Originally posted on morningbrew.
Companies big and small see the platform as an important channel for new consumers, which has led to the emerging job category.
Over the summer, as brands and retailers geared up for the back-to-school season, JanSport focused on TikTok to reach young shoppers. The backpack company partnered with Gen Z consulting firm JUV to recruit a “chief mood officer,” a (crucially, paid) Zoomer to spearhead weekly TikTok content during the 2021–’22 school year.
“Nativity is so important on TikTok,” JUV’s 22-year-old CEO Ziad Ahmed told Retail Brew. “In marketing…when a bunch of people [create something, and] look nothing like the community they’re trying to serve, [it’s] going to feel forced, because it is forced.”
TikTok’s meteoric rise has led to an emerging job category and qualification: TikTok experts. Companies big and small see the platform as a new channel for new consumers, and an increasingly important part of their overall social media strategy.
“In terms of brand hiring, we’re in the early stages,” Kearney’s Katherine Black said. “But the job is on the rise…and we’re about to see a ton of growth. If you don’t have that capacity or capability in house, acquiring a specialist makes a ton of sense.”
- A LinkedIn search shows openings for TikTok–related jobs and internships at companies like Urban Outfitters, Grove Collaborative, and Briogeo.
A team effort: Ahmed emphasized the importance of having multiple tapped-in voices leading TikTok strategies. “There are so many sides of TikTok,” he said. “That necessitates having a diverse array of young people in JanSport’s ear saying where culture is heading.” (The company still hasn’t found the right moody Gen Zer for the CMO position.)
At Chipotle, which has experimented on the social media platform over the last couple of years—it’s even hired employees based on TikTok résumés—there’s *technically* one person who oversees its “owned content” on TikTok. But ideas “can come from anywhere,” said Tressie Lieberman, the company’s VP of digital and off-premise.
Once Chipotle saw success with its “lid flip challenge” back in 2019, where users would flip and catch the top of their burrito bowls, the company went all in. “Our social team started to create content right away…We built the team over time and have invested more into TikTok,” Lieberman told us. (She couldn’t share how much $$ Chipotle has put toward TikTok.)
Chipotle also partners with creators to develop content and shares relevant videos from users across the platform. Lieberman emphasized “not trying to copy anybody else’s playbook” and producing “work that is truly unique to your brand.” Matt Cleary, TikTok’s director of retail and dining global business solutions, told us back in June that Gen Z “can sniff out when a brand is not being authentic.”
- The content is a mix of company-led and creator-led videos including #ChipotleHacks, Chipotle-inspired Halloween costume ideas, and “POV: gym bro ordering Chipotle after the gym.”
- Last month, the company introduced its “creator class,” a group of young consultants who help inform Chipotle’s TikTok strategy. They’re unpaid, but get access to “special perks” and paid opportunities.
In the know: Tula Skincare is in the process of strengthening its TikTok operation, currently hiring for a “TikTok specialist.” DTC is the brand’s largest channel, generating about 50% of revenue (it declined to disclose specific figures). While 60% of its customers are millennials, according to the company, popularity among Gen Z consumers is growing. TL;DR: A robust online presence is essential for Tula’s biz.
“We wanted to really double down on TikTok and bring in talent that’s really uniquely focused on the nuances of that platform and create content that’s going to resonate,” Tula CEO Savannah Sachs told us.
Tula is sharing the TikTok specialist job opportunity on the platform and asking for video content as part of the application process. The content needs to be “tailored,” “entertainment focused,” “raw,” and not just “copy and pasted” from Instagram.
- This year, Tula has gained 300,000+ followers on the platform.
- The company runs its social media, organic and paid, in-house. User-generated content is another big part of the strategy.
- Tula was the first US beauty brand to test TikTok’s recently added shoppable videos ads, according to Sachs.
“We are a digitally native and social-first brand,” Sachs explained. “Ultimately, it’s about meeting our target customers where they are.”
“If you’re not already leaning in and investing in TikTok, you’re a step behind,” Sachs claimed. “TikTok specialists and specialized talent are a must, but at the same time, the entire team needs to really understand the importance of the platform and what drives success.”
Zoom out: With a Shopify partnership and its new TikTok Shopping features, the platform has transformed into a bona fide social-commerce destination. Coresight’s Erin Schmidt called this development a “game changer” that’ll create the need for more specialists. “There will be even more focus on TikTok for brands and retailers as another sales channel.”