TikTok features short, user-created videos up to three minutes long, specializing in what Teen Vogue refers to as “crowd-sourced popularity.” Trending videos are presented at random to new members until they start liking them, which is how TikTok curates the videos that appear in member feeds over time according to their preferences.
TikTok is designed for quick virality. The fastest-trending member-created content is spontaneous, entertaining, and engaging. TikTok members have created trends that penetrate other social media channels, such as lip-synched songs, dance remixes, duets, funny videos, and challenges. With famous recording artists like Lil’ Nas X and Doja Cat releasing their music on TikTok, it’s a quick springboard to fame beyond the Internet.
TikTok Users Love Sharing the Thrill of Discovery
TikTok users, or “TikTokers,” are curious and creative. They like being inspired by entertaining branded content.
- Influencer Marketing Hub mentions that TikTok users spend 850 minutes per month watching videos.
- According to Backlinko, 37.3% of all mobile users in the United States access TikTok at least once a month.
- TikTok’s own internal study states that 44% of its users want branded content to be fun and entertaining.
TikTok Reaches All Ages
While TikTok is known as a social network that attracts young people, its appeal has also grown to include older adults. Consider this demographic breakdown:
Age 10 – 19: 32.5%
Age 20 – 29: 29.5%
Age 30 – 39: 16.4%
Age 40 – 49: 13.9%
Age 50+: 7.1%
*Source: Influencer Marketing Hub
Since there are so many possible customers on TikTok, it can be tempting for retailers to try to get a lot of followers and likes. But neither of those attributes automatically equates to increased brand engagement or sales.
Essential Tips to Position Your Brand for Success on TikTok
Here are some tips to get you started on TikTok, help you build your brand and audience engagement, and maximize live-selling opportunities.
Should you Have a TikTok Creator or Business Account?
Many businesses start with TikTok’s Creator Account, which has fewer copyright controls over content and music. Beginning with a Creator Account is a good way to get used to posting videos and replying to your audience. Still, it’s missing a few important features relevant to supporting, understanding, and refining customers’ paths to purchase on TikTok. The “Link in Bio” feature lets customers click a link in your bio to make a purchase.
- A sound and music library with copyright-cleared assets for use in videos posted to TikTok.
- TikTok’s Analytics feature enables you to track video reach and audience engagement.
It’s easy to switch from a TikTok Creator Account to a TikTok Business Account:
- Log into your TikTok Account.
- Tap “Me” to go to your profile page.
- Tap the three dots at the top right corner of your profile page.
- In the Account menu, tap “Manage Account.”
- Tap “Business” under “Select Account Type.”
- Select the category that describes your account and click “Next.”
Optimize Your Profile
Your TikTok profile helps users find you. For maximum visibility, it’s a good idea to make sure your profile has these basics in place:
- Your username should state your business name.
- Your profile image should match the branding on other channels.
- Your bio should be SEO-friendly and have a call to action.
- If you have upgraded to a TikTok Business Account, the link in your bio should align with your primary business goal.
Consistently Post Fun and Entertaining Content
TikTok says the most successful videos on its network are “joyous,” meaning that they’re entertaining and make the viewers happy. Knowing how much TikTok audiences enjoy engaging with brands, you should plan to make regular posts to your account, at least weekly, to start.
Many successful brands post daily. Whatever you decide on for your schedule, make sure that your audience sees your posts frequently. The more they see you on the network, the more they’ll engage with you.
Create fun and entertaining content with a lighthearted feeling. Make people want to watch more content, develop ongoing connections and create customers. Add interest by posting different types of videos.
Here are some ideas:
- Post content as short, connected stories so that your audience tunes in for the next chapter.
- Create educational videos about your products or business.
- Show “a day in the life” of your business.
- Create scavenger hunts and special promotions.
- Share guest or influencer videos.
- Feature product styling showcases or “try-ons.”
Include a call to action in each video, so your audience takes the next step.
Some ideas include:
- Shop your e-commerce store.
- Join your Facebook Group.
- Visit your physical store.
- Download your branded retail app.
For more ideas, watch what others are doing. Use the Explore/Discover section in TikTok to see what’s trending. Use the search bar to get more content ideas. What are people saying? Which sounds and music are people using? Keep an eye on trends and embrace them to keep your brand relevant and discoverable.
Be Strategic with Hashtags, Trends, and Viral Challenges
Consider posting your answer to a viral challenge that’s trending on TikTok. Users like engaging with brands that answer challenges. Research popular hashtags and create a list of them for your specific niche so that the hashtags you use are relevant to your business.
Use two to three hashtags in every video you post, switching up trending and niche-related hashtags.
This example from @LemonDropShop, a women’s apparel boutique, features their Amber Jacket and shows the owner and her staff answering the #maiselchallenge. The caption includes a product hashtag, #theamberjacket and #welaughedsomuch, a viral hashtag for funny content. The funny dance video, set to the music clip, “Poison,” has already gotten 17,800 views!
Build a Community Through Engagement
An important key to success on TikTok is to show up consistently and post videos regularly. The more you show up, the more people see your content. Higher and more frequent audience engagement can lead to more sales. The more authentic and sincere you are, the more positively your audience will interact.
Product Sales Opportunities Occur At Every Step of the Customer Journey
Since customers are constantly interacting with brands and products on TikTok, retailers can present engaging opportunities that apparel to them during product discovery, consideration and purchase phases:
Here are a few tips to turn your audience into raving fans:
- Respond quickly and sincerely to comments and direct messages—your audience values personal communication.
- Be personable, speak authentically to your audience, and keep things casual.
- Go live! It’s OK to publish un-polished content because it helps audiences feel more personally connected.
- Treat TikTok like your actual physical store—greet customers as though they walked into your brick-and-mortar business.
Use Analytics to Monitor Your Success on TikTok
To access Analytics, you’ll need a TikTok Pro Account. Go to profile, click the top-right menu, select Business Suite, and then Analytics in your Pro Account.
Here is some of the information you can learn from to refine your TikTok content strategy:
- View follower and content statistics.
- Learn when your audience is online to find the best time to post videos.
- Learn which hashtags and posts are performing best.
- See how many views you’re getting.
Find out how many people click the link in your bio and engage with your account.
Understanding Users’ “Infinite Path to Purchase” Behavior on TikTok Helps Increase Brand Engagement and Sales
TikTokers are addicted to experiencing the thrill of discovery, and they like repeated meaningful engagement that makes them feel a personal connection with brands. That’s because TikTokers’ journey from discovery to a sale isn’t linear. According to TikTok, it’s more like a figure-eight.
TikTok refers to this “figure-eight” customer journey as the “infinite path to purchase,” a phrase coined in a marketing study. The “infinite path” is not a one-time encounter; it’s a repeating behavior.
Retailers and brands who successfully sustain meaningful audience interaction on TikTok create content to invite users’ repetitive engagement in these phases:
Viral Selling From Happy Customers
Happy customers posting videos about brands and products on TikTok can create instant viral appeal for retailers. Positive post-sale experiences can translate to repeat sales, referral sales, and sold-out products.
Now that you have some ideas for creating content that encourages TikTokers to interact with your brand, you can encourage them to buy products in a natural and appealing way. Since they’re already powerful brand advocates, they’ll post videos to share their positive experiences with others, introducing more people to your products. TikTokers post and share videos about their experiences with products on TikTok and other social media channels in the following ways:
- Unboxing videos
- How-to and tutorial videos
- Video reviews
Retail Therapy: Shopping on TikTok Makes People Happy
TikTok has a high concentration of users who are genuinely excited about the products they find and the purchases they make, which is why they’re motivated to discuss and share them with others.
Easily Refer Customers to CommentSold to Complete Sales From TikTok
Since TikTok doesn’t have a way for customers to make direct purchases in its app, retailers can easily direct customers to complete their purchases via their e-commerce stores or mobile apps.
Here are a few ways retailers on the CommentSold platform achieve this:
- Adding a link to their retail mobile app or Webstore to the “Link In Bio” at the top of the TikTok profile.
- When going live on TikTok, they direct audiences to click the “Link In Bio” to shop on their app or Webstore and complete their purchases.
- Pinning the video with the call to action to shop the “Link In Bio” to the top of the TikTok profile.
With an understanding of how audiences behave on TikTok, retailers and brands can create stronger customer relationships because TikTokers seek a high degree of repeat engagement with brand accounts. Brands that post unique, meaningful, and relevant content and personally answer users’ direct messages, comments, and questions will have the most success.
Repetitive interaction and engagement to help TikTok audiences discover, connect, and engage with brands and products (often to the point that they identify with them) helps generate the most vital brand loyalty and revenue. If retailers and brands can create a sense of joy for their audiences, that emotion can translate to stronger brand affinity and increased sales.