How Brands Can Leverage the Selling Potential of TikTok
There's a new top social platform in town, and it hasn't even been around for a decade. TikTok has taken the world by storm. In fact, the short-form video app overtook Google and Facebook as the most popular web domain in 2021, solidifying its acclaim with the masses.
Brands and retailers unfamiliar with the app may assume it's primarily for teens and young adults to participate in viral challenges or perform silly pranks. However, they're missing out on TikTok’s selling potential for their business.
The Power of Selling on TikTok
To maximize profit, brands and retailers need as many consumers aware of their products as possible, and there's no better place than TikTok for generating awareness. With 1 billion active users, TikTok is an excellent platform to get brands and retailers noticed by potential customers, especially a younger audience.
According to ChannelAdvisor's 2022 Online Consumer Behavior Global Report, 55 percent of U.S. consumers aged 18 to 25 and 37 percent aged 26 to 35 discovered products they purchased in the past 12 months on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. The interest in learning about new products is practically built into the TikTok experience. It's up to brands and retailers to take advantage of it.
However, it's not enough to make an account, create a video advertising a product, then insert a call to action at the end. To fully leverage TikTok, brands and retailers must ensure the content they post is short and unique, interact with their audience, and take advantage of paid ads.
Develop Bite-Sized and Unique Content
TikTok thrives in a world where instant gratification reigns supreme. People want things faster and shorter, as evidenced by today's attention spans that last around eight seconds. Brands and retailers must create punchy content that can capture consumers' attention within a limited time frame.
Brands and retailers should also lean into what the average TikTok user wants when they open the app, such as new trends. Marrying that with a rave-worthy product can extend brands’ and retailers' reach. For instance, a child's love of corn (with the help of a catchy song) captivated TikTok over the summer, starting the "it's corn" trend. Fast-food chain Chipotle capitalized on this trend by creating a TikTok where a customer (the original Corn Kid) requested a bowl with only corn. This simple yet engaging TikTok became Chipotle’s top-performing video. Unique content like this is how brands and retailers stand out to consumers when trying to promote their products.
Engage With Followers
Follower engagement is crucial across all social media platforms for brands and retailers to extend their reach and remain connected to their audience. Interacting with consumers shows that what their customers say is being listened to and valued.
Brands and retailers can boost engagement with followers by responding to user-generated content (UGC). If a follower creates a TikTok video related to or featuring a specific product, brands and retailers can deepen the relationship by simply acknowledging the content with a comment or even reposting it to their own TikTok account and crediting the creator.
Take Advantage of Paid Ads
Running paid ads on TikTok allows brands and retailers to get in front of engaged users and incite action, which usually pays off — 92 percent of users globally have taken action after watching a TikTok video. TikTok offers various ad types, including:
- Shopping Ads: TikTok’s newest ad solution, Shopping Ads, allows brands to use three new formats in order to meet customers where they are in their shopping journey. All three ads, Video Shopping, Catalog Listing, and LIVE Shopping, are designed to capture user attention and drive engagement.
- In-Feed Ads: Displayed within a user's For You feed, these ads can be up to 60-seconds long. Because they blend in with the UGC that makes up the For You feed, users will be less likely to avoid it. However, to keep users from scrolling past those ads, they should be eye-catching and engaging.
- Brand Takeover: When the TikTok app is opened, these ads "take over" the entire screen for a few seconds before appearing as in-feed video. Because these ads dominate the screen and are directly within a target audience's line of sight, they can drive mass awareness.
- Branded Hashtag Challenge: These ads are exclusive to TikTok, encouraging UGC that includes featured hashtags to spark new trends and viral challenges.
Brands and retailers not leveraging TikTok are missing a golden opportunity to engage and reach more consumers. To use the app to its full potential, brands and retailers must develop short and unique content, engage their followers, and use the available paid ads. By doing so, they can truly capitalize on TikTok's selling potential.
Link Walls is vice president of digital marketing strategy at ChannelAdvisor - a CommerceHub company, a provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable brands and retailers to increase global sales.
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