In a previous survey of the Top 5 most popular watch brands on TikTok, we noted that 43% of users are aged 16 to 24, making the social app a key media for watch brands that want to tap into a younger demographic. Using hashtags and the app’s algorithm, TikTok shows users content for their various centres of interest to create a highly personalised experience, while suggesting less popular accounts that might also catch their attention. If, for example, you’re into arts and crafts, or you’re an outdoorsy type, chances are you’ll enjoy Cottagecore. Watchmaking is no different, as a community begins to grow and trends start to appear.
Flexing and social validation
The most popular contents revolve around impressive-looking watches that are fully-iced or fitted with complex movements, with up to 50,000 views under the #luxurywatches hashtag. This aspect of TikTok has grown out of the existing culture of showing off luxury purchases on YouTube and Instagram, and often includes the #drip hashtag. Alongside these flexing videos are more professional ones that explain which timepieces make a good investment or introduce brand history. Even videos of fake watches can be used by brands to raise awareness of heritage, savoir-faire and what distinguishes a genuine watch from a fake.
The power of behind-the-scenes
Another type of TikTok video derives from the “assumptions about me” vlogging trend, where users address people’s assumptions about them. In the watchmaking world, Tiffany & Co sales associate @evemeryl taps into this to look at assumptions people have about the brand. As well as debunking myths, she talks about the brand’s history, how to care for its jewellery and adds a Tiffany spin to viral trends.
Putting a face to the name this way gives videos a natural feel that works well on TikTok and benefits the brand.
In a similar behind-the-scenes way, much of the content posted under the #Watchmaking hashtag comes from watch repairers; the 327K views of #WatchRepairs videos confirm there is an interest in the skills behind watches. This is something brands can leverage through workbench videos that show watchmakers assembling movements or jewellers setting gems. This is also an opportunity for brands to advertise the after-sales services they provide.
Follow the leader
An important lesson to be learned from luxury brands on TikTok is to first interact with existing trends rather than attempt to start a new one. The key to a successful TikTok page is to start by infiltrating the right communities; only when the page is up-and-running should a brand launch its own trend. Burberry learned the hard way when its dance move trend, based on the brand’s logo, prompted underwhelmed users to add comments such as “I’m just trying to think of something funny about this but I’m just disappointed” or “No one is actually going to do this, it’s not even cool.”
If brands are to engage communities on the app, they have to understand the trends. As TikTok explains in its report, “The experience is not about advertising, it’s connection, inspiration, co-creation, and entertainment. This allows brands to be real and part of the culture creation happening on TikTok because they show up as members of the community.” According to the study, 61% of users feel that advertising on TikTok is unique compared with other social and video platforms. The report also finds that one of the main reasons people come to TikTok is to “lift their spirits”. For brands to connect with communities – the key to TikTok success – they must take a meaningful approach.