'Gen Z' influencer agency Fanbytes breaks down 4 strategies for fashion brands seeking to go viral on TikTok

  • Fashion content is hugely popular on TikTok, where users post outfits and buy featured items.
  • A report from ‘Gen Z’ influencer agency Fanbytes breaks down how fashion brands can go big on TikTok
  • The report outlines popular TikTok fashion trends, such as #cottagecore and the #GucciModel Challenge.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Fashion content on TikTok is huge, and brands want in. 

Since January 2021, there has been a 3,031% increase in fashion-related content posted to the app, according to research from Gen Z marketing agency Fanbytes. Videos posted under the #TikTokFashion hashtag alone have amassed 15.3 billion views.

Its new 32-page fashion and TikTok report, published last month, details how brands can get noticed on the popular video platform. TikTok is the top app for making young people aware of your brand, according to a December survey of US ad buyers.

Fanbytes compiled much of the data in the report using its in-house tool Bytesights, which gathers data on the millions of videos posted to TikTok, and collect analytics on the most popular hashtags, creators, and sounds on the platform. 

Here are four key takeaways from the report, which breaks down the latest fashion trends on TikTok and how fashion brands can seek to go viral on the app and boost their sales.

Gen Z consumers are looking to incorporate sustainable fashion into their wardrobes

There was a 275% increase in engagement with the #sustainablefashion hashtag on Twitter between March 2020 and April 2021, Fanbytes’ analysis found. Brands like New York-based @andagainco have leaned into the trend, posting behind-the-scenes videos explaining how the company creates its clothes. 

“What’s luring Gen Z in is this style of hyper-engaging, transparent and inspiring content and the fact that the brand uses deadstock fabric scraps and zero waste to create beautiful, thoughtful collections,” Fanbytes said.

Meanwhile, #cottagecore also became a rising sustainable fashion trend last year. Fanbytes said the trend led to a 900% increase in searches for the term on thrifting app Depop when the trend was at its peak.

Right now, Fanbytes said it’s seeing a 22.7% engagement rate with #cottagecore-related content on the app, far higher than the 14.3% average engagement rate.

“There will always be a place for desirable and aspirational style on TikTok, but alongside this we are seeing the TikTok community drive conversations around sustainability, championing vintage and thrift shopping, and even inspiring a huge craft movement,” Cassandra Russell, who leads TikTok’s fashion, luxury, and retail brand partnerships division for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, told Insider earlier this year.

Yet fast-fashion is still centerstage on TikTok

Fashion “hauls,” in which users show off their latest purchases at fast speed and often high quantities, are a popular trend on TikTok. Fanbytes found that “#haul” and related hashtags saw a 28.9% increase in views between January and April 2021.

While content on the haul hashtag is a mix of second-hand, thrifted, and newly bought items, much of the highest-performing content comes from fast-fashion brands like Shein, Fashion Nova, and Pretty Little Thing, which have gained millions of followers on the platform by sharing clothing hacks, launching giveaways, and tapping into viral TikTok trends.

For brands like Fanbytes client Boohoo, TikTok success comes down to creating “organic, authentic and entertaining” content that fits seamlessly into influencers’ feeds, the report said. 

Fashion brands shouldn’t feel the need to create “hashtag challenges” to find TikTok success

“Challenges” are popular on TikTok, but brands shouldn’t feel pressure to create their own.

“Users are probably better at it anyway, and you can easily get involved with the capacity to go viral if your entry innovates and engages,” Fanbytes says in the report.

Recent user-created viral trends have included the #whatidwear hashtag, where users recreate what they would wear if they were a character in a popular TV series of movie (4 billion views) and the #cartoooncharacter challenge, which has picked up around 3 billion views.

There is a space for luxury goods on TikTok

Gen Z consumers aspire after luxury goods, and many young people on the app are saving up to buy cult items as soon as they drop, Fanbytes said. “Unboxing” videos are popular on TikTok, picking up more than 11 billion views. The #designerfashion hashtag amassed 31 million views in the year to April 2021, and an engagement rate of 11%, according to Fanbytes.

Brands like Gucci, Dior, Moncler, and Balenciaga have performed well on TikTok as they reinvented themselves “years ago” in preparation to engage with and appeal to the “new younger, more discerning generation,” Fanbytes said in the report. 

Last year, the “Gucci Model Challenge” amassed millions of views on the app as users posted their own TikTok castings, nodding to the brand’s signature aesthetic, often in satirical fashion. Gucci later joined in with its own content.

“In responding and becoming a part of this conversation, they broke down the barrier and stigma of exclusivity and ‘snobbery’ that is usually attached to luxury brands and humanized their brand,” Fanbytes wrote in the report.

The report also points out that fashion brands could consider leaning into popular hip-hop sounds on TikTok — not least as so many hip-hop tracks reference luxury brands.

“Not only can TikTok drive conversions for your luxury brand, but it also poses the possibility for virality for the artist,” Fanbytes said in the report.

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