Tiktok, the social media platform where users can create and share short but entertaining videos had over a billion active monthly users in 2021. Many users find TikTok to be user-friendly which could be one of the reasons why TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020 (850 million downloads) and 2021 (656 million downloads).
Now, TikTok is more than just a platform for creating, posting and sharing
entertaining videos. Businesses promote their products and services on TikTok
because they have realized that their current and potential customers are among the
over a billion TikTok active monthly users.
Is your target market/ audience on Tiktok?
Analytics show that TikTok is most popular with younger adults, between 18 to 34 years old. If your target audience is over 34 years old, they may not be on TikTok or they are only a small percentage of the users.
However, viewing Tiktok videos has become a form of entertainment for the whole family including parents and grandparents. So, your posts are most likely seen by the older members of the family who are not registered TikTok users.
How to Promote Your Small Business on TikTok TikTok
If you have decided to promote your small business on TikTok, take time for any the following preliminary activities that you have not done yet:
- Set your campaign objectives and goal
Your objectives and goal will determine the metrics that you’ll monitor to know if you’re on the right track.
- Understand how TikTok works
TikTok has a different algorithm and features compared to the other social networks. Spend some time to explore the platform and see how it functions. Check the various learning modules at its Business Learning Center.
- Understand TikTok slang
TikTok users have developed their own vocabulary using abbreviations and words. For example, somebody who is called a CEO of dancing and other certain skills means that he or she is the best in that skill.
Another example is “heather”, the word for a beautiful girl they see on videos.
- See what’s new on TikTok.
- Check how much it will cost to advertise on TikTok.
Although there are free organic ways to promote your business on TikTok, paid ads may help you achieve your goals faster.
1. Set up a TikTok Business Account
A business account can be optimized to help businesses connect with customers better than a personal account. It has access to creative tools and real-time performance metrics as well as audience insights can help you track how your content is performing.
Optimize your business account with the following:
- Relevant and eye-catching username and nickname. Ideally, they should be the same across your other social media social profiles.
- Unique photo that represents your brand.
- Short Bio that includes a description of the business, emojis, contact information, Call-to-Action (CTA) and a clickable link. If you need to include many links, use a so-called “link in bio” service. Emojis are eye-catching and help you include more information in your bio without exceeding the 80 character limit.
2. Plan and Create Great content
Posting great content that includes the products or services you offer is one of the best ways to promote your business on TikTok. Great content on TikTok is funny and engaging and can grab people’s attention quickly before they scroll past your video to watch the next one.
If you’re new on TikTok, learn what kind of content your target audience would most likely like, comment and share by:
- Getting advice from other small business owners.
- Watching videos
You’ll get new ideas on how to create top-performing content. What strategies do successful Tiktokers use to get more engagement?
- Checking out your competitors
If your competitors are not on TikTok, find at least three (3) similar businesses and see what strategies work and don’t work for them. Learn from their mistakes.
- Finding your niche, ad format
Finding your niche will help you find your audience that will most likely engage with and share your content. Don’t stick to a niche right away because anything can go viral on TikTok. Continue to try new types of content and see what works based on analytics.
Content plan and posting schedule
Start by posting organic content related to your business. For example, if you are promoting a gym, create funny exercise videos.
Then, check your analytics to see what type of videos help you achieve your objectives. Check also the best time to post your content.
Create a content calendar to help you make sure that you post content according to your strategic plan.
4. Use the right Hashtags
TikTok algorithm uses hashtags to help categorize your content and show it to the appropriate audience. So, make sure your hashtag accurately indicates what kind of content you post so that it will reach people who like that kind of content.
The hashtag you use will also bring your videos into your target users’ For You pages.
5. Interact with your target audience and other accounts
The interaction will connect you with more people, you learn more about your business and build trust with your audience. You can interact with other users’ content by:
- commenting on their posts
- replying to comments on your posts
- creating duet videos
- creating stitch videos
Interacting with your target audience and other users also informs TikTok of your preferences. It will customize your ‘For You Page’ accordingly.
User-generated content for Community Commerce
Interacting with your followers and other users gives you another option to post user-generated content featuring your business for community commerce.
Tiktok’s Community Commerce is equivalent to word-of-mouth marketing that is considered more authentic to the community and influences purchasing or call-to-action decisions. The comments of your fellow community members can promote or block sales, memberships, or whatever your call to action specifies.
According to a TikTok study, the interaction between businesses and audiences in the communities has shortened the time between product discovery and purchase.
6. Collaborate /work with TikTok creators/ influencers
If you have difficulty creating your own content, you can find the right content creators and influencers for your budget or campaign in TikTok Creator Marketplace.
7. Create Challenges, Contests, Giveaways
If your posts are not helping you reach your marketing objectives, challenges, contests and giveaways are known to increase likes, followers and awareness of the products and services your business offers.
For example, one of the popular challenges on Tiktok is the hashtag challenge. In this challenge, you use a specific hashtag to your content asking other users to post their own version of your content using your hashtag. Many people find it difficult to resist challenges especially if it is for fun. If you like, you can award prizes for the best response based on your set criteria.
It also helps promote your business to respond to challenges by other TikTok users.
See examples of content related to giveaways here.
8. Use Spark ads, TikTok Promote to Boost Organic content
Spark Ads and TikTok Promote are new features that allow businesses to boost existing organic videos.
Spark Ads lets you boost both your own and other users’ content. It has also more audience targeting options than TikTok Promote. On the other hand, TikTok Promote allows you to boost your existing organic content only. This is Tiktok’s equivalent of Facebook Boost and can help you get more views, traffic, and followers from your organic videos.
9. Cross-promote your TikTok account on other social media platforms
If you already have a large following on other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube, share your TikTok content (without the TikTok watermark) and invite them to see more on TikTok.
10. Use other paid TikTok ads
In addition to Spark ads and TikTok promote, where you will need a modest advertising budget, there are other paid Ads on the platform.
The following paid ad formats allow your campaign to extend to even more new audiences but will need a bigger budget than boosting ads. They are created, managed and tracked through the Tiktok Ads manager.
- TopView Ads Full screen, 60-seconds long video ad that appears at the top of the For You feed but is set to a 3 second “delayed play”.
- In-Feed AdsA full-screen video of up to 60 seconds that is placed in the feed as part of the video queue on the users’ “For You” page. The video ad should be able to catch the users’ attention within the first 2-3 seconds to stop them from scrolling to the next video feed.
- Branded Hashtags
A branded hashtag includes the name of a company, product, phrase or slogan associated or unique to the business. The branded hashtag that you include on your videos is exclusive only to your product or business and comes with a high price tag.
- Brand TakeoversThis is a full-screen ad that appears as soon as users first open the TikTok app. It’s called a “takeover” ad because each day, only one brand in each category can use the format. This premium ad has a high price tag and allows links to internal and external landing pages.
- Branded Effects or Lenses
This ad format allows content that includes your branded or designed images or filters. For example, you can add a sticker with a logo of your brand or a new product to call attention to your videos.
11. Integrate with TikTok Shopping
If you have a shop or store in Shopify and a few other e-commerce platforms, you can sell your products directly on TikTok through TikTok Shopping.
TikTok Shopping offers businesses two ways to sell their products on the platform— Direct Integration and Partner Integration.
TikTok Shopping Direct Integration offers full-service e-commerce services from product discovery, management, billing, purchase, fulfilment and returns or refunds all done on TikTok.
TikTok Shopping Partner Integration offers e-commerce services from discovery through product catalog posting to product purchase. However, payment, returns and other post-payment activities are done outside TikTok.
TikTok plans to work with more e-commerce platforms in the future.
Monitor Your TikTok Campaign
After you’ve implemented your strategy to promote your business on Tiktok, you’ll need to continually review your analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not.
Make use of TikTok split or A/B testing to identify the best content to promote your business on the platform.
If you have a website, you can install TikTok pixel to effectively monitor your ad performances based on the objectives you defined. Continually fine-tune your strategy to promote your business on TikTok.
Paid ads on TikTok may not be affordable for small businesses but the platform also offers easy, budget-friendly ways for small businesses to promote their products or services.
Just continue creating videos that TikTokers love. Then, regularly monitor your analytics to know what works. Keep trying new ideas because you never know what kind of video will go viral and make your promotional strategy a great success.