Full-time content marketing and editorial lead at G2, and part-time TikTok influencer, Lauren Pope gives us an insight into how she got involved in the social media platform and garnered over 40,000 followers, what contributed to her success, as well as what to avoid, plus she gives her top tips for businesses looking to use the site to generate revenue.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 0:01
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Product Marketing Life podcast, which is brought to you by Product Marketing Alliance. My name’s Bryony Pearce and I’m the Content Manager here at PMA.
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In this episode of the show, we’ll be chatting to Lauren Pope, full-time Content Marketing & Editorial Team Lead at G2, and part-time TikTok influencer, about how she grew her personal TikTok profile to more than 40,000 followers, and how product marketers can utilize the platform as part of their practice.
Without further ado, welcome to the show, Lauren!
Lauren Pope 0:33
Hi, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 0:36
Oh it's great to have you on the show. I guess could we just kick off with a bit of background into you and then your role with G2?
Lauren Pope 0:45
Yeah, so I'm a content marketing team lead at G2. Before I worked in SaaS and content, I worked in social media primarily for non-profits. I've been doing content and social for about five years and just really enjoy the creativity that marketing provides me, and obviously you'll hear more about how I've channeled that into some creative outlets with Tik Tok and stuff but I'm really excited to be here.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 1:15
How would you describe your relationship with the product marketing team at G2? Do you work quite closely? What's that dynamic like?
Lauren Pope 1:24
Yeah, so the marketing team at G2 is really large, I'd say between all the teams, we have about 50 people and our product marketing team is three people and they are just total rockstars. And so I think they actually won the PMA award this last year from you guys. So my relationship with the product marketing team is when they ask for something we deliver. We've helped them create content on our Learn hub to talk about things, we have a lot of exciting stuff in the works with them this year actually, I can't go into too much detail but the marketing teams at G2 are all very connected, you know, brand and buzz, product, demand Gen, content. We all work under Ryan Bonnici's leadership and our other team leaders to make sure the machine is running all in the same direction together.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 2:14
Yeah, I had a podcast with Yoni and the girls after they won that award, and it was funny because I assumed you would have this kind of gigantic product marketing team so I was kind of preparing to come on the pod with like a team of 15/20/25 product marketers and it came on and it was just three people, I was like, "Wow, just the three of you do all this?". They were great. Okay, cool. So I guess obviously, the focal point of today's pod is Tik Tok, so going back to kind of square one, how did your Tik Tok journey start?
Lauren Pope 2:48
Yeah, so I have a very cool teenage sister. And I grew up with social media, you know, I'm only 28. So I remember when Facebook opened up to the general public, I remember Twitter, and so, between that and my background in social media when I started getting Tik Tok videos from my sister, I was like, "Oh, this is gonna be huge". I could just tell, it felt a lot like Vine, which I know a lot of my older millennials remember. And so in October 2019, I decided to download Tik Tok and just figure out what it was all about, how it worked. I wanted to be knowledgeable about it because social media is so integral to content, they kind of work hand in hand. And I wanted to make sure that I actually knew how the platform worked before I started talking about it on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or anything. And so I figured, hey, the best way to learn about it is to actually get in there and make some videos. And then my first video was just an afternoon with my friends out in Chicago, and it got 400 likes, in a couple of hours and I was like, "Okay, there's something here". So that's when I decided I'm just going to keep making videos and see what happens.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 3:58
And is there a trend to the kind of stuff that you post about on Tik Tok, or?
Lauren Pope 4:05
Yeah, so I just post up things I enjoy. So I like crystals and candles and nature and cozy sweaters just things that I find comforting and soothing. I think that kind of content has actually gotten much more popular since quarantine started, I've really noticed my videos getting a lot more attention since everyone's been stuck at home. And so I think that's kind of an interesting point. But it's mostly just my day-to-day, I guess you could call them mini vlogs kind of.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 4:41
And then how much time do you need to invest? Obviously, you're up to over 40,000 followers now. How much time would you say you invest per day, per week type of thing to grow it to that scale?
Lauren Pope 4:53
Yeah, so since October 2019 I have posted at least one video every day. So I have over four hundred videos. It depends. Sometimes I'll be out on a walk and I'll see a really beautiful tree or some flowers and that takes about a minute and a half to just shoot a couple of clips and throw it together. Other videos like I've done some baking videos and that takes obviously like, I've got to go to the grocery store, I've got to get my ingredients, I have to make sure my counter is clean so I don't have people in the comments being like, "Your counter's dirty", you know? So some videos take longer than others, but I like to batch my content. So I think usually once a week I set a couple of hours aside, I have a note in my phone app, and I write down my video ideas for the week. And then on like a Saturday, I'll set aside two or three hours and I'll just shoot all those videos and then save them to my drafts and that way when I'm at work I don't have to be like, "What video am I doing today?", I have 10 in my drafts so I can just go from there.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 5:58
And then from your experience what have you found to be the most effective tactics when you've been growing your Tik Tok profile?
Lauren Pope 6:05
Consistency is obviously the most important part of growing any social media following like I said, I posted a video every day for seven months. I think with Tik Tok specifically, don't be afraid to look silly and don't be afraid to experiment. I've been really surprised by what types of videos perform well. My most liked video is a video of a candle that I bought and it has over 100,000 likes, it's a little pyramid-shaped candle, it's like rose gold. And I just took a video of that and threw it up and went to bed and then the next morning I woke up to about 5000 new followers and I was like, "What is happening right now?". Whereas I've spent some videos like I spent hours filming it getting everything together and it gets like a couple of hundred likes. So I think the big piece of advice especially when you're very early on is like find your niche, post every day, don't be afraid to experiment, and just pay attention to what people seem to be responding to especially in those very early videos you make.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 7:11
I always find that's the way, the things that you don't expect to get results always work better, and an example of this on a much smaller scale so earlier this week, I'm by no means any sort of social media influencer, but I got given the go-ahead the other day off Rich to recruit another copywriter for the team. So I just had this silly gif on LinkedIn, like basically like "I'm recruiting a copywriter if you're interested, or you know someone who's interested, just let me know". And it got over 200 likes, and then other times on LinkedIn, I'll post something for the sole purpose of like, "I want this to get likes and shares", and it's just like tumbleweeds and then when this one happened I was like, "Wow!".
Lauren Pope 7:53
I've tried to use LinkedIn before to start an industry discussion or, you know, get expert tips for a piece I'm writing because I'm in content, obviously. And it'll get like one or two comments, and then I'll throw something up on a Thursday, and then I'll just get inundated with comments that I wasn't expecting. And I'm like, "Why can't you guys just comment on the stuff I need you to?" I'm sure that's every content marketer in social media person's plight though.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 8:23
I feel your pain. Okay, then I guess on the opposite end of the spectrum, so those are your most effective tactics. What have you found your biggest learnings to be of your time on it, any mistakes that you've learned from type thing or?
Lauren Pope 8:39
Yeah, I think one of the biggest mistakes I made early on was trying to create content in a vacuum. Trying to create content without tapping into the community. People think Tik Tok is a bunch of teenagers dancing and doing lip sync video challenges, but the truth is there are so many niches and subcultures on Tik Tok. One of my favorites I recently found is there's a whole subsection of people who rollerskate outside to really cool music and they dance on rollerskates. And I found one video the other day and I was like, "That's cool!". And then the algorithm fed me like 30 more accounts like that. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, there's just a whole community of roller skaters on here". So every day, I'm finding new stuff. And so I think the biggest mistake anyone can make is getting on there, you go in with a plan, you're rigid, you don't want to change the plan. You know, because marketers, we love to plan we spend months putting together a strategy. So I think the biggest mistake you can make is not being flexible and not tapping into the community that's already there. A lot of my early success was found by following accounts that were making the content I wanted to make, they had the audience that I wanted to have and befriending them, you know, commenting on their videos, being inspired by their content, asking them questions when I had it, you would be surprised how willing people are to help and how inviting the community is really.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 10:13
It sounds like, and I guess it's the same with any kind of social media platform, there's obviously a lot of parallels if you're using it personally, or from a business perspective. So for product marketers listening to this right now, maybe thinking about getting on Tik Tok for their company, how would you recommend or like what should their plan of action be to apply your learnings to their corporate/business setup?
Lauren Pope 10:38
So I think in that case, what product marketers should do is try to find their ideal customer on Tik Tok, Tik Tok is not just teenagers, I think marketers have this misconception that it's an app for the young people and so they think "Well, my customers aren't on here. My audience isn't on Tik Tok". But, you know, Gary Vee is on Tik Tok, LeBron James is on Tik Tok, everyone's on Tik Tok, especially after quarantine hit. I've seen CMOS. I've seen everybody. I have local politicians in Illinois who are on Tik Tok talking policy. And so I think that product marketers need to get really creative with how they find the people that they want to reach and they are on there. Tick Tok was the fastest growing social app in 2019. It's silly to assume that your audience is not there. So I think that finding your ideal audience on Tik Tok, and then thinking about what problems they have, and how your product can solve it, and then making videos about that, and that works for both, you know, current customers you could use your videos the same way you'd use a YouTube video, make a quick 60-second video about 'here are five hacks you can use for our product'. 'I bet you didn't know this', you know, use that as a sales touchpoint, send that to somebody, DM them on Twitter and say, "Hey, I don't know if you saw this. But here's a quick video", that acts as a quick, digestible piece of content that they can view. It's fun, it's different, it catches people's attention. And it also provides a way for people who are not current customers, they see that video and think, "Wow, I'm having those problems. What can this product do for me?" So I think it's an easy way to make short-form content that can be helpful and it's just creative and off the wall enough that I think it grabs attention. And we've seen product marketing really have a moment this last year or so I really think that it's trending to be like the next big thing. And so people are going to have to get scrappy, everyone sends an E book, everyone does a webinar, what else are you bringing to the table? So I think as product marketing continues to stand in the spotlight, product marketers are going to have to find creative, kind of wacky ways to break through the noise.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 13:01
Then where do you see this kind of thing sitting in organizations? Who do you say it's like for a product marketer to own or maybe a content team or social teams own and then like a collaboration thing or like what's the utopia for you when you think about that?
Lauren Pope 13:15
Well, in my true utopia, all the marketing teams work in perfect harmony, but we're all very busy, obviously. So I think the best way to do it is to have someone manage the account like a social person, and then have your product marketers come up with the ideas, tell you what is working, tell you what the product is about, what's coming up in the launch, and then kind of work cross collaboratively to say, "Okay, well, the social media person knows that these trends are going on right now. And this video would actually go really well with this trend", and just make it an organic partnership. I think, again, the same way I wouldn't create content in a vacuum for my personal Tik Tok I don't think product marketers or social media managers should be creating content in a vacuum for their businesses.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 14:04
Yeah. And then what would you say are the main differences for B2B versus B2C product marketers to consider kind of before embarking on this Tik Tok journey?
Lauren Pope 14:16
Yeah, so I mean, I won't lie. Some industries will be more inclined to do well on Tik Tok if you sell any sort of product that's obviously very easy. You know, like Fenty beauty is really blowing Tik Tok up, and it's because they can tap into influencers, they have visible products they can show. So that's, obviously, B2C is probably going to be easier because they are selling a product that is tangible and can be purchased to the masses. But B2B, you know, thought leadership is such a big thing right now. And so I think for B2B, it is more of a thought leadership play, maybe more of a company culture, play. You know, G2 is a software review site so I couldn't start a G2 Tik Tok and say, like, "Buy our products" because it takes more than a 60-second video to really explain what buyer intent is and how G2 can fuel your content engine and all of this stuff, but it doesn't mean it's impossible. I think you would just have to get creative with Tik Tok the same way that product marketers in B2B space are being creative with how they're pitching on LinkedIn, how they're doing content, how they're doing outreach. So I think it's very similar to what B2B people are doing on any other social platform. It just has an added video element.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 15:41
Yeah, sure. And then I guess you obviously spend a lot of time on Tik Tok, which companies are crushing it for you like which ones are you really enjoying?
Lauren Pope 15:49
So I love Fenty beauty and Dave Jorgenson at the Washington Post is doing a great job. He's one of those really unique examples of you know, the Washington Post is a newspaper, and he's not going on there telling breaking news stories. He's doing stuff more about company culture and you know what it's like to be a millennial working in an office. So I think that's an interesting account that everyone should follow because it kind of shows just the depth of what you can do under a company account. I think people think very rigidly when it comes to company social media, they think it still has to be branded and colored right and all this stuff. And you know, Dave Jorgenson totally blew it out of the water. He's making off the wall video content that just happened to be coming from the Washington Post's account. So I think if you are in e-commerce, you have to see what Fenty beauty is doing. And if you are in B2B, you have to check out what Dave Jorgenson is doing at the post.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 16:47
I think that's quite consistent as well I guess with other social platforms, from my experience from a content role myself, I have been quite heavily involved in social strategies and from all my in house jobs, I've found that those kinds of company culture, more lighthearted ones, they are the ones that get the most engagement and most traction. And yes, it might not be kind of hard leads back to the site. But I guess in a sense, you know, that's what socials for, the engagement, getting your brand awareness out there. And so it's no different in some ways, I guess to your Instagram, your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, that kind of thing?
Lauren Pope 17:21
Yeah. And I think certain social platforms lend themselves better to different types of content, like LinkedIn is definitely something where you can push your product a little harder, you can be more professional, Twitter as well as somewhere you can be more product-focused. But I think it would be really cool to get a product marketing team on Tik Tok and just do a series of like, "Here's how we make the product. Here's the process. Here's what we go through to get this stuff ready for launch". I think people underestimate what videos people would watch. I would watch that, I would watch a product marketing team build their product from the ground up. I think it's fascinating. I've watched videos of people wrapping IT cables up and making them look all nice. I've watched people watering their plants. I think that there's a wide variety of content that people would watch. And I think people would be surprised by just what can be successful on Tik Tok.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 18:16
And then I guess like sticking on the theme of success, how do you measure your personal Tik Tok success? And how would you recommend, for businesses using Tik Tok, how would they measure their return from it?
Lauren Pope 18:30
So for my personal success, it's video views and follower count and likes, because again, it's a personal account. So I'm doing it just to build an audience. For businesses, I think that success would be if your videos get in front of people. I did not spend a dime building my own personal Tik Tok following and you don't have to pay for ads to be successful on Tik Tok and so what makes it such a great opportunity is that it's a low risk, high reward situation, which product marketers love. So the success is that you try it and it works. If you don't spend any of your own budget on it, and you still manage to make it work, I would call that a success. And then just brand recognition and like we talked about company culture, and not everything can be revenue-driven. Most things are and I think, I mean, we're all businesses, so they should be but I think we can't underestimate the value of good PR. Good, free PR.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 19:38
And then so you're obviously a Tik Tok, influencer yourself. From your experience, how can companies best use Tik Tok influencers to get their brand out there? Do you get approached by companies to do that kind of thing for them or?
Lauren Pope 19:52
Yeah, I've been approached by a couple of companies and they've just slid into my DMS and said, "Hey, we've got this product, we have this candle, we have this thing that we think your followers would like to see and that you would like". And I have been an influencer on Tik Tok for only a couple of months, but just being sent a free product I've used and reviewed all of them. And so I think what companies should do very early on is follow the people that they think they will want to send their product to eventually, don't wait until you've built an audience, to start looking for influencers, make those connections very early on, engage with their content, be a familiar face to them. And then that way when you get traction on your own account, and you build a following, and you slide into their DMS and you're like, "Hey, it's me", they know who you are, and they know what your product is, and they're more likely to accept and then obviously, with any influencer work, make sure it's relevant to what they're doing.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 20:54
Yeah, I remember a few months ago Kim Kardashian promoting some sort of... I don't remember what it was now... some sort of like a laundry powder or something like that? But she was laying on a bed with all these laundry powder boxes around and it went viral because obviously that was like influencer marketing, but it was just so irrelevant. And all the comments on there like, "Yeah, as if Kim Kardashian uses that".
Lauren Pope 21:19
Right, yeah, you need to make sure it's relevant. Like I had someone approach me about promoting workout powder, like a pre-protein cover, and I was like, "Yeah, I haven't done a single pushup on my Tik Tok. I'm not gonna do that. But thank you". So yeah, just make sure that you're reaching out to the right people and reach out to more people obviously, than you think you need to because you'll have people who don't respond, you'll have people who flake, so don't be discouraged and just be consistent.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 21:51
Yep, that makes sense. Okay, awesome. Well, that's all my questions from me. Do you have any kind of final few words of wisdom for anyone that's listening, they're new to Tik Tok, they're about to go off and kind of get creative with it, any few words of wisdom?
Lauren Pope 22:04
Yeah, if you've been waiting to get on Tik Tok, now's the time to do it. Tik Tok is happening whether or not you like it, whether or not you think it's stupid. And if you are not on Tik Tok and your competitors are, that's a huge area you're missing out. So I would say, I would challenge everyone listening to this to try it for at least a week and see what happens, I think you would be very surprised. The kind of organic reach and organic engagement Tik Tok has right now it feels very much like Instagram when it first started before the brands really took over. So if you can be one of the first brands on Tik Tok to really do it right, that's unlimited potential right there.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 22:48
Yeah, my housemate honestly, she spends about two hours a night solidly just on Tik Tok, so I can vouch for that! Okay, awesome. Well, thank you so much for giving up some time today and talking to us, Lauren, it's been really useful.
Lauren Pope 23:03
Yeah, thank you so much again for having me.
Bryony Pearce - PMA 23:05
It's our pleasure.