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7 Brands Breaking New Ground on TikTok

Sarah HillelSarah Hillel | July 28, 2020

From group chats to news headlines, TikTok is the latest social media app to take the world by storm. People spend hours on the app. Even non-users see TikTok content on other social networks. TikTok is everywhere, and brands have only just begun to use it to engage customers on a massive scale.

Quick facts about TikTok:

TikTok is a video-sharing social media app owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based technology company. Initially released in 2016, it became available worldwide after merging with Musical.ly in 2018.

Present in more than 150 countries, TikTok has over 800 million monthly active users. According to App Annie, daily time spent on mobile apps grew 20% year over year in Q1 2020. It’s the most downloaded of all social media apps.

What makes TikTok a viral phenomenon is its short-format content and easy-to-use video editing features. The app’s landing page, called “For You,” is also powered by algorithms that recommend highly relevant and trending content based on user behavior.

Tiktok and social commerce

Late last year, the average user spent 45 minutes a day on TikTok. Now, user engagement is growing, especially among the 18-24 age group. Moreover, from November 2018 to February 2020, global user spending on TikTok reached $300 million.

7 Ways Brands Can Use TikTok to Engage Customers

TikTok provides brands with a new opportunity to boost awareness and engagement. If you’ve been thinking about experimenting with marketing campaigns on TikTok, now is the time. Let’s look at how seven innovative brands are doing it.

1. Fashion Nova: Engage Shoppers with Style Inspiration

Easily digestible life hacks and quick tips are a popular video format on TikTok. The secret is to pick upbeat music that matches the vibe of the tricks and advice you’re sharing.

As an online fashion retailer, style ideas work well for Fashion Nova. With 1.5 million followers on TikTok, some of Fashion Nova’s most liked videos are the following:

2. Fenty Beauty: Create a Challenge

What better way is there to encourage people to engage than inventing challenges? Gamification makes challenges naturally fun and brings people together.

Fenty Beauty dropped a new lipstick collection two months ago. Last week, Rihanna started the “Slip Shine Lipstick 5x Challenge” on TikTok. It currently has almost 70,000 views. If you’re doing a challenge, don’t forget to use the hashtag to track engagement.

3. Chipotle: Answer User Comments

Chipotle is one of the brands that are crushing it on TikTok. Their most recent viral content, which now has more than two million likes, is a video of Boomers trying to pronounce “Chipotle” correctly.

The fast-casual restaurant posts different kinds of video content such as #chipotlehacks, short skits, and video replies to comments. Here’s one where they replied to a comment asking for Chipotle’s guac recipe. For any type of brand, TikTok makes it easy to provide more engaging, video-based answers to customer concerns.

4. e.l.f. Cosmetics: Upload Original Audio

In October 2019, e.l.f. Cosmetics released an original single, “Eyes, Lip, Face,” created by Holla FyeSixWun and iLL Wayno. It went viral. In light of the recent situation, the makeup brand released an updated version to promote social distancing and proper hygiene.

Beauty brands using Tiktok for social commerce

Now, the “Eyes, Lip, Face, Safe,” single has been used in 8,420 videos on TikTok. Some of the app’s most-followed users joined the campaign. Check out their videos: Michael Le (34.5 million followers), Avani (22.7 million followers) and Loren Gray (45.7 million).

If you post original audio and people like it, they can simply click the audio, and make a video with it or see published videos using the track.

5. NFL: Go for the Wow Factor and Don’t Forget to Be Funny

Videos that users have to re-watch a couple of times have more chances of going viral on TikTok. Examples include videos with stunts, life lessons, an unclear ending, and more. NFL is smashing their TikTok game, racking up a total of 113.4 million likes!

The sports league posts game highlights, backstage snippets, and player backgrounds. One of the most popular recent uploads (it has 12.6M views!) is the NFL’s post for Mother’s Day. It’s a collection of clips of Jerome Baker looking for and finding his mom during a game.

6. Puma: “Duet” with Other Users

Acknowledge users engaging with your brand by placing their videos beside yours. Puma has been consistently posting on TikTok since November 2019. So far, they have three videos that hit more than a million views. One is this life hack” fail of Puma logo coffee art.

A month after, Puma reposted the same video but this time, it’s a duet with a user who recreated the Puma logo coffee art. This time, successfully. Watch it here.

7. Levi’s: Partner with Influencers

Like all other social networks, TikTok has its own set of influencers. When done right, influencer partnerships are effective for promoting products, expanding to new audiences, and prompting sponsored and organic engagement.

Levi’s hasn’t posted any videos on TikTok yet, but they have an advertising partnership with the app. In April 2020, the denim brand became one of the first retailers to use TikTok’s “Shop Now” button. Levi’s partnered with influencers such as Gabby Morrison (2.9 million followers) and Callen Schaub (4.2 million followers) to send traffic to their website.

Levi's using TikTok for social commerce

Combining Engagement Tactics with TikTok for Business

These are just some of the several ways you can use TikTok’s features and engage its growing user base. For brands who want to get serious about advertising and marketing on the app, TikTok for Business is a great tool.

Launched in June 2020, TikTok for Business is a platform offering marketing solutions for brands. So far, it includes the following products:

  • Brand Takeover and TopView – a full-page ad that appears when users open TikTok
  • In-Feed Video – native content that appears while users explore
  • Hashtag Challenge – a branded challenge that’s placed on the discovery page
  • Branded Lenses – 2D, 3D, and AR branded effects that users can add to videos

As short videos cater to customers’ decreasing attention spans, the opportunity to delight and stand out on TikTok is only growing. As a brand touchpoint, TikTok is still new. So right now, you have the time and space to experiment, to be discovered, and to find out what’s most meaningful for your audience.


Sarah Hillel

Sarah Hillel

Sarah is the Global Events and Marketing Manager at Syte. From conception to evaluation, Sarah is passionate about delivering impactful events that enhance the organization's image and brand to client experience.

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