A customer’s path to purchase is rarely as linear as those textbook sales funnel graphics would have you believe. Instead, the purchase journey is often full of twists and turns. And there are endless factors that influence what action a shopper takes next.
Today, one of those key factors is social media. In fact, as e-commerce continues to grow, so too does the influence of social media on the purchase journey.
In a previous blog, we explored the role of Instagram in the purchase journey – and the influence it has on shoppers. Today, we’re zeroing in on another key social media channel: TikTok.
Read on to explore how consumers use TikTok, why brands should care, and how businesses can start delivering engaging experiences via TikTok – all without leaving Salesforce.
By now, you’re likely at least somewhat familiar with TikTok. Maybe it’s already a key channel in your brand’s marketing strategy. Perhaps you’re a user yourself. Or, maybe you’ve heard of TikTok – but you’re not quite sure what it is.
Whatever the case, let’s take a step back to explore what TikTok is – and who uses this popular entertainment platform.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is an entertainment platform that allows users to create, share, and consume short-form videos. The platform equips users with plenty of features like filters, music stickers and sound effects that make it fun and easy to create engaging videos.
While TikTok is mostly mobile-based, it is possible to watch videos via the web app.
A Brief History of TikTok
TikTok launched in 2016, which makes it a relatively new kid on the block. But it’s quickly become a sensation.
TikTok saw huge growth in the early days of the pandemic. In fact, TikTok’s user base more than doubled between 2019 and 2021.
TikTok’s impressive growth will only continue. eMarketer predicts the platform will have more than 834 million monthly users worldwide this year; that number will reach more than 955 million in 2025.
TikTok continues to surpass other social networks in terms of popularity. Today, TikTok is now the third largest of the “big five” global social networks, which include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Twitter.
Who Uses TikTok
TikTok has users across all age groups. However, it’s particularly popular among young
consumers. Today, more Gen Z’ers use TikTok than Instagram.
TikTok is popular across the globe. However, it has the most users in the US, followed by Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico.
How Consumers Tap into TikTok Throughout the Purchase Journey
Today, consumers open TikTok to be entertained, learn something new, and keep up with family, friends, friends, celebrities and influencers. But increasingly, this platform also plays a role in the purchase journey – especially among younger shoppers.
Let’s take a closer look.
TikTok for Product Discovery
Each consumer has their go-to products they reach for time and again. Maybe it’s a tried-and-true face wash. Or perhaps a makeup product that’s just the right shade.
However, most consumers also have their eyes open for the next best thing.
Where do they discover these new-to-them products? Increasingly, on TikTok.
According to TikTok, nearly half of users say they use the platform to discover something new. And a recent report from PowerReviews found that 29% of consumers use TikTok to learn about new products.
49% of TikTok users use the platform to discover something new.
TikTok has become the launching point for many consumers starting the search for a new product. Per an article for Marketing Charts, 21% of respondents say TikTok is a destination for starting their search when shopping for a product online.
21 % of consumers say TikTok is a destination for starting the search when shopping for a product online.Marketing Charts
The platform is an especially common starting point for young consumers. Per an article for AdWeek, 40% of Gen Z’ers prefer TikTok and Instagram for search over Google. In fact, many news articles have gone so far as to dub TikTok as “Gen Z’s search engine.”
During the discovery stage, TikTok users are watching videos and reading comments. They’re also reaching out to brands directly to ask questions about products and services. Brands must be equipped to provide accurate answers via TikTok.
When you respond quickly to a user via TikTok, you eliminate purchase barriers and boost the shopper’s confidence. And those confident shoppers are more likely to make a purchase from you.
TikTok for Purchasing
According to a study TikTok conducted with Material, over a third (37%) of users have discovered something on the platform – and immediately went to buy it. In some cases, they leave the platform to make the purchase, but increasingly, they’re buying directly through the platform – or willing to do so in the future.
Per an article for Marketing Charts, nearly half (48%) of adults in the US would be likely to make a purchase directly from TikTok. This number is significantly higher – 71% – among Gen Z shoppers.
In fact, TikTok is leading the charge in terms of social commerce growth. According to Insider Intelligence, the number of TikTok buyers in the US grew more than 72% last year – reaching nearly 24 million buyers. That number will only continue to grow.
Consumers are willing to purchase directly through TikTok. Actively engaging with these consumers in real-time via TikTok messaging is an effective way to stand out – and convert more browsers to buyers. Now, businesses can get started on TikTok Shop, a one-stop, e-commerce ecosystem where users can go from discovery to action in a matter of seconds, all within the TikTok app.
TikTok for Service
A customer has purchased a product from a brand – either directly through TikTok or via another channel. But that doesn’t mean the relationship is over.
There are times when a consumer needs to connect with a brand post-purchase. Maybe it’s to make a change to an order. Perhaps it’s to get tips for getting more from the product once it’s arrived. Or maybe it’s because something went wrong.
Once upon a time, consumers would pick up the phone to get post-purchase service. But today, many turn to social media – specifically TikTok. According to TikTok, one in five users have directly messaged a brand via the platform after making a purchase. Again, the youngest shoppers are leading the pack. Gen Z users are 1.2 times more likely than any other users to directly message a brand after purchasing a product.
One in five TikTok users have directly messaged a brand via the platform.TikTok
Brands – especially those targeting younger shoppers – must have a plan in plan to deliver timely service via TikTok. Doing so is key to restoring trust and increasing customer satisfaction.
TikTok for Advocacy
When a consumer has a positive experience with a brand and its products, they’re often eager to share that experience with others. Sure, they may verbally communicate their recommendations with family and friends. But increasingly, consumers also share their experiences on social media – specifically TikTok.
According to TikTok, users are 2.4 times more likely than other platform users to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product.
TikTok users are 2.4 times more likely than other platform users to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product.TikTok
When your customers share positive posts about your brand and your products on TikTok, it increases your reach. These user-generated posts can be pretty influential; after all, they were created by a real-life customer trusted by the people who follow them.
Make it a priority to engage with your satisfied customers via TikTok. It’s a great way to meet the customer where they are, strengthen your relationship, and boost their loyalty.
When it Comes to TikTok Messages, Time is of the Essence
For many consumers, TikTok has become a key part of the purchase journey. Consumers are watching videos to discover new products. They’re also messaging brands to ask questions, get help, and share feedback.
Brands must be prepared to deliver great messaging experiences via TikTok.
Consumers expect speedy responses regardless of channel. According to Salesforce research, 83% of consumers expect immediate engagement when they contact a brand.
83% of consumers expect immediate engagement when they contact a brand.Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Fifth Edition
TikTok users are no exception.
In fact, due to the rapid, ever-evolving nature of the platform, it’s arguably more important to respond as quickly as possible to customer inquiries. If you don’t respond quickly, the shopper is likely to get distracted by something else.
In an ideal world, all brands would respond to DMs on TikTok in real time. But today, that’s not usually the case. A best practice is to commit to a speedy (yet achievable) response time – and then meet (or exceed) it. It’s a great way to stand out from the competition – and build relationships that grow sales and long-term loyalty.
How to Start Managing TikTok Messages in Salesforce
Today, a growing portion of brands are incorporating TikTok into their customer acquisition and retention strategies. And many of those brands use Salesforce to power their customer experiences.
Salesforce and TikTok have an existing partnership that empowers these brands to tap into the power of both platforms to deliver winning experiences via a platform that’s growing in favor among shoppers. But this partnership is limited to Commerce and Marketing. That leaves out a big part of the puzzle: social customer service.
That means brands looking to manage conversations in TikTok must do so directly through the TikTok platform. In theory, that sounds simple enough. But the reality is, it’s time-consuming and hard to scale – especially as a growing number of customers are opting to engage with brands via TikTok.
The good news? There’s now a better way to deliver engaging messaging experiences in TikTok – without spending all your time focused on it.
Introducing 1440’s TikTok Conversations for Salesforce
Here at 1440, we know there’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage with their shoppers on TikTok. We also recognize there are only so many minutes in the day (1440 to be exact), and we’re laser-focused on helping you maximize every single one of them.
With that in mind, we’ve recently launched TikTok Conversations for Salesforce, which allows brands like yours to manage conversations in TikTok – without leaving the Salesforce platform.
When you start managing TikTok conversations in Salesforce, you have the power to establish direct, real-time connections with your customers. And you can do it without the need to switch between different platforms. Instead, everything is managed within the Salesforce interface, which streamlines your workflow and boosts productivity. In other words, your teams can manage all service channels from one central, familiar location.
Customers don’t only have inquiries between 9-5. A need can arise whenever – and customers expect quick responses around the clock. Here at 1440, we get that. That’s why TikTok conversations for Salesforce is integrated with AI Virtual Assistants. These bots can provide automated answers to frequently asked questions, which reduces your team’s caseload while still ensuring your customers get what they need.
Finally, when you start managing TikTok conversations in Salesforce, these interactions provide another layer of insights you can leverage to optimize your customer 360 strategies. By understanding your customers’ preferences, behaviors, and purchase history, your brand is better positioned to deliver targeted, personalized chat experiences they love.
Start Managing Your TikTok Conversations in Salesforce
TikTok continues to experience explosive growth. And increasingly, consumers are using it as a channel to interact with brands.
Brands must have a plan in place to deliver winning conversational experiences in TikTok throughout the purchase journey. And now, it’s possible to do so – without leaving Salesforce.
Ready to see 1440’s TikTok conversations in Salesforce in action? 1440 is now on the TikTok Shop App & Service Store. Get a sneak peek at our new demo video.