Social media is a crucial tool for driving sales in today’s world. In fact, it might be hard for some marketers to remember a time before media plans included Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. While these platforms are still staples, brands must also look to new social channels which offer creative and impactful solutions for organic sales growth among target customers.
Right now one of the most effective platforms for driving engagement and sales using influencers is TikTok–the video sharing app with more than 2 billion downloads since its launch in 2018 (originally musical.ly). TikTok is synonymous with Generation Z. And its audience is expanding to include millennials as well, with a recent report revealing that 65.3% of users are under the age of 29. As TikTok gains ground with users in other demographics, it can’t be ignored as a tool for driving ecommerce sales.
Addictive and Built for User Participation
Through TikTok’s algorithmic ‘For You’ page, users can easily find popular and relevant content and spend hours consuming videos and dishing out likes, shares and clicks. The feed continuously populates with related videos from accounts that users might not even follow yet. This model makes it easy for any creator, regardless of follower size, to be discovered and go viral with one successful post. For brands to get started, it can be as easy as selecting an influencer popular among your target demographic, working with them to craft a series of catchy videos that will drive sales traffic and letting the algorithm do the rest. The influencer’s sponsored post will be viewed not only by their followers, but potential new customers could come across it on the ‘For You’ page, if they’ve engaged with similar content.
While there are many ways to advertise on TikTok, through brand takeovers and in-feed videos, engaging with an enthusiastic micro-influencer can be incredibly cost-effective. Users with followers in the 1,000-10,000 range are not only more likely to receive more favorable engagement rates, they have the potential to go viral and inspire others to create content for your campaign. This can’t always be said of comparable influencers on Instagram and elsewhere.
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Embrace the Creativity of TikTok Influencers
TikTok influencers have broken the sponsored content mold in many ways. Each video is meant to be consumed quickly and often replayed on a loop by the user. The most popular posts include songs, dances, catchy phrases, and challenges designed to stick with viewers hours–or even days later. A traditional, overtly promotional video from an influencer would stand out and likely not perform as well as one that is woven into an ongoing trend or part of a challenge.
So what are influencers on TikTok doing to drive brand awareness and sales if their posts aren’t particularly promotional? They’re doing what they do best: creating videos centered on the meme or song of the day and incorporating product placements or even branded hashtags. Unlike other influencer campaigns–which come with neatly-packaged messaging that users tweak as they see fit–the most effective campaigns on TikTok will be the ones where the users are gifted a product and are given as much creative freedom as possible to weave its image and relevance into the conversation, where it’ll be stumbled upon by thousands of potential buyers–organically.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Any user, regardless of fame or follower count, can become an overnight sensation on TikTok, so brands should aim to make their campaigns as participatory as possible. Hashtag challenges are incredibly popular on TikTok. Earlier this year, American Eagle’s Aerie brand engaged with Charli D’Amelio, a TikTok influencer with 61 million followers, for its #AerieRealPositivity challenge, which amassed 2 billion impressions and garnered participation from countless influencers and everyday users. Aerie recently reported a 100% jump in sales for Q2 of 2020.
Since trends come and go quickly on TikTok, users who see their favorite influencers or friends participating in a challenge will likely join in. Each unique video has the potential to reach thousands of new customers. If your challenge includes a catchy song or features your products or brand’s image it will stick with viewers and inspire future purchases. By hiring one or two influencers to get the ball rolling and letting the users–and algorithm–do the rest, you have the potential to greatly increase brand exposure and drive sales.
Advertising and influencer marketing on TikTok are still in their infancy but the value and potential of their effectiveness has already been proven. At a time when consumers are spending more time on their phones and prefer shopping online, brands cannot afford to ignore the creativity and viral power of TikTok as a tool to drive brand awareness and sales.