New Marketing: TikTok for eCommerce with the Sugatan team (episode 058)

by April Buencamino-dy

Kris is the founder and CEO of Sugatan, where she and her team focus on growing eCommerce brands to 8 figure revenue using sophisticated and super creative social media ad strategies. She’s also the host of the Sugatan Effect Podcast.

Holly is an eCommerce video ads strategist and Sugatan’s TikTok specialist.

Listen now for free:

Subscribe to Keep Optimising on your favourite Podcast App

How they got into TikTok

Kris started out as a freelancer, working as a generalist for solopreneurs. Her forte was creatives and creating video ads. When she had her first success with an eCommerce brand turning $1 into $3, she got hooked. As the demand for her services increased, she began hiring to build a team and Holly Rae was her second hire.

Holly went to university for video production, wanting to make music videos. After graduation, she did freelancing and was hired by Kris on Upwork where she had an amazing video on her profile that immediately caught Kris’ attention.

The TikTok Era

Each platform has had a golden era lasting 3-5 years in terms of opportunity.

With attention being the highest form of currency on social media advertising, Kris says that TikTok has so much power in it because all sights are now set on this platform.

Marketing principles will always be the same. What you have to do is adapt to the platform and make the necessary adjustments on your strategies.

Is TikTok for everyone?

If the company founders are innovators and thrive on being early adopters, Kris says you have to get into TikTok.

It’s all about innovating right now since the platform’s algorithm is not yet mature enough for ads and changes are still happening real-time. Start investing in it now, have a team member focused on R&D for TikTok, and figure out what will work for your brand depending on your target audience.

Use TikTok especially if you’re targeting Gen Zers or the younger millennials. For older demographics, it can be used as a supplementary or complementary revenue channel.

Starting out

Holly’s advice is get on the platform, know the audience, and know the trends and features.

TikTok formatted ads are already selling on Facebook and Instagram, but if you don’t know how to make that native TikTok ad, It’s not going to perform.

Using TikTok videos on Facebook and following trends

Holly recommends at least trying it, but reminds that you have to first be entertaining on and native to TikTok before integrating with another platform or selling a product.

At this point, trends continue to change every week. Scrolling on your feed is good because it will help you find trends that apply to your product and audience, and that can help you sell.

TikTok for scaling your business

Testing and research are going to play a massive part. Some things you have to pay attention to are:

  • Aspect ratio
  • Camera quality
  • Text
  • Sounds that are native to TikTok
  • Not using images that will come off as too branded

There are no shortcuts to TikTok; you really have to do the work by testing content.

Tips on hiring a TikTok specialist

Find someone who understands the following aspects of TikTok:

  • User aspect
  • Creator aspect
  • Marketing aspect
  • Editing aspect

It’s important to test your hires on their marketing and creator mindset. Secondly, note whether they’re able to learn and are interested in learning, too.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with TikTok – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

  1. Get an account, learn the platform and spend hours on it. Pay attention to what pops up on your feed and learn what not to do. 
  2. Identify your team or the person who can provide you with a TikTok strategy. This may take time as the platform is new.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve TikTok performance?

Follow weekly trends because they change so fast.

Staying updated and staying ahead are the best ways to improve, and also testing content.

If someone listening wants to learn more about TikTok is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Holly says the biggest resource is still TikTok itself so get on the platform.

Another is listening to podcasts such as this one.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in TikTok?

For Kris, it’s partnering with influencers and influencer activation.

This is in line with the traditional marketing principle that people selling or promoting products is more trustworthy than brands selling their products.

Stay with the platform and you’ll eventually see the return.

Interview Links

Kris and Holly Rae on Social media:

Sponsored by…

Klaviyo is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform dedicated to accelerating revenue and customer connection for online businesses. Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications.

The company’s hybrid customer-data and marketing-platform model allows companies to grow by fostering direct relationships with customers, without giving up their valuable data to popular big-tech ad platforms. Over 80,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink, Living Proof and Huckberry sell more with Klaviyo. Learn more at

Full transcript to read & download:

Click to access