How to promote your E-commerce business via TikTok?

Promoting an E-Commerce website has never been harder. There are millions of rivals in the wide range of the internet, waiting for the opportunities, just like you. It is very hard to be unique in a market like this, reaching a stage where potential buyers can distinguish you from your rivals.


It is very sad to see sometimes when a new platform appears in the market, and E-Commerce sites are afraid to try it. Just think about it. What can you lose? Perhaps just a little time, nothing more.


In this article, I will introduce the basics of TikTok to you, and in the end, I will also try to present some tips on how you can maximize reaching your target audience on TikTok.


1.   The brief history of TikTok and why it is unique

Tiktok was launched in 2017 by ByteDance, a Chinese company. First, it was a place to share funny short videos, dances, or dubbing. Nowadays, many people believe that TikTok still exists for that same purpose, but they can’t be farther from reality.


TikTok is used by tons of companies to advertise their products, engage their potential customers, or just earn some name of their brand.


TikTok has a very big advantage over all the other video-sharing platforms. Here, building up a channel is not a natural process. You don’t have to wait for years to develop a community for your channel. Moreover, the visitors here rather come organically than from advertisements.


That means you can get millions of views without spending a single penny if you make a highly engaging video. It may sound good. Here, the algorithm is your main friend. You rather have to pass the requirements of the algorithm than your viewers. It sounds a little bit cruel, but believe me, if the algorithm likes your content, your potential viewers will also love it.


2.  Detailed info about how the algorithm is working



On TikTok, everybody tries to figure out the exact method of how its algorithm works. It seems impossible, as this data is not public, yet people have made some progress on this project.


The algorithm decides which video goes to the viral page and which does not. Videos which grab their place on the “ForYou” page are eligible to be shown by everyone who is interested in those kinds of topics. In this case, visitors find the content they are interested in more efficiently.


With the help of that, content makers can carry their message all around the globe to attract their potential buyers.


In the last couple of years, there were many skeptical thoughts about how the algorithm of TikTok and other similar sites are working, so their internal workforce had to share some of their basics about these programs for publicity. With the help of that, we know many things which help us shape our content perfectly. 


First, let’s see how the algorithm works from the viewers' perspective. The videos that the algorithm recommends are based on many different factors.


  1. User activity (many factors can come into play here: likes, comments, the account follows, shares)
  2. The content of a video (TikTok analyzes captions, hashtags, sounds, and effects - with the help of these, TikTok tries to categorize the potential target groups who are interested in it)
  3. Audio (the music a video contains, whether it is a trend or not)
  4. Location and language (TikTok prioritizing those users who speak the same language as the publisher of the video or the place the video got uploaded)
  5. Based on the videos that are “disliked” (yet TikTok does not have a dislike function, but the users can indicate if there is something they don't like. There is a “not interested” button, you can hide profiles, but TikTok can also sense how fast you skip through a video.)


Interestingly, the algorithm does not count the follower count and the previous high-performing videos. The advantage of this is also the disadvantage: making hundreds of viral videos doesn’t mean your next one will be successful too. You have to battle for the viewers every time!


3.   Little analysis of how TikTok works for content creation



There are many options when you try to upload or create a video on TikTok. The essence of all this is that the maximum length of your content can’t be longer than three minutes. Some months ago, this maximum restriction was 10 minutes, but they deleted that choice. It won’t be an issue for many of you, as making an engaging video usually means less than 30 seconds long content.


Even though there are tremendous possible ways you can record your video in TikTok, I still do not recommend that option to you. There are many better video cutter programs, even free-to-used ones, where you can create videos easier but more professionally. 


After you upload your video to the platform, there are still many possible options that you may fill out. I always advise filling out everything there: find an engaging name for your video, choose the appropriate cover pic, and find some connected hashtags.


After posting a video, you can’t predict when the algorithm will explore your content. Sometimes it only takes minutes to grab a place on the ForYou page; sometimes, it takes hours. It is unpredictable!


4.  Which segments can you meet here?



There were times when only the younger generations used TikTok, but it changed surprisingly in recent years.


Nowadays, the app has more than 1 billion users all over the globe, and it is very hard to categorize them, as it has become a very diverse community in the last couple of years.


If you examine the last demographical data, we can still say that mostly the younger generations use it, but the ratio is equal.


Almost half of the overall users are between 10 to 29 years old. The popularity of TikTok amongst middle-aged men and women has shown a huge increase in recent years. The only segment, which is not active on TikTok, is the over 60 category, which only takes 11% percent of the overall users.


Rather women use TikTok instead of men. Women are responsible for 57% of the overall users of this app. Naturally, it is a trend nowadays on every social platform that women are a little more active.

5.   Tips for E-commerce related content

a.    Make unique content



One of the first tips I can offer you seems a little simple, but even if it is obvious, it can mean value for some of you. Without making unique content, just trying to copy-paste others’ ideas will not lead you to success.


A good example demonstrating this is comparing the TikTok site of Lufthansa and Ryanair, two very popular airline companies.  In this example, let’s leave out the variable that they have two different target audiences.


The content creators of Lufthansa usually make copy-paste videos. They try to use trends to gain more viewers somehow, they rarely try something unique.


On the other hand, Ryanair has the opposite approach. They always try new things, even very confusing ones at first sight. You can’t say that these are not engaging: They take advantage of the criticism they receive due to their attitude of prioritizing profits over passengers' safety and comfort.

They usually make parodies of themselves or their passengers. These are very dangerous waters. But until now, they haven’t made one single mistake.


Of course, their numbers are amazing: when I wrote this article, Lufthansa only had 173 thousand followers and 2.2 million likes; on the other side, Ryanair had 2 million followers and 29 million likes on their TikTok page.


Although I know these two companies are not E-commerce related businesses, you still have many things to learn from this example. I am also encouraging you to look around the TikTok site of Ryanair to inspire yourself to make unique and creative videos for a little money.


b.    Use hashtags and keywords



The main purpose of using hashtags is to help the algorithm categorize your content and recommend it to those who truly appreciate it.


One of the most crucial aspects of making a viral video on TikTok is delivering it to the right people first. If the first one hundred or thousand viewers like your content (watch it till the end, add it to their favorites, or simply give a like) the algorithm will recommend it to more and more people. Although, if they skip it and scroll further in the early stage of your video, the algorithm stops recommending it.


There are two separate ways how you can take advantage of using hashtags and keywords:

-    Using trendy hashtags can increase the chance of getting an entrance to more people's recommendations

As I said earlier, TikTok uses everything in connection to your video to understand what it is all about.

However, finding the right hashtag can be very tough.


There are many sites where you can examine the latest viral hashtags in your country, industry, or even the products you advertise. I encourage you to check these sites and choose your hashtags wisely.


On TikTok, you can check the overall views for each hashtag, but I don’t think you should always choose hashtags with higher view counts. I recommend choosing those which fit perfectly with your content.


-       Creating new hashtags which then go viral

This is the harder one. Creating new things that convince the community to use them when they upload a video is very hard. The biggest E-Commerce brands can also spoil this thing and make a failed campaign.


Convincing people to use your hashtag can only work if you give something in exchange for it. Suppose it’s not just a hashtag but a challenge or a goal.


A good example is the Samsung #VideoSnapChallenge which was introduced in February 2021. They started this hashtag to promote their new Galaxy smartphone, which contained a new 8k video snap feature.


The challenge built directly to the hashtag was that users needed to take three separate pictures of themselves where they were making creative poses. In the meantime, the video also recorded their continuous movements between these pics.


It became very popular so quickly! First, they could reach many-many people because of their resources; second, they found a good idea.


So creating new hashtags and building a challenge from it can be a good idea, but only if you are big enough to deliver it to influencers and the big publicity.


c.     The start of the video is everything

TikTok is a place where visitors want engagement from the very first minute. If this is missing, there is a high probability that they skip your video.


Because of this, it is very important to cut your videos very dynamic and achieve that your visitors gain a media's res effect. You have to jump into the middle of your content at the very first second to maintain interest.


For example, La La Land Kind Cafe is a TikTok account with 6.5 million followers. They also have a web store and many physical stores. Their content always builds around one significant topic, which is happiness.


Their most famous and only series, which they publish every single month, is called drive-by kindness. The outline of these episodes is usually not so hard to understand: they always choose a designated person working or just walking in the street, and they say kind words to him or her from a car seat.


And why is it working? We can explain that from many perspectives: the video's cover pic, the simplification of the topic, the dramatic dialogue, or the fast-paced cut.


I can’t say that one is less important than the other, but one thing is sure: to sell your message to your viewers, you need to start your video with something fascinating, an extra element. Suppose you think your topic is so interesting that it will keep your viewer's attention until the end of the video. In that case, you only care for one little thing: cut your videos rapidly, cut out the pauses between the conversations, and avoid boring snapshots.

d.    Make CTA-s but in a different manner

CTA is an abbreviation that means “call to action”. It is usually a button, and with the help of that, your potential buyers can simplify their way of navigating to your website. Or if they are already at your site, these can help their way to buy something faster. The consequence of a good CTA can be an increased conversion rate. These have been widespread worldwide in recent years, and advertisers use CTA-s on every platform. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube advertisements are usually full of this.


When discussing a video advertisement, CTA-s usually appear right after the video. The main explanation for this is first, we convince our potential buyers about our products with the ad, and right after that, we provide them with a fast and easy way to direct them to the site.


This is what doesn’t work at TikTok. Most of the time, more than 75% of our viewers scroll further from our video, even if they like the content.


Luckily, you can place subtle call-to-actions inside your videos on TikTok. You can edit many things here: when should CTA appear on the screen, what text should it contain, etc. With that help, there is a bigger percentage that they land on your website, and you get better conversions.

7.    Conclusion

As you may have noticed, managing a well-built TikTok account is difficult for anyone. You have to take into consideration many things:

a. the algorithm - which is very complex; it takes time to explore all the working mechanism

b. the platform - to know most of the functions TikTok guarantees you is also a long process

c.  your segment - whether they exist on TikTok or at what quantity they exist

d. the tools you may need and the time it will take - another very complex part


If these are all ready, I am sure you are going in the right direction. But it is not enough. These can all help you to make good content. However, you not only want to make an entertaining video, but you also want to make more conversions at your site, increase your conversion rates and advertise your brand or your products.


In the 5. paragraph of the article, you met with 4 different ideas on advertising your brand effectively. However, I do not recommend you to make paid advertisements always, as TikTok isn’t the platform where money = more interaction.


Making organic viral posts seems hard at first, but if you categorize yourself as creative, I am sure there will be no problem during your journey.