On Thursday night, Glossy+ members convened in the Madison Avenue store of Tanya Taylor, founder and creative director of her namesake fashion brand. Following a fireside chat with Taylor, the executives spanning the worlds of beauty and fashion took part in an intimate discussion about what challenges they’re facing and how they’re tackling them. One timely, popular topic was TikTok shop and whether or not it works as an alternative to other, costlier methods of customer acquisition.
Below are highlights from the honest conversation between our members, who we’ve kept anonymous.
People are on Instagram and TikTok for different reasons
It’s widely known that running Meta ads as a strategy for new customer acquisition has become prohibitively expensive. Luckily, as one executive pointed out, people are not going to Instagram to shop, anyway. Instead, they’re using TikTok:
“Instagram is super expensive, and while you can get great reach on Instagram, from an engagement and then purchase standpoint, people are on TikTok to shop. On Instagram, yes, creators are more engaging than brands — but brands have more reach, so it depends on what your objective is. On TikTok, people are so much more engaged than on Instagram. People also engage with links on TikTok more. … The intent on TikTok is [that] people are open, willing to shop and willing to go down the funnel, whereas Instagram has really become a viewing channel.”
If you can’t afford mega-influencers, simply embrace ‘real people’
Just as not all brands can spend on social media ads, not all brands can spend on mega-influencers. Some attendees pointed to the fact that real women, when chosen based on who a brand is trying to reach, can be just as impactful in building brand buzz and loyalty. However, with this approach, it takes more time and, therefore, more patience for lightning — AKA, virality — to strike.
“I love the idea that the customer is your champion. … And I think the muses [for us] are not the women with a million followers that have all these partnerships. They are the micro-influencers. … She’s super fashionable, according to her good friends. Those are the champions that women want to listen to now. They can cut through the noise if you can’t spend on the ads or can’t do the big events. You want to have these women championing you in their circles. … That builds up incredible organic traction that you need to be able to build to get the revenue to then reinvest in bigger initiatives.”
UGC virality — if you’re lucky enough to get it — is worth pivoting strategies for
For one brand, which has mostly become known to its customers and fanbase through in-store shopping, lightning struck when a young woman made a video in the parking lot of a Sephora. It was a low-production, non-fancy clip — an aesthetic the brand wasn’t used to. But the team saw it as an opportunity to reach a new demographic on TikTok, specifically through TikTok Shop. UGC videos made by non-influencers can capture the feeling of getting a recommendation from a friend, this attendee noted — and that’s why they can be so powerful.
“We have struggled. … Our customer knows us from being in-store. They see [us] in their boutiques, they see us in retailers. … We’re not a digitally native brand. And it’s almost like we’re chasing that customer to get to know us on Instagram, [rather than] just knowing us in person. … So we’re launching TikTok Shop because we had one video go viral. … Our creative team is very particular about the way our assets look and the way our videos look. And [this] was just a girl in her car who went into Sephora. … She was probably 19 years old. … But it’s tripled our business at Sephora. … I’ve been doing a lot of hand-holding, [explaining that success on digital] is not about posting the most beautiful video — if anything, it’s the exact opposite. … And then, finally, this video went viral, and it clicked. It was like, ‘Oh, just random people speaking about your product — not just super mega-influencers — can be impactful.”