When content and commerce collide
By Greg Bailie
In February 2021, a UK-based frozen dessert brand - Little Moons - experienced a 700% increase in sales - during winter. The reason? TikTok. Users were filming themselves buying (and trying) these delectable little mochi balls, and soon the craze was on.
What is exceptional about the platform is that these crazes are not isolated incidents. They are what define TikTok and its user base. For example, during lockdown, a viral ‘whipped coffee’ craze gripped TikTok users, with thousands of people becoming home baristas and whipping up instant cappuccinos thanks to short, snappy TikTok tutorials.
In the Wipe It Down challenge, people filmed themselves cleaning their houses. Who would have thought watching other people making cappuccinos or cleaning their homes could be so much fun?
TikTok’s user base thrives on creativity, and the app taps into all of our senses, combining sound, sight and our emotions, which is why, whenever a new trend takes over, people easily find themselves spending countless hours watching some of the most innovative videos ever produced.
TikTok’s reach is far greater than its one billion users, however. Many trends today begin on the platform (thanks to the amazing in-app AR features enabling anyone to be a creative superstar) but soon spread to Facebook, Instagram and messaging apps like Whatsapp.
That’s because what is happening in TikTok is not only shaping other platforms but giving ordinary people the opportunity to define new subcultures. The platform leans on its creatives and closes the loop through a new, uniquely TikTok creation: Community Commerce. As TikTok’s Creator Preferred Agency Partner, this is something both the brands and influencers who we work with at Webfluential are tapping into.
We’ve all become attuned to how social commerce functions as the cross-over between social media, marketing and making purchases, but TikTok has taken this a step further, creating Community Commerce, a space where users actively promote their favourite brands to each other, accelerating the entire buying cycle through trust, authenticity and awesome content.
Community Commerce has become so successful because TikTok recognises that creator-driven word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly powerful, largely because social media users are looking for full online experiences, and that includes discovering new brands through to purchase in a frictionless, fun shopping experience.
#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is such a popular hashtag – and covers everything from cleaning products and homeware to juicers and milk frothers – that many international retailers have even created #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt sections so that shoppers can easily find products they’ve seen on the app.
Creative content converts
The real secret behind Community Commerce is rooted in the creative. Google Lab’s research suggests that creative accounts for 70% of a campaign’s performance. With that in mind, it’s worth considering what type of creative content resonates with people.
1. People want to be inspired
Social media and the way influencers share their favourite products and hobbies has changed the way we discover new things. Eighty-three percent of users discover new products and services while they’re browsing their social media feeds, 81% research products or services on social media platforms and 80% decide whether to buy a product or service.
2. Authentic content wins the day
Nielsen’s research shows that 9 out of 10 people trust organic user-generated content over traditional or typical brand communications. That means they would rather hear from an influencer endorsing a brand than from the brand itself.
Great content grabs attention by building excitement, driving anticipation, and making cultural connections, which links back to authenticity. This is content that we trust, and as we know, people are more likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member or influencer on social platforms.
3. ‘Flawesomeness’ means anyone can create awesome content
Lighting, the quality of a camera, hair, makeup and trained actors and actresses used to be the gold standard. Today, content that trends often celebrates imperfections and has been created from a smartphone. There’s no pressure to be perfect and anyone can join in the fun. Even more surprising? People will engage more with a mom sharing her real experience with her toddler at a restaurant, than with a celebrity’s official Instagram account – and, as we’ve seen, they’re more likely to make a purchase based on our quirky mom’s recommendation over Angelina Jolie’s endorsement.
Not convinced? Research from Matter Communications shows that only 17% to 22% of consumers prefer celebrity influencers over personalities seen as either aspirational, relatable, expert or ‘just for fun’.
Leaning into influencer marketing
Brands today have almost unlimited access to target their consumers. All you need to do is segment your market, understand who you want to engage with and then identify the creators they resonate with. Top posts can then be promoted to reach an even broader audience across different platforms.
Leaning into influencer marketing helps build brand love, increases ad recall and ultimately drives sales, particularly leading up to the festive season and summer.
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Greg Bailie
Greg Bailie, Head of Growth & Innovation at Nfinity Media