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January 4, 2021

How to Start Selling on TikTok

Summary:

A few months, 50 million views and almost 100,000 followers of our channel later, we think Tiktok may be the next big thing.

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We started using Tiktok as an experiment. A few months, 50 million views and almost 100,000 followers of our channel (see here) later, we think Tiktok may be the next big thing.

The organic reach of our channel and the demand of our community is so big that we started a never-planned fashion brand (our store here) to answer the magic question: Can you sell on Tiktok?

You can. We aren’t selling insurance yet, but we think that could be possible.

Our new brand of “CEO of DIGGI” (“diggi” means “bro” in German) and “Team Diggi” merchandise include your go-to shirt, hoodie, cap, cups and a lot more. We have always believed in TikTok’s potential, but we were shocked what kind of opportunities it provides. If you would have asked me if I believe that an insurance nerd could sell branded hoodies on social media, I would have doubted that severely. But it worked.

We strongly believe that, with attention-hacking strategies, selling insurance on the same platform where the CEO of DIGGI started is also possible. And it’s starting right now. Several of our clients have begun.

The misconceptions

Just recently, I presented TikTok as the next possible big thing for the industry in a board meeting but got stern looks from the board members. One said, “That’s only for young people.” After a brief silence, I asked him how many people his company reached each month. “Maybe 10,000,” he said. I told him that my little brand reached 10 million to 16 million people each month. That is 20% of the population of my home country, Germany.

TikTok is not just for Gen Z’s or millennials. A study done by Oberlo showed that its adult users grew 5.5 times in the U.S. in less than 18 months. To say that sales promotion in TikTok is a waste of effort is absolutely wrong. It has a very engaging algorithm based on a combination of factors, not including your number of followers. On TikTok, excellent and relevant content can go a long way.

How did it all start?

We started exploring TikTok as part of our effort to scout for the latest trends. The first videos that I made were about finance for young people, and some of these went viral.

Followers slowly became a community of different ages and backgrounds, all interested in watching and hearing my short video updates. They started calling me “CEO of Diggi” and eventually labeled themselves “Team Diggi.”

The amount of support we received each day exhilarated us. We became excited to manifest the interest of the community in our designs, so we did a dry run of our CEO of DIGGI shop. We haven’t formally announced the store yet on any other platform, but support is spreading quickly. The traffic was so immense that the drop-shipping company we use could not deliver certain products, and we stopped their sale temporarily. 

See also: Want to See Social Media Genius?

We did it! And you can, too!

Yes, you have read it all quite right! It is possible to gain considerable attention on TikTok, and it is fun and amusingly crazy.

Insurers could start by selling branded merchandise. Some have shops, such as Allianz and classical car insurer OCC, but not many insurers actively sell merchandise. 

Then, for our core business, offering protection from the risks of life, we could do the following: create a ton of content on TikTok about relevant topics and questions among the target group, including entertainment and fun, without directly promoting products. Users will start to ask specific questions about insurance. By answering them, we could and should mention our products that help those users to solve the problem they have and provide tailor-made landing pages and sales processes. This can be done by leading insurer and smaller agencies.

Our biggest mistake

Of course, not all went perfectly. By accident, we switched early from English to German content. We have a beautiful community, but we probably will never scale outside the 100 million German-speaking people in Europe. The choice of language is one of several key factors to consider when starting your TikTok channel.

Our presence on TikTok is, in the end, somewhat ironic. We started it as an experiment, became successful by being at the right time at the right place time, investing resources before most did. Now insurers around the world ask us to help them not only with strategy — but with TikTok.

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About the Author

Dr. Robin Kiera has worked in several management positions in insurance and finance. Kiera is a renowned insurance and insurtech expert. He regularly speaks at technology conferences around the world as a keynote or panelist.

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