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Expert Q & A

How a Deathtech Startup Got 1M+ TikTok Followers

February 10, 2022
Mae Rice

Eterneva makes memorial diamonds from people’s (and pets’) ashes. Not your typical TikTok brand — but they’ve gotten more likes on the platform than Nike.

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Eterneva makes memorial diamonds from dead people’s (and pets’) ashes — and they’ve amassed more than 1M followers on TikTok

Their account has gotten more likes on the platform than Nike.

It’s converting, too. About 80% of Eterneva’s sales leads come from TikTok, Eterneva’s creative content director Phil Cisneros told MarketerHire. 

How? Cisneros, the strategist behind the account, broke it down. 

They started on TikTok right when it exploded.

Eterneva posted its first TikTok in the early days of the pandemic: March 13, 2020. 

That quarter, TikTok was getting downloaded at a record-breaking pace, which felt like an opportunity.

“We had a slight organic presence on every other social platform, but it wasn't growing,” Cisneros said. 

They stood out — even on DeathTok.

Back then, TikTok was known as an app for dancing teens.

Even in the “death space,” Eterneva was unique. Their competitors weren’t on TikTok, and content about death on the app was typically “a dark, gothic experience,” Cisneros said. 

Eterneva offers a “brighter, different way to look at grief or death.”

They figured out four content pillars. 

Through experimentation, Cisneros found four types of Eterneva content that resonated on TikTok.

  • Storytelling videos: These videos celebrate the people Eterneva diamonds commemorate.
  • Science: These videos explain the science behind lab-grown diamond (and clarify that they’re real diamonds.)
  • Reactions: These videos show people seeing their Eterneva diamonds for the first time. 
  • Trends: These videos use TikTok trends, like sounds and prompts, to tell Eterneva’s story.

They had a viral hit.

In September, Eterneva posted a TikTok that began with a text box: “You’re too happy making diamonds from people’s ashes.” 

A compilation of joyful customer reactions followed, set to a trending clip from Lukas Graham’s “Mama Said.” 

The video got 16M+ views — and took Eterneva from about 240K followers to 1M, Cisneros said. (Can’t have hurt that it ended in a “Follow to see me make diamonds” CTA!)

They read the comments.

Engagement is so key to reach on TikTok that Cisneros spends more time replying to Eterneva’s comments than he does making videos. 

(Organic responses perform better in the comments than prompts, he’s found.)

Our takeaway?

Conventional wisdom says that you should use TikTok to market impulse buys — priced under $50 — and good times. 

Think fashion and beauty more than… end-of-life planning.

But Eterneva shows that as the app gets more saturated, an unexpected product or perspective can resonate, too.

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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