Ecommerce chatbots have exploded in popularity in recent years. This is thanks to increasing online purchases and the growth of omnichannel retail. Gartner predicts chatbots will be the main customer service tool for 25% of companies by 2027.
What’s driving the ecommerce chatbot revolution—a market that’s expected to hit $1.25 billion by 2025? Cost savings, better customer service, and multi-channel interactions at scale. Chatbots save retailers time and money by allowing them to customers at any time.
Let’s dig into how they do it.
Bonus: Learn how to sell more products on social media with our free Social Commerce 101 guide. Delight your customers and improve conversion rates.
What is an Ecommerce chatbot?
Ecommerce chatbots are computer programs that interact with website users in real time. They provide customer service, answer questions, recommend products, gather feedback, and track engagement.
There are three types of ecommerce chatbot platforms:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) driven chatbots that use natural language processing and conversational AI. This mimics human behavior and speech patterns.
- Rules-based chatbots that offer answers to predefined questions that a user may ask.
- Hybrid chatbots that offer AI and rules-based conversations.
Most messenger bots integrate with WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Google Business Messenger. That means retailers can offer omnichannel shopping experiences for their customers.
By doing so, retailers can provide always-on support, at a better price than full-time staff.
5 ways an ecommerce chatbot can improve your website
Ecommerce chatbots improve website functionality and user experience. How they do that depends on how they’re deployed and used.
“Chatbots are becoming an integral part of the ecommerce experience. They’re making it easier for customers to order from their favorite brands. And they’re helping large retailers save time and money,” explained Chris Rother. He’s the CEO and founder of Highline Wellness.
“Chatbots can reduce the number of customer service interactions you have by up to 80%. This is what we experienced when we integrated a live chatbot with our ecommerce store.”
This is because ecommerce chatbots can:
- Answer FAQs
- Engage customers
- Automate sales
- Offer post-sale support
- Gather feedback and data
Here’s how each one of those improves an ecommerce website.
1. Answer FAQs
Think of an ecommerce chatbot as an employee who knows (almost) everything. They’re always available and never get tired of answering the same question. FAQ chatbots can answer questions, and push customers to the next step in their user journey.
This is a major time and money-saver for online retailers. They can outsource routine tasks and focus on personalized customer service. It also means that customers will always have someone (or something) on the other end of a chat window.
Hootsuite’s Heydey, automates customer FAQs, order tracking questions, and general customer support. It can also recommend products, and send feedback requests. This further boosts sales and brand engagement. And, this is available for many brands, countries, departments, and sales channels.
2. Engage customers
AI-powered ecommerce chatbots provide an interactive experience for users. They answer questions, offer information, and recommend new products and or services. And they do this at any time of the day.
The always-on nature of ecommerce chatbots is key to their effectiveness. Without one, retailers would miss the opportunity to interact with some users. This is a missed opportunity to create brand loyalty and land a sale.
Instead, chatbots ensure that retailers can always:
- Ask the customer if they need help
- Gather information about their needs and interests
- Make suggestions based on that information
- Guide them to similar content or products
- Walk them through the sales process
- Re-engage past customers to encourage repeat business
Ecommerce chatbots boost average lifetime value (LTV) and build long-term brand loyalty.
Here’s what Tom Leighton, COO of Sofary, had to say:
“Chatbots are a great way for large ecommerce businesses such as ours to reach new customers. Chatbots allow you to reach out to your customers in a way that’s customizable. It can be a lot more cost-effective than traditional marketing strategies. The best chatbots use artificial intelligence to understand your customers’ needs. By doing so, they can provide relevant information when they ask for it.”
3. Automate sales
With ecommerce chatbots, retailers can:
- Walk customers through the buyer’s journey
- Offer them customized product suggestions
- Inform them about sales and promotions
- Prompt them to the next stage in the checkout process
Cart abandonment has always been an issue in online shopping. When a customer has a question about a product and they want an answer before they buy, a chatbot can be there to help. Some ecommerce chatbots, like Heyday, do this in multiple languages.
Many chatbots can also handle bot-to-human handoffs. This is great for when conversations get too complicated for AI.
“Another major benefit of using chatbots is that it gives us many opportunities to upsell. ,” adds Chris from Highline Wellness. “We’re also able to offer consumers more personalized experiences. That in turn boosts our retention rates. It also increases the likelihood that our customers will refer us to others.”
4. Offer post-sale support
Post-sale support helps build long-term trust and loyalty. This, in turn, drives repeat purchases and increases LTV. This is another area where always-on chatbots for ecommerce shine.
The best chatbots answer questions about order issues, shipping delays, refunds, and returns. They also can offer product tips. This reduces the workload for custom service agents. And, it ensures that customers get answers to their questions at any time of time. This support is available across many retail and messaging channels.
5. Gather feedback and data
Ecommerce chatbots collect a wealth of data. This includes data about customer queries, behavior, engagement, sentiment, and interactions. This gives you valuable insights about why customers are, and what they value.
This helps retailers improve their website, visitor experience, and support.
The best chatbots present this data through dashboards. This allows retailers to identify and focus on the most important improvement opportunities.
How to use a chatbot for an ecommerce website
Finding the right chatbot for your online store means understanding your business needs. You also need to understand what your customers want. Different chatbots offer different features that can address both.
Here’s how to navigate the process.
Step 1: Decide what kind of service you need your chatbot to perform
The first step is to take stock of what you need your chatbot to do for your business and customers.
Run through the following list and check off the functionalities you need:
- Simple or complex FAQ answers
- Pre-sale engagement
- Sales promotions
- Product suggestions
- Prompts to add items to cart
- Prompts to checkout
- Add-on suggestions
- Post-sales engagement
- Gathering feedback
- Asking for reviews
- Providing shipping update
- Providing product info and tips
- Suggesting complimentary items
- General support
- Always-on support
- Suggested resources
Take stock of how many boxes you checked above. That will help guide you toward chatbots that offer the functionality you need. This will also help steer you toward (or away from) AI-powered solutions.
Step 2: Research ecommerce chatbot platforms for your industry
Once you have your requirements, it’s time to put your research hat on. Look to websites like G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, Capterra, and Gartner to create a list of vendors to talk to. Schedule some calls, and begin creating a shortlist. Collaborate with your ecommerce team to decide on the best solution.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when shopping for chatbots:
- In-house development and maintenance or plug and play
- Rules-based or AI
- Data and analytics
- Sales hand off
- Upfront and ongoing costs
Your team’s requirements will help inform which platforms to shortlist.
Need help deciding which chatbot is right for your business? Check out The AI Chatbot Vendor Evaluation Checklist.
Step 3: Check out this guide on Shopify chatbots
Shopify users can check out Hootsuite’s guide called How to Use a Shopify Chatbot to Make Sales Easier. This highlights the different ways chatbots improve Shopify ecommerce stores’ customer support. It talks about why Shopify users should install a chatbot. You’ll also learn do’s and don’ts for retailers.
Step 4: Pick the chatbot that’s right for your business and customers
Your and your customers’ needs will both help inform the right ecommerce chatbot for you. You likely have a good handle on what your business needs from a chatbot. But you customers can be more tricky to understand.
Start by gathering information and data that you already have access to. If you have a site search, look at the queries that customers are searching for. Read through comment sections, online reviews, and chat rooms. These may give you insights into the type of information that your customers are seeking. Talk to your sales reps and gather their insights as well. List out all customer pain points. Find spots in the user experience that are causing buyer friction.
Use Google Analytics, heat maps, and any other tools that let you track website activity. This will help determine how and where to deploy your chatbot.
Layer these findings on top of your business needs and pain points. By doing so, you’ll get a good idea of what features you and your customers need from a chatbot.
Step 5: Install the ecommerce chatbot
Once you’ve chosen your ecommerce platform, it’s time to install it to your web properties. Every chatbot installation is a little bit different. We’ll use Heydey as an example for this process.
First, you’ll need to add the chatbot code to your website. Do this through HTML or Google Tag Manager.
Shopify customers can download and install Heydey through the Shopify App Store.
Next, set up your business hours and timezone. Edit your welcome and absence message to match your brand’s voice and tone. This will ensure that users are aware of the days and times when a live agent is, and isn’t, available.
Invite your team to Heydey using their names and email address. Encourage them to download the Heydey app, and start chatting.
Once up and running, you can create customized user flows and automation.
Step 6: Set up chatbot analytics
Again, setting up and tracking chatbot analytics will vary depending on the platform. This comes out of the box in Heyday, and includes various ways to segment and view customer chatbot data.
This includes the following dashboards and filterable views.
A general overview page that shows real-time user metrics. You can filter by channel, hours, and dates.
A customer overview page that shows customer demographics.
A conversation overview page that shows engagement metrics for all conversations.
A chatbot performance page that shows user flow types, and who engaged or didn’t engage with the chatbot.
Once your chatbot is up and running, familiarize yourself with these views. Create custom views, if they’re available, to help you zero in on the metrics that matter most to your business.
Step 7: Track user engagement and behavior
Keep a close eye on user engagement, sales funnel impact, and customer satisfaction. Create a cadence for your team to track, analyze and respond to this valuable data on a regular basis.
Use these insights to improve your website structure, user flow, and checkout experience. You can also use them to improve chatbot conversation prompts and replies.
Adjust when your chatbot first contacts users. Experiment with different messages. Try new automation flows and product suggestions. Add or remove team members from the process at different stages.
Keep an eye on the ripple effect of these actions. Use those insights to improve user experience and internal processes.
Ecommerce chatbot platform examples
We’ve talked a lot about ecommerce chatbots, and how they work. But seeing them in action is the best way to learn about their benefits.
Groupe Dynamite: Customer service
Online shoppers have big expectations from their favorite brands. They want fast and reliable customer service. And they want it on any device or platform they use.
This bilingual chatbot interacts with customers in each of Groupe Dynamite’s ecommerce stores. It answers FAQs, and queries about customer orders. Customers also get information about payment and financing options.
Most important, the chatbot makes it easier for customers to search for, find, and buy products.
Banks and financial institutes are one of the leading chatbot users. Most use them to answer FAQs. It’s little wonder. Banking and finance are complicated industries. They have lots of customers streaming to the site every day.
Tangerine handles this volume with a rules-based chatbot. It’s designed to answer FAQs about the company’s products in English and French.
The chatbot starts with a prompt that asks the user to select a product or service line. There’s also the option to input a query. Based on your selection, it then puts you through a series of questions. As you answer them, the chatbot funnels you to the right piece of information.
Attitude: 24/7 support
Attitude is a Canada-based retailer. They sell natural personal care and household products to more than 50 countries. Like many online businesses, Attitude experienced rapid growth during the pandemic. This meant it needed to expand its customer service capacity.
An AI-powered chatbot was their solution of choice. They us ite to handle FAQs, order tracking, product questions, and other simple queries 24/7.
DeSerres: Product suggestions
DeSerres is one of the most prominent art and leisure supply chains in Canada. They saw a huge growth in demand during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020. This also led to increases in customer service requests and product questions.
To meet the demand, DeSerres rolled out an AI chatbot. They use it to engage with customers across many channels.
One of the primary functions of DeSerres’ chatbot is product suggestion. The chatbot prompts the user to share what they are looking for. From there, it suggests products that are in stock and provides an option to learn more about that item. Users can then click on an item and buy on the next page if desired.
Gymshark: Post-sales support
Gymshark is a major online Shopify retailer. They sell fitness and apparel products worldwide.
The company has a robust social commerce experience. They ship serious volumes of products and are prominent on social media in 130 countries.
Gymshark uses a chatbot to handle post-sale support questions. In particular, questions around order status, refunds, shipping, and delivery times.
Turn conversations into customers and save time on customer service with Heyday, our dedicated conversational AI chatbot for ecommerce retailers. Deliver 5-star customer experiences — at scale.
How This Underwear Brand Won with an Anti-Black-Friday Social Campaign
Ah, Black Friday.
It’s no surprise that the official kick-off day for the holiday shopping season is responsible for a massive annual surge in consumer spending, reaching $8.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021. But while this is a yearly slam-dunk for big box retailers, Black Friday can bring more challenges than benefits for small businesses.
Slashing prices to make sales cuts straight into their bottom line — and with limited marketing budgets and resources, competing with big brands takes courage, insight, and creativity. That’s why the small businesses that stand out during the holiday season are the ones that connect with the unique wants and needs of their customers, get bold with their marketing strategies, and create thumb-stopping content that’s sure to get people talking.
Last year, UK-based sustainable underwear brand and Hootsuite customer Pantee won Black Friday with a campaign that broke convention and raised awareness of unsustainable impulse buying. We interviewed Pantee’s founders, sisters Amanda and Katie McCourt, to learn how they did it, what the results were, and what they’ve learned for future campaigns.
What is Pantee?
Pantee is an underwear brand making a difference: their products are made using “deadstock” fabrics, or unsold inventory that would otherwise end up in landfills. Designed by women, for women and the planet, Pantee’s products are created with comfort and style in mind, while helping prevent unused garments from going to waste.
@pantee_uk We launched a business in lockdown! Here’s how we did it ✨🩲 #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown ♬ Bubble – Official Sound Studio
For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or trend to jump on; the brand was founded with this purpose at its core. The idea came to life in a thrift store in 2019, when Amanda was browsing second-hand clothing stores in London and was blown away by the number of brand-new t-shirts lining the shelves, tags still on them.
“It was crazy to me how many people had given away clothes before even wearing them once,” says Amanda. “It got me thinking: If this is how many discarded clothes we can see, how much is there that we can’t see? Once I started researching, I knew that we could make a difference. It’s very difficult to get buying right in the fashion industry with trends and shopping cycles changing so frequently, and as a result, many companies overproduce. I became fixated on the idea of what we could do with deadstock clothing.”
The short answer to Amanda’s question on how much waste we can’t see: a lot. The fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste each year, and approximately 30% of clothes made are never even sold.
With a bold passion to make a difference for our planet—and after realizing that the soft cotton t-shirt fabric everyone loves would lend itself well to underwear and wireless bras—Amanda and Katie named the business Pantee (an abridged version of “pants made from deadstock tees”) and got to work bringing the concept to life.
@pantee_uk Upcycling never felt so good ♻️ link in bio to learn more about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion ♬ luxurious – milo
Since initially launching their Kickstarter in November 2020 (where they raised £11,000) and Shopify site in February 2021, Pantee has grown into a successful sustainable startup—upcycling more than 1,500 kgs of deadstock fabric in its first 1.5 years alone. Pantee also plants one tree for every order placed (resulting in over 1,500 trees planted!) and is a proud member of 1% For the Planet.
Flipping the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ campaign
Leading up to the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had one thing on their minds: overconsumption. Already an issue in the fashion industry during the regular season, Black Friday was sure to encourage consumers to make unnecessary purchases—many of which would go unused and end up back on shelves or, worse, in landfills.
So, while many small businesses grappled with whether or not to run sales and promotions, Pantee asked a different question: how could they create a successful campaign while staying true to their mission?
- The solution: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an initiative encouraging consumers to rethink their purchases and avoid impulse buying.
- The message: Stop and think before you buy. Is it something you love? Is it something you need? If so, go ahead— buy and enjoy your new purchase. But if you weren’t already going to make that purchase, consider going without.
“Black Friday is the biggest impulse buying day of the year, and people get easily sucked into sales,” says Katie. “But the mentality should be: Is it really a bargain if you weren’t going to spend the money originally? Our campaign stance was not to encourage impulse buying, and we saw a lot of engagement because of the shared values and common ground it established with our audience.”
“There is so much overconsumption on Black Friday,” adds Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t necessarily don’t make a purchase, but if you’re going to, buy something you’ve wanted for a really long time.”
Pantee didn’t stop there. To bring the campaign to life and put their words into action, the retailer turned off their website to all but their engaged customers, who were only able to access the website through a code they sent to their existing mailing list.
The campaign was an overwhelming success, leading to a significant increase in sales, social engagement and reach, brand awareness and new customer acquisition.
- Engagement on social media doubled throughout the campaign (from 4 to 8%), and organic social impressions reached over 4x the total followers at the time.
- The campaign organically increased web traffic by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 without any supported paid spend.
- Pantee’s mailing list grew by 33% in the week leading up to Black Friday.
- The success of the social campaign extended far beyond Pantee’s Instagram, with the initiative featured in top-tier press including The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Daily Mail, and more.
“While we didn’t run a sale or any promotions last year, Black Friday was the biggest sales day of the year,” says Katie. “By simply taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s worth of web traffic in a matter of hours and had loads of people signing up for our email list. We saw a ton of new, first-time customers just because they valued what we were doing.”
“Brands often think that you can have values, but they won’t convert to sales,” adds Amanda. “But we think that’s changing—and this campaign is a great example of that.”
Pantee is now launching the campaign for the second year and looking forward to even more impressive results.
4 lessons learned from one unconventional campaign
Whether you’re brainstorming future creative campaigns, building out next quarter’s social marketing strategy or already getting started on planning for next year’s holiday season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday campaign holds great lessons that every marketer should keep top of mind. We asked Amanda and Katie for their top four recommendations—here’s what they said.
1. Hone in on your purpose
“We talk a lot about our values as a brand,” says Katie. “And time and time again, we’ve seen that if we talk about an issue, our values, or something with substance behind it, our engagement is so much higher. That’s what people want to see: something that gets them thinking.”
Amanda adds: “I think at one point, we lost our way a bit and became more product and sales heavy on our social channels, and we noticed that we weren’t getting the same reach. Pushing product works through email marketing and other areas of the business, but with social, we’ve seen a bigger opportunity to educate our audience and share useful information that they can walk away with.”
2. An engaged community is everything
“There’s a huge difference between growing a following and growing a following that also has engagement,” explains Katie.” When it comes to social, what we’ve found is that people who engaged with us early on have become advocates for our brand. We see so much value in community and engaging with our customers beyond getting the sale. Many brands see social as a platform to get their message out, but for us, it’s a two-way street.”
3. Don’t be afraid to be bold
“We learned quite early on with our social that the highest peaks of engagement happened when we took a stand for something,” says Katie. “We’ve always been quite mission driven, but we like to have fun with it and not be too preachy. When we’ve launched campaigns with our sustainability mission at the forefront, the engagement has been through the roof.”
4. Remember that there’s more to social than what you’re posting
“Social media isn’t just about what you post, it’s about how you engage with other accounts and make people feel,” explains Amanda. “Spending time on your social platforms connecting with others, building relationships and establishing an engaged community is invaluable. We use our social channels for two-way conversations with both customers and our community – there is so much you can learn when you talk with them instead of at them.”
If there’s one takeaway that rises above all the others, it’s that social is one of the most powerful tools that brands can use to ignite their business, turning bystanders into loyal brand advocates, awareness into sales, and your mission into positive, tangible change. Just ask Pantee.
Find out about the biggest trends shaping social media so you can stay ahead of the game—and make sure your next social campaign is a winner.
How To Find and Use Business-Friendly TikTok Sounds
TikTok is many things to many, many people — a daily vlog, a place to get news and an incredibly popular search engine. Still, it’s important to remember that TikTok started as a place for sounds.
Yes, before it was the all-consuming social media beast it is today, TikTok was mostly known for music. In fact, it merged with a lip-synching service called Musical.ly in 2018 to become the app we know and love today.
Whether it’s a song, a movie clip, a lip-synch or something else, sounds make TikTok special. In fact, 88% of users say sound is vital to the TikTok experience.
Whether you’re promoting your personal page or your business profile, mastering TikTok sounds is always in your best interest.
Read our handy guide to learn how to find sounds on TikTok that work for your business.
Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.
In a way, TikTok sounds work like hashtags do on other social media apps. Add a trending TikTok sound to your video, and you’ll enter into a larger conversation happening around that sound.
If you choose the right sound and do something special with it, you could make a lot of waves. Here’s how to find TikTok sounds that will click with your audience.
The beauty of trending content on TikTok is that it’s easily presented to you right on your For You Page. Unless you’ve royally messed up your algorithm with weird browsing habits, chances are you’ll have viral content on your FYP when you open the app.
And if you notice a sound that’s been used more than once on a cursory scroll, you might have a trending sound on your hands. Tap on the song (at the bottom right) and take a look at what else is happening.
The song’s landing page allows you to add the song to your favorites, share with friends, or use the audio right away.
But this is also a great place to see if an audio trend has really gone mainstream. Check out how many other videos on TikTok use that sound and you’ll have a pretty good sense of whether a song is truly viral.
Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” has been used in 1.5 million TikToks, so it’s safe to say that it’s a pretty popular audio.
In addition to its timeline, TikTok has a powerful search function. You can find plenty of great trending content just by hitting the search bar. Even something as obvious as “viral sounds” will bring up, well, plenty of viral sounds.
You can hit the Hashtags tab of the search results for another set of popular options. Users often hijack trending songs with content unrelated to the trend, but you should strike gold without too much effort.
It’s obvious, for sure, but still worth noting that the best place to find trending TikTok sounds is, well, the TikTok sound library.
The sound tab makes it easy to find a list of recommended playlists with trending sounds. Be sure to look at the “Featured” and “TikTok Viral” playlists for more inspiration.
TikTok has made it even easier than searching for sounds yourself, however, thanks to their Creative Center.
This resource lets you see real-time stats about specific songs and sounds on the app. You can see how well a sound is doing based on specific regions too. This is super helpful if you’re targeting a part of the world that you’re not currently in.
@tiktokforbusinesssea 💥 Visit TikTok Creative Center at our bio for all the inspo you need to bring your #creative A-game. #tiktokforbusiness #tiktoktips ♬ original sound – TikTok for Business SEA
You can view limited info on the Creative Center without logging in, but you’ll need to create a free TikTok Business Account if you want to dive deeper.
You don’t have to stay within TikTok to find the best trending sounds.
You can use these sites to view stats like which TikTok songs are charting and where. You can even see which hashtags are associated with the song.
If a song is trending on TikTok, it’s likely trending worldwide too. TikTok is inherently tied to the modern music industry, so it’s wise to keep an eye on trends at large. If a song is incredibly popular on Spotify or YouTube, it will likely do well on TikTok too.
You can even put on your music industry hat and start watching the Billboard Hot 100 chart to see which songs might be future trends. You could even follow Billboard on TikTok.
@billboard Here’s a breakdown of @Taylor Swift’s big week on the Billboard #Hot100. 💯 #taylorswift #billboard #swifties #midnights #theerastour #antihero #taylornation #billboardcharts #tsmidnights #tsmidnightsts #tsmidnightsalbum ♬ smiles & sunsets – ultmt.
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You’ve learned how to find trending songs, so now all you have to do is add a new Taylor Swift song to your latest video, right? That’s technically the case for influencers, but it’s not so straightforward for business accounts.
Business accounts do not have access to major pop songs — or really, songs by any well-known artists. That’s because potential copyright issues could arise if they use them in an ad.
If your business account tries to use a copyrighted sound, you’ll see the following disclaimer:
Fortunately, there are still plenty of options for using TikTok sounds as a brand.
Here are some options for what you can do.
There are over 150,000 pre-cleared tracks from just about any genre. You won’t have any shortage of options that are suitable for your content.
You can search for songs by genre, hashtag, mood or song title, and there are even playlists you can browse for inspo. It’s an easy solution for branded content.
@nfl that fake out tho 😮💨 @49ers #rayraymccloud #sanfrancisco ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat
The track “Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Vira” by WZ Beat is an example of a royalty-free sound that has gone superviral on the app.
If your marketing budget has room for audio production, consider using TikTok’s in-house sound marketing partners. Last year, TikTok expanded its Marketing Partner Program to include Sound Partners.
The program now boasts offerings from international music companies like Butter, 411 Music Group, Sonhouse, AEYL MUSIC and many, many more.
The cost will vary depending on the scope of your campaign. Some of the production houses also offer subscription services in addition to per-project fees. You could even work with them to strategize the sounds of your entire brand TikTok page.
If you’d rather not use some stock music as your audio track, there are plenty of other options available to you if you opt to make your own sounds. Depending on how ambitious you feel, they can be as complicated or simple as you want.
For one thing, you could make or hire someone to make original music for your TikTok page. That could look like messing around in Garageband or collaborating with an audio composer and musician.
This option isn’t necessarily ideal if you have no musical knowledge whatsoever, but it could pay off in major ways. After all, a branded audio sting or TikTok-ready jingle could travel far if other users want to use it in their videos.
That last point is also why you could do just as well to create an official sound that is just, well, you talking. If you say something memorable enough that others will want to quote, you might find your sound being reused in other videos.
If you’ve named the sound and included mention of your brand somewhere, that could pay off for your project in the long run.
@elfyeah Poof! 💨 Poreless putty can make anything disappear! Show us your #elfvanishingact ✨ @rominagafur #porelessputty #elfyeah #elfcosmetics ♬ Vanishing Act e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer – elfyeah
The cosmetic brand e.l.f. works with agencies to create original songs that go viral and launch TikTok trends.
If you’ve had some luck with Duets or noticed you’ve developed a bit of a following on TikTok, you could straight up request user-generated content from your fanbase. Framed correctly, a user-generated campaign could pay off very well.
Think of ways your specific demographic would want to participate in your campaign. You can try asking for a testimonial or tutorial about your product or even something more creative like a joke or a jingle. If it applies to you, you could encourage fans to react to your work or have them come up with a comedy sketch. You could even incorporate the user-generated content into a contest of some kind.
Another great way to inspire user-generated content is to encourage Duets. If your branded video is the kind of thing that users will want to collaborate with, it will likely make some waves throughout TikTok. Think about what kind of Duet someone might want to create with your content and go from there.
@yoleendadong #duet with @vessi wow no more wet socks pretty cool kinda freaky deaky ✨ #nomorewetsocks #vessi #waterproof #waterproofshoes #ketchup ♬ December (April Remix) – The Young Ebenezers
The shoe company Vessi encourages Duets with contests, call-outs and, well, extremely weird videos that are begging for live reactions.
If you post anything made by someone else, you should always credit them in the caption. This will keep you safe from any issues should the users choose to copyright their audio later on.
You should also avoid reposting audio that includes copyrighted music, even if it’s in the background.
Okay, we get it: you absolutely need to use a Carly Rae Jepsen song in your TikTok brand campaign. There’s simply no replacement for her uniquely crafted, emotive pop music.
In that case, you could license a song to use in your video. This might get expensive, but it is technically possible. Start by seeking legal advice from a copyright or music licensing lawyer — and let us know how it goes!
Still confused? Here’s a breakdown of some frequently asked questions about TikTok Sounds.
Yes. Businesses can use TikTok sounds in their videos so long as they are cleared for commercial use. The best ways to incorporate sounds into business posts are to use TikTok’s pre-cleared commercial audio, make your own original sounds or use user-generated content (and credit the creators).
If you receive this error, it most likely means that you are trying to access a “mainstream” song while using a business account on TikTok.
TikTok users with personal accounts can use any sound they like — including the world’s most popular pop songs — but TikTok does not allow businesses to use mainstream music in their videos.
They implemented this policy in 2020, at which point they introduced the royalty-free music available in their Commercial Music Library.
@timmycobbsfitness #moda #problemsolved #fyp #business ♬ Meet Me At Our Spot – THE ANXIETY & WILLOW & Tyler Cole
TikTok’s commercial sound library is available on both the app and your desktop browser.
If you’re using the app:
- Open the camera and tap Add sound
- Then tap Sounds and search Commercial sounds.
This will bring you to the Commercial Music Library, where you can browse your options.
There’s no direct way to download a sound from TikTok onto your device.
If you want to save your favorite sound on TikTok, tap the bookmark icon to add a sound to your favorites. This will save it within the app, so you can easily use it later.
If you really want a TikTok sound for use outside of the app, you could consider screen recording or downloading a TikTok video with a third-party app or website.
Once you’ve added a TikTok sound to your favorites, it’s as easy as tapping the Favorites tab when you’re making a post.
When you add sound to a new TikTok, just tap the Favorites tab. All of your previously saved sounds will show up under that banner.
You can’t add multiple sounds to the same TikTok within the app. If you’re looking to stitch together more than one sound, you’ll have to use a third-party video editor to create your video, then upload it to the app.
If you do this, however, you will likely miss out on having your video associated with that particular sound in TikTok’s database.
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What Is a UGC Creator? Follow These 5 Steps To Become One
Have you ever dreamed about becoming an influencer and getting paid to create social media content without needing a big audience? Well, a new wave of people is doing just that: UGC creators.
If you’ve spent time on TikTok or Instagram in the last 6-12 months, chances are you’ve come across UGC creators. Even if you don’t recognize the term, you’ve probably seen content made by these creators on your favorite brands’ accounts.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know the exact steps needed to become a UGC content creator.
Bonus: Unlock our free, customizable pitch deck template to successfully reach out to brands and lock down the influencer partnership of your dreams.
What is a UGC creator?
A UGC creator is someone who creates sponsored content that appears authentic but is designed to showcase a specific business or product.
The most common format for UGC creators is video, especially on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Creators usually film and narrate the content from their perspective, which gives it an authentic feel.
The main difference between UGC creators and influencers is that UGC creators create and deliver to businesses without the obligation to post it on their channels (although some UGC deals may add this for an extra fee). With influencers, the company usually pays for both content and exposure to the influencer’s audiences.
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UGC content also tends to appear less polished and professional than influencer content, which helps to preserve the authenticity of UGC.
Why is UGC so valuable?
While being a UGC creator is a new concept, traditional user-generated content (UGC) is not. It’s become a proven tool in social media strategies for building communities, increasing brand awareness, and driving sales.
Despite the name, UGC creators are not creating traditional organic UGC. Normally, UGC is created organically by customers in the form of photos, videos, testimonials, product reviews, and blog posts and shared spontaneously. Businesses can choose to re-share a customer’s UGC, but no payment or contracts are involved.
UGC creators create content that emulates traditional UGC, using the same unpolished and authentic filming style that an everyday creator might use when sharing a review of their favorite product.
As driving awareness and sales are valuable results for any business, it’s no surprise that brands are willing to pay UGC creators. Understanding the reasons why can help you better pitch yourself for UGC jobs.
It feels authentic
Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic versus content created by brands. UGC is the social media equivalent of product reviews and word-of-mouth.
User-created content will always have an organic feel that can’t be matched by brands, no matter how “cool” they are. As such, UGC tends to be more eye-catching and engaging, which is invaluable to brands.
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It’s cheaper than influencer content
When working with influencers, brands need to pay for both the content and the posts on the influencer’s channels. The more reach and engagement an influencer has, the more a brand has to pay — which can be in the millions for celebrities!
With UGC content, brands only need to pay for the content itself, which often can be the same quality (or better) than the content from influencers. It also gives them complete control over the distribution and positioning of the content.
It can influence purchase decisions
Many brands pay to get UGC to use in social media ads because it influences purchase decisions. UGC acts as social proof, showing that real people are buying and using a product, which can drive more sales.
Moreover, UGC doesn’t look like a blatant ad, which can make it more engaging when used in ad campaigns.
It’s faster than producing content from scratch
By sourcing content from UGC creators, a brand can get way more pieces than if it created them in-house. Brands can distribute a UGC brief to multiple creators, who will produce and deliver the content back to the brand by the same deadline.
How to become a UGC creator
Anyone with a decent smartphone or camera can become a UGC creator. You don’t need a bunch of followers or professional video editing skills.
That’s the beauty of UGC — the more authentic and natural the content is, the better.
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We’ve put together five steps to get you started as a UGC creator.
Step 1: Figure out your filming setup
You can shoot UGC almost anywhere — at home, outside, or in a store (as long as there isn’t too much background noise). Many UGC creators create content in the comforts of their homes, where they can perfect their filming setup.
In terms of equipment, you only need a phone with a decent camera and a tripod to stabilize your phone for product shots.
Some optional upgrades:
- Ring light. Useful for closeups of your face and filming at night or in darker rooms.
- Lavalier mic. Plugs into your phone’s audio jack and improves the quality of your recorded audio. Alternatively, you can also use the mic on a pair of wired headphones.
- Backdrops. You can get creative here – paper, fabric, and construction materials all can serve as backdrops.
- Props. Varies depending on the product, but find props that match the lifestyle or use cases of the product you’re showcasing.
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Pro tip: Don’t let the quality of your equipment or filming setup hold you back. Many UGC creators produce great content with just a phone, the product, and themselves. Once you get more experienced and start receiving feedback from brands, you can upgrade your equipment and setup.
Step 2: Build your UGC portfolio
Ah, the old chicken-and-egg dilemma: To create UGC content, you need products. However, brands will only send you products once you have a portfolio. So, how do you get started?
The answer: Make content for free featuring your favorite products. You don’t need permission from brands as long as you don’t portray it as a paid deal/sponsored content if you choose to post it.
There are several common types of UGC content:
- Unboxing. Opening a new product’s packaging and revealing all the contents. You can narrate the functions of the included pieces and how to use them.
- Review/testimonial. Giving your honest opinion on a product and how it works. UGC testimonials are different from other product reviews in that they should be short and not as in-depth, perhaps only focusing on one aspect instead of the whole product.
- How to/use cases. Demonstrating how you use the product. These can be more lifestyle-focused videos, showing how you naturally use the product during your daily life, or more tutorial-style videos.
Pro tip: When you’re just starting your portfolio, we suggest focusing on videos, as this is the most common format for UGC requests. Aim to have at least one example from all UGC types above.
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Step 3: Practice your editing skills
Once you’ve recorded your clip(s), the next step is to edit them. The typical length for UGC videos is 15-60 seconds.
Editing videos can be tricky to learn, but luckily there are many apps to make it easier. Two of the most popular apps are CapCut and InShot. The in-app editors within TikTok and Instagram are also quite user-friendly and have many of the same features as third-party apps.
If you’re creating UGC for TikTok, here are 15 tips on how to edit your videos.
Pro tip: Practice, practice, practice! There is no shortcut to becoming good at video editing. The more you get used to the tools, the quicker you’ll get. We recommend incorporating TikTok trends into your UGC videos to make them more engaging.
Check out these clips for editing inspiration:
Step 4: Post your UGC (optional)
This step is optional, as posting your content isn’t generally required as part of UGC contracts. However, it is an excellent way to practice and get feedback on how to improve your content. Even with a small audience, you can learn what works and what doesn’t work by checking the analytics for your posts.
Posting your UGC on your account also allows brands to see your content, after which they may reach out to you to offer UGC gigs.
Pro tips: If you want to increase the chances of brands discovering your UGC, don’t use hashtags like #UGC or #UGCcreator — these will signal the algorithm to serve your content to other UGC creators. Instead, use industry- and product-related hashtags.
Secondly, add your email (or another way to contact you) to your bio to make it easy for brands to reach out to you.
Step 5: Get paid
Now you’re ready for the next stage: Getting paid for your UGC! Once you have a portfolio, you can start applying for UGC gigs. We know this is easier said than done, so we’ve expanded our tips into a whole section below.
4 tips for getting paid as a UGC creator
1. Use platforms to find brand deals
With UGC’s rise, there are new platforms dedicated to facilitating UGC brand deals. Some post opportunities for creators to apply, while others require you to create a listing for your content creation services.
Here are some platforms to search for UGC opportunities:
- Fiverr. Create a listing with your UGC services (such as this) and wait for brands to book you.
- Upwork. You can apply to UGC creator jobs or list your UGC services.
- Billo. US-based creators only.
- Insense. You join via an app and choose opportunities to apply to.
- Brands Meet Creators. They send UGC opportunities via email.
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2. Network with brands and business owners
If you want to be more proactive and work with specific brands, then your best bet is to network via platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, and TikTok.
You can use these platforms for networking in several ways:
- Personal branding. Post updates on your account sharing your journey as a UGC creator, and add a CTA for brands to contact you for UGC
- Cold outreach. Think about brands you genuinely like and for which you would enjoy creating content, and reach out to folks who work at those companies
Pro tip: Smaller companies like startups and small businesses just starting to build their social media presence are more likely to need UGC.
3. Perfect your pitch
Pitching yourself to a brand for a UGC opportunity is like applying for a job. As more and more people become UGC creators, it’ll become more competitive. That means you need to make your pitch stand out.
Keep your pitches focused on the brand (not yourself) and the value you’ll provide for them through your UGC.
Pro tip: Tailor your pitch for each opportunity you apply to. In your portfolio, curate examples that are relevant to each brand’s industry and will appeal to that brand’s target audience.
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4. Know your worth
As with influencer marketing, payment rates for UGC creation vary widely. The brand or platform usually sets the rate for brand deals. Nonetheless, staying up-to-date with market rates will empower you to choose deals that pay fairly. This benefits you and ensures equitable compensation for other UGC creators.
Pro tip: Follow UGC creators on TikTok and Instagram, as they often post content sharing behind-the-scenes details on how they negotiate brand deals and how much they get paid.
Frequently asked questions about UGC creators
How many followers do I need to get paid as a UGC creator?
You don’t need a certain number of followers to become a UGC creator. Many UGC brand deals are content-only, meaning you only have to create and deliver content, with no requirement to post it on your own channels.
How do I find brands to work with?
The easiest way to know if a brand is looking for UGC creators is to use platforms that curate UGC brand deals. Brands may also advertise call-outs for UGC creators in their feed posts or Stories. You can also DM brands with your pitch in case they’re open to working with UGC creators.
How do I create a UGC portfolio?
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