TikTok is a relative newcomer to the world of social media, which was launched in Beijing, China, as A.me in 2016. Once seen as a passing phase, TikTok now has more than 200 million downloads in the U.S. and 2 billion worldwide. It is one of Google Play and the Apple App Store’s most downloaded apps.
The TikTok craze is difficult to disregard.
But how are merchants able to benefit? But TikTok is a curious video hodgepodge of seemingly everything you can think of.
Here’s the important thing: TikTok is all about viral videos, which are shared far and wide by hundreds of thousands of users. While no one can guarantee a viral video, there are strategies to get your content to the #ForYou section, the app page where users scroll and discover new content.
“The For You feed is one of the defining features of the TikTok platform,” according to a TikTok blog post. “Part of the magic of TikTok is that there’s no one For You feed — while different people may come upon some of the same standout videos, each person’s feed is unique and tailored to that specific individual.”
So even if it doesn’t go viral, a lot of potential customers can still see your video if you follow some basic rules and posting methods.
Keep the TikTok short
A large part of the TikTok #ForYou feed algorithm is based on watch time.
TikTok monitors the video completion rate—the average watch time compared to the length of the video. The higher the time-to-video length ratio, the better the chances of your video appearing in more #ForYou feeds.
You’re more likely to get a user to watch a 20-second video in 14 seconds than a 50-second video in 34 seconds. Shorter videos will naturally boost the completion rate of the video, which is key.
Another way to ensure longer watch time is to be engaged from the get-go. This means going straight to the point with no introductions or long pauses.
Here’s an example of this. The user starts with exactly the information she’s going to share (hashtags), speaks clearly yet quickly, and doesn’t scramble.
Follow music trends. TikTok began as a music app. So it makes sense that popular and viral videos contain trending songs. It’s easy to find trending sounds. Go to the “Discover” tab of the app. Here you will find notes as to whether music (or noise) is a “Trending sound.”
When you upload a video or image to create your own TikTok, you can add “Sounds” with a choice of top 40, viral, new, and recommended sounds and songs.
Choose “viral” to find the most popular sounds at the moment, improving the chances of your TikTok being a trend and seeing more viewers. Also, be sure to use the sound as a hashtag‚ such as #bussit.
Follow the trend of hashtags
To create trendy videos, explore trendy hashtags and then make your own video based on what you’ve found.
Stay on top of viral content and take advantage of it
Trending content is hashtags, songs, and people that are widely shared with users of the app.
Viral content, however, is shared across media and other outlets—beyond the TikTok platform. The creation of trending content is therefore feasible (but not easy). Viral content is a lot more difficult.
The good news? You don’t need to build a large following to get your content seen or go viral. Take the 90-year-old brand Ocean Spray, for example. It went viral when TikToker Nathan Apodaca posted a video of himself skateboarding, drinking Ocean Spray cranberry juice, and listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”
The TikTok went viral, sending Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit single “Dreams” back to the charts and tripling sales, NPR reported. Ocean Spray also benefited from this viral sensation: its stock value doubled overnight—and it didn’t have to do any work!
If you can’t create professional TikTok content, ask your friends to post videos using your products. Take advantage of current trends in TikTok and viral content like Ocean Spray did.
Head of Global Corporate Affairs and Communications Christina Ferzli said, “We [Ocean Spray] were dabbling with [TikTok], but this has accelerated our use of the platform,” noting that the #OceanSpray has now 27.5 million views.
TikTok has launched a Creator Marketplace to help businesses connect to already popular content creators. This will help you locate creators who are aligned with your brand to take a closer look at your products.
Create your ads. Shopify has recently partnered with TikTok to bring trade to the platform. Shopify merchants will need a TikTok for Business account. This will make it possible for merchants to use shoppable video ads that appear in the feed. These TikToks will be connected to your Shopify store for easy consumer check-out.
Include a call-to-action
Include a call-to-action for what you want viewers to do next, such as visiting your online store.
In that case, the CTA would be something like “Head to Bio Link.” That’s the TikTok profile bio, which would include the URL of your website. For more engagement, try CTAs such as “Like for Part 2” or “Comment below! ”
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