TikTok is going all-in on its shopping experience, and jewelry e-tailer Manly Bands is one of a small group of businesses that recently joined the social media platform’s pilot program for what it’s calling “organic product discovery” and in-app shopping.
It’s a move Manly Bands says it hopes will connect its brand with TikTok’s ever-growing audience, turning them into shoppers and brand ambassadors. It’s also a move that other jewelers should watch, Manly Bands officials say, given TikTok’s viral power within social media and its interest in connecting with retailers.
Manly Bands chief marketing officer Stephanie Bregman says the company wanted to expand its social media shopping experiences, so the TikTok Shopping pilot in collaboration with Shopify felt like a strong partnership for the jewelry brand.
“We’re excited to partner with TikTok and get into these beta programs,” Bregman says of Manly Bands, a popular online wedding ring brand for men known for using unique materials like dinosaur bone and Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrel in their products.
This pilot program is one more way retail is trying to merge with social media platforms—a phenomenon known as social commerce. TikTok and Shopify announced they were working together in August, “helping creators and merchants deepen their relationships with consumers,” the brands said in an online statement.
In its initial pilot program, TikTok and Shopify brought in a variety of companies, including viral hits like Kylie Cosmetics from influencer Kylie Jenner, to set up mini-storefronts on the TikTok site.
The TikTok-Shopify program works something like this: Companies that are already Shopify merchants can tag their products in what TikTok calls “organic,” or everyday, posts. People watching these videos can shop directly from the brand’s storefront or click on a tagged product in the video, which directs the consumer to the merchant’s online store for checkout.
Why add these tools to TikTok? It’s all about the numbers—TikTok is considered one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms. TikTok said in September that it has 1 billion active global users, up from the 700 million active global users it reported in August 2020.
Bregman says Manly Bands prides itself on being adventurous with its advertising and marketing. For example, it once hired a professional comic to chat with customers on social media. The brand also does online polls, contests, and wedding-related blog posts to keep its followers engaged. Additionally, it shares its videos and pictures from customers showing off their Manly Bands on Instagram and Facebook.
TikTok is one of those sites where consumers spend a lot of time and, increasingly, a lot of money, Bregman says. Getting a product to go viral on TikTok means not only a lot of attention on that site but possible connections with consumers beyond the platform, as stories are shared across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“Every platform has a purpose, and TikTok is a very unique one,” Bregman says. “You can’t take content from another site and throw it onto TikTok. It’s been a really fun ride because it’s a platform that really speaks to our brand voice.”
More broadly, Bregman says, it’s about creating a brand story across all of social media.
“Without that, why do people want to follow you? What makes you unique and different? It is more than your product—you have to have a purpose,” Bregman says.
Bregman says Manly Bands’ purpose is to share the story of its founders—a husband-and-wife team who created the company because they wanted a different style of wedding band than what was already on the market. Sharing that story on TikTok and other social media apps “helps customers know who we are and what we stand for.”
Bregman says Manly Bands recently signed up for additional TikTok pilot programs so the company can have access to these innovations as they’re launched over the next 6 to 12 months.
“Growing as fast as we are, we know the audience for jewelry is always changing,” Bregman says. “Instead of telling our customers what they want, we try to take a step back and listen to them, and [TikTok] is where they are.”
TOP: Manly Bands is working with Shopify and TikTok to boost the brand’s shopping potential on social media. (All photos courtesy of Manly Bands)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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