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Building brand trust and loyalty in the era of community commerce

Greg Bailie, sales lead at Global Business Solutions, TikTok sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: Supplied

Greg Bailie, sales lead at Global Business Solutions, TikTok sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 2, 2023


BRANDS are continuously looking for new and creative ways to connect with customers and promote their products in this digital age.

The pandemic and technology advancements have fuelled the recent rapid expansion of e-commerce. Businesses have a great opportunity to get in touch with their customers and communicate with them through online platforms since social media has made it an essential part of the consumer experiences.

Due to its distinctive style, language, and aesthetic, TikTok has become an influential force in swaying its users' purchasing decisions. In 2021 more than 1 billion active monthly users around the globe were utilising the platform, with many of them purchasing products after seeing they had been promoted on the platform.

Greg Bailie, sales lead, Global Business Solutions, TikTok -Sub Saharan Africa, gave more insight on the era of community commerce.

On utilising the peer-to-peer reviews on TikTok for community commerce, Bailie explained that the use of social media to build a community around a product or brand has become an effective method for businesses seeking substantial returns on their marketing spend and investments.

“Using ‘community commerce’, businesses can further build loyalty and increase brand awareness among consumers. Beyond just selling products, the focus is on building valuable and engaging relationships with the customer base,” said Bailie.

On social media platforms, peer-to-peer reviews also play a significant role in influencing purchasing decisions.

A study conducted by BrightLocal found that 98% of consumers read online reviews of local businesses, with 46% of consumers believing that online reviews are equally trustworthy as personal recommendations, demonstrating the significance of maintaining positive reviews.

Bailie said that on TikTok, peer-to-peer reviews were often in the form of user-generated content, where consumers share their experiences with a product through short-form videos.

“This type of content is particularly effective in driving engagement and purchase decisions among younger audiences, who are more likely to trust recommendations from their peers over traditional advertising, which can often feel insincere,” Bailie said.

For businesses of all sizes, TikTok's community commerce could be a game-changer in an African setting.

Bailie said the platform had democratised the social media landscape and allowed businesses to engage with consumers authentically.

“African brands are increasingly using community commerce on TikTok to build brand awareness, drive sales, and foster a sense of community around their brand.

Some examples in South Africa include Checkers, which leveraged TikTok’s Spark Ads to fuel reach and generate awareness and positive engagements; Mr Price, which inspired users to engage with the #MrPriceEverydayViral hashtag challenge by sharing their everyday viral moments and expressing their unique styles, and reached over 200 million hashtag challenge (HTC) views; and Skoon Cosmetics, which garnered more than 20 million video views, elevating the brand’s visibility and establishing itself as a significant player in the highly competitive African beauty industry,” Bailie said.

In ensuring a safe space for brands and users, he explained that, as with any digital platform, ensuring brand safety and building trust with consumers was vital.

“To mitigate the risk of encountering inappropriate or offensive content that could damage a brand’s reputation, TikTok has taken a proactive approach to brand safety,” he said.

The content moderation policies that TikTok has implemented are aimed at identifying and removing any content that violates its community guidelines.

To ensure that TikTok remains a welcoming and secure environment for all users, these policies are regularly updated to reflect changes in the platform's user base and the evolving digital landscape.

Bailie said that TikTok provides advertisers with a range of tools and features to help them control where and how their ads appear.

Advertisers can reach the right people with the right message by targeting audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviours.

“As TikTok continues to grow in popularity, its potential for community commerce will only continue to expand,” he said.