A Small Business Guide to TikTok

You might know TikTok as the app that first introduced you to that Carole Baskin dance or taught you how to create a perfect smoky eye in less than five minutes. And it is those things – a platform for short videos ranging from tutorials to those ever-popular “Challenges” – but it is also a potential marketing tool for your small business.

Here’s why: currently, 689 million people around the world use TikTok monthly. Many of these users are teens – in fact, 69% of teens in the US use TikTok, and 29% of those teens say it’s their favorite social media platform.

So, it’s clearly an indispensable tool for those businesses looking to reach a younger audience. But in the years to come, it’s projected that more and more people will use TikTok in the US (almost 40 percent of the population by 2024). So, no matter your intended audience’s age, TikTok could be the missing link in your small business marketing plan.

Of course, you have to know how to use it in order to make the most of it.

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How Businesses Are Using TikTok

Currently, 35 percent of marketers say they plan to use TikTok for influencer marketing this year. (If you don’t know, an influencer is someone on social media with a large following who can potentially influence those followers toward certain products, brands, and ideas.)

There are six main ways businesses are using TikTok for marketing:

  1. Hashtag Challenges
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Tutorials
  4. User-generated content
  5. Giveaways
  6. Livestreams

A Hashtag Challenge can turn users into your unofficial brand ambassadors. You’ll share a video using a sponsored #hashtag, and then TikTok’s community will respond by sharing videos of their own with the same #hashtag. For example, Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile challenge has garnered 5.3 billion views since they introduced it last Mother’s Day.

Influencer marketing looks a little something like this. Someone with a large following – in this case, Brittnebabe, an athlete who is promoting a brand (in this case, Gymshark) – is usually paid to share the brand/products and/or sent free products to share with their followers.

A tutorial is a great tool, in particular, for small businesses with products to showcase. This is very popular with things like fashion brands and cosmetic companies. Hourglass Cosmetics, for example, regularly releases short tutorials for their products.

Some of these tools are more important to focus on than others (Hello, Hashtag challenges!), and we’ll get into all of that in the Infographic below.

But no matter which tools you’re using as a small business, it’s important to remember:

  • Be authentic
  • React to hot trends
  • Use your hashtags wisely
  • Reply to comments and messages
  • Have fun with it

Getting Started with TikTok Ads

First thing’s first: if you don’t have a TikTok account already, you’ll need to get one. You can immediately start growing an audience by following people and trends, interacting with your followers, cross-promoting on other social media, and spreading the word that your small business now has a TikTok.

You’ll then need to set up a TikTok ads account and create a campaign to really get some eyes on your page. You’ll specify your ad as you like with a budget, schedule, objective, who you’d like to target, etc. And that’s it. You’ll launch your ad out into the world of TikTok and watch as people respond.

Below, we’ll get into all the details: the different types of videos and which one(s) will work best for you, how exactly to set up and best use TikTok ads, and the keys to success on TikTok as a small business. If you’re ready to take on the #challenge, use this as a guide as you enter the wonderful world of TikTok.

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