Creative Connecting: TikTok Tips

TechnologyMay 19, 2020

Creative Connecting: TikTok Tips

In their new social media-focused column, Duvall O’Steen and Jen Cullen Williams break down how jewelers can bring the bling to Gen Z on the popular new app.

Duvall O’Steen, left, and Jen Cullen Williams are independent communications strategists and senior consultants for the Luxury Brand Group. They can be reached at or
With 2 billion downloads and more than 800 million global monthly active users (according to Digital 2020 from We Are Social and Hootsuite), the TikTok app has been generating big buzz. 

Designed as a platform for short video content, the app allows individual videos lasting up to 15 seconds or combined clips up to 60 seconds. 

Users, according to Hootsuite, are 60 percent female. 

Age-wise, the largest percentage of users (42 percent) are between 18 and 24 years old, followed by 13- to 17-year-old users, who account for 27 percent. 

RELATED CONTENT: 8 Things to Know About Generation Z
 Generation Z is clearly spending a lot of time on TikTok, making it the perfect place for jewelers to reach out to younger consumers in less formal ways, build brand awareness and create new and future customers.

Here are some helpful tips on taking the TikTok plunge and connecting with that all-important younger audience.

Do Your Homework
First things first, be sure to do some research. Use the “Discover” page on TikTok to explore and learn.

Find trending hashtags to follow for inspiration, like #moreyouknow, #styletips, #levelup, #freezeframe.

Use the search feature to pick interesting accounts to follow, and follow at least a few of the biggest accounts to see influencers who are obviously gaining traction. Examples include @charlidamelio, @zachking, @rydelllynch, @kerifay.

Note what other brands and influencers like @elfcosmetics, @macys, @engagement101, @gemgossip are doing and get inspiration from luxury accounts like @burberry and @ralphlauren.

Value Authenticity Over Perfection
Authenticity is key, according to Social Media Today: “In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of ads, the raw, unedited videos on TikTok can be a great way to showcase people using your brand in their everyday lives.”

Unlike Instagram, TikTok is less about fancy cameras and high-end lighting equipment, making it instantly outside the comfort zone of most jewelers. Instead, content relies on fast-paced rhythms, fun vibes and musical scoring.

As always, strategic messaging is important for your brand, but TikTok videos should be less formal and more fun.

Severine Ferrari, founder and editor of Engagement 101 advises, “Keep in mind that what works on Instagram or Facebook will not work on TikTok. I have over 10 years of experience in video content, but TikTok finally helped me understand that shooting video does not have to be that hard. 

“It’s all about the editing phase. On TikTok, I shorten and speed up 
videos because the attention span is very short. I also try to focus on the funniest or most mind-blowing moments.”

Creative Content Is Key
When deciding what to post on TikTok, remember the old adage consider your audience.

Younger, mostly female consumers love fashion and style videos. Try-it-on segments are highly popular on the app, as well.

According to Danielle Miele, founder of Gem Gossip who has been on TikTok since November, “Jewelry is a topic that is definitely lacking on the app but has so much potential.”

Short how-to videos about the many creative ways to wear a piece of jewelry could really resonate (think brooches on hats or necklaces down the back).

Miele of Gem Gossip offers more ideas: “Post videos of ‘top five’ items weekly, using music that is popular on TikTok (‘Sounds’ function), post jewelry-related how-to videos that are quick and catchy, or jewelry-styling videos showing layering of rings/necklaces/earrings/bracelets.”

Unboxing videos are also popular and could be great to highlight your branded packaging.

Try a custom design “before and after” video including your customer’s facial reactions (like the TV show “Extreme Home Makeover”), or ask your customers for real proposal videos. All of these are fun ways to inspire Gen Z.

Get creative and find ways to highlight your brand’s value proposition. Consider using the person on your team who has the most outgoing personality to be a recurring host of your video segments.

Have the host do mini-tours of your store or studio, including humorous behind-the-scenes snapshots of the messy breakroom or packaging cabinet, the eager anticipation of the FedEx guy, etc.

You can also feature the industry-standard video closeups of product, using voiceover to educate viewers about the origin of the gemstones or the inspiration behind the design.

But remember, keep it fun! If the voiceover could be a snappy rhyme or rap set to music, all the better.

Be sure to incorporate the app’s many functions and add-ons like sounds/music or special effects, speed, stickers and tags. Also, FYI: the Duets feature would allow a retailer to do a duet with a designer/brand carried in their store.

Hashtags and Challenges
Similar to other social media apps, like Instagram, hashtags can be used to build an audience and search content.

The great thing about TikTok is you can offer a Hashtag Challenge to encourage engagement.

As part of your initial research, find a hashtag challenge to participate in; examples include the #InMyDenim challenge from Guess, Macy’s #AllBrandNew challenge, Walmart’s #SavingsShuffle challenge.

Also, be sure to include the hashtag #foryou in everything you post. This automatically populates on the For You page of the app, which can help to build your audience.

Find popular hashtags to follow and use them strategically and authentically in your posts.

Examples include #shoppinghaul, #retailtherapy, #workdistractions, #checkthisout and more.

Consider finding ways to make popular hashtags relevant for jewelry. For example, #petlife could be fun if your store or brand has a mascot who is regularly in the office. Or, #shecandoit might be a fun way to encourage women to buy jewelry for themselves.

You can also get inspiration from other successful hashtags. Watch several #makeuphacks videos and let them inspire you to create fun segments with #jewelryhacks.

Also, #relationshiptips could be a fun one to use with any proposal- or getting-engaged-related content.

Other fun ideas for a Hashtag Challenge include #howtowearit. Everyone has access to a strand of pearls, whether in their own wardrobe or in mom’s or grandma’s jewelry box.

Offer a prize to the TikToker who shows the most creative ways to wear a simple strand of pearls (as a belt à la Penelope Cruz at the 2020 Oscars, entwined in a scarf à la Kendall Jenner for Versace or in the hair or on your shoes).

Or try a #neckmess challenge, encouraging followers to post videos of their favorite layered necklaces. Maybe even do a #jewelrywardrobe or #jewelrybox hashtag challenge asking followers to share what’s in their jewelry box.

Offer a #levelup challenge starting with your staff, showing how to level up your accessories from costume jewelry to fine jewelry in affordable ways.

Influencer Collaboration/Cross Promotions
TikTok marketing, similar to other social media outlets, is ideal for paid influencer collaborations and cross-promotions with other luxury brands, especially local ones.

According to Beca Alexander, founder and owner of influencer marketing agency Socialyte, “The key strategy for brands on TikTok is to diversify content and diversify the people in the content, and influencers play a huge role in executing this part of the strategy.”

She advises brands be open and leave the creative direction up to the influencers, as they know their audience best. 

“Try-on hauls, fun tutorials, dance videos, comedic lip-sync videos—all these video types are gold mines for exposure and engagement on the platform.” 

Alexander warns that attention spans are limited, and simplicity is key. 

“If a user does not understand what is happening in the first few seconds, that user will immediately swipe to the next video.” 

Brand messaging should not be overwhelming. Also, remember that agencies like Socialyte can design content to stimulate brand awareness on your behalf to maximize your relevance to the TikTok community.

Another way to build audience for your brand is to partner with other local luxury businesses like spas, fashion boutiques, floral shops, art galleries, etc. 

If there is a local mascot or theme that resonates with your community—think: the fleur-de-lis in New Orleans, the cherry blossoms in D.C. or Brutus Buckeye in Columbus, Ohio—make short video segments of one brand tossing or offering the object to the right. The next partner video receives/catches the object on their left and then tosses it to their right, etc. 

String these video segments together for a fun, local vibe and message. And maybe offer a promotion, e.g., if a customer brings in the object, they receive a free gift or discount.

“If there’s one social network you should give a teenager or intern to handle for you, it might be this one. Just be open to giving them the freedom to try something different.” — Severine Ferrari, founder and editor of Engagement 101
 Whatever creative ways you decide to engage with TikTok users, be sure to remember the safety rules of social media. 

For security, avoid sharing anything in a video that will give away an employee’s address or the location of your safe in the store, etc. 

Authentic, fun videos and hashtag challenges on TikTok gain great exposure and with the right content, your video could easily go viral, gaining really high exposure. So make sure it’s something you enjoy and are proud of. 

Remember to link your TikTok account to your Instagram and your website, and encourage followers to visit for more information or special finds. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to let your younger staff members get involved. 

Ferrari of Engagement 101 said it best: “If there’s one social network you should give a teenager or intern to handle for you, it might be this one. Just be open to giving them the freedom to try something different.” 
Jen Cullen Williamsis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.
Duvall O'Steenis an independent communications strategist and senior consultant for the Luxury Brand Group.

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