Everyone loves to hate TikTok. While I'm not (yet) a famous TikTok-er, I've been in the marketing game for a long time.
I've seen products come, go, come back, and then fall over again. Here's what I believe every brand needs to learn from TikTok as a demand generation and sales tool!
TikTok is an Infinite Loop
In most digital buying and research scenarios, there's an obvious and typical marketing funnel. The steps are set up in such a way that the user is guided through the purchase journey.
With TikTok, that's not the case. The infinite loop style of interaction with the app disrupts what users are accustomed to. It creates opportunities to leave the content, engage with a creator's/brand's Instagram, visit an online store, back into content, check out more videos, and essentially choose their own adventure.
Users want to control their experience. Why stop them?
Whit's takeaway: Understanding that buyers ultimately want to buy from brands they come to know and trust can take time is key. Taking a leap of faith into this "new age" of content marketing allows brands using TikTok business to insert themselves into multiple stages of a buyer's journey through micro-moments.
TikTok Attribution Doesn't Matter
The infinite loop of content makes attribution difficult and I like that.
Because users can connect with brands elsewhere via TikTok, because they hop in and out of the app and experience, and because of the time it takes to build trust online, there's no way to truly say "this TikTok generated X" sales over time.
Why? Because so many brands focus too much on attributing every single thing to the nail when there's more value in intangible efforts, dark social, and nuance than they want to admit.
Creating relationships with your userbase is like creating relationships in real life. It takes time and there are infinite little moments that make them special or unpleasant.
Whit's takeaway: Use TikTok as a way to show your brand authentically online, knowing that you're building relationships. There are endless opportunities to showcase your product without "just selling it." One of my favourite examples of this is Mid-Day Squares. I'm in love with their ownership team's full-force and no-BS approach to creating authentic content marketing. That's what makes me buy their bars - not annoying sales strategies.
Social Proof Shines on TikTok
Both before and after a potential purchase, TikTok has an effect. Sometimes this is users sharing their genuine thoughts about products, sometimes it's paid.
The promotion and use by creators helps viewers to form opinions about the product, its packaging, and expected experience that influences purcahse and lasts beyond the sale.
Creators that share day in the life videos, promotional videos, as seen on TikTok videos and other TikToks that showcase products are doing so in such a way that users often believe it is generic.
Even when it's a paid promotion.
That alone is mind-blowing.
Seeing creators that feel like friends using products can inspire users to buy; in the long-term.
In the short term, their impact might look like having "Skincare Suzie" inspire users to follow your skincare brand's TikTok.
Doing so then creates heightened brand recognition and affinity, which eventually creates a purchase opportunity.
Whit's takeaway: Creating moments that pull users into your brand's ecosystem is what will make them remember you and ultimately buy from you. Leveraging TikTok creator partnerships and paid promotion can help kickstart that process.