It’s hard for some people to remember, but there was a time when you had to leave your house to go purchase most items. Jump ahead to today, and you can buy everything from pizza to pants to pillows all from your phone or laptop, and social media is making that even easier — specifically TikTok.

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 77 billion views and counting, and the ‘For You’ feed for most users is filled with product reviews and new products. This unique combination of entertainment, convenience, and shopping is not only helping to redefine retail, but also to foster a sense of community that allows brands to connect with their audience on a unique global level.

In October, TikTok released its 2023 Shopping Trends Report, which breaks down the trends that they see on the platform, the data and case studies associated with their findings, and actionable takeaways for brands looking to take on a more active retail role in that community.

It’s a Match

The report is broken down into three key phases that define the shopping culture, the first being ‘It’s a Match’ which highlights the importance of brands building trust with their audience through honest, relatable, authentic perspectives. Users literally make decisions in seconds, and if brands don’t communicate the value they offer — not just trying for a quick sale, but rather building a relevant connection — users will swipe away.

When planning your marketing strategy, consider educational content that addresses a pain point of your core community — whether it’s a tutorial, quick tips, or debunking popular (often viral) myths. This helps position the brand as a unique authority, and followers who trust in that brand are more likely to make a purchase.

Remember that patience is a virtue, and the goal should be to engage with your TikTok audience and drive sales over time. In fact, TikTok research showed that when brands consistently advertised on TikTok for an extended period, they increased trust with their viewers by a whopping 41%.

Getting to Know You

TikTok also found their community deeply connects with brands and products that “drive community conversation and spark joy,” part of the second ‘Getting to Know You’ phase. This is backed by the fact that 32% of TikTok users make a purchase simply to fit in with friends and/or their community, or because it’s a product everyone is talking about.

How does this translate for brands? Simply put, know your audience, make that audience happy by offering unique things that leave them wanting more, and reward them for being part of your community. That means understanding the nuances of your most engaged users and offering seemingly exclusive perks — sharing behind-the-scenes content, highlighting your product’s premium ingredients, or using ASMR videos — that give them a “little luxury” in their everyday lives. 

If you want to take it up a notch, consider offering your community incentives like rebates, prizes, or exclusive deals that will keep them engaged and motivated to make repeat purchases, as they feel you understand what they’re looking for — and are willing to reward them for their loyalty.

Growing Together

Last but not least, is ‘Growing Together’ emphasizing that sustained brand growth is built upon the importance of customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and organic word of mouth, the latter supported by the fact that 49% of TikTok users create a post about a product/brand they purchased from — which is twice more likely vs. other platform users. By making shopping fun, consumers feel closer to the brand, which ultimately leads to greater loyalty and more purchases over time.

It’s all about driving intent, whether through live product demonstrations, adding in your team member’s unique perspectives, or using what your core audience is saying to create a more informed — and successful — selling strategy.

Looking Ahead

Shopping on TikTok — or any social platform, in general — isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, social media advertising is expected to top $247 billion by 2027. The brands that can leverage the trends and make more informed, targeted marketing decisions will not only grow their community, but also their bottom line.

The guest blog post was provided by Matt Caiola, the Co-CEO of 5WPR, a full-service PR agency that partners with brands to help them define and achieve their strategic PR goals. Interested in getting PR for your innovative product brand. Contact Matt and his team today to get more information on how 5WPR can help your business.