TikTok, the raging social media platform, has been around since 2018, but is gaining mainstream traction fast. Everyone from celebrities to teens to cool grandmas are on TikTok – but just how much can entrepreneurs get from using TikTok for business? On the surface, the platform seems like a place for funny lip-sync videos, not a place to showcase products and services. However, there’s much potential for small businesses to use TikTok and reach their audience in a fun and creative way.
What is TikTok and why should you care?
TikTok bills itself as the place for short mobile videos. Imagine an Instagram for videos or a short-form YouTube, but with a lot of cool new features. Videos on TikTok can be anywhere from five seconds to sixty seconds long. You can easily add in eye-catching filters and special effects. TikTok also has a huge music library you can access to add songs to your videos.
TikTok’s algorithm uses AI to provide users with recommendations on which videos they should watch based on their past viewings. The algorithm makes it easy for users to discover new content, and this also makes it easy to create viral sensations.
The app is growing in spades and is currently the sixth-largest social network. Here are a few more astonishing numbers that might just convince you to try TikTok for business:
- The app has been downloaded more than 1.65 billion times
- In 2019, it was the second-most downloaded app (only beat by Whatsapp)
- The average user opens up the app more than 8 times a day
- TikTok’s largest demographic is 18-24 year-olds, followed by 13-17 year-olds
- Around 60 % of TikTok users are female, while about 40 % are male
Understand The Platform
If you’re considering using TikTok as a small business marketing tool, start by creating a small business account and explore the platform. This isn’t the kind of place where you should make hard sells for your tech software. That kind of promotion isn’t going to get very far on TikTok. That’s why it’s best to first look around and see what other brands are doing. You’ll also want to make sure your audience is on TikTok before you go any further.
When you’re exploring the platform, here are a few things for you to try:
- Watch videos: Open up the app, and you’ll automatically see a feed with tons of different silly videos. Click around and watch a couple to get a feel for the platform.
- Create your own videos: You’re not aiming for professional videographer quality. Most of the videos posted on TikTok are created by the users themselves. Start recording with your phone, add in filters, use cool effects like face zoom, sprinkle in stickers, and so much more.
- Add in music: TikTok is integrated with Apple Music, so you can add songs to your videos, remix them, and add effects.
- Follow accounts you like: Look for other competitive businesses on TikTok and like their accounts so you can follow them and see what kind of content they post. Also, be sure to follow industry giants and check out their marketing campaigns.
- Buy virtual coins: TikTok enables users to buy virtual coins with real cash. You can then use these to give others virtual gifts.
TikTok for Business: Try Different Kinds of Content
Once you’ve researched your competitors and know your audience is on TikTok, it’s time to create content for your business. While you can certainly do a funny lip-sync video, there are many other options you should use to promote your business:
- Introduce yourself and your team with a fun theme song that captures the essence of your business.
- Give followers a cheeky tour of your workplace so they can see where the magic happens.
- TikTok is a great place to share inspirational stories. Do you have a success story about how you started your business?
- Instead of telling people about how great your product or service is, see if valued customers would like to share a few words about it on video.
- Does your business have a unique name? Create a video explaining why you chose that name and the story behind it.
- Lots of small businesses have pets running around. TikTok users love cute animal videos.
- Does your business donate time, money, or products in your community? Share that and why it’s important for your business.
- How’s your product made? Show users the step-by-step process. Time-lapse videos are highly popular on TikTok.
- Want to inspire others to start their own business? Provide tutorials on how to do that.
There are so many different ways to share information about your business on TikTok. The thing to remember is that TikTok users like fun and creative videos. They don’t want to see a talking head explaining how to use a product or why your product is the best. They want to see an engaging story about a product with some catchy music in the background.
Giving your viewers a story is a no-brainer task. First, you should prepare a picture that will serve as bait, enticing them to move further and watch a whole video. After you’ve selected the right photo, make sure to embellish it with professional actions. There are lots of free filters online, so, just refresh your knowledge on how to install Photoshop actions and get down to the creative part.
Use The Right Hashtags
If you want to get your content discovered, you need to do some hashtag research. What kind of hashtags are trending, what does you target audience click on, and which hashtags relate to your business? You can’t just use any hashtags because it’s popular – hashtags actually have to do with your video. Otherwise, users who click on it will be disappointed and not want to return to your account again.
Whenever you post a video on TikTok, be sure to add hashtags that are relevant and popular. Keep in mind that TikTok is mostly for amusement – not a hard sell. They’re searching for fun content that will entertain them. Use hashtags strategically to get your audience’s attention. Here are some of the most popular hashtags on TikTok.
Curate User-generated Content
While creating your own videos is a good way to promote your business and bring brand awareness on TikTok, you can also tap into your customers’ content. This is where hashtags come in again. Create a hashtag for your business and ask your customers to use it whenever they post something on TikTok about your products. You could also run a paid hashtag challenge (more on that below!)
This way, prospects learn about your company through the best marketing vehicle: word of mouth. For example: let’s say a prospect sees a TikTok video where a user wears your designer dress; they’ll want to follow your business’ hashtag to learn more about those dresses. This could eventually lead to them making a purchase through your website – all because of a TikTok video.
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TikTok for Business: Discover the Platform’s Ads
Like other social media networks, businesses can now advertise on TikTok. That’s an excellent way to get your brand seen by new users and prospects. There are four main ways your business can advertise on TikTok:
- Brand takeover: When a user opens up TikTok, they see the brand takeover ad before any other user content. You can link the ad to a landing page if you’re making an exclusive offer for TikTok.
- Native ad: This is a kind of ad that plays in between user content. Remember that users are able to easily skip this type of ad by just scrolling past it.
- Sponsored hashtag challenge: Businesses can sponsor a specific hashtag challenge and advertise on the Discover page. This is a great way to get more engagement for your brand and hashtags.
- Branded lens: This is a type of filter your business designs for users to add to their videos. It’s best to pick something related to your business and that resonates with your target audience.
Start with TikTok for Small Businesses
TikTok for Small Business is a great way to get your brand discovered by new prospects. Users on TikTok are highly engaged, love sharing content, and open up TikTok multiple times a day. Small businesses can show off their creative side, add humor to their posts, and find music that resonates with their target audience. Remember, this platform is about fun and creativity, not serious high-pressure sales.
TikTok for Small Business helps you set up ads, present your brand to the right people, and provides tips for engagement and to increase your follower count. Be sure to check out the Business Learning Center to get your questions answered and learn how to shine on the platform. TikTok is growing daily, so don’t wait to join your audience and show off your fun-loving side.