The digital landscape has evolved rapidly over the last several years, especially within the social media space.
With more people working at home, the need to fill the time with engaging entertainment, news and connection has grown.
One social platform that captured the attention of the American consumer in the last few years is TikTok.
As the app’s popularity grew with the 2020 lockdowns, the user base increased from Gen Z and Gen Alpha to Millennials, Gen X and even Baby Boomers.
As the demographic expanded on TikTok, so did the potential for businesses large and small.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how your small business can leverage TikTok to build your brand and engage with customers.
Setting Up Your TikTok Account
The first step in setting up a TikTok account for your business is choosing the right profile type.
There are a few types of profiles available when you set up an account: personal, business and creator.
We’ll give you some background on all three, but we’ll get into the details for the one that is most useful for you: business accounts.
This type of account is for the average user who creates videos and engages with content and other users.
The creator account type is meant for influencers or people who make a living as content creators on social platforms.
The business account type is meant for brands and businesses of all sizes. Business accounts offer distinct features and benefits that are not available with other account types.
Benefits of a Business Account
Unlike the first two types of accounts, business accounts offer unique benefits that help you track engagement and boost your brand awareness.
The most helpful? TikTok provides real-time metrics through business profiles. This eliminates the guesswork and allows you to make data-driven decisions. Just check out your metrics and adjust your content and posting strategies to better suit your audience.
When it comes to your audience, business profiles help you understand your community by offering insights into users who engage with your content.
A business account also allows for additional business information like your website link and contact information.
Not only that, but you will also have access to commercial-focused tools like the TikTok Business Creative Hub — which can help you develop a marketing strategy within the platform.
There is also a business workplace, support tools for growth and a commercial sound library. A business account also allows you to access promotional tools to further your reach.
When setting up your business profile, you’ll want to make sure you have a short but informative bio, a clear logo, a link to your website and your business contact information listed.
Like all social media profiles, complete profiles tend to be favored by both the platforms themselves, and users who are interested in your business — so be sure to fill out each section.
When it comes to TikTok content, there are a few unwritten rules that have turned into written best practices.
- Find Your Niche
- Your content will be pushed to users’ “For You Page” feeds based on their interests, your business, the types of videos your business account and the user have engaged with, and a myriad of other factors.
- In terms of engagement, quality is better than quantity. Don’t be discouraged if your audience is small; keeping them highly engaged is more important. Then, as your engagement grows, so will the reach of your business. This is why identifying and catering to your target audience is crucial!
- Use the business analytics tools provided to business accounts to get insights into your niche.
- Develop Quality Videos
- The key to a quality video on TikTok is in the production and structure of the content. All you need is a good camera (any phone made since 2018 will suffice), sufficient lighting (the sun is free), and a quality microphone.
- Be sure to film your videos with vertical orientation, and avoid any important visuals being in the bottom 15-20% of the frame — your caption, account name, and hashtags will be in that lower space.
- Use TikTok-provided sounds and filters when you can. TikTok favors videos that use its tools, so your chance of reaching your audience is increased when you shoot and edit the video on-platform.
- Proper Messaging
- TikTok being a short-form video platform means it is critical to get your main hook or message across in the first two seconds of the video. If a user isn’t engaged with the content after two seconds, they likely won’t watch the full video.
- Once you have your hook, the rest of the messaging in the video should highlight whatever you want your customers to know. Talk about what you do, where you are located, how they can get a hold of you, and most importantly: why they should choose you.
- Your caption on the video should be short, simple and related to the content of the video. You have limited character space, so create your caption wisely.
- Use relevant hashtags for your video and business, but don’t be afraid to use unrelated, trending hashtags either. Videos with trending hashtags see more reach. Just don’t overload your caption with too many — 5-6 will do the trick.
- Showcase your personality. No one likes a boring commercial, brand or video, so show the human side of your business.
There is no magic formula for when to post your videos — or how long of videos you should share. You need to pay attention to your audience.
Because you’ve set up a business account on TikTok, you’re able to see what times your audience is most engaged and using the platform, which will help you identify the best times to post.
You’ll also be able to see how long users typically view your videos. If you are posting 60-second videos but the average view time is under 30 seconds, consider making shorter videos.
Again, adjust your strategy based on data.
When you first start posting, you won’t have access to this user data. So, you’ll need to experiment with posting times for a few days before you can get insights into your audience’s behavior.
It’s best to regularly post on TikTok one to four times per day. You don’t need to post seven days a week, though.
It is also a good idea to have a couple of posts saved to your drafts in case you don’t have time to create new content.
One of the biggest factors in your reach on TikTok is consistency in posting. Having a few videos in reserve can ensure you have enough content to be consistent.
TikTok is all about engagement from both a viewer and a creator standpoint. It’s very important to engage with the users who comment on your videos through a like or a comment reply.
Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to engage in a battle with someone online, so focus on the positive comments and questions. If you engage with negative comments, be sure to do so diplomatically and professionally.
Another great way to engage with your followers and other TikTok users in your niche is to use the Stitch and Duet video tools within TikTok. This will do two things.
First, it will notify the user that you built upon their original post, expanding your top-of-mind reach directly into their notifications.
Second, that video will start to show up on the original creator’s feed and their followers’ feeds. This makes it a very easy way to expand your audience within your niche and build more engagement.
The overall purpose of using TikTok as a platform for your small business is three-fold.
First, TikTok is a massive platform for awareness. It’s a way to get your brand in front of thousands of people very quickly on an app designed to connect people with content they are interested in.
It is not a general audience, so the value of each viewer is going to be naturally higher than that of traditional media like billboards or mailers.
Second, due to the precision of the algorithm, engagement with your brand will increase.
Whether that is with on-app signals in the form of likes, comments, shares and follows, or with an off-app engagement like website visits and branded searches.
Third, a presence on TikTok is an effective tool for promoting and developing both brand recognition and brand loyalty. We know that Gen Z and millennials are among the largest groups of TikTok users.
These generations choose local businesses who show they have a sense of humor and showcase their brand values.
TikTok is one of the most ideal platforms to communicate with those generations.
Things to Consider
TikTok is constantly changing and updating its platform and algorithm, so you’ll need to make sure you’re able to adapt quickly to new features, rules and best practices.
The platform is also not going to be a driver of new leads for certain kinds of businesses.
The big winners on TikTok when it comes to lead generation on direct ROI is going to be the e-commerce space.
Non-e-commerce retail stores, doctors, mechanics, home services, etc. will need to look at TikTok as a branding platform. Sure, you may get some leads from TikTok-generated traffic, but the goal of the platform is to share content and build your brand.
If you’re looking for a lead generation strategy, consider targeted advertising with a campaign focus on leads.
It is also worth noting that TikTok, while a powerful tool, can be a dangerous tool. The audiences on TikTok are quick to hold people accountable, which means paying close attention to your messaging, comments and user feedback is critical.
It Is also important to note that TikTok values views and engagement more than followers, so don’t be too concerned about follower counts.
And finally, TikTok is also a global platform. That means your reach will not always be hyper-local. Use this to your advantage to showcase your expertise in your field as a whole — not just in your local area.
TikTok is a powerful social asset for small businesses looking to increase their awareness, brand recall and brand loyalty.
If you can post at least once per day and have an active imagination, you’ll do very well on TikTok.
Be aware of your audience, tailor your message to your niche and focus on engagement over followers.
While TikTok can be a great platform for small businesses, it’s not right for all. Be sure to think about where your audience spends their time online, and what kind of messaging they prefer before you spend too much time or too many resources on a campaign that may not be very valuable.
If you need help in determining whether or not TikTok is a good fit for your business, feel free to reach out to learn more about our Social Media Plans.