How Can Your Small Business Utilize TikTok?

Written by: Riddhi Upadhyay and Rahul Guhan

Edited by: Aryan Sanan, Sravya Narahari, and Mike Mainella

What is TikTok?

An acquisition of social media platform by the Chinese technology company ByteDance created TikTok- the newest star in social media platforms. The platform aims for users to form a community by posting short videos that are five seconds to three minutes long. The type of content found on TikTok is quite extensive, including everything from dance challenges to motivational tips. The platform provides users the chance to customize their videos with options to add music, filters, text, and other effects to create content that is unique and meaningful.

Why TikTok?

In today’s world, it’s difficult to avoid TikTok. It seems to be the primary platform for young tweens and teens. However, you may be surprised to learn the platform has a much wider demographic makeup. According to a 2021 Statista report, only 25% of US users are within the age range of 10 to 19 years, whereas  75% of users are actually 20 to 50+ years old. This demographic of users are the individuals that have the purchasing power that is relevant to your business. Thus, by utilizing TikTok, you are almost certain to reach your desired audience (22.4% of users are within 20-29 years, 21.7% are 30-39, 20.3% are 40-49, and 11% of users are 50+ years old).

Wide Reach

TikTok has roughly 1 billion active global users monthly, and the reach potential is quite large for businesses. While your small business may not be looking for a global audience, the amount of users on this platform still allows you to grow and strengthen your connection with your domestic audience. TikTok’s renowned algorithm uses various features to promote videos, including location. The algorithm can help to connect your business with your consumers that are within your local community. You can have real and valuable engagement with your consumers that revolve around your shared community, fostering trust and creating sustained relationships through your posts.

Explore Creativity

Your business has the opportunity to interact with your audience in different ways that test your creativity to form captivating short videos. Users interact with content that appeals to them. The exciting benefit of TikTok is that there are limited guidelines or norms that control the creation of your short videos, therefore, you have the chance to freely explore the format of videos that best serve your marketing goals. So we encourage you to discover the type of content that resonates with your audience through trial and error. Each business has its own way of achieving brand awareness on TikTok, for example, the company BlendJet partners with influencers to create videos that demonstrate the uses and benefits of their colorful products. Crumbl Cookies draws in consumers by giving a delicious sneak peek of their baking and decorating process. Ultimately, you want to use this platform to reinforce and bring awareness to your brand.

Support of AI

As mentioned, TikTok is known for its powerful artificial intelligence algorithm that works to curate new videos for users to view, allowing videos to have a great chance of becoming viral sensations. TikTok has a page on the platform called the “For You” page, and the algorithm makes note of users and their viewing habits. These habits can include patterns such as “interest, behavior, and watch time.” The algorithm then searches for videos that are similar to users’ previous engagements and places similar videos on their “For You” page. Every user has their own unique “For You” page and the algorithm works to minimize repeated content presented, meaning that the algorithm actually wants to find videos from new creators that utilize new features. This presents your business with the opportunity to hop onto the TikTok train right now and still find success amidst all the existing users.

TikTok can be a simple, quick, and fun way to promote your brand to your audience

While it is clear that TikTok will be immensely useful to your business, it can be intimidating knowing where to start. To help with that, below are some essential tips to keep in mind when creating a TikTok account. 

Tip 1: Take time to use TikTok and be comfortable with it

For Facebook and Instagram, you can immediately start posting your content without personally spending much time using the platforms. However, since TikTok is very content-heavy and is an entertainment site, you have to spend time on the app to understand how you will get through to your customer. Taking the time to explore the “For You” page can help you “find trendy dances, new challenges, and meme references that you can use in your ads to appear more relatable and to increase your ads’ click-through rates.” TikTok’s purpose is to engage your audience rather than explicitly sell to them, which is why it’s crucial to create content that caters to users’ needs. This can be achieved through creating content that’s aligned with the popular trends in the app, utilizing hashtags, or pioneering TikTok challenges.

Tip 2: Partnering with Micro-Influencers

TikTok has been able to create celebrities and influencers such as Addison Rae, Noah Beck, and Charli D’Amelio. These influencers have a large following which has resulted in businesses coming after them for partnerships. For example, Charli D’Amelio had a very popular partnership with Dunkin Donuts. While your business may not be able to afford macro-influencers (people with followers above 500,000), micro-influencers are definitely a viable option. Micro-influencers are always looking for ways to increase their own brand awareness, and they won’t be as expensive as macro-influencers. It is beneficial to use an influencer to post content rather than do it yourself, because they are more knowledgeable about the current trends and fads on the app. However, that doesn’t mean you can hire any micro-influencer to post on the app. You want to pick someone that aligns with your business’s values and actually likes what you’re selling. Going back to the Charli D’Amelio example, she used to always be a big fan of Dunkin Donuts coffee even before Tiktok. Dunkin Donuts noticed how she was always drinking their products in her videos and decided to create a partnership.

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