In the first of a series looking at how brands are using TikTok, Chloe Matthieu Phillips takes a look at how FMCG brands on TikTok are creating lasting connections with consumers.
I remember when I was a young(ish!) social media lead in New York City, talking to brand-side marketers who would challenge me on whether there really was an ROI to social media marketing. For most, social media was only useful if it could prove its value as a direct marketing channel.
That was over 10 years ago, and since then, mentalities have changed. And this is where TikTok is so brilliantly of the moment – it’s changing the way we talk about ROI completely, encouraging and rewarding brands for being creative and having fun. It’s a game changer in the way brands interact with consumers, and how we value those relationships.
Looking at TikTok and at how brands are using it, I feel like marketers are finally open to investing in social for the long game, for the genuine human connections, and for the brand loyalty it can create. It’s as if the world is finally able to understand what the social media marketers of 2010 were trying to explain.
Here are some of my favourite ways FMCG brands on TikTok are creating real relationships with consumers.
1. Poking fun at the humans behind the brand
Glimpses of behind-the-scenes life of the social media team is a great way to humanize it.
Innocent Drinks has gotten in the habit of sharing posts making lighthearted jokes about coworkers and brilliantly poked fun at their boss when he accidentally changed Innocent’s Instagram profile picture to one of his wedding snaps. We’ve all been this guy; they’ve actually made good content out of it.
The brand has always been known for its sense of humor on social media, and I love that the social media team can mock themselves, too. This post about creating a drink out of conker milk – only to find out that it would be poisonous (which the press was quick to point out) – is a great way of showing that not everything in brand life is smooth.
2. Sharing relatable content
The best social content is relatable – either by tapping into memes, or to the struggles of everyday life.
But beware – it’s easy to cross the line from relatable to cringey if the social media team isn’t totally plugged into current popular culture.
Elf cosmetics did this in a very simple way: it used the common issue of having to clean your makeup brushes to create an everyday relatable post.
Doritos got it right when it created a take on the popular “what your favorite X says about you” meme:
Another great move for FMCG brands on TikTok is to work with communities. KitKat does this with its KITKAT Gaming channel where it posts content designed to appeal to the gaming community.
3. Showcasing new products and ideas
Product information doesn’t have to be boring. TikTok’s format is perfect for brands to share quick announcements and easy to follow how-to or suggestion videos.
This body scrub video by Dove is a great example. Video lets the brand show the texture of the scrub and how it looks when you spread it over your skin. You get a real sense of what you’ll be getting if you buy it.
Dunkin’ has been using TikTok to showcase new foods beyond the donuts that people associate with it. Dunkin’s TikToks show its toast and croissants in a much more realistic way than those perfect studio photos you see on other media.
Brands can also use TikTok as a way to reinforce product identity – like Yorkshire Tea did with its new Toast and Jam flavored tea. In this case, the brand knows that a lot of people aren’t sold on the idea and it plays on that theme.
4. Giveaways and special offers
Giveaways and special offers can give a VIP feeling to a brand’s followers.
For example, Pasta Evangelists posts give away TikToks that show what their meal kits look like when cooked. Even if you don’t try your luck at the giveaway, you’ll probably want some of that pasta!
The combination of exclusivity, fear of missing out and popularity really helps to promote the product and brand. TikTok’s more informal style of communication wraps the whole thing up in a bow.
TikTok is helping us prove to the world what some of us have known all along: social media is a powerful tool for creating genuine human connections between brands and consumers through humour and emotion.
These connections help to forge long-lasting relationships – and that’s where the real value and ROI will be found for brands.
The value of relationships has changed the conversation – it’s no longer about whether it’s worth being on social, but whether you can afford not to be.
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