More Brands and Content Creators Warm Up to TikTok Amid Social Distancing Order

In this new world of social distancing, TikTok is having a moment among brands and influencers.

Fashion brands that have already been using the platform are counting on an uptick in time spent on the app in the coming weeks as Covid-19 continues to spread. According to influencer marketing agency Obviously, engagement on TikTok increased 27% from February to March, based on data gathered from the agency’s own influencer campaigns. As a result, companies like Ivory Ella — a mission-driven apparel brand that targets Gen Z and supports elephant conservation — are working with influencer partners to create more content and keep users engaged and occupied while they sit at home.

“We have been a community-driven brand since the beginning, and more than ever, it is important for us to support them as they have supported us and our mission,” said Cathy Quain, CEO of Ivory Ella. “We expect to see a surge in time spent on the platform and will be doing more tutorials and contests, and expanding our creator reach.”

The brand started using TikTok last summer and has grown the account to 250,000-plus followers, with over 1.5 billion views on videos featuring Ivory Ella products. The company works with creators like @mckenziebrooke (3 million followers), @iamjordiofficial (5.1 million followers) and @jasminexgonzalez (4.5 million followers), reposting content the influencers publish to its own account. Ivory Ella sends out product, but it doesn’t tell influencers what to wear or post, said Quain.

With so many communities currently self-isolating, especially in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, more brands and creators are taking the time to figure out if and how TikTok may fit into their overall marketing strategy, said Chris Damsen, svp of data partnerships at influencer marketing platform Traackr.

“Being at home and not having to run around like we normally do has allowed for people to learn the platform. That has been a barrier for certain content creators up until now, that TikTok is new and feels complicated. But now content creators say they have time to learn it and are putting content out there,” said Sherry Jhawar, co-founder and president of celebrity and influencer marketing company Blended Strategy Group.

Other brands that could see a boost in engagement or even sales during this time are athletic wear and loungewear companies, said Damsen. Brands like Nike, Reebok, Gymshark and Puma have already created and posted to TikTok accounts.

“In terms of fashion brands, we are definitely starting to see some movement onto TikTok. What is interesting is athletic and leisure brands will continue to thrive during this time. More people are filming themselves working out at home and livestreaming workouts,” Damsen said.

Damsen said a colleague, who is also a micro-influencer, received a care package from a pajama brand this week. He expects this will become a trend, as brands tap into the new norm of people working from home and wanting to be comfortable.

While there is great opportunity at this time to connect with Gen Z and other TikTok users who are spending the day at home, Damsen cautioned luxury brands on how they approach TikTok. In recent months, more luxury companies including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry have started to warm up to the platform either by posting their own content or challenges on TikTok or by partnering with content creators that already have large followings there.

“Luxury brands need to be careful and mindful not to come across as tone-deaf, given the uncertainty we are living in now,” he said.

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