How Brands Can Leverage TikTok

TikTok is not just for Gen Z. And even if it is, it’s still where brands should present themselves.
Krysta Lewis
Krysta Lewis at retailX

That’s according to Krysta Lewis, CEO and founder Aisling Organics, who spoke about her organic makeup company’s success on the social media platform at the retailX conference in Chicago on Aug. 24. With more than 50,000 subscribers to her personal TikTok profile and several thousand on Aisling Organics’ profile, the brand has found success with Lewis as the face promoting the products.

“TikTok is seriously one of the most incredible platforms to use,” Lewis said. “We’ve seen traction in terms of follower count, but it’s also helped us gain traction in sales.”

Aisling Organics has tapped into the hype on TikTok, which has seen 15% of all adults and 36% of Gen Z make a purchase based off of content from the platform. For brands and retailers, TikTok offers unrivaled opportunities for exposure and connection with consumers––for free. However, now is the time to strike when it comes to creating content on TikTok, and Lewis knows from experience. 

“In 2020, I asked people how they grew their business,” she said. “Instagram, word of mouth…  They were all things of the past. What I wasn't realizing at the time was that I was much too late. That's why it's even more important you capitalize on TikTok now, because it is relevant and growing now. It's not of the past, but it will be in a few years.”

But how can brands and retailers get started on the platform? Posting the first video is critically important, because the first entry on the platform can have an impact on how TikTok’s algorithm picks up the video. Above all, brands should just go for it and start posting, she said. 

“Post one or two videos around you and your business with relevant hashtags and give the algorithm time to learn, about a week or two,” she instructed. “From there, post more videos and you will start to see some traction, especially in niche markets.”

What brands put out is important, and playing into TikTok trends, such as specific sounds that are trending, dance moves or actions, can be really helpful to gain a following. Other videos that tend to work for brands focus on mission-driven business that is authentic to the brand.

Another top tip from Lewis is to ensure there is a person in front of the camera. For Aisling Organics, it’s Lewis herself, and her personal account, which includes videos of her experience as an entrepreneur and CEO, as well as promoting the products of the brand. 

“My personal page grew 10-fold compared to the business page, even with the same content,” she said. “People wanted to interact with me. Videos of me with the mascara are going to get more views than a video of mascara without a person.”

For retailers, it’s the perfect opportunity to leverage sales associates as brand ambassadors on TikTok. Associates are experts on the products and know what their customers want. Teaming up with beauty influencers to try products is another great way for beauty brands to break into TikTok. 

While not all retailers have seen the light when it comes to engaging with consumers on TikTok, Lewis hopes her company’s quick success will show others it’s important to jump on board. 

“I haven't been on the platform for very long and have seen massive success,” she said. “In the last 60 days, I’m over 50,000 followers, had over 2 million video views, 200k likes and almost 10k comments. It matters because almost 30% of our website traffic is coming from TikTok, with us spending nothing.”