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Christmas 2020 is set to be quite different. In London, come December you’d normally be be zipping up your winter boots, to join throngs of Christmas shoppers in Oxford Circus.
However, coronavirus restrictions this year is set to be quieter, with 71% of British shoppers say they’re reluctant to shop in-person this Christmas. The COVID impact goes further, as financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic prompt 36% of people to cut back on spending. Additionally, 37% will be starting their gift shopping earlier than usual so as to spread the cost.
So, it’s important for marketers to pay attention to the retail landscape. However, marketing itself has also changed. We’re increasingly connecting with customers digitally. Billboards, print magazine ads, public transport ads have all become less relevant, as people seek to stay inside. e-commerce has become especially important, and digital ads naturally lend themselves better to a smooth online shopping experience.
Given how saturated Instagram and Facebook are, smart marketers have already started to plan their TikTok Christmas marketing. TikTok makes good business sense, given it is swayed towards a uniquely diverse, younger Gen Z audience with over $143bn in spending power. TikTok also offers unique marketing opportunities other channels don’t – and in times like these, everyone needs to stand out to be noticed. In this article, we’ll cover the top 5 hacks you can use, to level up your TikTok Christmas marketing and boost sales.
TikTok Christmas marketing would be incomplete without an element of participation. 25% of TikTok’s Gen Z audience say they’d organically promote a brand they felt involved with in some way. Therefore, a simple hack is to run a competition, giveaway or offer a prize based on audience involvement.
Seasonal competitions work because they require deeper brand engagement than just passively watching video ads. Kool-Aid ran the successful #OHYEAHCHRISTMAS challenge last year, which involved offering a cash prize for TikTokkers who successfully recreated the dance challenge with the highest views.
While they went all out, offering $10,000 to the winner, brands can achieve success by giving away smaller prizes, or free products to users who complete a challenge. You can combine giveaways and referrals, giving free products to a buyer and a friend. You could also give a prize away to someone who brings in the highest amount of referrals. Debut your giveaway or competition with a classic humorous TikTok video or challenge for a boost in sales. Discounts, deals and competitions work – 45% of Gen Z say they’re the most important factor in buying decisions.
More retailers than ever have shifted to a direct-to-consumer model, or pivoted to emphasize e-commerce. However, take your strategy to the next level – don’t just offer online shopping, rather offer online experiences. Everything is online, so customers cannot see or interact with products in the same way they could in-person. TikTok is a great replacement for this, since you can show customers what your products look like, but also show off your brand’s aesthetic, ethos and ‘personality’ in a way you’d struggle to on other channels.
A great example of leveling up TikTok marketing is Dior’s online fashion show. The luxury house offered it’s SS21 show entirely online, streaming it on TikTok. High-street retailer Topshop has been showing off outfits made with combinations of their products on their page. Don’t limit yourself to videos – get creative. If your brand offers home products such as sofas or decor, could you showcase this with an AR filter? If you offer beauty and makeup, could you host live Christmas makeup tutorials on TikTok? Thinking outside the box, and aiming to replace the lost ‘real-life’ connection goes a long way towards getting your brand noticed.
Remember, TikTok makes it easier than ever for people to swipe up and buy what they see in a video. This means you can combine creativity and optimized paid ads to boost your brand’s reach, specifically aiming to encourage sales.
We’re all cynical of advertising now, because we see so much of it on a continuous basis. Just scrolling down your Instagram feed for 10 seconds shows you several sponsored posts, stories and paid-for ads. Gen Z are especially fed up and tend to distrust ‘traditional ads’. This means brands have to place a huge emphasis on trust, and relatability. TikTok is about authenticity, and if your brand is seen to put out boring ad content, you’ll struggle to reach most people.
Luckily, a simple hack to boost trust with is to partner with influencers your audience know, and care about. TikTok’s Gen Z audience is 25% more likely to follow product recommendations than other generations. Partnering with relatable influencers has the dual effect of boosting your reach and building social proof. Influencers who are part of the target market already know what resonates with others like them – so this is also great insight into what your target market is thinking and what their needs are.
Remember, TikTok has a biddable ads platform. So your initial approach could involve asking influencers to post videos from their page. Once they’ve got views on them, you can ‘boost’ these posts through paid ads. This works as retargeting, which creates a two-step conversion route to boost sales. Superdry has benefited from this combined technique, which they used in last year’s Christmas campaign garnering millions of views.
TikTok Christmas marketing is all about keeping up with trends. Brands can start their own Christmas trends, or take part in existing viral hashtag challenges. This is a great way of showing your audience you understand them, as well as keeping your products and brand front of mind.
Leverage trending music tracks, which you can find easily while creating a video. This is especially topical given how huge Christmas music is on TikTok! You can accompany these with a dance, or simply create a skit featuring the track. If there’s a viral challenge such as last year’s tactical Christmas challenge, take the time to create your own take. In the example mentioned, this would have been a great place for home and lifestyle brands to show off their winter lines.
The same can be said for pop culture references, memes and other topical events. While you won’t want to jump on every single trend, using these elements does give your video context. Shying away from more controversial topics like the American election is probably sensible, but paying attention to popular artists and viral memes on TikTok could pay off in the long run. The one obvious shared difficulty this year is the pandemic: focusing on how Christmas or gift shopping can be improved in light of this problem will go a long way in showing empathy with your audience.
One really interesting hack for TikTok Christmas marketing is to take advantage of the natural ‘countdown’ episode Christmas offers. This allows brands to leverage an aspect of continuity, and justify posting on a daily basis, for example.
This might not be for every brand, but beauty and advent calendars lend themselves particularly well to a ‘countdown’ series of videos. Whether you count down the entire advent calendar, or do ’12 days of Christmas’ or even the week before Christmas, you can cleverly show off products in videos across some length of time. This repeated exposure is particularly useful for reminding people of your brand while they’re looking for last-minute gifts.
A great example is influencer Kyran’s ’Extreme Advent Calendar’. The basic premise is keeping continuity between posts, and keeping people hooked across the countdown period.
So, now you’ve got some ideas around how to boost sales, it’s time to kick off your TikTok Christmas marketing plan. In 2020, brands who aren’t on TikTok will be left behind, especially in light of how popular TikTok has become throughout the pandemic. TikTok offers an immersive experience that can stand as an alternative to in-person retail, something we’re unlikely to see high levels of this year.
These hacks are great places for you to get started. Despite coronavirus damages, there’s significant opportunities for brands to boost online sales, especially in peak purchase seasons like Christmas. If you’re an ecommerce brand looking for more guidance, check out our post on the 3 ways ecommerce brands can smash Christmas marketing here.