TikTok is a popular app that boasts over three billion downloads and is currently the sixth most-used social platform in the world. In fact, it’s now more popular than Instagram among Gen Z users in the United States.
Known for the catchy and viral nature of its content, TikTok has become a powerful marketing and eCommerce channel for brands and individuals alike. In this article, we’ll discuss how to harness TikTok for your business, and share some useful tips at the end.
Its easy content creation and collaboration for amateurs and professionals has turned TikTok into a powerful marketing and eCommerce tool.
Here are some of the advantages brands can draw from the platform.
Through TikTok, you can tap into a massive pool of over one billion active monthly users located in more than 150 markets. What’s more, one out of four of those users exclusively use this social media platform.
What’s more, TikTok is still rapidly growing. As reported by Hootsuite, the platform gains eight new users every second and an average of 650,000 daily. And, according to data.ai, it’s expected to reach 1.5 billion users by the end of 2022.
TikTok’s focus on short-form content means producing videos and watching them also takes up less time and effort. Anybody can record anything and post it in a few moments.
Since the app automatically plays videos as you scroll through your feed, you can easily watch user-generated content and get hooked. The following usage statistics for various countries provide evidence of the platform’s addictive nature:
A Global WebIndex survey found 60% of TikTok’s visitors spend time on the platform to find funny or entertaining content; meanwhile, 45% use it to fill up their spare time. Other common uses include:
This means traditional, dry content will most likely flop on the platform. Instead, addressing these user motivations can help brands thrive on TikTok.
Heightening brand recognition on TikTok is possible for businesses of all sizes. For example, the stationery and gifts brand Sommer Letter Co. — owned by artist Kyle Sommer — uses TikTok in the following ways:
This approach has garnered the brand 163 thousand TikTok followers and 1.8 million likes. Sommer even sends surprises to some of her best customers.
The platform also allows brands to set up a TikTok For Business account, where you can advertise and access other tools to help grow your business.
The TikTok Ads Manager lets you create and manage TikTok ads based on your brand’s needs. It requires zero expertise, so you can conveniently access a global audience across the platform and its family of other apps.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace (TCM), meanwhile, introduces you to the platform’s massive pool of influencers (for free). You can partner with them based on your industry, budget, and goals, which simplifies the process of finding the right one.
The TikTok Creative Exchange helps you produce the best brand content. With it, you can connect with experts to create native-looking videos for your TikTok ad campaigns.
The Creative Exchange recommends and matches you with the best marketing partner based on your project’s needs. You can then easily collaborate and sync your videos to the TikTok Ads Manager to launch your campaign.
Lastly, TikTok Shop is a feature that allows TikTok businesses to showcase and sell their products via shoppable videos and livestreams. Entertainment, eCommerce, and interaction combine to help you offer people a smooth and community-driven in-app shopping experience.
TikTok is an excellent tool to build communities, brands, and revenue. There are various ways to use TikTok for your eCommerce business beyond just a sales channel. In this section, we’ll go over a few ways you can use this platform.
Nurturing connections among TikTok users can help eCommerce businesses thrive on the platform. In fact, TikTok’s What’s Next Report 2022 revealed users loved engaging with brands and products on its platform:
Conducting campaigns that encourage TikTok users to get involved is one way to achieve this type of engagement.
The U.K.-based fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing uses this type of approach. To build its presence among its target audience of 16- to 24-year-old women, the brand showcases the transformations women can experience through its diverse collections.
Pretty Little Thing also offers followers opportunities to feature or collaborate, win discounts, and share their opinions, which encourages them to engage on TikTok. This has garnered the brand 1.9 million TikTok followers and over 36 million likes.
Some brands use TikTok as a space for product development — an approach puzzle company Blue Kazoo has adopted, with great success. Through the comments section, the company receives customer feedback and uses it to identify trends and make product changes.
Blue Kazoo has also reached out to artists through TikTok and emails to submit designs for new puzzles. As a result, the company has connected with three artists, has enjoyed more sales, and has new products in its pipeline.
TikTok can also be used to answer customer concerns. For instance, the skincare brand Starface — known for its star-shaped hydrocolloid pimple patches — uses its feed like a live-action FAQ page. Through tutorials and Q&As, the brand addresses questions such as:
Using their TikTok presence this way allows Starface to offer its followers a knowledge base for its product and engage with them on a personal level. To date, the brand has 1.2 million TikTok followers and 22.7 million likes.
Collaborating with social media influencers on TikTok is another way to bolster your eCommerce efforts. It’s so powerful, in fact, that brands are making an ROI of $5.78 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
To utilize TikTok’s short-form style and viral nature, you can easily partner with a creator to produce branded promotional content on the TikTok Creator Marketplace.
Take the beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics as an example. Through TCM, it was able to work with 22 Gen Z/Millennial creators and Vamp — an influencer marketing agency — to launch the Benefit Brow Challenge.
This campaign, produced for the release of Benefit’s new Brow Microfilling Pen, resulted in 22 videos launched in a synchronized fashion. It went viral and generated more than 3,500 hours of views and 1.4 million impressions off of just 4.5 minutes of creator content.
Now we’ll walk you through how to use TCM.
First, complete this form to sign up.
You can do it either via email or phone, and TikTok will send a verification code before you can complete your registration. Or, if you have one, you can also use your existing TikTok account.
Once you have access, start looking for a TikTok creator you want to work with.
You can search for potential partners using filters like Country or Region, Age, Gender, Reach, Audience, etc.
The most notable, however, is eCommerce Anchor, which displays qualified creators who’ve enabled TikTok’s eCommerce anchor function. This lets them insert a link that directs viewers to your product or external landing page.
Meanwhile, clicking on a creator’s profile lets you view the following information:
To get in touch with your chosen creator, you must first fill out a contact form.
It’s mostly basic information, but since TikTok prohibits some industries from advertising, you’ll have to specify yours. You’ll also need to select your main goal for working with the creator, which includes options like gaining more brand exposure, increasing website traffic, etc.
Lastly, in the Suggested Talent Fee section, you can choose between To be negotiated and an Initial suggested fee.
After you and the creator iron out the campaign details, all that’s left is to wait for the video to be uploaded. Once that’s done, post it and see how it does.
TCM has a reporting tool that allows you to observe your campaign’s performance.
To ensure these insights are available, make sure the creator you hired associates their sponsored video with the proper campaign and discloses that the videos are sponsored.
Hootsuite reports that ads on TikTok reach 17.9% of all internet users who are 18 years old and above — which translates to 884.9 million people.
The ability to advertise to this massive audience is a huge opportunity for eCommerce brands, and TikTok makes it possible through its Ads Manager and Creative Exchange.
Getting started with the platform’s advertising tool is simple. First, log into the Ads Manager with your TikTok For Business account.
Then, click the Campaign button and choose among the seven ad objectives under the Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions categories. Take note, however, the Catalog Sales objective is still in beta and only available in supported regions.
Here are some tips to remember:
You can include up to 999 ad groups per campaign, and each one’s name has a 512-character limit. Be aware your placements are dependent on your location. Other notes regarding placements are:
For new advertisers, TikTok recommends turning this setting on, which you can do before uploading assets for individual ad creation. It lets TikTok make combinations of your images, videos, and ad text for you. Then, the system only displays those that are performing well.
You can select either a lookalike or custom audience. You can also target your ads based on criteria including Gender, Age, Location, Device Details, and more.
You’ve done it for your overall campaign, now it’s time to do the same for the ad group. Simply choose its daily or lifetime budget, then its start and end times. Based on your time zone, under Dayparting, you can also choose to run your ad at specific times of the day.
Choose whether your optimization goal is conversion, clicks, or reach (although it can be determined automatically by your campaign objective).
Then, set your Bid Strategy:
Lastly, choose between two delivery types:
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Here’s some other relevant information to help you make your choices:
If you want to take it a step further, you can use TikTok’s Creative Exchange to connect with an expert and produce stronger content. Access it through your TikTok For Business account, then follow the steps below.
Your creative partner will be automatically assigned if you don’t choose one within 36 hours of your project’s submission.
You can track your project’s progress — which is grouped into Pending, Production, and Complete — using the bar on the left side.
You can review your creative partner’s uploaded video drafts by clicking Deliverables and accessing the Videos module. Leave your feedback via the comments panel, then approve their work or request further edits.
TikTok Shop lets you use the platform as a sales channel. The U.K.-based perfume brand PerfumeBoss Ltd. joined TikTok Shop in October 2021 and hosted its first shoppable livestream two days after onboarding.
Afterwards, the brand committed itself to hosting more than five of these livestreams per week and experienced superb growth in the following areas after a two-month period:
If you want to do the same, getting started is simple. Take note, however, that TikTok Shop is only available in Indonesia, the U.K., and Northern Ireland for now.
You’ll need your TikTok For Business account to sign up and, based on your destination market, you can register as one of two types of sellers.
Only citizens are allowed to apply as individual TikTok Shop sellers, and you’ll be required to provide government-issued IDs like:
As for corporate entities, here are the documents you’ll have to prepare:
After turning in your documents, TikTok Shop will evaluate your application based on its registration guidelines. You’ll then be notified to undergo account verification and will learn whether or not your application was approved.
Once you pass, you can set up your seller profile. Here’s what you’ll need to provide:
If your TikTok Shop passes all the necessary procedures, you can start posting and selling your products. For further information, visit the Seller University.
For markets that are unable to join TikTok Shop, you can still participate in TikTok Shopping through the platform’s partnerships and integrations with other eCommerce marketplaces.
If you have a Shopify business, you simply need to download and install the TikTok Shopify app. Through it, you can produce video ads, track metrics, and manage your orders. It also integrates with your TikTok Ads Manager and lets you manage your TikTok Shopping tab.
For BigCommerce stores, you can now download the platform’s TikTok for Business app through your Channel Manager. It automatically installs TikTok Pixel on your storefront, which allows you to monitor your advertising campaigns. You can also:
Finally, here are some tips to boost your TikTok eCommerce efforts.
Providing your customers with better immersion can accelerate your brand’s conversions. In fact, brands have reported conversion rates of up to 30% when they use livestream shopping.
Here are some ways to produce more engaging and immersive livestreams:
Incorporating augmented reality (AR) can offer people a fun and convenient online shopping experience. It can serve as a creative branding tool as well as allow the target audience to preview how your products fit, boosting their confidence before purchasing.
One such example is the online retailer ASOS which, in 2020, tested an AR feature that gave shoppers a glimpse of how its clothing would look on different-sized models. The brand’s experiment received positive responses on Twitter.
AR can also improve your conversions. According to one study, virtual fitting rooms can make online shoppers more curious about a product and increase their intent to purchase.
Find influencers that fit your brand’s niche. The fashion-tech startup WANNA, for example, was working on the relaunch of Wanna Kicks, the company’s AR app that lets users virtually fit a wide selection of kicks.
It wanted to reach a young audience through TikTok, namely Millennials and Gen Zers, to boost the app’s downloads. To release relevant content, WANNA worked with TikTok creators who spoke the same language as sneaker enthusiasts.
In turn, these creators made videos that demonstrated how to use the Wanna Kicks app in a fun way. The campaign matched what WANNA’s audiences liked and garnered 15 million views, 75 thousand app installs, and a 15.91% engagement rate.
Catchy challenges can do wonders for TikTok eCommerce. Through fun hashtag challenges, the American fast-food chain Chipotle has driven up its sales and Chipotle app downloads.
One example is the brand’s #ChipotleLidFlip Challenge, created in 2019 to spread awareness of free delivery for digital orders during Cinco de Mayo. Users were encouraged to record themselves flipping a burrito bowl and adding their own spin on it.
Chipotle even partnered with huge creators like David Dobrik, and the challenge produced 111 thousand videos in its first six days. This, in turn, generated a record day in digital sales, app downloads, and delivery orders, especially among the Gen Z audience.
The Lid Flip Challenge generated almost 320 million views on TikTok, but another challenge Chipotle created fared even better: The #GuacDance Challenge, which encouraged guacamole fans to flaunt dance moves dedicated to avocados, has garnered 1.1 billion views.
TikTok provides brands with the tools they need to thrive on the platform. It makes advertising and marketing simple, collaborating with content creators easy, and helps businesses offer seamless in-app shopping experiences for their customers.
And, given its massive audience and viral nature, TikTok can easily help businesses grow and reach new audiences — as long as they’re willing to get creative. Overall, the social media platform has built itself up into a major force that can help your eCommerce business flourish.