To TikTok Or Not? Where Indie Beauty Brands Stand On The App

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 15 founders and executives: Is your brand on TikTok?

Jasmine Lewis Founder and CEO, Vie Beauty

I have taken Vie Beauty to TikTok, but we have not maximized it to its full potential. The content on there tends to go viral and very fast! I found myself on there watching tutorials for food, home and beauty hacks. It is easy to navigate the platform, much like Instagram. TikTok allows you to reach and build a new audience that you may not have, show a lighter side to your brand, and provide quick tutorials that people can follow along with and reenact. 

The challenges are by far the best marketing tools on there. There is a challenge for everything! I feel like the people that create content on there definitely have a special talent. The only downfall of this app is all of the data and security concerns surrounding the app that makes me semi-hesitant to really invest a lot of time into it.

Shani Darden Founder, Shani Darden Skin Care

TikTok is one of the fastest evolving social platforms we’ve seen yet. Our team has been monitoring the trends to determine how our content pillars align best with the platform. With all the content we produce, our goal is to make clinical skincare accessible and easy to understand. TikTok’s bite-sized format is great for sharing short skincare tips and self-care techniques in a way that’s fresh and engaging. 

Since it’s less of a pay-to-play channel, content has a higher chance of organically trending than on Instagram or Facebook. We’re focused on building brand awareness for the rest of 2020 and will be producing more content for the channel to help support our goals.

GARONNE DECOSSARD Founder, The Ronnie Shop

With TikTok being banned by many entities, and the fact that my customer base is still very much on Instagram and Facebook, I didn’t give it much thought. I am focusing more on taking advantage of all the wonderful marketing opportunities Instagram has to offer before delving into any other platform. For my customer base and age range, I still have so much opportunity to reach them on Instagram and Facebook. 

Facebook ads have been so beneficial now that I found an agency that does excellent customer targeting and retargeting for my brand. I am all about targeted marketing now, and Facebook provides a very robust platform allowing brands to do that, with some tech-savvy help, of course. I will definitely ask my agency if TikTok has something similar and look into if my target customer is prolific on TikTok.  

Ahmed Nayel Co-Founder, Bare + Bloom

Even though the average TikTok user is between 16 and 24 years old (right outside our target demographic), the popularity of the app can’t be ignored. Having recently overtaken all the other social media platforms as the most downloaded iTunes app, it would be foolish to ignore the potential of TikTok to increase the size and scope of our audience and customer base. YouTube and Instagram have proven that we have a seemingly insatiable appetite for skin and haircare, and overall wellness content. Bare + Bloom certainly plans to join the growing number of beauty brands on TikTok, and create a more fun and playful way to connect with customers!

LaToya A. Stirrup Founder, Kazmaleje

As a new, indie brand, TikTok is definitely a point of interest for us. Even though we have not developed a full strategy yet, the platform has us in our creative bag thinking of fun things to try. We are definitely looking at some of the early adopter brands to see what has worked for them and how they are using the space to engage with their fans.

MAX OBERLOHER Chief Operating Officer, Niche Beauty Lab

We took our brand onto TikTok not long ago. While Instagram is still our primary communication channel, it was a strategic decision for us considering the upcoming launch of our gen Z brand. TikTok is an interesting platform because it is very trend-driven and, if you get the trend right, you are rewarded with higher engagement rates and greater reach than on Instagram. 

Currently, we are still testing what type of content works best, but what we have seen so far is that content needs to be tailored for TikTok. This does not mean content needs to be highly edited. Quite the opposite, content should be real, entertaining and tap into a current trend whether it be a dance, a song or a type of challenge. Thus, we do not use Instagram content for TikTok. Interestingly, however, it works the other way, and TikTok content does very well on Instagram.

Aisha Shannon-Bates Founder, Coil Beauty

At this time, we are not launching the brand on TikTok. We are a small business, and we are still trying to master engagement with our customers on our other social platforms. So, with that said, we will hold off on TiKTok for now, but we never say never, so we will likely pop up on there at some point!

Inessa Vike Co-Founder, Vike Beauty

Yes, we have taken our brand onto TikTok. During the quarantine, we have reached out to many influencers and bloggers online and sent out PR packages. Today, we have gathered over 2.4 million views on our hashtag #vikebeauty. TikTok is a super fun app and has an amazing algorithm. Our strategy is to bring more brand awareness. The app allows you to be creative and post videos in the moment.

STEPHANIE EYISON Founder and CEO, Atarah

When I created the brand two years ago, our social media strategy was exclusively Facebook and Instagram. Why? Because our target market was very active on those two platforms. I believe it is better to start small and really capture your audience than to spread yourself thin. TikTok, therefore, is not part of our plan or strategy for 2020, at least. 

I think it is important for small businesses to understand what works for them and where their target audiences are most likely to be found. It is important to be malleable as a business, but it is more essential to have a solid foundation and that, for me, is truly understanding my audience, their needs and providing the best solution for those needs. 

Budget-wise, too, it is the better option to just stick with the platforms that work for us. Small businesses, unlike established brands, do not operate with a sizable marketing budget and do not have as much wiggle room to venture out to new platforms. TikTok is a great platform, but definitely not suited for our business at the moment.

Allison McNamara Founder, Mara

We have had so much fun translating Mara onto the TikTok platform @themarabeauty_. I love the organic, undone feel of the video content, and we love the challenge of articulating trending songs and dances into skincare content. We are a clean, prestige skincare line all about education and results-driven formulas, which we can brilliantly show through videos like this skin transformation video, which garnered 18.5K views. 

Our strategy has been all about consistency and experimentation. We aim to upload two videos a day, and have been experimenting with timing and type of content. Our best performers have been skin shots, ASMR dripping face oil shots or a hybrid of the two. To date, our most watched video was this skin and oil dripping video featuring Algae Retinol Oil, which so far has racked up 75.4K views and counting.

MARY-ANDRÉE ARDOUIN-GUERRIER Founder and CEO, Loving Culture

According to Statista, a majority of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 19. The majority of my Loving Culture community are outside that age range. I honestly believe it is best for my brand to continue to expand on our existing platforms and nurture our supporters in those spaces rather than jump on every new wave that comes along.

Jas Chung Founder, Bombay Hair

Yes, we are. We want to reach the younger generation and, overall, build a fun vibe for our brand that fits the TikTok trends. 

Aleesha Worthington Senior Brand Director, Scotch Porter

We’re always looking to diversify our organic and paid digital channels in the spirit of remaining agile to new opportunities. We see potential for our brand to thrive on the TikTok platform as self-care continues to become more mainstream, especially amongst the male consumer.

The days are long done where consumers and influencers always show up online “ready”. They want to take their audience along for the ride and Scotch Porter is the perfect product to help them do just that. We’re excited about the education, validation and share of voice driven by these type of social connections.

ADODO ROBINSON Founder, Delali Robinson Cosmetics

Tik Tok has definitely taken off. Personally I don’t know if I will be doing videos as I am a little shy when it comes to social media and being in front of cameras, so we are looking for micro influencers to help create content and buzz.

Drea Gunness Groeschel Founder and CEO, Beautiac

Not at the moment. The demographic is too young for our current target customer, but we are watching it closely as it has gained a lot of awareness recently and being first on a platform can certainly help a business gain ground quickly without as much competition using it.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to [email protected].