Nearly one billion people use TikTok around the world. And when everyone stayed home during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, TikTok users were able to find a huge amount of entertainment on the platform. Suddenly, TikTok wasn’t just about lip-syncing and dancing.
To be fair: many brands jumped on board with the platform before the pandemic, but it's clear that more small businesses and brands are now becoming active on TikTok. It’s no surprise, though: TikTok's community is active, and if you want to reach the right people, you need to be where they are.
However, while some brands have leveraged the platform to achieve cult followings, not everyone has found the same success.
Let’s take a look at a few brands who’ve gone viral on TikTok and see what they’re doing that’s working so well.
Nectar Hard Seltzer
TikTok is often about showing your creative side and adding humor to your posts. However, Nectar Hard Seltzer's viral posts are neither creative nor funny. Instead, they're raw and real, and all about giving their audience *all the feels.*
Nectar Hard Seltzer, a gluten-free, keto-friendly, vegan beverage brand, focuses on talking about its journey as a small brand on the rise. Nectar willingly shares its brand story and struggles with its almost 40,000 followers.
In fact, the brand was able to get into retail a few months after its launch. Nectar chose TikTok to build a consumer email database—and combined it with a modern approach commonly seen in shoes and hot items: the drop.
The brand informed its followers of the drop at a local retailer. Around this time, aware of Nectar’s journey and ethos, supporters flocked to the event to support the seltzer brand.
After that successful launch, Founder Jeremy Kim continues to stir up conversations around emotionally-charged topics by posting videos dispelling Asian stereotypes. TikTok is slowly opening its doors to politics and the racial justice movement, so brands like Nectar Hard Seltzer have picked the right platform for their meaningful activism.
Fabletics is a membership-based activewear brand co-founded by Kate Hudson, and it’s chosen TikTok to target women in their 30s.
Since App Ape research found that women between the ages of 30 and 39 account for 13.8% of TikTok's audience on Android devices alone, the brand actually has a lot going for them on the platform.
To get products in front of the brand’s target audience, Fabletics posts videos that include both fashion content and practical information, such as workout tips and smoothie recipes to attract target viewers.
Additionally, Fabletics has partnered with TikTok to target VIP sign-ups using TikTok Ad Manager. But instead of direct targeting, the brand works its magic on user registrations or getting fresh leads, optimizing for upper-funnel strategies, and employing TikTok's Lowest Cost (No Bid) feature. This strategy has allowed Fabletics to reduce its VIP costs by 15 times and increase registrations by 100 times. Not bad, right?
Milkbar, an award-winning bakery, has been reimagining our favorite desserts since 2008. The bakery’s success comes from building relationships on platforms that offer the most significant reach and engagement… like TikTok.
Case in point: When people summoned their inner bakers and went into banana bread fever in 2020, Milkbar jumped on board by providing TikTok followers delicious at-home recipes (some even featuring its own products):
Jewelry brand Mejuri uses TikTok as a place to leverage powerful user-generated content. The brand’s posts feature real customers showcasing their products and providing invaluable visual context for shoppers looking to see it styled.
Mejuri doesn’t stop there, though. The brand also puts the spotlight on actual customers and lets them share their personal stories connected to the jewelry they sell, thus giving them a voice and a platform.
With tens of thousands of followers, the DTC brand is wisely using TikTok to share dynamic, engaging videos that put them in front of a valuable younger customer demographic (and helps drive sales, too).
Station Cold Brew
Station Cold Brew sells ready-to-drink coffee that doesn't sacrifice flavour for function, and its TikTok videos aim to elevate brand experience. Station pairs each video with creative strategies and proven growth tactics, while also focusing on community interaction to build its relationships and credibility with followers.
What’s more: Station comes up with clever TikTok videos to highlight its innovative products:
This simple video showing Station Cold Brew's cool and convenient packaging has been viewed nearly half a million times. Businesses rarely have a solid value proposition. In fact, studies have revealed that only 2.2% of companies have one. Station Cold Brew seems to be one of the few out there, and the brand surely knows how to showcase it on TikTok.
In 2017, the first Crumbl Cookies store opened in Utah, selling only chocolate chip cookies. Fast forward four years, and over 220 locations in 30 states have sprouted. Additionally, they now offer over 150 new flavors on a rotating menu.
Crumbl's TikTok presence revolves around creating buzz about its cookies. It's something against the norm for food products, but it works really well for Crumbl. Each week, the company only offers five flavors. This added thrill delights consumers and also prompts them to rush to the store to try these flavors. That's because, according to studies, a majority of people (60%) make purchases within 24 hours due to FOMO.
This sense of exclusivity also got TikTok influencers talking. For instance, Kelsey Flaim does Crumbl flavor reviews as soon as new ones come out.
Considering the brand doesn't invest in influencer collaborations at all, this is quite noteworthy. Crumbl’s managed to generate a fiercely loyal following for free because of its clever marketing strategy.
Crumbl gets a steady stream of TikTok creators every week who can't wait to try out the flavors and post their opinion videos on the platform. In fact, you can also find TikTok accounts solely dedicated to Crumbl product reviews, and the TikTok's #CrumblReviews have over 60.6m views.
Five Lessons From TikTok Viral Brands:
- The size of your business doesn't matter. Looking at the list above, you see both up-and-coming brands using the platform to build their brands, while legacy brands also rely on it to connect with younger shoppers.
- Influencer marketing reigns supreme. Attracting influencers organically, as Crumbl does, increases virality while lowering marketing costs, too.
- Bringing your clever strategies to TikTok will make them shine even more. Look at how Crumbl’s five-cookies-per-week made its products a sensation on the platform. Station Cold Brew, on the other hand, has stellar packaging that looks great in its videos.
- TikTok helps monitor conversion and trends. When you have your finger on the pulse of the platform, it becomes easier to join trending topics or use hashtags to widen your reach. Milkbar's success, for instance, was a result of listening to its audience.
- “Make TikTok, not ads” is no longer 100% true. We hear this new marketing mantra all the time. Yes, TikTok videos’ viral nature makes them a powerful marketing tool. But TikTok Ads manager is showing considerable improvements--with Fabletics, for example, we were able to see how convenient and affordable the process is.