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How to Succeed on TikTok Shop

Launching on the app in 2022, TikTok Shop has become a driving force in reshaping how brands connect with audiences. Over 30% of daily users and 29% of weekly users have used the ecommerce feature – making TikTok a ‘powerhouse platform’ for advertisers to tap into. But with such a dynamic temperament, profiting from TikTok can be easier said than done…

Josh Little and Andrew Watson

Which is why we caught up with our specialists, Josh Little, Head of Social, and Andrew Watson, Marketplaces Director, to dive into the evolution of TikTok and how brands can win.

The Evolution of TikTok

TikTok’s evolution has been remarkable. Originally a platform for viral clips, it’s since introduced TikTok Shop, offering users a complete shopping experience within the app – enhancing customer experience and driving stronger engagement.

A digital hub where brands can connect with influencers and content creators, TikTok Shop is a vital tool for ecommerce and marketing individuals, and one of the key platforms in the estimated billion dollar creator economy.

“It’s gone from a viral musical.ly/vine gimmick platform to an all-round social media juggernaut,” explains Josh Little, our Head of Social. “The algorithm has been so strong at content recommendation that communities and niches have developed, leading people to come for inspiration and knowledge.”

Brand Success on TikTok

Brands must approach TikTok with an ecommerce strategy reminiscent of the early days of Amazon. Initially seen as just ‘another shop’, Amazon’s Marketplace allowed any seller to tap into a vast customer base. Similarly, TikTok Shop isn’t fully established yet, so immediate success isn’t guaranteed. Content and creativity are crucial, and simply repurposing Instagram content won’t resonate with TikTok’s audience.

“The biggest mistake I’ve seen is brands assuming any old content will work for TikTok,” notes Andrew Watson. “A bespoke content strategy is needed, especially if you want to have enough credibility to get users to spend money with your brand.”

The angle needs to be different. Brands have to be authentic on the platform. People aren’t after polished excellence like they are elsewhere. They want content that reflects who they are and inspires them. If you treat it like any other brand and try generic selling, you are going to struggle.

For a great example of authenticity on TikTok, look no further than Crocs. The international footwear brand, present in over 85 countries, are known for their values of casual, innovative, comfortable and stylish footwear, and their TikTok reflects these values, showcasing products, whilst staying up-to-date with TikTok trends, humorous captions and user-generated content.

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The Importance of the Hook for TikTok

Brands should be patient and budget for paid media to achieve success on TikTok. Creating unique and buzzworthy content, offering deals, and exclusive bundles can drive product sales. TikTok users appreciate content that feels exclusive to the platform.

“The hook is so vital,” emphasizes Josh Little. “It’s a scroll-first culture, and if you can’t catch attention at the start of your content, you are going to lose people. The first three seconds have always been vital on social media, but it’s more true than ever on TikTok.”

One brand showcasing their knowledge of a great TikTok hook is The Essence Vault. The Eau De Parfum retailer drives TikTok Shop sales with great hooks on videos, consisting of questions left by commenters as the premise, a strong voiceover, as of course, showcasing products. View a great example here.

Driving Sales from Engagement on TikTok

Establishing a credible and trustworthy voice is essential for driving sales. Engaging content and reliable creators can quickly build trust and facilitate purchases. Interestingly, legacy brand-building outside of TikTok isn’t necessary for success on the platform, allowing eCommerce teams to build afresh without relying on traditional upper-funnel performance.

“You can sell quickly if the product messaging and the creators involved can be trusted,” says Andrew Watson, our Head of Marketplaces. “It’s about passing that scroll-first culture test of being engaging in the opening seconds.”

Finding Success

At the core of success with TikTok Shop is building a tailored content strategy, and building this with the awareness of how audiences on TikTok connect with content differently than other platforms, even apps like Instagram where the content format may appear on the surface to be similar, like Instagram Reels.

A great example is the work done by L’Oreal Paris. One campaign, in which the beauty brand partnered with Chemist Warehouse, one of Australia’s leading pharmacy retailers, garnered a 14.4% increase in store visits, and a 22.8% conversion index. This campaign featured strong creative, A/B audience testing, and organic content to support the paid activity.

A second campaign run by L’Oreal focused on organic social activity, user-generated content and affiliate promotions, all under the hashtag ‘TikTok Made Me Buy It’. This campaign set out to raise awareness of all of their hero products and redirect traffic to their e-tailors’ websites, by sending out PR packages to over 200 influencers to unbox in their own styles. The end result included a huge 161.1 million impressions, 4.5 million clicks and 1.7 million in engagement.

By leveraging the unique aspects of TikTok, from its powerful algorithm to the integrated shopping experience, brands can successfully engage and convert users. At Incubeta, our integrated approach ensures that our clients can navigate this evolving landscape effectively, driving both engagement and sales on TikTok. For more information on how Incubeta can help you with your TikTok strategy – get in touch today.

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