December 7, 2022

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Your Business, Right Away

How eCommerce Store Owners Can Create a Community On TikTok

If you’ve been contemplating whether or not to use TikTok for your business, now is the time to invest in it.

TikTok is a popular platform for shopping, style, retail, and eCommerce marketing. Many brands have seen the value of TikTok for establishing a community and generating video reviews and user-generated content that boost brand awareness and sales. 

So many people love TikTok because the community is at the center of the experience. Because of the huge community focus, many eCommerce brands have built companies, started movements, and conceived, co-created, and sold out items at record speeds.

While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for success on TikTok, there are several easy actions that store owners can take to help build their company’s visibility on the platform.

What is TikTok?

Let’s start with a little bit of background. 

TikTok was first advertised in 2017 as the Western spin-off of the Chinese application Douyin, and the app is controlled by the Beijing-based business ByteDance. 

When TikTok combined with Musical.ly, another Chinese software that enables users to make and post lip-sync music videos, the app took the world by storm.

Many individuals now use TikTok to produce and engage in music and dance trends, including freshly released songs, old hits, and even unique remixes or “music mashups” that have become famous due to their usage on the site. 

But, TikTok has expanded well beyond its original purpose, with numerous marketing firms and goods leveraging the app for in-app sales.

The Benefits of TikTok for Business

Utilizing TikTok to market your business has several advantages. 

Access a Younger Audience

TikTok for business will let you engage and communicate with the younger segments of your audience, thanks to its largely youthful user base.

High User Engagement

User involvement and engagement with the content is the most significant feature of TikTok marketing for eCommerce stores. 

TikTok challenges encourage viewers to make videos that are related to your company. 

Remember, user-generated content boosts your brand’s reputation while attracting new clients.

Virality is Possible

Another advantage of TikTok marketing is the opportunity to generate viral content that will help your company gain popularity among the general public. 

You may create a customized challenge and encourage TikTokers to participate using your TikTok business profile. 

If the challenge is unique, entertaining, and engaging, it will go viral and give your company much-needed exposure.

TikTok may also help you drive visitors to your website, app store, or eCommerce business. You may utilize in-feed advertisements to connect to your videos and direct viewers to your site.

Steps to Foster Community On TikTok

Now that you know the benefits of using TikTok for your eCommerce store. Here is how you can foster community on your page.

  1. Put your audience first
  2. Watch the metrics
  3. Don’t be afraid to be niche
  4. Use TikTok Shopping
  5. Go Live!
  6. Engage with your audience
  7. Collaborate with creators and influencers

1. Put Your Audience First

Keep Your Ideal Customer in Mind

TikTok allows small businesses like yours to tap into what their ideal customer truly wants to view. 

To build a solid community on TikTok, consider the most important subjects and problems that your audience has expressed concern about. 

When creating any content, always check back to your ideal customer profile (ICP). Going back to your ICP will ensure you develop new ideas based on your customer’s pain points.

If you continuously post engaging material, the TikTok algorithm will show it to an increasing number of people in your niche, similar to how Instagram does. 

Follow Your Ideal Customer 

Be sure to follow people in your ideal target market and incorporate the hashtags they use. Using the hashtags your ideal customer uses helps the algorithm understand who to show your posts to. 

Remember, authenticity and attention to what your customer wants are the keys to creating excellent TikTok content.

2. Watch Your Metrics

The beauty of TikTok is that you don’t require many followers or high-production videos to receive a lot of views. 

The reality is that some of the most viewed videos are by small creators with a small following. For example, an account with 200 followers can post a video that gets 35k views!

This is a game-changer for small eCommerce stores because old platforms like Instagram and Facebook usually only show content from well-known individuals and companies.

The TikTok algorithm prioritizes lesser-known companies, artists, and creators, meaning anybody may get discovered. 

However, to have a better chance of getting discovered, you have to look at the metrics!

Metrics to Optimize

As per a TikTok press statement, the Discover algorithm recommends content depending on 

  • user engagement
  • video metadata ( subtitles and hashtags)
  • linguistic preferences
  • location
  • device type
  • video completion percentage (whether a user watches a video from start to finish)

You can look at your metrics to understand 

  • which videos are watched the most
  • where your customers live
  • what time they are usually online and engaging with your content 

Where to Find Your Metrics

You can find all these metrics by going to your profile and following these steps on mobile

  1. Select the three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click Creator tools 
  3. Select Analytics

You can also check out the analytics of a specific video by going to the video and clicking the three dots at the bottom right, and selecting the Analytics button. 

Remember, your community tells you what they want through engagement, so find out what your highest engagement videos have in common and replicate that going forward!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Niche

TikTok users like following distinct, niche accounts. 

You’ll have more freedom to experiment, entertain, and locate a niche for your company to have an effect if you concentrate on a particular issue your customer has.

For instance, if you own a bakery, your TikToks may include behind-the-scenes (BTS) material focused on your most popular item – bagels. Or you can do a ‘day in the life’ style video.

You might establish yourself as the go-to profile for all bagel-related things on TikTok.

Your target client will locate and interact with niche stuff if you share it frequently.

Once you have established a niche, you can branch out into cupcakes or sourdough bread.

Remember to keep in mind the type of content your followers are engaging with. If your followers love BTS videos of making bagels, try creating a BTS video of making cupcakes. 

4. Use TikTok Shopping Functionalities

Although TikTok is known for its humorous content, it has evolved into a social shopping destination for several users. 

TikTok has improved its eCommerce functionality in recent years by partnering with Shopify to make it easier for customers to purchase whatever they want whenever they want it.

TikTok gives brands the ability to create a shopping page to add shoppable products. 

Brands like yours can use these pages to direct shoppers to your online store!

5. Go Live!

By interacting with your followers in real time, your business can build actual customer relationships and increase conversions. 

Once you have at least 1000 followers, you can start doing Live TikTok videos.

Many small businesses go live to demonstrate products or answer questions. 

Not only does going live help customers buy on the spot, but it allows them to feel seen and heard by your company.

For instance, Walmart collaborated with TikTok on a Livestream promotion “including national companies like Champion, Jordache, Kendall + Kylie, Scoop, and others.” 

The event attracted 100 million spectators, who could shop at Walmart, all without having to log out of TikTok.

Your brand can do the same! You can just go live packaging orders or prepping for a market like @cherishluxuries

6. Engage With Your Audience

To foster community, you have to engage with your audience. Here are some of the ways you can engage and build relationships. 

  1. Use hashtags
  2. Respond to comments

Use Hashtags

Creating fantastic TikTok videos is one thing; getting people to view them is another. 

If you utilize hashtags correctly, you are more likely to get your post in front of the folks who want to view it.

TikTok hashtags are the same as Instagram and Twitter. Hashtags allow users to find relevant content based on a specific interest. 

Using the right hashtags allows users to instantly locate the content they’re interested in without relying on their For You page.

You can use hashtags to build your community by 

  • creating a branded hashtag or
  • using super niche hashtags like #BagelsForLife

Respond to Comments

Interaction and consistency are the highest priority when trying to build a community on TikTok.

Here are some tips for engaging with your audience:

  • Like the comments on your video
  • Respond to the comments on your videos
    • Thank users for commenting
    • Create a video response
  • Repost your follower’s content 
  • Respond to their suggestions
  • Ask questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response

TikTok users expect interaction from brands, so don’t disappoint your audience. 

7. Collaborate With Creators and Influencers

While you don’t require the most famous A-lister to interact with your brand, you may need the services of a TikTok influencer.

The brilliance of TikTok is that going viral doesn’t have to be expensive. Many products become popular on TikTok fast merely because a creator discovered a product they liked, bragged about it in a video, and posted it with their followers.

This isn’t unexpected, given that 49% of people on social media depend on influencer recommendations.

How Can You Connect With Creators?

Before you start DMing your favorite influencer, make sure you have an influencer marketing plan developed and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is this individual a good fit for your product/service category?
  • Are they consistent with your brand, purpose, and principles?
  • Is their intended audience similar to yours?

Take your time with these questions and investigate the niches your customers are engaging with. 

Use the Creator Marketplace

Once you have found the correct type of content creator, visit the Creator Marketplace. The Creator Marketplace is TikTok’s official cooperation platform for connecting companies and creators and is a terrific location to look for influencers. 

For examples from other companies who have experienced success on TikTok, visit the TikTok for Business Inspiration Center.

What to Post to Foster Your Community

Now that you have a solid understanding of how to engage with your community, let’s talk about what you need to post to grow your community and keep them happy!

Short Videos

Within the opening three seconds of your video, you want to grab your viewers by making them aware of what the video is about and why they should continue watching. 

Shorter videos of 7 to 15 seconds are more likely to be rewatched and reposted than longer ones of 30 seconds.

You can post longer videos once you have a strong community, but shorter is best for grabbing attention.

Videos With Captions

Believe it or not, many people will watch TikTok videos without sound. Make sure you add captions, so people know what your video is about. 

You should also add captions for people who are hearing impaired. If you want to build a strong community, you have to keep inclusivity in mind!

Emotional Videos

If your TikTok material isn’t hilarious or engaging, you can appeal to emotion to make your video engaging. 

Here are some ideas to give your video emotional appeal. 

  1. Demonstrate how your product or service addresses an issue
  2. Portray your service or product in a pleasant or sentimental light
  3. Tell an emotional story about overcoming

Don’t try too hard, though, as authenticity is the most significant aspect of this strategy.

TikTokers can smell inauthentic videos from a mile away.

Authentic Videos

Consumers are constantly looking for relatable and valuable information that is fascinating, entertaining, and real. 

Users want to engage with real people who have actual experiences online. So don’t worry; you don’t need to participate in the newest dance competitions to thrive on TikTok! 

To be authentic, you can create videos that

  • establish you as an expert in your field
  • and offer relevant advice to your niche
  • post inspirational content

For example, if you sell cake-decorating tools, you can make a video: 

  • showing a newly renovated kitchen
  • offering five techniques for producing the ideal frosting
  • baking your renowned strawberry pudding recipe
  • compilation of your top cakes

Videos With Trending Sounds

Trends are a big deal on TikTok! You have to know what sounds are trending within your community so you can add them to your videos. 

It’s pretty simple to keep up with the current TikTok music trends by starting with the For You Page (FYP) or the Discover Page. 

The FYP will show you videos with trending music and “popular sounds” and use them in your videos.

When you come across a popular sound, save it to use for future videos. 

Using viral sounds on videos is advantageous early on, but don’t wait months to use the sound. If you wait too long, it probably won’t be relevant anymore. 

You can see how many videos use a sound by clicking on the sound. It’s best to get on a trend when it has less than 5000 videos made with it!

However, many sounds maintain popularity for a long time because they can be applied to many videos. 

Post Consistently

Like any other social media plan, creating a content schedule for your TikTok profile is a fantastic idea.

TikTok, like other sites, promotes consistency. 

Instead of posting three times a day, being overwhelmed, and not posting for months, begin with 3-5 times a week and gradually increase your frequency. 

Tracking statistics may also help you determine what works and doesn’t with your community. 

The beauty of TikTok is that you may pivot and explore as needed; all that matters to your community is that the content remains inspiring, engaging, amusing, or valuable.

Follow our guide on the best time to post on TikTok for more insights.

Final Thoughts

TikTok is a great way to target younger consumers through community building. Authenticity and consistency are essential for creating a solid community on the platform.

As long as you put your audience first, pay close attention to your metrics, start with niche content, go live and use TikTok’s shopping functionalities, engage with your audience and collaborate with creators and influencers, you will see your community grow! 

So, best of luck on your TikTok adventure! 

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Jameela is the owner of the Shopify store Alora Boutique and the Marketing Manager for the Product Reviews App Fera. You can find her on the interwebs on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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