How Retailers Can Use TikTok to Build Better Brand Loyalty in a New Era of Community Building
If you're familiar with TikTok, you've most likely seen the hashtag #Tiktokmademebuyit. Truth is, people can find anything from books to clothing to makeup thanks to retail brands’ ever-expanding presence on TikTok. This social platform is certainly driving sales for retailers, whether it's from an influencer wearing something from the back of their closet or the result of a coordinated brand campaign. And it goes without saying that it works fantastically well. However, there’s always room to do it better.
In this new era of community building, retail brands need to explore new ways to interact with their followers in order to keep them authentically engaged, grow their online communities exponentially, and also maintain brand loyalty at the same time. Here are five strategies to help them make a splash on TikTok and connect with their audiences in the very best of ways:
1. Find a community that fits your brand and get involved.
Getting involved in a community organically can be extremely beneficial — as long as the community fits your brand well. But don't worry, TikTok has something for everyone, from niche interest communities to mainstream ones.
In any case, before diving in, it's a good idea to listen to and learn from the community itself. Connect with the community's purpose, pay attention to its tone and style, and learn who the major influencers are. To avoid alienating anyone within the community, ensure that your content will blend in seamlessly. Putting time into developing this natural connection will go a long way toward fostering brand loyalty.
2. Collaborate with TikTok creators.
Videos that feature creators and are made specifically for TikTok are consistently the most popular videos on the platform. That’s so important that I’ll repeat myself: Making content that features creators is often the most popular content. In fact, brand collaborations on TikTok had a 27 percent higher ad recall than branded content that's not native to the platform or doesn't involve a TikTok influencer, according to a TikTok for Business study.
You don't necessarily need to work with the most popular influencers, either. Keep in mind that creators with modest followings can still have significant impact. For instance, cosmetic brand Doe Lashes handed out 20 samples of its product to TikTok creators, and then collaborated with those who made the best TikTok content. As reported by NextBrand, a creator who only had 200 daily TikTok views was the most successful for Doe Lashes. Oh, and after collaborating with the brand, her views increased to 500,000!
3. Create bonds in the comments section.
Don't assume that your role as a retail brand consists solely of posting video after video. Brands should also communicate with their audience in the comments section to keep them engaged. Listening to your community is key, but it's also important to acknowledge what they're saying and echo that back. Show up and show you’ve read up.
4. Leverage TikTok's engaging style to make your campaigns stand out.
TikTok's mix of song, memes and video gives retailers a tremendous tool for creating entertaining content. It’s a fantastic platform for experimenting with your creativity, having fun, interacting with your community, and producing original native content. Therefore, don't use it to post TV commercials or other content designed for very different channels. This is a place for creativity and authenticity!
5. Create useful content for your community.
Retailers are in a great position to help consumers get the most of their money as more and more people start to reduce their spending. This is an opportunity for retail brands to show consumers they understand their worries and are working on solutions by producing inspiring and educational material. Again, because of TikTok's engaging style, your content can be both useful and entertaining at the same time — just make sure that it brings value to your audience in an authentic way.
Remember, before you engage on TikTok, you need to establish your brand's intention on the platform. Consider why you're using TikTok as it should be for reasons beyond just profit. Do you want to inspire, help the community, educate them, or even educate yourself as a brand? Identify what values you want to bring to the platform and prioritize the content you want to share accordingly.
Amy Gilbert is head of social at The Social Element, a social media activation agency.
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