The Dos and Don’ts of TikTok Shop

Ascannio/Shutterstock nickfz/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Cox

Anyone scrolling through their TikTok feed in the past few weeks has noticed a clear increase in videos tagged with the phrase “eligible for commission.” Or they’ve accidentally swiped to the left and seen the new tab dedicated entirely to shopping. In the past month, users have been inundated with TikTok Shop videos because the platform heavily pushes content that uses new features.

One year ago, it was rumored that TikTok was abandoning its e-commerce efforts in the US. Still, TikTok Shop slowly began to roll out this spring and has since been shoved onto everyone’s for you page. 

Some people aren’t happy to see so many product promotions on their FYP. Multiple people have made videos complaining about these videos overshadowing whatever content the algorithm usually serves them. People have even gone as far as offering tips on how to block any user promoting TikTok Shop. 

This puts creators in a tricky spot. After all, the platform has helped small businesses significantly increase sales. And for creators, sponsored content still performs better on this platform than the other social media sites. This means TikTok Shop could be a new revenue stream—if they go about it the right way. 

Here’s how creators and businesses can best use TikTok Shop. 

Integrate products you already use

Brands ranging from e.l.f. to American Eagle have products available through TikTok Shop. Meaning there is a wide variety of items, some of which might already be part of your daily routine. Someone who wears Birkenstocks every day or washes dishes with a Scrub Daddy sponge could easily earn a small commission by linking to those products in their TikTok Shop. If you’ve previously featured an item without a sponsorship, your followers will trust your recommendation more. And you might as well earn a commission—which ranges from 5% to 20%—of items you’re already using. 

Highlight potential savings

As TikTok tries to promote its new shopping feature, a number of products are available at a discounted rate. For example, the Supergoop Glow Screen sunscreen, which went viral this summer, is about $10 cheaper through TikTok Shop compared to other online retailers. Creators can show off potential savings through the Shop, like offering four mini trendy Laneige lip masks at $12 compared to one full-size jar for $24. TikTok is also offering 50% off discounts for a number of items through the end of October. People might not love TikTok Shop videos, but everyone loves a deal. Which is to say, emphasizing what money they can save in the opening of a video might catch more people’s attention. 

Don’t turn every post into product placement

It’s one thing to promote the occasional product through TikTok Shop, especially if you follow the above advice. But followers likely don’t want to see every video on your page tagged as “eligible for commission.” It comes across as inauthentic. So even if content creation is your full-time gig and you earn an income via TikTok, space out the videos featuring TikTok Shop with some organic content. 

Be careful not to promote the exact same product everyone else is advertising

Though still somewhat new, TikTok Shop has already become defined by a handful of products. This Shadow Work Journal—a guidebook promising to help “discover and heal the deepest parts of your subconscious”—has plagued the TikTok Shop tag. As has this PloppyDolly shapewear bodysuit and this Sol de Janeiro perfume. People are sick of seeing these products in videos. Skip whatever items are being pushed by a number of other creators. 

Don’t expect to make huge profits

Some people have managed to make quite a bit of money from the program, like this creator who made $4,000 in one month. But others haven’t had as much success in generating sales, which results in $0 in commissions. Whether it’s luck or effectively marketing products to followers, the problem is that a number of creators are now testing out TikTok Shop. As more people try to earn commissions, users have more options in who they support. Though you can clearly earn some extra cash, TikTok Shop will likely only be one revenue stream within other sponsored posts and content.

What are your thoughts on TikTok’s e-commerce push? Email [email protected] to share your opinions.

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