How to Use TikTok to Market Your Small Business
While TikTok remains a fairly new social media platform, it’s revolutionizing the way small businesses are marketing their products and services. Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look into TikTok and how it can potentially help you grow your market.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
TikTok is a new and emerging social media platform that hosts fifteen-second vertical videos namely in the category of lip-synching. Back in 2017, it merged with a similar platform Muscical.ly as a way to broaden its userbase.
Similar to YouTube, a defining genre on TikTok is comedy. Influencers on the platform tend to produce short snippets of themselves lip-syncing to a song or famous dialogue and usually do so with over-the-top and comedic facial and body movements.
This algorithm of content is great for immediate entertainment. Since videos are fifteen seconds or less, the creators on the website must be creative in how they produce their content.
It’s worth mentioning that TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. Back in September 2018, it was downloaded more than Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and Snapchat. Not to mention, over time, this download base has reached over a billion users.
While the majority of these users are in China (more than 300 million), there’s a large market here in the United States as well (about 26 million active users). And this userbase is expected to rise.
HOW DOES TIKTOK WORK?
As mentioned, TikTok hosts fifteen-second videos namely of people lip-syncing to popular music and dialogue. However, users do have the ability to upload their own audio. The main takeaway from it all is these videos must be short and sweet.
The platform allows you to get creative with this content. Not only does it offer a number of video filters and effects, but it always opens the doors to “response videos” through what’s known as “duets”. These are when two videos play alongside one another in a way that makes it seem as though they’re interacting.
Many companies have been able to market themselves through TikTok in a number of ways. While traditional hashtags play a role here just as in other social media platforms, the website also hosts challenge trends on a regular basis. These vary in scope and scale but usually consist of specific dances and/or obstacles people film themselves overcoming - similar to the Ice Bucket challenge back in 2014.
WHAT’S TIKTOK’S USERBASE?
One of the biggest reasons small businesses have their eyes on TikTok is it’s one of the most popular applications with the younger generation. About 41% of its entire userbase are people ages 16 to 24.
Still, TikTok has plenty more to offer than simply young people. Not only is it available in 154 marketplaces, but it hosts videos from over 75 languages. Admittedly, most of these users are women (about two-thirds), but as the site grows in popularity, we’re seeing more representation from all genders.
SHOULD YOU USE TIKTOK?
This all depends on the identity of your brand and who you’re trying to reach out to. If your target audience is Gen Z, then we’d definitely suggest you create an account as soon as possible. However, if you’re target audience is older adults, you might not find much profit through TikTok.
Not to mention, it’s important to understand that much of TikTok’s appeal has to do with music integration. The majority of hash-tags are music-related with nearly half of all users have made a duet video at some point or another. If your brand doesn’t tie in well with music, you may find it difficult to market yourself through TikTok.
Of course, this isn’t to deter you from considering the platform. In fact, one of the reasons we highly suggest TikTok is it forces you to get creative with your marketing. While the music aspect of the platform may not be ideal for all brands, we guarantee most brands can learn how to incorporate it into their advertising campaigns.
Finally, it’s important to consider how “trendy” your brand is. Admittedly, TikTok is a very trendy platform, often being a trendsetter for other areas of the internet. It’s important to ask yourself whether your brand correlates with this or not before creating content.
HOW TO ADVERTISE THROUGH TIKTOK
TikTok has set up its platform to make it extremely ad-friendly for small and large businesses alike. You can run traditional ads on the website just as you can with other social media platforms. However, you can also get creative with the way you advertise.
For example, in 2019, Hollister used TikTok as a means of providing shoppable in-feed video ads. These allowed users to click on a “shop now” button which brought them to a microsite. Through this website, users were able to browse and purchase at their desire, yet, they were never taken off TikTok’s platform.
“TikTok isn’t starting from the same base as other new players in the social landscape,” claims Andrew Hutchinson, head of content at Social Media Today. “It already has an ad infrastructure and plan. That is based on the Chinese market, which is, of course, very different, but the app’s starting from an advanced position, which could see it capitalize on its revenue opportunities faster.”
While TikTok may not be a platform for every brand out there, we definitely think it’s worth giving a try. For the first time in years, small businesses have been offered a new and creative way to reach a fresh audience. And when such opportunities arise, you may just surprise yourself with what you’re able to create.
Written by: Paul James