Hello small business owners starting on TikTok! We know the app can be intimidating, and you’re likely wondering if you’re going to be able to use it to make sales. You’re trying to figure out a very Gen-Z app even though you might be an older generation. No worries, because we’ve got you covered!
TikTok is a social media platform used to share popular music, lip sync, dance, talk and even sing in videos anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds. Users can also follow and support their favourite creators. By using the app regularly, the content they view is curated to their tastes on the For You Page or FYP.
Your primary goal should be to get on the FYP of as many potential customers as possible. The FYP is the home page of TikTok which is curated based on the user’s likes. It is where videos are presented to users who can either stop to watch or swipe to move on to another.
TikTok has been a popular app for a while now, but this year, the number of users skyrocketed due to the pandemic. Now, thousands of business owners are using the popular music app to promote their business, and they are getting rapidly increasing amounts of sales, website traffic, and new customers.
Overwhelmed? The good news is you’re not alone – you’re one of many business owners trying to reach their target audience on TikTok. Whatever your service is, one thing is true: you have to learn how to use TikTok to keep up with your competition and stay relevant with your audience.
As a long time TikTok user, many ads have been brought to my attention as a potential customer. There were some that drew me in to check out their websites and even make a purchase, while there were some I swiped away from as fast as I could. The tips in this article are what separate the stable and successful businesses from the ones that don’t last on TikTok.
Before you start on your journey, first thing’s first, make a business account then follow this introductory tutorial to get you familiar with the features on the app. Once you have an understanding on how to use TikTok, these tips will show you how to make the most of it for your business.
1- Be consistent
Post new content multiple times in a day. Examples of content usually posted by small businesses: your packaging/shipping process, the product’s you use, stories of your entrepreneurship journey, and answering frequently asked questions. All this helps your audience get to know you better and lets the algorithm know you are active.
2- Connect relevant social channels
Connect to your brand’s Instagram and other social platforms and attach your website link to your bio. This makes it easy for potential customers to discover you and your product. If it’s too hard for them to find you and get familiar with your brand, they will probably not purchase from you or engage with you.
3- Make a relatable and inviting bio
Personalize your bio to your audience by letting them know your company’s mission and inspiration. Generic company descriptions won’t make users feel connected to your business, so take the time to create a bio that’s authentic to your brand. In addition to showing your users what your company’s vision is, many businesses also attach discounts specifically for their TikTok audience right in their bio.
4- Study your target market
Who are you trying to reach? When are they most active? What’s their demographic? Research hashtags relevant to your niche and service. Use the language they’re using and engage with them and the people they follow. This will ensure you get on their FYP, which means more views and potential customers.
5- Study your analytics
With a business account, you’ll be able to see how your videos perform at different times and with varying durations. This can be determined by your location and your account’s statistics. Figure out the best time to post and the duration of videos that your audience responds to best, then take advantage of that information to optimize your content.
6- Keep your videos organized with cover titles
Organizing your videos help users find what they’re interested in faster, so they don’t have to waste time and potentially lose interest. These covers are already built into the app and can be attached right before posting.
7- Arm yourself with the best video editing tools
TikTok has some pretty cool editing features on the app that can make your videos very attractive. But many videos that perform well take it to the next level by using third party apps to give their videos more appeal.
Some edits that make videos stand out are filters, closed caption, and transitions. By using features not found on TikTok, it also signals to the audience how much time and energy was put into the video and shows your investment in providing great content. Examples of third party apps that are commonly used are InShot, Adobe Rush, iMovie, FilmoraGO, and many more.
The more you use the app, the more personalized your videos suggestions come. The more a video gets on the FYP, the higher its views and brand attention. Users get hundreds of videos on their FYP a day, but they only stop for the ones that pique their attention the most. Use these apps to boost the level of creativity in your videos.
8- Always be professional as you relate to your audience
As the Founder of Style Nine to Five, Christie Lohr, says about workplace relations, “At the end of the day, it’s about the business and what is best for the business.”
In other words, don’t treat your followers and commenters differently from how you would treat physical customers. Every view is a potential customer and supporter of your brand. No matter what negative comments are sent to you, always respond with grace. In my experience on TikTok, such responses bring positive attention to the brand which leads to even more sales.
9- Start building your profile early
Don’t wait until every single detail is perfect. Businesses open TikTok accounts months before their product or service launch day so their audience really gets to know them. By starting early, their audience got to know the business and was able to show their support through sharing, follows, comments, increased website traffic, and signing up to newsletters. When launch day rolls around, customers are primed and ready to purchase and support your brand. In this case, the early bird really gets the worm!
10- Master humor on the app
There’s a select kind of humour on TikTok that might be hard for newcomers to understand. The best way to tap into that attitude is to actually use the app yourself. A good way to do this is by participating in TikTok trends and engaging with your target customers through comments that don’t just promote your business, but also shows your fun side.
11- Be vulnerable with your audience
Potential customers respond best to authenticity. They want to connect to your business; they want to know why you started it and put all you have into it. Tell a story and capture their attention. There are many ways to do this. You could try the compassion route: telling the audience your business story, how hard it was and how much you would like it to work out.
Another option is to go the funny route and take advantage of the wide range of trends on TikTok to get a laugh. My advice is to use both tactics and try to focus on a special connection with the viewer. Don’t just show them the hard work, balance it out with the joy and the sentiment of being able to have your own business. Show them how great your product is and let them get to know you in the process. Don’t tell them to buy, tell them why they should. This will grow your followers as well as ensuring that your business will have repeat customers.
12- Offer value
Not only are you inspiring others to shop from you, but you’re also inspiring an audience who is looking to start their own small businesses. Remember tip #3 above! If you’re authentic and talk about things that other people find valuable, like small business tips you’ve learned along the way, the more people will share your content with others, leading to more people seeing your videos. This means that TikTok will boost your content, which leads to even more customers.
Users are interested in the tools and tips that make businesses function smoothly, like packaging hacks and engagement tips. Here’s an example of a TikTok that offers such useful tips and did well because of that.
13- Offer incentives
Everybody loves a good discount! It does not have to be a discount; it just has to be a good incentive to make them buy in the first place and also come back for more. Your incentive could be a small token that comes with each purchase, like a giveaway or a handwritten thank you note with a discount on their next purchase. Many customers on TikTok appreciate a well thought out and personalized approach, and there’s no right way to do it—showing appreciation is the important thing.
14- Use influencer marketing
An endorsement from a popular creator can go a long way for your business. Influencers impact their followers’ choices, especially on TikTok because it is considered a hotspot for trends. If you have the means to offer influencers free products for promotional purposes, it’s a great marketing strategy. It is also best to choose an influencer who resonates with the particular demographic you are trying to reach, not just any popular creator.
Regardless of who you’re working with, make sure to have a solid contract with the influencer to protect your investment in them. Here are some introductory tips to jumpstart your influencer relations.
15- Don’t compare
Comparison is really the thief of joy. On TikTok, it’s easy to get discouraged as you see account after account blowing up, but it’s important not to get side-tracked and focus on the unique value you are giving to your audience.
Small business owners on TikTok, you got this! Your work will not go unseen when you take the first steps and set up that business account. You’ve got what it takes—just show up as your most authentic self. Take the chance and you’ll do great Your audience is out there waiting. Conducting your business in the creative sector can be hard but you just need the right tools to get you there.
Are you looking to grow your team? Check out the advertising services that Style Nine to Five offers to get your job posts noticed and to boost interest in your brand’s future opportunities.
By Ozioma Nwabuikwu – Ozioma is a writer, content creator and aspiring marketing professional. She is an Economics major at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.