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  • MaryGrace Lerin

TikTok Offers Tips on How Brands Can Build Presence and Achieve Results on the Platform

TikTok, a short-form video app, is currently leading the app download charts and gaining users at an astonishing scale.


And, even with losing its largest user market in June 2020 owing to a ban in India, the platform is still on track to hit a billion users this year, putting it on level terms with Instagram and making it one of the top five social/messaging apps.


Furthermore, this has piqued the interest of marketers who are looking for new ways to reach out to consumers. And there's no denying that there's a lot of potential for increasing brand awareness and even direct sales - but TikTok's creative focus means that you can't just reuse material from other platforms or campaigns.


Becca Sawyer, TikTok's Global Head of Small Business Solutions, shared her thoughts about what brands new to the platform should take into account, as well as her top tips for expanding your business presence on the app.


As such, how can you use TikTok to promote your business?


Q: Which ad/promotional aspects are currently receiving the best response on TikTok?


BS: The most effective ads don't look or feel like ads; they embody our motto, "Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks."


Brands are constantly reminded not to overthink things. TikTok is a place where genuineness and authenticity are not only tolerated, but celebrated.


We understand that creating and sharing content on TikTok can be daunting at first, which is why we're steadily striving for ways to make it easier. To assist business owners in becoming more relaxed, our Small Business Resource Center has innovative tools and successful business examples. We also collaborated with Vimeo to release templates that can assist small businesses in producing high-quality video in a few simple steps.


Q: What is the key to a successful TikTok marketing strategy?

BS: We often motivate brands/organizations to:

  • Engage Like a User - Participate in discussions and establish a community - brands can put themselves at the leading edge of trends and conversation taking place within our community

  • Think TikTok First - TikTok is where creativity, culture, and trends all begin. Thinking TikTok first encourages your creativity to grow in tandem with the platform's dynamic nature.

  • Build a Narrative - As a brand or organization, you have the advantage to not only join, but also start a new conversation.

  • Create with Purpose - Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks. TikTok as a platform is built to inspire with unique, authentic content that can only be found on TikTok.

Q: What is the most common blunder brands make when it comes to TikTok?


BS: Brands and businesses frequently make the mistake of approaching TikTok with the mentality that the last click is the holy grail.


TikTok is a unique entertainment experience where people create and discover community, so brands should think of it that way. The best results will be achieved by brands that appear authentically and truly want to be a part of daily conversations. As a matter of fact, we frequently advise brands that engagement before the final click is extremely important.


Q: What's a good example of a brand that's achieving strong results with TikTok marketing?

BS: The brands that adopt the TikTok community's creativity and genuineness are the ones that we see succeeding the most.

Brands that have gone all-in include:

  • Aerie - Aerie's crossover leggings were sold out online for nearly two months after Hannah Schlenker's viral TikTok post sparked incredible demand for the item. Her single post resulted in over 700,000 product searches on the Aerie website, and even a 200,000 percent increase in Google searches. A total of 130,000 emails were received from customers requesting to be added to the brand's "notify me" waitlist. They've since utilized paid advertising to boost conversions even more.


  • GAP - GAP's brown hoodie recently came into the limelight, with the hashtag #gaphoodie achieving 6.7 million views and counting, thanks to a post by creator Barbara Kristofferson. Despite the fact that the hoodie was vintage, the TikTok community generated such viral demand that GAP restocked it after it had been out of production for over a decade. TikTok and GAP recently collaborated on the “Gap Hoodie Color Comeback,” a project that will determine GAP's next hoodie launch by allowing the TikTok community to decide on the next item color.


  • Sour Patch Kids (Mondelez Int.) - With over a million followers, Sour Patch Kids is TikTok's most-followed snack brand, owing to its constant delving into trends and enjoyment with the community. They've also launched numerous campaigns centered on the platform, such as the recent April Fools' Day #SourPatchPrankFund challenge, where they awarded TikTokers with Sour Patch Kids and cash for their stunts. They collaborated with five TikTok creators for the campaign: @TheCrazyGorilla, @VirziTriplets, @SometimesMamaYells, @SantiAndMikay, and @TattedBoy92.


  • KFC - Engaging in the never-ending chicken sandwich warfare, KFC turned to TikTok to launch its new chicken sandwich in collaboration with renowned creator Lili Hayes. The collaboration has over 1.1 million likes on KFC's channel, and #trythekfcsandwich has over 208 million views and counting.


  • Sider's Woodcrafting is a Maine-based family-owned woodcraft shop. They've amassed over 118K TikTok followers and make incredible cutting boards, shelving, and other custom items. Bruce Graybill, the owner, has stated that TikTok contributes for approximately 90% of his revenue. He previously posted a TikTok about how "TikTok saved our business."


  • Izola's Country Cooking is a cafeteria-style Southern comfort restaurant in Hinesville, GA. Their content frequently showcases Chef Dave's daily dishes, and also messages from clients who have journeyed from all over the country to have a taste of their dishes. Many of their customers, according to owners Glenn and Lori Poole, discovered them on TikTok.

  • Lala Hijabs is operated by a husband and wife pair in Canada, who launched their business and TikTok account amid the lockdown. Sana posted a video of herself showcasing a custom-made hijab, and many of her fans expressed interest in purchasing one. She opened her shop for "hand tie-dyed hijabs - inspired by the beautiful colors of life" last year, and now they've made six figures in sales with no paid advertising. They've subsequently implemented paid advertising on the platform to improve organic reach.

Q: What is your best tip for someone just starting out with TikTok marketing?


BS: Just jump in! Read the comments. Examine how people are discussing the community or topic in which your brand fits.


Assess what's happening on behind the trends and cultural movements as well. The content of a brand should have the same look and feel as the posts in the community. As a result, your brand's content will be immersed in what's actually taking place on the platform and will have a say in the discussion.


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