“Here we are now, entertain us.” - Nirvana, Smells like teen spirit
With 1 billion active monthly users, the TikTok app is far more than a teenage craze. It’s a genuine phenomenon, or several phenomena, if the amount of time spent on the app (52 minutes per day for the average user) is anything to go by. This fun, sexy app has a dazzling array of features and filters making it possible to become a truly creative content machine and the opportunity for your products to reach loads of new customers. If you’re new to TikTok, and marketing your online store using TikTok, stick around. For those already on TikTok, we’ve got some tips and inspiration for you, too!
“All you need is love and TikTok.”
In this article:
- An introduction to TikTok
- TikTok Trends for marketing your online store
- Additional Tips for using TikTok
An introduction to TikTok
If you’re already using social media as part of your marketing strategy (and, you probably should), TikTok is a useful addition to your online marketing toolbox as its user numbers comfortably rival those of Instagram and Facebook.
TikTok is a short-form video hosting service (like Youtube or Instagram) hosting a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes. The app has a huge variety of video editing features and effects such as Duets, snippets from popular and trending songs, Virtual Reality, Dance Challenges (just in case you missed Jerusalema craze that helped to keep us sane during heavy lockdown. Huge thanks for the danceable tune, Master KG!) and much, much more.
Where TikTok differs exponentially from other social media platforms is that just over half (60%) of its users are Generation Zers (that’s 10-25 years old) and they’re really comfortable with online shopping. In fact, 67% of users say that TikTok inspired them to shop even if they weren’t looking for a product. These Gen Zers were also raised on carefully curated, perfectly lit and edited content on Instagram and Facebook so, they come to TikTok for something else: authenticity. Users are looking for entertaining, informative content that they can relate to and form a connection with, which is just about perfect for entrepreneurs and online store owners just like you. You can watch the humblest smartphone user in the world as easily as you can the biggest sports or film star - everybody is in on the TikTok action.
You can set up your TikTok business account here.
TIP: Beware, and have fun, TikTok is addictive! If you’re planning to use it for business and leisure, be sure to set aside time for research and planning and not just mindless, hilarious scrolling ;)
TikTok Trends for marketing your online store
It may seem that there’s a new trend on TikTok every five minutes and many users and businesses may be tempted to jump on every breaking trend. That’s okay. Remember authenticity is key on TikTok so you’ll want to be creating content that’s true to your brand and resonates with your target audience. As TikTok users, they’ll probably know if you’re being inauthentic or simply posting to hang on the coattails of the latest trend. Unless you’re hilarious. Then, you can probably get away with anything ;) There are also trends that are evergreen, which means that they stay around longer than a hot minute allowing more users to see your content and possibly buy your product. Here are some TikTok trends that we’re loving in 2022 to inspire you for your online store.
It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. TikTok and e-commerce go together like avo and toast. As above, 67% of users say that TikTok inspired them to shop even if they weren’t looking to buy. Following along with the authenticity line, TikTok claims that users love #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt because it: “produces genuine product reviews—and honesty is a big differentiator for us; the majority of users say they trust others to be their real selves on TikTok.1 Product videos tend to be entertaining, too, which is a huge draw, given that entertainment is the number-one thing that users seek out when they come to the platform.” You can expect more from TikTok’s online shopping features as 2022 will be the first year for TikTok Shopping, their e-commerce suite of tools. Exciting times to have an online store, yes? Read more on TikTok’s e-commerce report here.
TikTok Duets were tailor-made for user engagement and user-generated content. This feature allows you to post a video and encourage others to repost it alongside a video of their own. Or vice versa. See the potential? Users using your fabulous, wonderful products and sharing videos about them…which you can then reshare with your own reactions! Or, for example, you can share an informative video and encourage users to do a Duet of them following your instructions. The possibilities and potential are endless with Duets. Check out a Duet how-to here.
Almost everybody loves a well choreographed dance. Just look at the timeless popularity of musicals like Grease or dance club hits like Macarena or Jerusalema illustrate how we love to be in sync with the music and each other. This is a trend that plenty of businesses and brands, from the team at the local doctor’s office to world-famous musicians, have taken to heart. Interestingly, TikTok prioritises discovery and videos from creators that you’ve never seen before. This is good news for small businesses and entrepreneurs as there are more chances to be seen.
The hashtag #ADayintheLife has over a billion views. We care what a day in the life of others looks like. This can provide plenty of opportunities for a behind-the-scenes peek into your business, lifestyle and brand to get your customers to really connect with you. According to TikTok, 78% of users agree that the best brands on the platform are those that share their ideas and work together with users. Another perfect match for entrepreneurs! A popular trend here is #SmallBusinessCheck.
- Pets of TikTok and Family
I think we’ve secretly always wanted to share more videos of our pets on social media but COVID really cemented that trend because we had a lot more time to watch them get up to their shenanigans when we’d normally be at work. Who doesn’t love a dancing grandmother or a waspish cat? If it fits in with your storytelling and your brand, put some time into making some videos, your audience will appreciate it. They like to know you’re just like them, weird pets, crazy family and all! Check out #PetsofTikTok for more.
This one is a gift, packaged and wrapped, for clothing and jewellery entrepreneurs. Because, who doesn’t love an #OOTD? Be inspired to show the world (on TikTok) how your personality and brand fit together and where your style inspiration comes from. You can partner with influencers to further your reach on Outfit of the Day and pair it with #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt too!
Is it just us or is there a strong nostalgia vibe online at the moment? Nostalgia doesn’t ever go out of style because - as time goes on - there’s always something to be nostalgic about. This gives lots of us the warm-and-fuzzies which are super-conducive to shopping. Nostalgia pairs well with TikTok humour if you’re taking the mickey out of a 2001 music-video trend or what highschool was like in the 1990s. There’s lots of inspiration like: #poprewind #popnostalgia #90shighschool
- How-to, Advice and Tips
It seems that you can learn almost anything on TikTok. Huge trends in this area are recipes, make-up and hair tutorials, and, strangely, how to use TikTok features to make more videos! See how you can add to the conversation by offering tips or tutorials for your customers. These needn’t be perfect, curated videos but simply everyday content. Users will appreciate the authenticity.
Additional Tips for using TikTok
If you’re enjoying exploring the varied opportunities of TikTok for marketing your online store, here are some cool resources that we’d like to share with you.
- If you’re interested in learning more about marketing to Gen Zers, have a read over Rolling Stone’s Marketing to Generation Z
- Instagram and TikTok integrate well together. If you’ve already built up your online community on Instagram, TikTok has an automatic share to Instagram option, which makes connecting the accounts and sharing your content not only easy but also practical and time saving.
- Check out TikTok’s top 100 accounts. You may be surprised. Follow those that appeal to you and your brand for instant inspiration whenever you need it.
- In addition to introducing their new TikTok Shopping e-commerce suite of tools, TikTok recently increased their maximum video length from 1 minute to 10 minutes which should be a game changer.
- Keep an eye on hashtags that both suit your brand and are trending. For example, at writing this article, the following were trending in South Africa: #KeepUpWithAfrica, #RecipesofTikTok, the song, Madiba, by South African artist, Hennybelit, #MovieTok and more.
- If you’re unsure which hashtags to use for your content, here’s a useful guide from SproutSocial.
- If you’re new to TikTok, listen first. See what’s popular and start stretching your TikTok muscles. It doesn’t help to design a campaign around a challenge that nobody knows anything about. Get in on the trends, you can set your own in time.
Are you inspired? Are you already scrolling through videos on TikTok? Will Shopstar be starting a TikTok account soon? For now, tag us when you share to Instagram on @shopstarza