October 4, 2021

Tok-ing shop: The clock is Tik-ing

Victor Minella

Digital Media Strategist

Scroll. Scroll. Scroll.

If you’ve spent any time on TikTok (around 89 minutes per day if you’re an average user) the neverending scroll and subsequent thumb fatigue are quite familiar. With an endless stream of short-form content ranging from topics such as fashion and sports to lessons on linguistics and the evolutionary journey of modern-day humans, it is easy to see why users spend more time on TikTok than they do watching Netflix or listening to music on Spotify.

If you're not one of TikTok's 1 billion worldwide users (or if you're not friends with someone obsessed with sharing videos from the app), you may think TikTok is still just an app for kids doing goofy dances with funny filters. While Gen Z's making videos just like that is a large piece of the app's user base, TikTok's demographics and video topics are constantly getting older and more varied, respectively (46% of US users are over 25 years old). Not only that, but TikTok has become a treasure trove for brand discovery and an organic full-funnel opportunity.

There are countless stories of product discovery on TikTok and the brand seeing a boost in sales lasting weeks or even months.  A quick Google search of “brands discovered on TikTok” will show article after article with headlines like “20 Products that Have Sold Out Because of TikTok Popularity”, “TikTok made me buy it,” and “How do retailers know what will sell out? They check TikTok”. And it’s not just beauty and fashion products that are seeing sales come from TikTok. For example, users posted funny videos of their cats playing with Cat Crack Catnip, and 11 million views later, Cat Crack is out of inventory and listed as “sold out” on Amazon. Similarly, a video showing the steps to make a pasta recipe using feta cheese amassed hundreds of millions of views and caused grocery stores around the nation to declare a feta cheese shortage. Meanwhile, TikTok just announced they are expanding their Shopify partnership and piloting an e-commerce component called TikTok Shopping in the US, UK, and Canada — the days of selling products through and because of TikTok are just beginning.

So now you ask, “How do I get my product in a TikTok video and how do I get that video to go viral?”. By making raw, low-fidelity content that leverages current trends (e.g., songs, filters, dances, etc.). While the answer sounds quite simple, the process doesn’t guarantee success, and not every video will be a hit right away. Luckily, making a video on TikTok is easy, as long as you follow these guidelines. 

Create at the speed of culture.

Just like its videos, trends move quickly on TikTok. The sound you hear on your "For You page" all day long could be gone and replaced by something funnier or catchier the next day. New challenges and hashtags seem to pop up every week, and different filters are added constantly. To find TikTok success, you have to embrace the changing nature of the platform. The best way to lean into this TikTok lifestyle is to have platform discussions bi-weekly to stay on top of trends and be willing to change your plans based on these discussions. This way, you'll be ready to strike when the perfect opportunity presents itself. 

Be authentic.

Trends are king on TikTok, but jumping on a trend for the sake of being trendy will turn users off because there's an expectation of content authenticity. As a brand, there usually isn't a need to create a brand new trend for your videos to be found. It is more than acceptable to use ideas from other creators. Just put your spin on it, and make it authentic.

Be raw.

Scrolling TikTok, you’ll notice most of the videos don’t have a professional feel. They aren’t made in a studio or on a set. The lighting isn’t always the best, and there is a “home-made” feel to everything. This is by design. TikTok wants to encourage users not just to watch but to join in on the fun and make videos of their own. As a brand on TikTok, it is also essential to make your videos similarly. 

Jump in headfirst.

Don't be afraid to fail or worry about getting it right 100% of the time. Not every video you post is going to get thousands of views, likes, and comments — that's okay! Creating successful content on TikTok is all about experimenting with different ideas, sounds, filters, replicating what's worked, and learning from what doesn't.

So now you're like "That all sounds great. But it also sounds like a lot of work. Who's going to help me with this?". Lucky for you, Curiosity is introducing TokShop: an immersive three-month pilot program where we put your brand to the test on TikTok. 

With TokShop, our team creates 12-16 organic videos, broken into six two-week content creation mods to stay as relevant and timely as possible. In addition, we offer real-time reporting that ultimately provides insights on how to best leverage TikTok to drive and track a full-funnel experience. 

This will require an open mind and a willingness to dive in and take a few authentic risks. We can't guarantee every TikTok we produce will go viral, but that's the point! So, let's test and learn and test again until we find the magic formula that spurs a sellout. 

Now, we have one question for you: want to TokShop?

You're in! No secret handshake required.
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