How to Sell Custom Merch on TikTok

In the ever-evolving world of social media marketing, TikTok has become a powerhouse platform for folks looking to promote custom merch in fresh and engaging ways. With its dynamic and rapidly growing user base, TikTok offers unique opportunities to connect with potential customers and boost awareness for your brand.

To ensure you maximize the potential of marketing on this unique platform, we’ve compiled our favorite tips, tricks, and best practices for selling merch on TikTok. Whether you’re a seasoned TikTok user or just starting out, this guide will help you leverage the platform’s dynamic features, trends and strategies to effectively market your custom merch.

Let’s dive into the world of TikTok and get your custom merch in the spotlight!

Create Merch for Your Target Audience

As with any social platform, tailoring your TikTok content to your target audience is the key to achieving success. To do this effectively, start by getting to know your audience’s interests and preferences. Who follows your account and why do they follow you? What keeps them coming back to check out your profile again and again? How can you get them to buy in (metaphorically and literally) when it comes to your custom merch?

Building a strong connection with your audience and consistently delivering what they want to see (and what they want to wear) can lead to long-term success on the platform. Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you’ll be able to pick the products they love and produce content that will resonate with them.

When Olivia Maher’s “Girl Dinner” TikTok went viral, she hopped on the opportunity to create a line of official “Girl Dinner” merch on Bonfire! What began as a playful phrase Olivia used in a video one night to describe her dinner spread has now evolved into a beloved and widely used term, as well as an adorable and stylish merch collection that all her fans can enjoy!

By paying attention to the response of her audience, she was able to create the perfect design for her merch.

TikTok Tools to Help You Learn More About Your Target Audience

Audience Analytics If you have TikTok Pro, you can use its built-in analytics tools to gain insights into your audience’s demographics – including age, gender, location, and interests. This information can offer valuable clues about the preferences of your audience and help guide you in the right direction when you start to design your merch.

Surveys and Polls Conduct surveys or polls on TikTok or other social media platforms to directly ask your audience about what type of fan apparel they’d want to wear. You can use features like TikTok’s Question Sticker to gather insights.

Trending and Popular Content  Keep an eye on TikTok’s Discover page and the ‘For You’ feed to see what types of content are currently trending and going viral. Adapting to popular trends is a great way to increase your visibility.

Comments and Feedback Always read the comments on your videos. Your audience will provide direct feedback on what they like or dislike. Whenever possible, respond to comments and engage in conversations to get a better understanding of what they liked / what they didn’t like / what you could do better or differently. This will help foster a sense of community and connection with your audience.

Share About Your Merch Regularly

When you share your custom merch in your videos, you’re reinforcing brand recognition and desirability – every time. It helps create a narrative around your products, cultivating a sense of anticipation and curiosity among your audience. By consistently featuring your merchandise in creative and engaging ways, you not only keep your offerings top-of-mind but also demonstrate their versatility and usefulness, making them all the more appealing to potential customers.

The key is to strike a balance between promoting your products and offering value to your viewers. When done right, your TikTok content can both captivate your audience and drive interest in your custom merch.

Olivia Maher does a fantastic job of talking about her merch  / wearing her merch / and continuing to hype up the “Girl Dinner” concept in her videos. By spacing out her Girl Dinner content, she achieves the perfect balance of promotion and entertainment. 

TikTok Promotion Tips

Keep Your Content Light and Fun When featuring your custom merch in your videos – share your excitement! Your audience will pick up on your enthusiasm and will get excited too. Be authentic, be true to your aesthetic and your brand, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine.

Engage With Your Viewers Use eye-catching visuals, vibrant colors, and creative editing techniques to grab your viewer’s attention at the start of your videos. Pay attention to video music trends and include popular, catchy music in your videos. 

Keep It Short and Sweet TikTok videos are typically 15-60 seconds long. Keeping your videos snappy and to the point will help ensure that your audience doesn’t lose interest. 

Mix It Up Try new content ideas and formats! You’ll discover what your audience likes best and you’ll always keep them interested and entertained. 

Include Calls to Action Adding a clear and effective Call to Action (CTA) in your TikTok videos for how to buy your custom merch is crucial for driving engagement and sales. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively: Try new content ideas and formats! You’ll discover what your audience likes best and you’ll always keep them interested and entertained.

By using an on-screen CTA, as well as a CTA in the video caption, Katie Ryan, AKA @KatieRyan630 on TikTok, makes it easy for her fans to check out her latest merch collection, It’s Frickin’ Bats

Brenna Berg, AKA @BrennaBerg on TikTok, made a stitch video to share her excitement about her Daily Affirmations merch. She talks about what styles and colors are available and also asks her audience to weigh in on what colors they’d like to see! 

Verbal CTA Verbally encourage your viewers to take action. For example, say something like, “Check out the link in my bio to shop this custom merch,” or if you have a TikTok Pro account you could say, “Swipe up to see more details and get yours today.”

On-Screen Text Overlay text on your video to convey your CTA visually. Make sure the text is easy to read and contrasts well with the background. TikTok’s text features can help you with this.

Bio-Link Mention in your video that the link to your custom merch store is in your TikTok bio. Make sure to keep the link updated with your latest products or promotions.

Swipe-Up Feature If you have a TikTok Pro account with over 10,000 followers, you can use the swipe-up feature to link directly to your merch store or website. Mention it in your video and include a gesture indicating the swipe-up action.

TikTok Ideas That Promote Your Merch

Unboxing Videos – Film the unboxing of your custom merch! Highlight everything from the packaging to the product itself. Share your excitement and enthusiasm about your merch.

Adria Vey of Draft & Ink, AKA @DraftAndInk on TikTok, did an unboxing video to show her customers what the experience of receiving merch in the mail was like! She tried on two different styles and gave a quick review of each. She talked about the size, fit, feel of the fabric, and how the colors / designs looked. 

Behind-the-Scenes – Give your audience a look at the ‘behind the scenes’ of your creation process. Show how your merch was made, printed, or customized.

In her behind-the-scenes TikTok, Maddie showed the design process of her tote bag – from the initial illustration, to bringing it to life in Bonfire’s Design Tool, to receiving the final product in the mail. Trust us, your audience will love getting a glimpse of the work you put in to make your merch a reality!

Showcase the Quality – Highlight the quality of your custom merch. Showcase close-up shots of the materials, stitching, printing, or any unique features that set your products apart. 

Tell Your Story – Share the inspiration behind your merch! Personal stories can help you connect with your audience.

Wear Your Merch in Your Videos

Wearing your custom merch in your TikTok videos is like a walking advertisement that speaks volumes. It instantly humanizes your brand, adding a relatable and personal touch. When viewers see you genuinely using and enjoying your merchandise, it builds authenticity and trust. It’s not just a product; it’s a part of your lifestyle, and that connection can be contagious. 

By showcasing your custom merch in your content, you’re giving potential customers a firsthand look at what they can expect when they make a purchase and receive their order. It’s a powerful way to communicate your brand’s identity and values, while also making your merchandise more appealing and relatable. 

TikTok ideas that involve wearing your merch

Styling Tutorials – Showcase various ways to style your custom clothing. Give viewers outfit ideas for different seasons, moods, days of the week, or whatever else you can think of!

In this TikTok, Elise showed a different way to style this tee for each day of the week! From dressy, to casual, to cozy loungewear, this video is cute and playful. 

Get Ready With Me (GRWM) – Create GRWM videos featuring your custom clothing. Mix and match your merch with other items to demonstrate how versatile your products are.

V, AKA @ThemBody styles the crewneck from their Trans Wearables campaign for a GRWM video. V does a great job of showing that GRWM videos don’t have to be over complicated – they can be simple, casual, and fun!

Showcase Size and Fit Options – If your merch comes in different sizes or fits, showcase how it looks on various body types. Your buyers will appreciate you taking the guesswork out of ordering the correct size. 

Angela Tiedemann, AKA @TheExtraordinaryWitch models different product styles from her Comfy Coven Garb campaign. She included on screen text and an invitation for feedback in the video caption to hear what her audience thought of the collection. 

When it comes to marketing your custom merch, TikTok’s ‘link-in-bio’ feature is a game-changer. TikTok restricts you from adding clickable links in video descriptions, so think of your bio link as your main gateway to conversion. Putting a link to your online store or product page in your bio makes it super easy for your TikTok audience to explore and purchase your merch. In one simple click, they can seamlessly transition from viewer to customer. 

Bonfire’s Linktree Integration allows you to easily link your merch store or up to 6 campaigns from your store. Buyers can preview your products on your TikTok profile before going to Bonfire to complete their purchase. 

Katie Ryan, AKA @KatieRyan630 on TikTok, has her merch link easily accessible in her profile bio. This helps her audience know exactly where to go to buy her iconic It’s Frickin’ Bats merch!

Encourage Engagement With Your Posts 

Encouraging your TikTok audience to interact and engage with your posts is a strategic move that can significantly boost your marketing efforts. When viewers like, comment, share, or even participate in your challenges and trends, it not only increases the visibility of your content but also creates a sense of community around your brand. 

Also, TikTok’s algorithm rewards content with high engagement – often pushing it to a wider audience, and therefore amplifying your reach. By fostering this two-way communication, you not only receive valuable feedback and insights from your audience, but also cultivate brand loyalty and turn viewers into enthusiastic customers.

Release Limited Edition Merch Collections

Launching limited-edition merch creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity among your buyers. TikTok’s fast-paced environment makes it a great place to announce limited-time offerings and generate hype. 

Skye Wolf Richardson AKA @TheSkyeWolf released a limited edition The Skye Wolf merch collection and announced the launch on their TikTok. They utilized on screen text and the video caption to emphasize the exclusivity of their merch and encourage buyers to act fast. 

Involve Your Community

Involving your community in your TikTok marketing efforts can be a powerful way to create a sense of belonging among your followers, increase engagement, and foster brand loyalty. 

TikTok Ideas That Involve Your Community

Product Design Contests – Involve your community in the design process by hosting contests where they can submit their own custom merch designs. The winning design could be featured in your next merch line! 

Interactive Q&A Sessions – Host live Q&A sessions where you answer questions from your community about your custom merch or brand. 

Community Spotlights – Highlight community members who are actively promoting your custom merch. Duet their TikTok to showcase them rocking your merch! 

For this TikTok, Caroline did a duet with a video from Bonfire Seller, @TheBookishDaughter to shout out their great advice (and their great merch). 

Interactive Polls and Voting – Use polls to let your community vote on merch-related decisions, such as which design to launch next or which color palette to use.

Collect Feedback and Ideas – Ask your community about potential merch designs, colors, or other features. Let them know that their input could influence your merch offerings.

With this guide, you’re equipped with a comprehensive toolkit for effectively marketing your custom merch on TikTok. By following the strategies and tips outlined here, you’ll be able to confidently navigate the platform’s unique features and trends to successfully promote your products!

Remember that TikTok thrives on creativity, authenticity, and community engagement – so stay authentic, stay on top of trends, and consistently engage with your viewers. You’ve got this – you’ll be a TikTok marketing pro in no time!

Ready to make TikTok your marketplace?

Create custom merch for free on Bonfire & turn your creativity into cash.

Written by: Hayden Ireland / Content Specialist
Illustrated by: Madison Summers / Lead Marketing Designer

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