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The New Way Customers are Interacting with Your Brand Online

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Brooke Lynch
12/14/2020

TikTok

We’re spending more of our day online than ever before; from the minute we wake up, we habitually scroll through news, check our favorite social media platforms, and text friends to stay in the loop. Daily routines have shifted and without the everyday exchanges between coworkers and friends, some are turning to social media as their main source of interaction.

With this renewed sense of connection online, lines are beginning to blur between what’s used for entertainment purposes vs. genuine communication. Individuals are utilizing new platforms to connect virtually, in a time where isolation is encouraged. 

This newfound creativity online has also extended into the customer experience. The pandemic has changed the way customers are interacting with brands, and instead of using typical channels, they’re appropriating social platforms to reach their favorite companies.

 

Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

This new innovation in customer service is most prominent on platforms like TikTok, a social media app where users share short-form videos and just about anyone can go viral. The app, which was ranked third in the fastest-growing brands of 2020, has seen a massive surge in viewers since the start of the pandemic. With an estimated 800 million monthly active users, the platform is attracting a broad demographic of users posting everything from cooking videos to dance routines. 

In addition to the abundance of unique content being shared each day, we’ve seen users take to the platform to communicate with their favorite brands. By sharing their message on TikTok, they are able to take advantage of the visibility the platform attracts to reach out to brands more directly. Customers are both raving and sharing grievances about their most-used products and brands. 

A recent video posted by TikTok user Makisaskye exemplifies this trend. In the post, she addresses the CEO of BarkBox, Matt Meeker. The company, a monthly subscription service for pet necessities, discontinued her dog’s favorite toy and the video effectively lays out all of the reasons they should bring it back. She uses the platform to rave about the brand, giving an organic testimonial for the quality of the product and the happiness its brought her pet. She furthers her argument by showing off the endless five-star reviews of the toy along with comments pleading to bring it back.  

@makisaskye

@barkbox how many likes does this video need for you to bring Winston back?? ##barkbox ##bringbackwinston ##HappyHolidays

♬ Blue Blood - Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

Her one-woman campaign was ultimately successful, BarkBox commented on her post officially asking Makisa and her dog Benny to work with them. They sent her a box-full of the special toy and we get to see the success of her customer experience play out from beginning to end. 

 

What this Means

Looking at the BarkBox example, we see the promise of user-generated content on TikTok not only as a tool for brand visibility but as a unique way for customers to show off products and interact with brands they love. 

According to a new Cloudinary survey, 58% of people said they’re producing more content, like videos and written reviews, since the pandemic began. With this rise in consumer-driven content, younger generations are coming to rely on visual testimonials. Over 70% of Millennials and Gen Z respondents cited reviews as an extremely helpful resource in their purchasing decision. 

Because young people are so attracted to visual product reviews and testimonials, we can understand why they’re flocking to platforms like TikTok for their customer service needs. And with the current lack of in-person social interactions, users are even more inclined to share their product recommendations online, and to a much larger audience. Brands then benefit from the increase in visibility and authenticity social media reviews promote while ultimately providing their customers with more reliable and invaluable recommendations.  

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