How to Use TikTok for Business Marketing
If you’re considering using TikTok for business growth, you’re not alone. The platform has proven itself as a useful tool for both brand awareness and for finding new customers. So, where do you get started? How do you make sure you’re getting it right on TikTok?
We’re here to help answer your questions and set you up for success. Let’s dive into some of the details.
TikTok is a video-sharing app through which users create, edit and share videos up to one minute long. The content varies greatly, from instructional videos to dances, lip-synching and much more.
The platform has more than 800 million active users and more than 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, making it appealing to use TikTok for business. While the primary demographic of users started as Gen Z, this base has evolved to include users of all ages.
Here are a few tips when using TikTok for business:
- record your videos vertically
- keep your videos short and impactful
- start strong to encourage users to watch your entire video
- be yourself; focus on authenticity
- use captions that relate to your content
- research how others are using the platform
- use hashtags to help searchability
- use sound—either music or voice—a key component of TikTok
- participate in challenges
TikTok offers a fun, creative way for you to connect with potential customers while building your online brand. The trick, of course, is cutting through the clutter so your target market can find you. Before we examine how to do that, let’s first look at how TikTok is different from its bigger competitor, Instagram.
Different Than Instagram
To understand how TikTok and Instagram differ, you only need to spend a few minutes on each platform. While Instagram is filled with carefully curated images and high-quality photographs, TikTok is almost the opposite—casual, impromptu and approachable.
Another difference lies in the way content is consumed. On Instagram, users spend most of their time scrolling through the content of people they follow. TikTok users, on the other hand, spend most of their time on the For You page, which is a feed curated by a TikTok algorithm.
For You content covers a wide range of topics and themes, exposing users to ideas and communities they might not have explored on their own. A video shared this way can reach countless viewers who do not follow your business. In short, TikTok offers far more reach as a business tool than Instagram.
The Power of Editing
Another feature that makes TikTok for business a powerful tool is the built-in editing functions. With simple, easy-to-use features, TikTok allows you to edit your video clip, easily creating an engaging video.
Common edits can transform a quick video clip into something eye-catching, rewatchable and shareable. TikTok’s video editor is mobile-friendly and made for fun.
To get started, simply use these steps:
- Hit Create – upload video from your camera roll
- Add effects and recording tools — these can be found on the right side and bottom of the screen
- Add text — this is a powerful way to enhance videos, especially instructional videos
Adding text to your video not only gives you a way to explain or enhance your content but has also been proven to prevent users from scrolling to the next video. If you decide to add text to your video, be sure to avoid placing it on the right side or bottom of your screen, which will be covered by captions and icons.
Just One More
The addictive nature of TikTok is a big part of what makes TikTok for business so powerful. With short, easy-to-consume content, users often find themselves watching “just one more”.
Because you have such a short window to capture the attention of TikTok users, it is important to entertain while creating brand awareness. Before you create your first video, spend some time on the For You page to see what kind of videos capture the attention of users.
Chances are, you’ll find common themes, such as humor, novelty and relatability. See how you can work these ideas into a series of videos that help to build your brand.
Start with a Plan
So, where do you start when using TikTok for business? Like any other element of your marketing efforts, it’s important to start with an objective, a budget and a plan.
On TikTok, two unspoken rules will impact your objective. First, the platform is not a place to sell products. Your primary objective in using TikTok for business should be about building your brand. Second, authenticity matters more than polished content—when making your content plan, strive for genuine and engaging versus polished and sales-driven.
For your budget, a TikTok marketing plan doesn’t need to include paid advertising, but you may want to have a budget amount for any props or location items you may need for your videos.
Make sure your TikTok plan includes regular posts, that you monitor your success and make regular adjustments until you find a voice and style that work. As part of your research, be sure to use the Discover page, which will show you trending challenges and top videos for given hashtags.
From your Notifications screen, you’ll see comments, likes, direct messages and who has recently started following you. On your Profile page, you’ll be able to see how many people have viewed a given video. From here, you can also enable TikTok Pro, a free change that allows you to view TikTok analytics on your account.
Intend to Go Viral
Naturally, if you’re using TikTok for business purposes, you’ll want your content to appear on the For You page. While there is no secret recipe to make this happen—TikTok has not revealed details that run its algorithm—here are a few starting points:
- post frequently
- post in line with trending content
- use hashtags strategically
- apply trending audio clips to your video
- keep track of your results and tweak content as you go
Ultimately, TikTok will reward popular content. If your video hits the mark, users will ideally watch the full clip, then hit the Follow button. The more popular your content, the more likely TikTok will send it out to the For You page for more users.
As you explore trending video and audio, you will likely need to stay flexible, as you work to incorporate themes and songs into your content. The key is to figure out how to make trending content relevant to your brand.
Just like content created for other social media platforms, when you’re using TikTok for business, you will want to research and use hashtags strategically. On TikTok, hashtags are used in two ways—to help users find specific content and to help TikTok decide who should have the content pushed to their For You page.
When using hashtags on TikTok, keep things simple. Use generic terms, rather than niche terms. For example, if you own a spa, use hashtags like #spa or #spaday and not specialized terms like #deeptissuemassage or #spadayinthecity.
Luckily, TikTok uses hashtags to provide opportunities for anyone to jump in on social movements. For example, if #newskill is a trending challenge, you might put together a video that features a new skill you’ve ‘learned’ with a product you happen to sell.
Sometimes, hashtag challenges will revolve around sounds, ideas or songs. Keep an eye on these challenges and find a way to take part. Many believe that TikTok rewards those who participate in hashtag challenges by boosting the visibility of their content.
Start Small, Learn and Build
Although it may feel as though TikTok has been around for a while, it is relatively new as a business tool. If you are planning to use TikTok for business, remember that you may have a learning curve to climb.
While every video on TikTok has the potential to go viral, there may be steps you can take to increase the odds of better exposure. Experiment with content, hashtags and sound to see what gains traction in your target market.
Once you have used the platform for a while, you might want to experiment with TikTok ads, which allow you to narrow in on your target market with tools such as Brand Takeovers, Top View ads, Native Video ads and Sponsored Hashtag Challenges.
As you can imagine, if you are planning to use TikTok for business, there is plenty to learn but the upside is significant. Be patient as you start your research on TikTok, and be willing to experiment and measure your success as you go. More than anything, be yourself.