Main Feature SME Southeast Asia

SME Marketing Of The Year: TikTok’s ‘Shop Local Saturday’

Here at MARKETECH APAC, one of our commitments is giving SMEs a dedicated space to bring forth their creativity and innovation, an area that is often overlooked against industry giants. 

Within a year of sharing and announcing SME marketing campaigns in the region, it is TikTok’s ‘Shop Local Saturday’ that comes out on top as our SME Marketing of The Year

The campaign is already a winner right off the bat – TikTok having grown to be the leading destination of entertaining content for the past two years in the pandemic, it is only but an innovative and progressive move to use the platform’s consumer base and transform the space as an enabler of SME business growth. 

Launched in May 2021 in the SEA markets of Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, ‘Shop Local Initiative’ offers SMBs the opportunity to be featured on the platform through a variety of paid advertising packages, utilizing TikTok’s unique suite of in-app spotlight features. 

Here’s our interview with Esme Lean, head of small and medium business for APAC on TikTok, who shared with us how SMBs can better deliver content on the platform and the future SMB initiatives and features we can look forward to this 2022.

Why did you launch ‘Shop Local Saturday’ specifically in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam?

TikTok For Business is home to all current and future marketing solutions for small and medium businesses (SMBs). 

With SMBs forming the backbone of many local economies in Southeast Asia, we launched ‘Shop Local Saturday’ in these markets in hopes of empowering and supporting them, especially with many SMBs in this region still managing the impact of the pandemic. This is corroborated by our research, which found that 1 in every 4 SMBs in Thailand as well as 1 in every 3 Vietnamese and Indonesian SMBs use TikTok as their preferred ad platform and find TikTok ads to be most effective, highlighting the strength of the platform as a marketing tool to drive their business goals.

The Shop Local Saturday initiative hence seeks to level the playing field on TikTok for all businesses regardless of size, by raising awareness and amplifying their offerings. We hope to show SMBs in these markets that we’re not only here to support them, but they can leverage TikTok to launch meaningful campaigns that will ultimately drive sales and real business results.

What has been the response of the SMB community towards the initiative?

Shop Local Saturday is one of our top-performing campaigns in Southeast Asia in 2021, which saw over 170 SMBs across three markets participating. With Shop Local Saturday, SMBs saw a huge increase in the number of impressions and clicks throughout the campaign, resulting in significant business results for participating SMBs.

On a baseline level, how can SMB brands deliver content that will effectively attract audiences on the platform?

Investing in digital transformation will certainly help companies, particularly SMBs, to meet their business goals. In particular, TikTok, which celebrates the short-form video format, represents a new marketing reality for brands of all sizes to best reach their audiences.

To cater to SMBs, TikTok’s flagship advertising platform, TikTok Ads Manager, makes it super easy for SMBs to access, launch and measure their ads campaign directly. Through TikTok Ads Manager, brands can create In-Feed Ads that offer SMBs a chance to place immersive video experiences within users’ For You feed. With this full-screen, auto-play, and sound-on format, SMBs’ ads can fit right into the user experience. This way, SMBs also now have the ability to independently launch and optimize campaigns to drive sales and real business results, giving them the opportunity to be easily discovered by users.

Have SMBs always been part of your main advocacy as a platform? What have you found is the role of TikTok in SMBs’ success and development?

TikTok has always been committed to empowering SMBs in Southeast Asia with the tools to drive their businesses forward. With over 240 million TikTok users in Southeast Asia alone, we recognize we have a significant role to play in supporting the many SMBs based in this region, by helping them tap into these vast communities.

We hence see ourselves as an enabler – in supporting SMBs in their growth and finding their authentic voice on our platform so they can grow their businesses. To this end, in addition to Shop Local Saturday, we also launched our Grow with TikTok: Starter Lab last year – an in-depth TikTok training program featuring interactive sessions that help SMBs in Southeast Asia build their expertise as advertisers and grow their businesses effectively on TikTok. During these hour-long sessions, SMBs get the opportunity to learn from established figures in the marketing industry, as well as hear from the TikTok team, on how to get started on TikTok.

What future initiatives and features can we expect from the platform towards SMBs?

In March 2021, we kicked off our Small Business Resource Center in Southeast Asia to provide best practices and resources for SMBs to learn to connect with their audience and drive results. This will continue to house best practices and serve as a learning repository for SMBs as a form of value-added support.

Additionally, TikTok also signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with SMB associations in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia last year, as part of its overall plan to contribute to the growth of SEA economies by enabling SMBs through education, and providing greater accessibility to TikTok Ads Manager for businesses across the region.

Moving ahead, TikTok will continue to monitor trends and engage in consumer behavior research, to effectively keep our finger on the pulse of what works for SMBs.

SMBs are a critical part of our communities — both on TikTok, in Southeast Asia, and around the globe — and we’re committed to empowering them to unlock new opportunities and drive business results. To that end, we will continue to create big moments and initiatives that champion and empower small businesses in the region through workshops, online trainings and support, and other resources to help them reach their goals as 2022 unfolds.

This recognition is based on the results of Google Analytics on the most-read stories of 2021 with editorial validation on the significance of a leader’s contribution, campaigns results, and overall impact.