It’s no secret that TikTok has been the social media platform in the last two years. But should you actually use TikTok for business too?

Since its release in September of 2016, TikTok boasts over 1 billion monthly active users and is especially popular among the Gen Z demographic. 

And if you’re building a social media strategy, it would be wise to start exploring TikTok as a potential marketing channel. 

While it might seem like a frivolous app with no real business value, many brands use TikTok to drive sales and create awareness for their products. 

This blog post will explore ways to use TikTok for business to reach new customers and grow their brands.

TikTok for business
Source: Unsplash

What is TikTok?

At its core, it’s a video-sharing app where users can share videos of themselves or others doing things that interest them. 

But what makes TikTok so unique – and so appealing to businesses – is the precise algorithm that learns how you use the platform and serves users the content they’ll want to consume and share. The algorithm’s precision is best understood in the app’s usage – 38 minutes on average – making TikTok the most engaging app compared to its social media competitors.

Now, just because the most significant TikTok users are Gen Z, this doesn’t mean your audience isn’t there. According to Statista, 60% of users are in the 16-24 age bracket, and 80% of its users are in the 16-35 age bracket. If your audience belongs to this age group, you should most likely reach many people by having your brand present on TikTok.

Share of active TikTok users
Source: Statista

When it comes to other social media platforms, TikTok undeniably has the highest growth rate. Compared to its biggest rivals, Instagram and Facebook, TikTok achieved the same active user base after three years, Instagram after six years, and Facebook after four. 

It’s interesting to add that TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021., amassing 650 million downloads, which is over 100 million downloads more than Instagram.

TikTok for Business: Why should your brand join TikTok?

According to TikTok’s audience insights for 2022, 73% of people feel a deeper connection with brands they interact with on TikTok than on other platforms. However, you need to go above ad-looking content and genuinely connect with your consumers to create a deeper connection.

Users spend way more time on TikTok than any other app. Longer app usage is excellent for businesses because the more time they spend on the app, the more ads they will see and spend more. Additionally, 67% of users say TikTok inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so. 

#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt

As TikTok calls it, community commerce is “TikTok’s entertaining creator-driven word-of-mouth marketing”, which blew up in 2021. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt saw exponential growth and, as of today, amasses over 13 billion views.

Source: TikTok

People positioned themselves to become equal stakeholders in the shopping experience, and the community became the drivers. And brands should be interested in repositioning because getting involved in a platform where the people are at the center of the shopping experience can heighten your brand in a new way.

Not every brand has seen significant success on TikTok because it all boils down to how you create your content on the platform. Here are:

4 tips for using TikTok for business

Set up a TikTok for Business account and brand your profile

Let’s start with the basics. To properly brand your TikTok for business, it needs to be obvious what your profile is about. First off, this means including your logo in your profile picture and a link to your website and other social media platforms. 

The next important thing is writing down your bio. Tell your followers who you are and what you do. But remember, less is better in this case. Also, TikTok only allows for 80 characters, which is just over half of the character limitation on Instagram. And you know that’s very little already. 

Make sure your bio depicts your brand’s value or purpose efficiently. Additionally, if it fits, include emojis. They can emphasize your business’s personality or service and serve your visitors to take action. I.e., visit your website, webshop, or other social media account.

Don’t forget to include links to your website and use the native feature to connect your TikTok account to your Instagram. It’s separate from the external link option so people can easily access your Instagram account.

TikTok for business Gym Shark account
Source: TikTok

Create a content strategy

It’s easy to approach TikTok as any other social media platform. There’s just one problem: TikTok isn’t like every other platform. So, if you want to be successful on TikTok, you need to adapt your strategy for this app specifically because the way people use this app is way different than others. People only want to watch content that meets all their interests and needs and the TikTok algorithm plays a major role in serving them the content that they’d like to see.

Establish a niche

That’s why establishing your brand’s niche is a social media must. Think about a niche like this: imagine you were in a room full of people talking loudly. To get your word across, you’d need to shout loud. Why not find a smaller room? 

Thanks to TikTok’s algorithms, when a new user starts browsing the app for as short as 30 minutes, the app already notices your platform user behavior. Consequently, it starts serving you niche content that caught your attention the most (and yes, even if you didn’t leave a single comment or like).

When planning out your strategy, another thing to remember is to stay on top of trends. Browse content that is currently trending and try to put your spin on it. You don’t need to follow what everybody else is doing, nor should you copy others’ ideas, but this might serve you in terms of getting engagement and saving you some hassle in the ideation process.

Source: TikTok

💡 Read more: PR and Marketing – Experts Predict The Trends for 2022

Engage with UGC

Additionally, it’s highly beneficial to make it a habit to find user-generated content regularly. Make it a priority to engage with it, whether positive or negative. TikTok’s community loves when a brand is involved in the conversation about them and stands behind its product and its values. However, finding all the content manually can be time-consuming, so consider adopting a social listening tool to your strategy. 

💡 Read more: Social Listening in 2021: Proven Hacks, Strategies, and Tools

Create content

We know how difficult it might seem to create posts on TikTok for business. Trust us, we know. But what it all comes down to is how well you tell your story

On Instagram, you might find polished, overly edited, and overall perfect content. However, content on TikTok is less polished and down to earth. According to research done by Google, when people choose what to watch, it’s way more (specifically 1.6 times more) vital for it to connect to their passions rather than having high production quality.

Create authentic content

That’s why you should try being authentic. However, this doesn’t mean airing out your dirty laundry (although this might be interesting to some, this is a no-judgment zone). Being authentic means showing some behind the scenes, showing your original self, staying true to your values, and identifying with your consumer’s purpose.

Spend more time thinking about how you’re going to tell the story rather than how you will film it. Raw and authentic works on this platform and beautiful storytelling trumps video production value. Why? Because it’s relatable and believable. And don’t forget, TikTok loves fun and entertaining videos.

Source: TikTok

Include sounds and music

Another thing to have in mind is the sound and music. Forget about hashtags because, as TikTok reported, sounds saw 47% higher video view rates from the For You (specially curated For You page, similar to Instagram’s Explore page) compared to hashtags. 

Homepage TikTok-for you page
Source: TikTok

Also, 88% of people on TikTok reported that sound on the platform is central to the overall app experience. Using popular music and sounds could help you grow your reach and engagement.

@ryanair

Bestie how else will I make bank i’m sorry🤧 #ryanair #airline #traveleurope #cabincrew

♬ umm.. yeah – andrew
Source: TikTok

Influencer marketing on TikTok for business

According to TikTok, 78% of users agree that the best brands on TikTok are ones that work together with users. However, there are a few steps that brands should take before booking influencers to promote their products.

Do your homework and find ideal creators

Booking influencers with a large audience might not be your best strategy. It’s best to niche out your search and find those with an audience similar to yours. And if you’re booking talents for a specific campaign, consider creating a hashtag challenge that will allow for other user generated content to be placed under the same hashtag and might promote more content to be created. And who doesn’t love earned content? Remember, trends work great on this app and people love tagging along.

Take a look at Netflix’s #WhatsYourPower branded hashtag.

@makeuppbyruthie

Welcome to Project Power. The next evolution of the human species. #WhatsYourPower #ProjectPower #Ad @netflix

♬ Rise Up (1st Half Custom) – Dubkiller and Mark Victor
Source: TikTok

💡 Read more: User Generated Content: Why is it Important?

Browse through creators’ content and give them creative freedom

Tiktok creators have spent a lot of time and effort building a connection with their audience and it’s a relationship built on authenticity. Provide the creators with a brief but make sure they feel like they have the liberty to create content that will fit them and their audience most. See how they’ve included other brands in their content and make sure they can include your brand organically.

Should you use TikTok for business?

The answer is yes! Taking into consideration that your audience is actually on TikTok. However, the best way to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your TikTok account is to create content with meaning. Storytelling should be the primary driver when creating your content strategy, and you should aim for authenticity.

Don’t be afraid to go niche with your content, but find a way to include trends, whether with challenges, music, or sounds. Users of the app love when brands engage with them, so engage! Find user-generated content and communicate with your community. And remember, you’re not only competing for attention with other businesses, but you’re also competing with other content creators.

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