their entrepreneurial ambitions are coming true. Look at Dylan Lemay, an ice cream artist. Videos of himself tossing flawless scoops at his Cold Stone Creamery employment were the source of his account's initial launch.
After experiencing some degree of success, he began touring the nation while working at ice cream parlours. Now that he has more than 11 million followers, he is launching his chain of brick-and-mortar parlours in New York.
These are just a few of the countless inspirational tales that TikTok has given birth to.
The ultimate goal of using TikTok to promote your brand is to convert viewers into paying customers. While receiving views, likes, and comments is a positive start, the ultimate objective is to increase website traffic and sales. Here are some suggestions to get there:
• Promo Campaigns
TikTok offers several promotional possibilities for firms to market and sell their products in addition to in-app shopping tools. Additionally, due to TikTok's strong user engagement rates, these ads frequently promote user-generated content, which means free advertising for your company!
Here are just a few examples of creative TikTok promotion campaign concepts:
#Hashtag Challenges: Popular on other social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, hashtag challenges encourage users to produce material related to a certain subject or good. Examples include dance, lip-syncing, and makeup challenges.
Small Gestures: TikTok created a program that enables users to give back to their communities during the pandemic. Users of TikTok's Small Gestures can browse offers and send gifts to their friends and family thanks to partnerships with brand partners.
TikTok for Good: TikTok for Good inspires creators and brands to raise awareness about significant problems like education, body positivity, or social justice to uplift and inspire consumers.
• Sharing Is Caring
It's crucial to be able to launch your TikTok marketing campaign without having to start from zero. Fortunately, businesses can quickly incorporate their current content into their new TikTok profiles thanks to the "Share to TikTok" SDK.
TikTok collaborates with third-party applications like Adobe Premier Rush, Enlight Videoleap, and Momento GIF Maker to enable users to contribute footage from their editing environments, resulting in a consistent brand message across all platforms.
• Product Links
Fortunately, TikTok may be a significant sales generator as well as a tool for brand exposure thanks to its external link-sharing capabilities.
You may quickly link your TikTok account to your Instagram, Amazon storefront, or other ecommerce platform with the option to add clickable links to your bio. Customers will find it simple to access your external website and begin purchasing as a result.
Alternatively, you can incorporate product links into your videos, letting viewers browse your store without having to exit the application and easily finish their purchase.
• Shopping Features
Although TikTok is well recognized for being a platform for humour and entertainment, it has evolved into a popular destination for social shopping for many users. TikTok has improved its ecommerce functionality, particularly in the last few years, to make it simple for users to shop whenever and wherever they want.
By interacting with their followers in real-time through comments and moderators during livestream shopping events, brands can forge genuine connections with their followers and boost conversion rates. You can hold a LIVE video and demonstrate your products once you have at least 1000 followers. This will enable your followers to learn more about your company and make purchases from you without having to go to a real store.
To conduct a livestream campaign with national brands like Champion, Jordache, Kendall + Kylie, Scoop, etc. Walmart, for instance, teamed together with TikTok. 100 million people watched the event in the end, and they were able to shop at Walmart without ever signing out of TikTok.
Additionally, TikTok utilises company profiles and a shopping page where firms can post their product catalogue. Brands may do this by producing natural content that features their featured goods and naturally directs customers to their online store for checkout.
• Understanding Metrics
The wonderful thing about TikTok is that you don't even need high-quality material or millions of followers to receive the most views. In actuality, the most well-liked videos are frequently created by anonymous or barely influential regular individuals.
Due to TikTok's algorithm, anyone has a chance to be discovered while content from well-known people and businesses is prioritised on other social commerce platforms like Instagram and Facebook. According to a press release from TikTok, the Discovery algorithm makes recommendations for content based on user interactions, video information (such as subtitles and hashtags), device and account parameters (such as language preferences, location, and device type), and video completion rate (whether a user watches a video from start to finish).
But this also means that due to TikTok’s platform being a fast-paced world where videos are punchy, short, and quick, the usual recommended length for a short video is 60 seconds or less. Posting frequency, as per Gary V - “As much as you can and as frequently as you can manage”.
TikTok has responded to the challenge, despite being a relatively young player in the online buying business. TikTok is increasingly used by businesses to promote their brands and increase their reach rather than just being a platform for humorous dance challenges and adorable puppy videos, especially with their introduction of TikTok Shop. This is a whole other topic for another article, but preliminary research shows that there are benefits to utilising TikTok’s offering - the Shop.
We hope that this article has helped you find your footing in getting started on TikTok. If you've already established yourself on Facebook and Instagram but are seeking a novel approach to producing content…who knows…you might just end up producing the next viral video!