Success Stories with Marshall Atkinson

Episode 19: "Using Tik Tok for Sales and Lead Generation" with Natasha Rawls with the MRL Group

April 28, 2021 Marshall Atkinson Season 1 Episode 19
Success Stories with Marshall Atkinson
Episode 19: "Using Tik Tok for Sales and Lead Generation" with Natasha Rawls with the MRL Group
Show Notes Transcript

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “People buy from people they like.”  On today’s Success Stories podcast, we are going to be talking to probably one of the most likable people in the industry, Natasha Rawls with The MRL Group about her experiences on using TikTok to cultivate new relationships.

If you have ever wanted to try to put together a short and engaging video to help with your marketing or lead generation, then this podcast episode is for you.

So, get ready to take some notes and be ready to explore how to build a great TikTok video with Natasha Rawls.


Marshall Atkinson

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “People buy from people they like.”  On today’s Success Stories podcast, we are going to be talking to probably one of the most likable people in the industry, Natasha Rawls with The MRL Group about her experiences on using TikTok to cultivate new relationships.

If you have ever wanted to try to put together a short and engaging video to help with your marketing or lead generation, then this podcast episode is for you.

So, get ready to take some notes and be ready to explore how to build a great TikTok video with Natasha Rawls.

Let’s get started…  Natasha, welcome to the Success Stories podcast!


Natasha Rawls

Thank you, Marshall. I appreciate you having me.


Marshall Atkinson

I gotta tell ya. I've been watching your videos that you've been sharing. Not necessarily TikTok cause I don't have an account, but other platforms and they're so fun and full of energy. I'm like, I need to get her on those podcasts so we can talk about it.


Natasha Rawls

Thank you. I have fun making them. Um, and maybe that's why it seems to be working. And if it's reaching you too.


Marshall Atkinson

Yeah. So before we get into everything, can you just tell everyone listening about yourself, how you got in the industry, about MRL Group and maybe your customer base, and what you're trying to do?


Natasha Rawls

So I've been in the industry for 16 years. This was my first real job out of college. I started in Atlanta. Um, and I had the opportunity to work on some pretty big key accounts, um, as you know, a merchandiser, just new in the industry. Um, and it was at the beginning of e-commerce stores and company stores.

We had one of the first ones, um, It was so basic and rudimentary and I think back to it, but you know, I've worked for a couple of different distributors now over the last few years and my clients are all across the country. I feel like I'm pretty diversified now in, you know, different industries like transportation and finance, and banking. 

I found when COVID hit, I was blessed that I didn't have necessarily all my eggs in one basket.


Marshall Atkinson

Yeah. So when you started doing videos, were you doing videos anyway, and then you found TikTok or it kind of just all seemed to come together. How did you get started doing that?


Natasha Rawls

In 2019? It was a couple of years ago. 

I knew that video was really, I guess, a key way to get to your audience, the algorithm with social media apps. Tended to favor videos. It was more engaging. People like to watch videos, um, more so than reading texts. And so. Then it became having to get comfortable on camera. Um, you know, I started just uploading some direct videos to LinkedIn and Facebook.

I went live a couple of times. Then I discovered TikTok. 

And TikTok, it's actually not labeled as a social media app. It's a creativity app on your smartphone. 

You know, it's twofold. You're either a creator or a consumer, and I'd like to do both. I like to consume the videos on there, you know, for fun or for education or knowledge or insight.

But I also found how easy it was to create videos and merge sound and text. And you could create a quick video in maybe even a second, but just a couple of minutes. And that I found was really appealing to me. Right.


Marshall Atkinson

Okay. So let's start with just the idea of simply reaching more people. How do you think video and TikTok really helps you with that?


Natasha Rawls

What TikTok has really mastered is the comments section because people run to the comments after they watch a video and sometimes spend 10 or 20 minutes reading and commenting and engaging. And that engagement on a video is what creates the video to get momentum and to just really go viral.

Um, that's how some of the most random videos tend to go viral or when videos are rewatched over and over again. So. TikTok has an incredible algorithm that if you can figure out pieces of it and how to, you know, take advantage of what posts tend to get more views than others, um, you can really win and go viral.


Marshall Atkinson

And so how does the video when you're putting it together? How like, do you just...you're sitting around eating a sandwich and go, “Oh, there's the idea!” 

And then you just lay it out later. Or how do the ideas of what to film and what to do come to you?


Natasha Rawls

I really come up with my ideas when I'm inspired, I will either hear a song and there'll be a phrase in a song that is relatable to something that I'm going through.

And what's fun about TikTok is you take music and you pair it with video and you can add captions and texts. And special effects that really tells the story. Um, you can tell a story in six seconds or 60 seconds, depending on the length of what you're talking.


Marshall Atkinson

How can you tell a story in six seconds? I can't even say hello in six seconds.


Natasha Rawls

It's pieces, I guess it's bit by bit. Um, you know, for example, you told me your favorite song and I was like, I told you I was going to do a TikTok to it. Um, I did, and it took me a few tries to hit the beat, right. 

Because, you know, that's what I learned from my daughter. You know, sometimes if you are going to try to do just a little dance or a little shimmy, um, it's all about hitting the beat and you're not gonna look cringy or, possibly get labeled a boomer. 

I got labeled a boomer in my early days of TikTok. Just not quite understanding the platform or even, I don't know what they saw in me. 

They saw it as a newbie, I guess. So really, you know, and that's, it's just a strategy to consume some content and learn, you know, what etiquette is almost like an etiquette or a way of doing things on TikTok.

And then once you kind of get a handle on that, You can put a TikTok together very quickly and just a few minutes, but some people, I mean, they spend hours. If not weeks, if not months, there are TikToks where people are about to have jaw surgery. 

I saw one recently and the girl filmed, you know, a few short videos of her leading up to her surgery and you could see what she was looking to fix. And then. There were videos a couple of seconds each while she was in the hospital getting ready to go under. And then the healing process, you know, she's strung together, 12 different five or six-second videos, and you got to see a whole story over six months of how she decided to have surgery and then how it turned out in the end. And. Yeah, that was incredible. I, I enjoyed watching that one...


Marshall Atkinson

So, it's not just silly dance moves, right?


Natasha Rawls

No. You know, my first day on TikTok, my feed page, which is like your feed, was filled with a lot of silly dance moves. And I was like this doesn't... Why did Gary Vaynerchuk tell us all marketing professionals and business professionals and entrepreneurs to get on TikTok?

Because that was really...What kind of even had TikTok on my radar when Gary, Gary V if you follow him was really promoting and recommending that the world recognize what kind of a platform TikTok is coming. 

What's nice and scary about TikTok is, you know, it listens and reads and watches everything you're doing.

So as you use and engage with the app more, it learns what you like. And as you like videos that show certain dance moves, it's going to continue to show you those videos. 

If you engage on videos you don't like, and this works for any platform, you're going to get more of that. And so really it's it's...When people leave a nasty comment or a negative comment in a sense, they're going to see more of that content. 

So if you really don't even want to see certain things on your, for your page, just don't...don't engage with that type of content. And there's also a way to, you know, I've seen my share of the scantily dressed individuals, uh, on TikTok.

And I was like, I don't really want to see that. And I hit the not interested button. And so now I don't see that type of content, make it to my page.


Marshall Atkinson

Okay. That makes a lot of sense. How is doing these TikTok videos, helping with your lead gen, and connecting with customers?


Natasha Rawls

One of the early videos that I created on TikTok and, you know, my intent when I saw that every TikTok that I load to the platform, it saves into my photos.

The video file. So I thought, well, this is perfect. I can now have these short, manageable, easy-to-produce videos and I can share it. And I'm across multiple platforms. 

So I took a fun TikTok of just myself and a song. I liked, I think that was, you know, I did TikToks personally and professionally, and I try not to get too salesy.

One of my clients saw my TikTok and said, “Oh my gosh, So funny!” and her and I have been emailing back and forth for a few months. She took over from one of my clients. Didn't really know who I was, just knew that I was the one that they would have privileged from. 

And when she saw my TikTok and got an idea in those six or eight seconds of who I was, maybe what my music style was and whatever I was focused on, on that TikTok, she liked it.

And I feel like it's brought her and I's relationship closer. You know, we're more relatable with each other. We follow each other on TikTok. She tags me now on social media, we're engaging and kind of helping each other. And I continue to see my clients or colleagues or, you know, folks like you in the industry that are, you know, I'm building a name for myself online. 

And these TikToks are part of my, you know, personal branding strategy.


Marshall Atkinson

Well, it comes down to it. Uh, we all want to engage with other people because we're not a bunch of robots. And I think a video where you're seeing somebody's personality or a sliver of what they like I think that really helps you connect with that person. Wouldn't you agree?


Natasha Rawls

Exactly. Speaking of robots, um, I did a TikTok. Do you know them? It's called the dancing robot in our industry and he's this little windup robot that goes like this. Once you wind them up, if you've ever seen that.

Um, anyway, I thought he was fun the way he danced. And so at my desk, I set him up. I picked a song that I thought he was going to kind of dance to. I shared that video and I must've gotten dozens of people interested in it now, in a sense, most of the people were wanting just one or two of those dancing robots.

But I had a few direct messages from people interested because suddenly my pitch was that we can custom brand this robot and they can be fun. And look at him, dance with me. Uh, you'll have to go check it out, but that was a great example of immediate interest stirred up on a specific product where I could sell a product or an idea, or just the explanation that I do, you know, marketing and promotional products.


Marshall Atkinson

I remember one video you did that I really liked. And, uh, if I remember right, you were in your kitchen and you were dancing and trying on face masks and it was all during the COVID craziness that we were all going through and I thought, wow, that is so cool because you're just showing how easy it was to put on.

And you were just having lots of fun with it. Do you remember that one?


Natasha Rawls

Yeah, I did two of them. There were two, I did a trending song that was something to talk about. We'll show you what songs are trending. And then you can decide if you want to use that song or if you want to search for your own and their database.

And so I did one to one of my favorite songs. The song's name is “I Looked Good” and yeah. I was trying to make a joke about just wearing your mask. 

They can look fun and have fun with it. Find one that fits your style. 

And then I did another TikTok to a trending song with just a little dance move in it and just tried to bring some laughter. I know it's a serious issue and nobody wants to talk about masks.

And I was trying to lighten up a little bit just with everything going on and I think it works, right?


Marshall Atkinson

And did you, did you get some clients from that?


Natasha Rawls

I had a few clients on Facebook, interested in ordering masks. Um, they reached out to me, we sent samples. I mean, I could definitely say, I guess I could direct one or two orders directly to that tech talk of some local clients who saw it and immediately one of them.

And then in general, it's awareness. I think it's more so I'm not trying to directly sell any specific products. If it happens, it happens, but it's that constant little drip of awareness marketing combined with my personal branding that I'm, I'm trying to achieve. So I, I can't even say that my close ratios or that every tech talk, you know, generates X amount of orders.

I would love to have some of those statistics and I'm going to continue to work on it. But as I've been learning over this past year, I think that it's, it's really about...I think video is really helping to build relationships and another way of collaborating or. You know, being relatable with your clients and that the door to more conversations and project opportunities.


Marshall Atkinson

So earlier when we were talking about what to do for this episode, you mentioned the concept of having your very own hype team. 

And I thought that was really awesome. So what is a hype team and why should people be thinking about creating a hype team?


Natasha Rawls

I like to think of, you know, when someone goes to a concert, they have the hype man, the person that hypes up the crowd and that's really what it is.

Your hype team is sort of your inner circle might be your friends, your close friends, your family, your close coworkers, or colleagues that hype you up. And. Marshall, when I did the TikTok for you and I posted it, I immediately sent it out to 10 people via text message. 

You know, my three sisters, my mom, a couple of friends that I know would click on it.

And I said, "Hey, can you like, and comment on this, I'm going to try to hype me up a little bit?" 

And that's, that's what you do. You have an inner circle, um, that gives you that initial momentum on a video. And this works for posts on social media. 

If I...You can create a wonderful post, but if you don't have a few people throughout the day or every hour, you know, engaging with your posts with a light or a comment, it's going to get forgotten to the bottom of the feed.

And no one will see it for the rest of the week, month, year. 

But if you have a steady dribble of likes and comments, that's how you stay relevant. And that's what keeps your content on people's pages. So your hype team is keeping you relevant.


Marshall Atkinson

It's kind of like that really back when we used to go to bars and restaurants, if you see the line out the door, everybody thinks, “Wow, that must be a really great place.”

Everybody wants to get in. So when you see a video or something, or social media posts with tons of comments and shares and everything, people are immediately...oh yeah, yeah...


Natasha Rawls

And it's fun on Tik Tok to see a really creative video. That might've made it to your, for your page before it's viral. And that's what people will comment:

“I’m here before it's viral!” 

You know, like this, if you're here before it's viral, a lot of people get famous in the comments is what I'm hearing from people. Okay. There was a TikTok of a girl getting her haircut. 

And it was very non-traditional with the hair, like choppy, choppy, not snip, snip, snip, precision.

And I left a comment. Because we're seeing a lot of split ends. And I was like, well, she needed a good haircut. 

Over 4,000 people liked that comment in just a matter of 24 hours. And. I was, you know, my, that what people will say is, Oh, you rip to your notifications. 

You can leave a comment that 50,000 people would like, you know, and that comment, you didn't even create the video. You just left a witty comment. And that creates engagement and traffic to your page. When people click to see who you are. 


Marshall Atkinson

So, Natasha, so leaving a comment can get people to follow the breadcrumbs back to you. So they'll watch your content.


Natasha Rawls

Exactly ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. And I think it was Gary V, if I'm not mistaken who had the strategy, um, It's smart to look for posts within your industry or niche that, um, maybe already have some good traction, fifty to a hundred likes.

When you read a comment, even on someone else's post, your followers are going to see it on LinkedIn. 

I know they're going to see your comment on someone else's post. Um, I like to search on LinkedIn for swag, like just to see what people are doing. You can search on TikTok, the keyword, and look for any post and that's where hashtags, not everybody understands hashtags, but when used correctly, hashtags can be those breadcrumbs that connect videos can, you know, you can search hashtags on virtually any platform, sometimes cross platforms and that's. 

Well, my goal is, you know, I have a hashtag #ispyswag, and it was one I created a couple of years ago.

And I just like to use that whenever I would see a piece of, you know, promotional marketing merchandise or swag, the gift being shared, people love to share swag. There are some amazing TikToks that people have created to celebrate or to show the unboxing of a gift that they receive. 

And that's really exciting to see the creativity, um, In like stop motion animation.

There's so much TikTok at least. I mean, they've got dozens, if not a hundred or so filters and special effects and speed up and slow down and, you know, earthquake shakes. 

I mean, there's just a lot of ways too. Take something that might seem ordinary or basic, and really you can take it and make it better.


Marshall Atkinson

I know that you're using TikTok to your advantage these days, but for someone like me, who hasn't started on the platform, what are the advantages of it and really, how should they get in it?

Because I'm nervous. I, you know, I'm an old white guy. I don't dance very well. I'm very nervous about doing it. 

What should I be doing if I wanted to get into the platform just to like, be brave and go,


Natasha Rawls

Well, first download it. 

And you're going to quickly see, I can almost guarantee it. As you start to scroll through your, for your page, you were going to see perspectives that you've never seen before.

I think one of the things that hooked me early on was getting inside everybody's houses. There were celebrities on TikTok that were adorable. They didn't know what they were doing. 

You got to see like their real life. Um, what is the guy on America's funniest videos way back in the day? 

Bob Saget was one of the early celebrities that I saw in TikToks. Look at this guy. I grew up with him and now I'm in his living room, you know? 

And there's so many celebrities. I remember the Rock, um, was one of the early ones on it. 

Jessica Alba, when she discovered TikTok and started doing TikToks and some of the celebrity events. It was adorable watching her get other celebrities kind of into it. And I think that the perspective that you can see in a matter of five minutes, you can be going to celebrities home. 

You can be witness to some incredible, like nature's miracles that people have caught on camera. You in five minutes, you can travel around the world and gain insights into what people are sharing there. 

You can laugh. TikToks make me cry. 

They can, it's not necessarily, you know, anger me, but they can raise awareness, um, positively and negatively. 

I suppose a lot of people can even use TikTok for real-time news. I thought it was interesting, you know, with the capital riots that happened a few weeks ago. I was on TikTok as well. 

And there were some people who were recording and sharing the videos to TikTok, and it was a chance for me to see exactly what was happening, not necessarily watching the same loop on the news. And so there's, there's a news aspect of it. 

There's the perspective that you can see looking at other people's, you know, TikToks, of course, that they share there's education.

I've...and even strategy. I even learned from some of my colleagues that are on TikTok that have shared some unique ideas and been like, where's that product? That's pretty cool. You know, what's the supplier of that one? 

So whether you're using it personally or professionally, I think once you get over the whole TikTok, you're going to have a lot of fun.


Marshall Atkinson

Can you do like a thumbnail graphic that's at the first part of the video or is it just whatever. How does it work for putting the whole video together? Can you, does it have everything you need as tools?


Natasha Rawls

Yeah. Everything you hit, the create button. You select your sound. You can search or look at what's trending by category, and then you just immediately, you can, you can trim and snip to the part of the song that you want.

You can set it if you want it to go 15 seconds, seven seconds. If you have a timer, you can give yourself a countdown of three or 10 seconds to get into position. 

And then once it's done, you have the option to add text, add graphics. I mean, people can get really complicated and string together. 

There's some incredible people...Will Smith...I used to say, take this man's phone and get him off the platform because he's like coming up with some of the most amazing special effects in his TikToks. You know, it. It raised the bar.


Marshall Atkinson

So Natasha for beginners like me, I don't even have the app yet. Is it easy to make a video?


Natasha Rawls

It's super easy. You're going to laugh, but there's a few toddlers who have, you'll see the toddler hit the play button. Back up a little bit, two or three feet and start dancing. And in the comments you can see, I mean, this, this toddler will have 1.2 million views and it is a parent's account. And maybe the parent knew a little bit about what was going on, but there toddlers doing TikToks. Yeah. 


Marshall Atkinson

Natasha, let's say you're too shy or don't want to build a TikTok video, but still want to take advantage of the platform to find new customers. Can we discuss just working with influencers or other companies on the media? 


Natasha Rawls

At the PPAI show in 2020, I took a lot of videos while I was walking the trade show floor of products that were being demoed that I thought were interesting. And while I was waiting for the plane to leave, you know, to come back home after the event, I think I uploaded about five TikToks.

I took a short video. I mixed it with the sound and I posted it right there while I was waiting. I think for the plane to take off. And then I put it in airplane mode. 

And by the time I landed, one of my videos went viral and I saw that within those three or four hours of the flight, I had reached over a thousand likes and two right now I've got 5 million views of that video didn't even feature me.

It was actually one of our factory reps demoing a product at the show, and that's my most viral video. 

So whether you're featured in it, or you're just sharing videos, you know, you can get creative, you don't have to necessarily be the one in front of the camera and it will take practice. 

And I say, keep it simple.

That's my philosophy in life. Keep it simple. And so you will probably not see me make some of these complex, super high, TikTok, I will keep it pretty simple. Um, so that I can, you know, film in post to take talk in five to 10 minutes or less.


Marshall Atkinson

Right. So it's, you can film a tote bag or a t-shirt or an umbrella, or, you know, all the things that we're trying to sell.

Right? You can film that about how you can open it or maybe hot possible decoration locations, or, you know, just, maybe you do splicing where you show all the colors in five seconds and you run through 30 colors or something just by placing them on a table or whatever. You can come up with your own fun way of doing it.

But the, I think the big worry for a lot of people is that they personally don't want to be in the video.


Natasha Rawls

We aren’t comfortable sometimes even with ourselves on camera. I think Zoom has totally changed some of us. We're not used to staring at ourselves or looking at ourselves on camera or on video. And three years ago, when I put the video in front of me, I, you know, didn't know what to say.

It is something that is going to take. Some practice. There are some that are going to be naturally drawn towards it, and there's going to be others that are going to find their kid or find another colleague who likes to be in front of the camera and, you know, you can make it work. And one of the things that I found was that satisfying videos tended to go viral.

One guy did a test and he pressure washed his dirty, you know, old pressure washed it. And then like a 15-second clip of just pressure washing each panel went by millions of views. And he explained that the reason that that went so viral is because it was just satisfying to watch that, I guess, that cleaning process.

There is cleaning Tik Toks. People are doing TikToks, showing how to clean a disgusting tub or sink. And there's something satisfying. I think, to some people, you know, to each his own of watching a video, that's just satisfying. 

And so. I noticed that some of our factories, post videos of how products behind the scenes are decorated and stamped, and maybe it seems boring to us or what we take in we're just used to it, but putting a bottle on a machine and rotating it and having that thing come down and print it, you know, there's something soothing or satisfying, even with how our products are made.

I had a video that I took from a supplier on how lanyards were being made and assembled and cramped and crashed and were not met. And it was the perfect type of content that is like a behind-the-scenes look into how things are made, that kind of needs on that satisfying to watch.


Marshall Atkinson

Great. And so, you know, we can do stuff being embroidered or something being printed or, uh, you know, packaging.

How do you hang tag something? 

How do you put your own brand label on the back of a t-shirt all this behind-the-scenes kind of stuff would make a great TikTok video, right? 

Exactly. Okay. Awesome. So before we go share one final tip Natasha, what's the one tip. That's going to make somebody's TikTok video just awesome.


Natasha Rawls

I think you've got to remember to have fun. Um, you've got that energy is going to come through in the TikToks and Marshall, you said it at the beginning of this, you've never met in person. 

We've had multiple emails and a handful of phone calls over the years, but we've, you've never seen who I am and ingest a ten-second video clip you were able to see the essence of my excitement, my energy, my love, or passion for the industry that came through in just a few seconds, be yourself and have fun.


Marshall Atkinson

Perfect. Perfect. Well, thank you so much Natasha for sharing your story of success with us today, if someone wanted to learn more about what you do and how to find you on chick talk, right?  Can you help them out? Where, how can they get ahold of you and find you?


Natasha Rawls

So my handle on Tik TOK is the @natasha80sbaby. And we'll find on TikTok, it will lump you in to your generation. So I get to see a lot of things of other eighties-type kids. And in the beginning, when you joined tech talk, you'll see videos of people who are in a similar age group is viewed as well.

So @natasha80sbaby is my handle on TikTok and I'm very active on LinkedIn and Facebook as well. So you can find me at Natasha Rawls.


Marshall Atkinson

Great. Okay. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you. Take care. 


Natasha Rawls

I appreciate it. You too. Thanks. Bye-bye.


Marshall Atkinson

Well, that's our show today. 

Thanks for listening and don't forget to subscribe so you can stay up to date on the latest Success Stories episodes.  

Have suggestions for future guests for topics, send them my way at [email protected] And we'll see you next time!