As a small business owner, I understand the pains of trying to do it all—especially on social media. My company, The Creative Exchange (TCE), has helped direct-to-consumer startups and businesses take advantage of the latest trends in social media marketing.
From mastering TikTok to unearthing old channels, TCE has been able to drive strategies that produce results for the scrappiest of startups and businesses looking to scale into new territories.
In this article, I’ll share the latest trends for TikTok marketing and social marketing that I discuss with my clients so you can stay-up-date so your business won’t miss out.
Don’t worry about big ad budgets and marketing gurus, I know the practical frameworks you’re looking for because I’ve been in your shoes.
I originally went to school in fashion–focusing on retail and consumer studies, thinking I wanted to be a buyer at a department store–all from my love of shopping growing up. Day one, I realized everyone else in my class wanted the same thing, and that was a complete turn-off. Through school, I fell in love with brands, marketing, and consumer behavior. Then, Instagram launched.
I was in the right place at the right time, working for a local boutique, and volunteered for the opportunity to launch their social media accounts, as well as their ecommerce store–back in the WordPress/WooCommerce days.
This obsession with creating content, reaching audiences all around the world, and having people engage and “like” was the instant gratification I needed with the creative outlet I wanted.
Fast forward a year and a half later, I was handling several small business social media channels and teaching workshops, and landing a strategist position at a national agency. Before senior year I knew I wanted to start a company, which led me to create my agency, TCE, within a year of graduating college.
Starting with just myself, being the photographer, copywriter, graphic designer, community manager, paid ad manager, and account manager all in one (which was highly common then and in some places even now), I have bootstrapped the company and grown the team to over 30 employees and contractors. We create best-in-class content and strategies for CPG brands and manage their social media to help grow their brand.
5 Social Media Trends for CPG Brands
I have learned a lot over the past 9 years in social, and one thing is for sure, how you find/see success changes rapidly, and if you don’t keep up or are open to trying new things and being an early adopter, you may lose a lot of opportunities. So, here are my top takeaways and suggestions for CPG brands on social right now:
#1 TikTok Has Taken Over. Join the Club.
I’m sure this isn’t news, but TikTok has more IOS app downloads than Netflix and is taking screen time from Instagram (a lot of it–have you noticed your IG numbers are down?). If you haven’t fully embraced TikTok, I HIGHLY encourage you to do so. Honestly, if you think about your content or budgets, I dare say consider that 70% of your resources should be on TikTok right now. Here are my top suggestions to get started on TikTok:
Find a Face: Have a face dedicated to the brand (whether a founder, social manager/team or UGC creator) to create content and give the brand a personality.
Post and Review Later: TikTok trends move fast, and it’s more beneficial to just do it by creating and posting than having to go through a lengthy approval process for posting (obviously, make sure you trust who is posting).
Post Consistently: Overall strategy should be focused on posting consistently and keeping true to the brand. With that said, there are so many lanes of content types to explore and try out. Don’t be afraid to just go for it. Examples:
One last note here: you don’t even have to have your own TikTok account to have a presence/be successful here. Unlike Instagram, TikTok is focused on singular videos and not following accounts (everyone just watches their For You Page). So as long as there is content about/around your brand on TikTok, that is all that matters.
#2 The Forgotten Channels are (maybe) Coming Back
You may have discounted Pinterest and Snapchat or only considered them for paid these days, but they are trying to compete with TikTok. Old channels are changing the way they do things by updating their algorithms, adding new features, and even a paid subscription model on Snapchat just launched. It may be worth re-exploring these channels again.
#3 The Pains and Gains of UGC Content Creation
UGC (user-generated content) used to be an acronym I had to explain to everyone. Now, everyone (including every TikTok user) knows what it is. As a brand, you may have even gotten emails from “UGC creators” wanting to create for you. If you watch TikTok, everyone is talking about how easy it is to create and make money as a UGC creator. And if you don’t know any better, you might discover creators that fit your brand and budget, so you naturally move forward with a contract.
However, my HUGE issue with this is that these people don’t understand strategy at all. So if you don’t know exactly what UGC works and doesn’t (and they don’t either), you are wasting money. I would suggest finding people you like organically or asking for creators who reach out to pitch ideas. Most of the time, they won’t offer anything strategic other than handheld content that someone on your team could have easily made.
Yes, sometimes you will need these simple clips to splice into paid ads, but I assume that isn’t all you need or are looking for. To help you get started and understand the strategic side of this, here are 2 examples (with my feedback) to think about:
Charlotte Tilbury: This is not UGC, but it could be. If you go to the comments, everyone is asking what this girl is doing, and anyone interested in makeup knows that logo. What brands need to wrap their head around is not having the content be all about them but a component. You’re intrigued by what she is saying but watching what she is doing.
Juneshine: A good brand example that used a current trend. But to make it feel even more relevant, he should have said “before they are unalived”–as you can’t say the word “died” on TikTok– because it’s a separate “trend” of people using unalived.
Speaking of UGC, here is a cool tool I just came across to encourage customers to post more about your brand: Bounty
#4 QVC Is Being Reinvented on Social
Shopping features are taking over all social media channels (and are HUGE in China right now and are soon to come to the US with special features on TikTok). Every channel is essentially building to be a commerce platform, and from what I have seen, the biggest is on LIVE selling–so essentially, QVC is back and recreated for GenZ on their iPhones.
It’s important to be an early adopter here and not be afraid to fail. As you gain access to these new features ( it’s on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest), think about who or how you can set this up. The sooner you are to use a new feature, the higher probability of success you will have. If you are a big brand, social channels WANT to make a case study out of you and will most likely offer paid assistance, so be sure to reach out to your rep if you have that kind of pull.
#5 Instagram is Striking Back
Obviously, Instagram is still being used, and to combat TikTok, they have a ton of updates. One of the most important ones to be aware of is their rollout of a full content feed (similar to TikTok), and all videos will become/be a Reel (aka 9:16 size). So keep that in mind as you are creating content. Seems like horizontal anything is out.
Stay Ahead of the TikTok Trends
The only certainty with social media marketing is that the trends and technology will always be evolving as long as the internet still exists. More and more businesses are getting faster adapting to trends, which makes it critical for you to innovate in order to compete with Fortune 500 companies shelling out cash for TikTok influences and celebrity endorsements.
Thankfully, with TikTok ads, you can cut through the noise and reach your target audience. In our free masterclass
Gerardo Perez founder of “Marketing&” a TikTok digital agency, will show you how to create your first high-converting ad from start to finish, even if you’re a total beginner. Plus, you’ll see why reposting winning Facebook & Instagram ads on TikTok doesn’t work and what Gerardo recommends you should do instead.