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How to Grow Your Direct-to-Consumer Brand on TikTok

7 min read

In this episode of the Ecwid Ecommerce Show, our podcast hosts Jesse and Rich talk to ​​Ash Krishnaswamy, the founder of Forge. Forge is an agency that works exclusively with early-stage consumer brands to help them launch and grow their businesses. They helped their clients generate more than $300k in organic sales from TikTok. Wanna know their secrets? Tune in to our podcast with Ash!

TikTok vs. Paid Ads

Traditionally, a lot of direct-to-consumer brands (the ones selling products directly to customers) initially promote their business using Facebook, Instagram, or Google ads. Ash believes that’s far too expensive for small businesses and probably not the best way to learn more about your consumers. This is especially true if you need to do some testing around your messaging and products.

Instead, Ash advises using TikTok. You can educate potential consumers on your business and promote your products with virtually zero followers.

Your videos should highlight the value propositions of your company (aka why a consumer should buy your product or use your service). Through TikTok, you can communicate your product quality, company ambitions, and other relevant information. Create videos that are relevant to different target audiences to see what content is most relatable to your potential customers. You can use TikTok to test (for free!) what kind of content works best for converting viewers into customers.

Training the TikTok Algorithm

When you first get on the platform, you must signal to TikTok that you are an account that makes content around a specific category. To do that, you want to use hashtags distinct to your kind of product. If you do not use precise hashtags, TikTok may accidentally show your specialized content to people who are not your target audience. Then your content will not perform well.

For example, let’s say you run a candle brand. Before even making a video, search hashtags that include the keywords scents, candles, and small business. Start interacting with all of those videos. Follow some of the big creators in that space. TikTok will know that you have some interest in that realm of videos. There’s a good chance that when you start to create videos, TikTok will show them to people who are viewing similar content.

Authenticity on TikTok

A hesitation that a lot of brands and brand owners have is that they are not good on camera or that it’s too much work to create TikTok videos. If you haven’t spent much time on the platform, spend your first week just browsing the content. Get a sense of what native content feels like on TikTok.

Then start making videos. The content that works really well is raw and unpolished. Don’t place too much pressure on the type of content you create, but be authentic. Why did you start this business? Make a little story about it. Show a day in your life, running your brand. There are all kinds of basic content ideas where you’re just documenting your experience running your business.

Personal vs. Business Profiles on TikTok

There are many pros and cons to consider when choosing between a business or personal TikTok profile for your online company, and you should be careful when making that kind of decision.

The upside of having a business account is that you receive detailed analytics on how your business is performing. TikTok will tell you who your customers are, when they’re active, view counts on the videos that you have, the number of followers over time, and so on. Data is very important for the success of a business, and TikTok already provides that through the business profile.

However, personal profiles have more creative leniency. For example, a big part of the success on TikTok is the use of sound bites in videos. Trending sounds can be key to your video’s success, and you get the benefit of using trending sounds and memes with a personal account. Unfortunately, with a business account, a lot of those sounds have copyright restrictions and are off-limits.

How Often You Should Post on TikTok

TikTok really rewards consistency. If you post videos every day, and you get a thousand views on each video, that’s a better account to have than an account that maybe gets a hundred thousand views on videos posted only every four weeks. What the platform really wants is an account that creates engaging content regularly.

Selling Non-Viral Products

There are products that become viral organically, but how do you make a non-viral product viral? Ash recommends creating a lot of behind-the-scenes content, like how you’re growing your small business, instead of focusing on your products. Behind-the-scenes content allows you to connect with your audience, which is incredibly important for building a successful company.

Another strategy when dealing with non-viral products is to create merchandise that is visually appealing and TikTok-worthy. Then, you can create videos around the merch to attract an audience. While they watch your videos, an interest in your product could spark too. Another great thing about merch is that you can use it as an incentive to add more products to your cart, rather than giving away discounts.

Another effective strategy is influencer gifting. A gift to an influencer can result in hundreds of thousands of views and audience engagement. You can then use the influencer’s content to create your own ads.

So there you have it! A short summary of our podcast episode with Ash Krishnaswamy on how to grow your direct-to-consumer business on TikTok. If you need more examples and insights, make sure to listen to the whole podcast—Ash shares his experience with successful businesses on TikTok that you can apply to your own brand. With a little bit of effort, you can definitely see results by leveraging the power of the fastest-growing social media platform.

Want more insights like this? Be sure to subscribe to our podcast where we interview experts about ecommerce marketing trends and tactics.

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