Navigating TikTok’s Marketing Landscape: Insights for Brands on Virality, Aesthetics, and Dupes with UGC

by Susan Mullin

TikTok, a powerhouse for modern marketing, has redefined the digital landscape with its unrivaled ability to shape trends and amplify the reach of influencers through its innovative For You Page (FYP). According to Digital Report, TikTok has reached an astounding 1 billion active users, making it a prime platform for brands to tap into a massive and engaged audience. The platform’s impact extends beyond followings for ordinary users; it also holds the unique capacity to catapult products into the spotlight through user-generated content (UGC).

Learn more about how UGC fuels product virality, the transformative impact of TikTok aesthetics, and how embracing the “dupe” trend can offer intriguing opportunities for brands to thrive in this dynamic marketing landscape.

The “viralization” of products

revlon hair dryer brush
The viral Revlon hair dryer

The platform’s ability to “viralize” products is not just limited to fashion or beauty items. It extends to a wide range of products, from kitchen gadgets to fitness equipment, and even books. Remember the viral “TikTok pasta” recipe that had everyone buying feta cheese and cherry tomatoes? Emily Mariko’s famous salmon bowl? Or the Aerie crossover “TikTok leggings” that sold out everywhere causing an Aerie employee to make a TikTok saying “Please stop asking us about the crossover leggings – y’all sold them out.” These are perfect examples of how TikTok can catapult a product into the limelight overnight.

Other examples involve the Revlon hair “one-step hair dryer and volumizer”, and The Ordinary’s “glycolic acid” which is being marketed as a holy grail product for literally everything from discoloration, to a keratosis pilaris treatment, to a dandruff eraser, and a solution to cracked feet. Snail mucin, aka snail extract (you heard that right) is currently all the rage in the skincare community of TikTok. But how do these products become the topic of discussion in the first place? 

UGC’s impact

One of the key elements behind products going viral on TikTok is the power of User-Generated Content (UGC). When individuals create videos showcasing a particular product and share their experiences, it sparks a chain reaction. As more creators jump on the trend and feature the product in their content, it gains momentum and captures the attention of a wider audience.

screenshot of UGC on tiktok about the glycolic acid product from the ordinary
A TikTok video explaining the multiple uses and benefits of glycolic acid

This makes sense considering 74% of TikTok users say that TikTok has inspired them to find out more about a product or brand online and 84% of the people prefer to use TikTok as a source to review any product they are interested in, watching unboxing videos, tutorials with that product, how-to guides, etc.

The influence of UGC cannot be underestimated. When everyday users endorse a product through their content, it establishes a sense of authenticity. This is a stark contrast to previous years when big celebrities were relied on for marketing endorsements. People are more likely to trust the opinions of fellow consumers, especially when they can see the product in action and witness genuine reactions.

For marketers, encouraging and leveraging UGC becomes a crucial strategy in achieving “product viralization” on TikTok. By seeding the product with influencers (whether big or small) and strategically engaging with creators who can effectively highlight its features, a brand sets the stage for a UGC-driven viral campaign. Marketers must understand that aspiring influencers on TikTok themselves want to go viral as well, so if a product begins to pick up in mentions, then users will want to buy it and do a “testing out the latest X product” to gain views.

Learn how to use TikTok “aesthetics” to promote your product, and the power of dupes.

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Posted in , Digital Marketing