Danielle Johnson launched Realm Candles in September of 2020 after teaching herself the process using YouTube videos. Her collection of soy-wax candles has delicious scents like Lemonade, Honey, and Rosé, packaged in stylish minimalist packaging.
It’s not easy to start a business during a pandemic, so Johnson opted to launch her business on the video-sharing app TikTok, popular among Gen Z and known for its quirky videos, including those featuring products that go viral.
To succeed on such a fast-paced platform, Johnson experimented. “The best way to get started on TikTok is to become slightly addicted,” she says. She filmed herself pouring wax, trimming wicks, and packing orders, after being inspired by other small-business accounts that had documented behind-the-scenes content that showed how a small business operates.
By February 2019, TikTok had been downloaded 1 billion times worldwide but was largely ignored by US-based influencers and businesses until 2020
Throughout 2020, more people signed up for TikTok accounts to entertain themselves while stuck home in quarantine. As a result, TikTok launched its creator fund in July 2020, allowing influencers and brands to monetize their content.
As of 2022, TikTok has become the most downloaded social network on the app store.
Businesses would be missing out on an opportunity if they didn’t include TikTok marketing in their marketing plan. If you have never used TikTok before, beginners may have difficulty understanding how to make their videos viral on the app.
We’ve got your back though. Here’s a quick guide on how to develop a TikTok marketing strategy.
Understand Your Audience
Compared to many other popular social media platforms, TikTok has a much younger audience. Gen Z users are between 16 and 24, so understanding the particular challenges of marketing to them is imperative.
By 2022, there will be 74 million members of Gen Z, the largest generation in U.S. history. How can we market to this demographic?
The generation known as Gen Z is not just children. It includes those born between 1997 and 2012. Therefore, today’s oldest Gen Z members are in their early 20s, which makes them a different demographic for many industries.
Since Gen Z’ers were raised with the internet, they understand it better than any other generation. As you market to this group, you should keep a few things in mind:
Stay on Top of TikTok Trends
Keeping up with current trends, memes, and pop culture references will help you crack the Gen Z code. TikTok trends date within days, so it’s vital to have a member of the team who stays on top of them.
Lizzo’s newest hit song About Damn Time became viral on TikTok very fast and spread far and wide:
Keep it Short and Sweet
TikTok has the advantage of being concise. Try to keep your videos short and simple, to keep your viewers from scrolling to the next one. We recommend 7-20 second videos max.
Keep it sustainable
A focus on sustainability and products that have a smaller carbon footprint never hurts when trying to reach a younger audience. Gen Z is often more environmentally conscious than older generations.
Maintain a Casual Tone
Let your brand appear as though it is already trendy. Keep marketing tactics authentic and cool. Your message will be more appealing to the younger generation.
Reach Out to Influencers
On social media, and especially on TikTok, influencers are everything. The number of followers for creators like Charli D’Amelio, David Dobrik, and Addison Rae is well over 100 million. If you want to maximize your visibility, you will want to work with a content creator who already has a large following.
It can be challenging to reach the younger crowd on TikTok, especially since many of these users are used to scrolling through ads all day long. Instead of launching a marketing campaign on its own, marketers are advised to build deeper relationships with big content creators. PR packages are a great way to accomplish this.
PR packages provide influencers with the chance to try out new products and bring them to their audience by doing unboxing videos. These packages are often negotiated between content creators and brands. It’s not enough to simply send your PR to these big influencers, and these agreements cost big bucks. However, the ROI can be massive.
Use TikTok Hashtags
The TikTok “For You Page” (FYP) is driven by hashtags. When using TikTok for marketing, keep an eye on the trending hashtags that will appear on the discover page.
Using the app’s “For You” page, which hosts trending videos, Realm Candle’s founder Danielle Johnson quickly learned to search for the most popular audio and use those sounds to accompany her content, which helped it gain traction. After initially using relevant hashtags, such as #candles and #smallbusiness, she eventually began using trending topics, such as #superbowl2021. TikTok creators use this trick to attract more views – using popular hashtags even though they are completely unrelated to the video.
Use Effects, Filters, Popular Sounds, and Trends
TikTok’s library of visual effects is one of the more unique features. They may seem unrelated to marketing, but they can be used to gain views.
What you can do is click on an effect on a video when it has an interesting effect. On the next page, you’ll find other videos using the same effect. Users will likely click on other videos in the collection just because they find the thumbnails intriguing.
Through this method alone, a brand can increase views on its video if they can get it on one of these discover pages. It never hurts to try out some of these visual effects!
The game-changer for Johnson was tapping into a niche of the platform: ASMR, a genre of video designed to elicit shivers down the spine through sound. Over 271 billion people have viewed ASMR videos on TikTok. Johnson noticed that enclosing candles in paper and filling boxes with packing peanuts made soothing noises so she recorded a video focusing on these sounds and tagged #ASMR.
Johnson’s ASMR video went viral after it was uploaded in February 2021 and ended up on the For You page, a coveted spot on TikTok that can help a creator’s career. Johnson’s candles sold out less than 24 hours after the video went viral. The following evening, due to the traffic surge, she had to create a new website.
Following her viral video, her TikTok followers increased from 4,000 to 200,000, and her Instagram audience expanded from 300 to 16,000. She began selling out her candles within 15 minutes of adding them to her website. ASMR has become her primary strategy for marketing. “People like knowing that they can go to a page and it will give them a certain type of content,” she explains.
TikTok marketing campaigns that use humor are highly effective. If a narrative is interesting enough and makes them laugh, many users will watch it even if the video is clearly sponsored.
Here’s a great example of a sponsored post by popular influencer Kris HC (@kallmekris), who is known for her humorous skits:
Marketers can attract a larger audience by making their marketing videos relatable and humorous. You (or your chosen influencer) can create a short, well-crafted advertisement that doubles as a skit. By doing so, you can promote your brand while at the same time providing viewers with an enjoyable experience. Duolingo and RyanAir do this exceptionally well by following trends and using humor in most of their videos.
Engage with Other Users
Even though going viral on TikTok is sometimes a completely random phenomenon, it is no different from going viral on any other social media platform. Engaging with others will make it easier for you to build a substantial following.
Go Live on TikTok Regularly
TikTok’s live feature helped Johnson build a community of followers and engage with her audience. Her favorite time to log in was on Saturday evenings when most of her customers, who are mostly teenagers and early 20-year-olds, were also online. She answered their questions about Realm and shared personal information, such as her favorite food and music tastes. Now, Realm’s three TikTok posts per week see thousands of views, and revenue is up double-digits year over year.
Getting Your Business Started with TikTok is Simple
Johnson advises businesses looking to boost their brand on TikTok to record videos of themselves at work – whether it’s packing orders, organizing a workspace, or describing the process of making a product. Those are the easiest ways to get ideas for upcoming videos. “The most important thing to remember is to be consistent,” she advises. “Keep posting, keep trying new things, and don’t get discouraged.”
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