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How to Sell on TikTok in 2021

You might think TikTok is just a lip-syncing app for Gen-Zers, but in reality, it is much more than that. The app hosts short videos covering everything from comedy bits to how-to videos, life hacks, dancing, daily vlogs, sports highlights, and ecommerce tips—really anything you can think of. 

In early 2020, TikTok shot up in popularity as teens and even adults turned to it for boredom-busting entertainment around the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, TikTok has nearly 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, with nearly 80 million just in the US. Its rapid-fire format and seemingly inexhaustible content make it pretty addicting as well. Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day scrolling through random videos. 

Whether you’re on TikTok or not (or just unwilling to admit you’re on it) there’s no denying the massive audience you can reach.

At Jungle Scout, we frequently talk about how important it is to build a brand both on and off Amazon. That involves building a branded social media presence. Given TikTok’s widespread usership and potential to launch your products to viral popularity, if you’re not utilizing the app in your brand-building and social media strategy, you really should be. 

In this article, we’ll go over how to promote your business and sell your products on TikTok. 

 

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form video sharing app where users can create and share clips up to 60 seconds long. What’s unique about TikTok—and what makes its content so shareable—is its ever-growing “Sounds Library,” from which creators can easily add to their videos song clips or snippets of dialogue from TV shows, movies, and even other creators’ TikToks. 

These Sounds allow for the app’s culture of viral content remixing; just as memes are reshared ad infinitum on Twitter and Instagram, individual Sounds can go viral on TikTok, as user after user submits their own spin on a trending lip-sync or dance video. As TikTok’s newsroom puts it, 

“One of TikTok’s greatest strengths lies in creating a community that feels close-knit despite being massive in size. A meme, trend, or song created on TikTok can quickly morph from an in-joke to a nationwide phenomenon.”

The resulting daisy-chain content is pretty entertaining—try going down a viral Sound rabbit hole once, and you’ll quickly see why users often stay on the app for hours at a time. 

While some of the most popular creators are celebrities with global fanbases (including more than a few who became famous through TikTok) it’s actually pretty easy to go viral even if your account doesn’t have a big following. By jumping on popular Sounds and using trending hashtags, your very first video can receive hundreds of thousands to millions of views. 

Kids and young adults make up the majority of TikTok users (62% are aged 10-29), but creators of all ages join in on the fun. Even big-name brands like Chipotle, Levis, and GymShark are taking advantage of the opportunity for viral reach.

Trends move quickly on TikTok, so if you see a particular Sound, dance, or challenge raking in thousands of views, you’d better hop on and ride the wave!

 

Should you create a TikTok account for your business?

The short answer is a definitive yes, but let’s dig a little deeper into why. Your social media presence should still include older channels like Instagram and Facebook. But don’t discount TikTok because it caters to younger users—if you do, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

As stated above, TikTok has an estimated 80 million monthly active users in the US alone and nearly 1 billion worldwide. Not only is this a massive audience, but users on TikTok are very interactive and highly engaged. 

On TikTok, it really doesn’t matter what types of products you sell—what matters is whether you can incorporate your brand into viral content. If you contribute your own unique twist to trending Sounds, your videos can build brand awareness by earning the attention of thousands of potential customers. 

 

How to sell on TikTok, step by step

Step 1: Create your account

First, download the TikTok app on your phone and select create an account. If you already have a personal TikTok account, you may want to create a second one just for your business. You’ll be able to switch between your accounts within the TikTok app.

After you enter your login information, you will be prompted to create a username for your account. Try to keep your social media usernames or handles consistent across different platforms so customers can easily identify your brand. 

After your account is created, add a profile picture, a short bio, and connect your Instagram and Youtube accounts if you have them. 

Step 2: Switch to a Pro account

TikTok users have the option to use a ”Personal” account or two different types of “Pro” accounts: “Creator” or “Business.” 

When you first create an account, it will be Personal by default. There are a few benefits to changing your account type to Pro, like analytics features. Plus, it’s free to use. Here’s a brief summary of each account type: 

  • Personal: For everyday users who will mostly use TikTok to view others’ videos. 
  • Creator: Creator accounts are for users who are posting daily and trying to grow a following. The benefits include detailed analytics about your videos, such as viewer demographics. You are also able to join the Creator Fund once you receive 10,000 followers, which monetizes your views. 
  • Business: With a business account, you will not be able to join the Creator Fund, but you will still be able to access detailed analytics. You’ll be able to add a link in your bio (for your Amazon storefront, for instance), business contact information, have access to unique engagement solutions, performance tracking, and advertising solutions. 

If you want to promote your business or brand, a Business account is your best bet. 

Step 3: Start creating content

Now that your account is set up, start creating content! I suggest scrolling through the “for you page” for a bit just to get a feel for it. Soon you’ll see viral dances, challenges, comedy videos, and much more. 

Try to create fun and entertaining content without being too salesy. The point is to keep the viewer engaged so they’d want to rewatch or even share the video with friends. The more people view and share your content, the more TikTok will suggest it to other users.

Try to grab the viewer’s attention very quickly, within the first couple of seconds of your video. If you don’t, they’ll just scroll onto the next one. Search for hashtags like #smallbusiness, #smallbusinesscheck, and #entrepreneur to get ideas on how other brands are promoting themselves. 

Don’t copy others’ content exactly—put your own unique spin and branding on each video you create. But don’t be a perfectionist either. The nice thing about TikTok is that you can post as many times a day as you want to increase your chances of going viral. We recommend posting at least 1-3 per day. 

Create a challenge and unique hashtag specific to your product that will encourage people to participate in. For example, if you sell hot sauce, you can make your hashtag #hotsaucechallenge and challenge your followers and viewers to put hot sauce on unusual foods. 

Using sounds in your TikToks

You’ll notice that most viral videos feature music or custom sounds that users create. When creating a video, you have the ability to choose from TikTok’s Sound Library. Using popular sounds increases your chances of going viral on TikTok. 

Step 4: Engage with your audience and stay consistent

As you start to get views, likes, and comments, it’s important to actively engage with people’s comments. 

It’s also very important to stay consistent with your videos. If you only post once or twice a week, you won’t probably won’t earn the reach you want. If you stick to posting at least once a day, one of your videos is bound to go viral at some point. 

You’ll soon realize that growing a TikTok account is a lot easier than growing an Instagram or Youtube account. As long as you consistently put out fun, engaging, and entertaining content, your account will grow. 

Step 5: Leverage influencer marketing 

You can promote your brand on TikTok by partnering with “influencers,” or creators with larger followings. An influencer in your niche can put your products in front of a much bigger audience. Another benefit of hiring TikTok influencers is that they have a knack for making branded content feel organic, rather than like obvious advertising.  

Search keywords that apply to your niche or product category within TikTok to see if there are any influencers in your space you’d be interested in working with. For example, if you are in the beauty space, search for “beauty” and find users who post content that would align with your brand. 

You can also find top influencer talent in TikTok’s Creator Marketplace. The Marketplace is TikTok’s in-house hub to connect influencers and brands, and offers data-driven insights into which influencers are right for your brand, plus tools to help you build an influencer marketing campaign.

Step 6: Encourage user-generated content (UGC)

A lot of products end up going viral on TikTok because of engagement from everyday people like you and me. People who feature a specific product in their video, either by using it or explaining why they love it, can launch a product onto a viral circuit. 

The crazy thing is, many of these popular videos are not even paid advertisements. Rather they’re organic content created by customers to show how much they love the product. 

Encourage your customers and audience to post videos of themselves using your product on TikTok. You can do this by creating a challenge, like I mentioned above.

Step 7: Explore TikTok’s other advertising options

TikTok offers brands an ad platform with a number of ad types and targeting options to choose from to get your product or service in front of the right people.

Depending on the type of ad you want to run, you’ll need to either use their self-service ad platform or speak to one of their ad managers to get started. 

Self-Service Ad Types include in-feed video ads. These types of ads will appear on a user’s For You Page as they’re scrolling through. They appear as normal TikTok videos within your feed—they blend in, and don’t look like traditional ads. 

Ads set-up with an Ad Manager includes branded hashtag challenges, official brand takeovers, TopView ads, and branded effects. 

To begin creating ads on TikTok, you’ll need to first sign up for a TikTok For Business account. Once you sign up, you’ll have access to the TikTok Ad Manager where you can create your campaigns. Then you select a goal based on what you want your business to achieve, such as reach, brand awareness, website traffic, or sales.

Similar to Facebook Ads, you can choose who you want to target with your ads. Filters include age, gender, location, and even interests. 

Step 8: Hone your marketing skills with TikTok’s resources

TikTok offers a “Small Business Resource Center” to help Business account users get the most out of the app. There, users can access templates to create ad content, join free, expert-led webinars, and read success stories from brands who have used TikTok to boost their customer reach.  

It’s also where users can find instructions for how to use the TikTok Pixel to track ad performance. The Pixel is a bit of code you can embed in your ecommerce storefront or other website to collect data on customers you’ve reached through your TikTok content. 

 

Products that went viral on TikTok

Cat Crack

Back in January, a TikTok user posted a video of their cat going absolutely crazy over a catnip product called “Cat Crack.” Within a few days, the video completely blew up. The original video now has over 21 MILLION views and over 4 million likes. 

Did that help sell the product? 

Yes! We added this product to the Jungle Scout Product Tracker to track the sales over time. 

As you can see on the screenshot above, the video was posted on January 10, 2021. Looking at the Product Tracker, you can see the massive corresponding spike in sales occur over the next few days. 

Now, this product was already selling very well on Amazon before this video—nearly 400 units per day on average. On January 10, Cat Crack sold 510 units. 

Two days later, Cat Crack sold a whopping 2,673 units! The sales over the next couple of weeks remained higher than normal as the video continued to circulate on TikTok, until eventually leveling out to normal. 

In this case, it wasn’t even the brand itself that posted the video. This is a great example of how UGC can benefit brand awareness and sales. 

L’Oréal Infallible Foundation 

This is another example of a product that received a ton of views from user-generated content that caused sales to skyrocket. Around May of 2020, TikTok users began filming themselves using this specific foundation to illustrate its benefits.  

The videos convinced thousands of viewers to purchase the foundation to try it out themselves—and post their spin on the video trend on TikTok. 

Looking at the Keepa chart for this product, we can see the sales rank increased from around 18,000 all the way to 1,600 (the lower the number, the better the ranking.)

Can you see the power that TikTok has on these products? 

 

Start promoting your brand on TikTok

Whether it’s through your own branded TikTok account or through influencers, you should really be promoting your products on TikTok. 

Be creative and produce your content that is unique to your brand or product. Growing an audience on TikTok is a lot easier than you may think, you just have to step out of your comfort zone and do it!

Ready for your product to be the next viral TikTok sensation? Start creating content!

Do you have any more questions about TikTok? Let us know below!

 

11 comments on “How to Sell on TikTok in 2021

  1. This was an incredibly helpful and detailed article without being fluffy and annoying to read. Loved it and will keep an eye out for other posts!

  2. Hey Brian 9/10 – reach out for the most lucrative use of TikTok & Amazon – surprised you missed it as it plays into Jungle Scouts mo.

    JS if you need real hard no fluff Amazon winning strategies I can help but I don’t write articles.

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