Many brands find success through TikTok marketing. But building a business on TikTok offers more benefits than just attracting new customers. Minted New York founder Marcus Milione saw the social media platform not only as a marketing channel, but a customer feedback tool, too.
Marcus creates TikTok videos about fashion and fitness, generating more than 12 million likes to date and counting. He also uses TikTok to take followers behind the scenes and gather feedback and ideas for new designs.
Marcus joined the Shopify Masters team in New York City, where he shared his process for building a business without funding, from scratch, and all in public. Ahead, learn how to replicate Marcus’s process to bring customers along on your development journey.
Building trust as the face of your brand
By building your brand in the public eye, you allow customers to feel a part of the developmental process, incorporating their feedback as you go.
Marcus’s followers love watching him race around the city from meeting to meeting, making sure each detail of Minted New York comes together as he wants it to.
Representing the brand himself on his social media channels also allows his audience to get to know him on a personal level. “Entrepreneurship on social media is overly glorified and overly simplified,” says Marcus, adding that he likes to be transparent and let his followers know what he goes through day to day.
Customers at Minted New York trust they will get their products on time and at the quality they expect, because Marcus continues to show up as the face of the brand.
Asking for feedback during development
While sharing your business process online can feel intimidating, the comments you receive will help you generate a better product in the end. When Marcus shared a prototype for a tote bag with a rigid strap, the feedback was invaluable. “I wore it in a video and got tons of comments about wanting [the strap] to be adjustable. It was something I hadn’t even thought about,” Marcus says.
@marcusmilione Third time seems to be the charm for the tote bag #fashion #fashiontiktok #tiktokfashion ♬ Wes Anderson-esque Cute Acoustic - Kenji Ueda
Marcus retooled the strap to be adjustable before he made the bag available. “Bringing your customer along on the journey helps them buy into the product even more, because they are part of that entire process,” Marcus says.
Resisting the urge to accept pre-orders
While pre-orders can be an effective launch strategy for some brands, it wasn’t something that felt right for Marcus. “I felt as though a founder taking pre-orders to subsidize the production of a product wasn’t the right signal to send to new customers,” Marcus says.
This approach comes with a much larger price tag upfront, and you assume more risk, but Marcus feels it sends trust signals to customers. “If I saw a founder taking pre-orders for a consumer product like apparel or jewelry, it wouldn’t give me much faith in their product,” Marcus says. In an attempt to level with your customers, Marcus suggests putting your own capital on the line for production runs, so your customers see how much you value your products.
At the end of the day, if a customer is using their hard-earned money to buy from you, taking their feedback into consideration will go a long way. It’s important to deliver a quality experience, along with the best products possible.
To get more of Marcus’s customer experience tips and his take on paid versus unpaid ads, or to hear his advice on short-form video content, listen to the full Shopify Masters On Location episode.