How to use TikTok for business

Business Leader recently received this exclusive article from virtual office providers Rovva around the benefits of using TikTok for businesses.

To many, TikTok looks like a social media platform for ‘the kids’ – lip syncing videos, crazy dance routines and short-form comedy sketches created by anyone and everyone. But it does have a place for businesses, and if you get it right, it can be hugely beneficial.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use TikTok for business and the benefits you can gain by using this platform in your social media strategy.

What is TikTok?

In short, TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create and watch short videos or video snippets. It was launched in 2017 and has quickly risen to become one of the most popular social media platforms used around the world.

As of January 2021, TikTok has over 689 million monthly active users worldwide which puts it seventh in a list of social media platform popularity by user numbers. However, it’s important to bear in mind that the platform is young, and both Facebook and Instagram took a much longer time from launch to gain the same number of users.

The average demographic for TikTok is Generation Z, with 26% of 2019 users in the UK being aged between 18 and 24. However, we expect this number to have grown significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic when TikTok became ‘the platform of the pandemic’.

Is TikTok good for business?

If your target market is Generation Z, then we can say with confidence that TikTok will be good for your business. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not good for businesses targeting other demographics, especially given the breadth of content viewed on the platform. The platform is continually growing its user base, with more and more people from different age brackets downloading the app every day.

Over the last year or so, brands have really started seeing the value of TikTok for business and integrating it into their marketing strategies. One of the reasons for this is how easy it is for businesses to engage with their consumers and target audience on the platform, whether that’s through advertising on TikTok, TikTok influencers or by sharing user-generated content.

A good example is Marks and Spencer – not a brand you would typically associate with targeting a younger audience – who used TikTok to create a Valentine’s Day campaign that would push their ‘Dine in’ meal promotion. The brand used videos produced by three top UK influencers and published them in the TikTok TopView and In-Feed Brand Premium Ads sections with a strong call to action.

By not taking themselves too seriously and creating light-hearted content that was appropriate for the platform, M&S were able to achieve great results from the campaign, with a CTR of 15% and an engagement rate of 15.47%.

The benefits of TikTok for business

The benefits of TikTok for business are multiple, just like any other social media platform in the digital age. One of the best benefits of TikTok for business, however, is the ability to go viral, which can be great for brand awareness of small businesses.

While the exact algorithm of the platform is still unclear, it seems easier for video content to go viral on TikTok than on other social media platforms. Couple this with the fact that a single TikTok video can and will be shared on other social media platforms, and it’s clear to see the value for businesses when it comes to generating brand awareness and increasing reach.

Some other key benefits of TikTok for business include:

  • Large active audience with over 689 million monthly users
  • Global reach with availability in 141 countries
  • Less invasive way of marketing and capturing the attention of a generation that frequently uses ad-blockers
  • Can be a cheap option with no need for highly edited videos or specialist equipment
  • Opportunity for maximising user-generated content to drive authenticity and conversions – UGC results in 29% higher web conversionsthan campaigns or websites without it
  • Several ways to target TikTok users, with multiple opportunities for building brand awareness

How to use TikTok for business marketing

If you think TikTok might be the right platform for you to use in your social media marketing strategy, there are a few ways you can use it to get the most value for your business. It’s also important to take steps to understand the platform so you can use it to its full potential.

Let’s go through a few top tips for using the app for business.

Get to know TikTok

TikTok marketing isn’t like any other advertising you do, so you need to ensure you fully understand the platform before you start creating content. TikTok is primarily a place for fun; it’s light-hearted and provides users with an ‘escape’ from the doom and gloom often found on other social media platforms.

You should study the content that currently performs well and determine how other brands engage with their audience. The last thing you want to do is create a video that you think works for your brand and have it completely flop when you upload it because you’ve missed the mark.

Be creative

Creativity is key when it comes to TikTok. With so many videos being uploaded every day, you need to create something that will set you apart from everyone else. Be careful not to simply copy what works well for others – authenticity is essential for TikTok marketing.

Look for areas of your business that might interest someone, and make videos fun and light-hearted. You could show your followers how something is made or ‘behind the scenes’ content that gives them an insight into what you’re all about. You don’t always need to create something funny or recreate a popular meme.

Hashtag challenge

If you’re looking to drive brand awareness while encouraging users to interact with your business, creating a hashtag challenge is a good place to start. You’ll want to create a piece of content that you can encourage TikTok users to recreate and add your brand hashtag to.

When creating a hashtag challenge, remember these top tips:

  • Create a share-worthy hashtag
  • Maintain a brand or product focus
  • Make it memorable
  • Use audio that is relevant
  • Set out clear rules for users
  • Continually promote your challenge at every opportunity

TikTok influencers

TikTok influencers are an invaluable asset to any brand, just like influencers on any platform. However, you need to ensure that the influencer you work with aligns with your brand and their following is of a similar demographic to your target audience.

Research is key when it comes to influencer marketing. Be sure to reach out to influencers that share your values, have a strong following of engaged users and can authentically highlight your brand in front of an audience that would benefit from knowing about your business.

TikTok advertising

If you’re looking for less organic methods of using TikTok for your business, paid advertising can help. There are five different types of TikTok ads you can choose from:

  • Infeed – video ads displayed inside the native news feed.
  • Top view – pop up ad on the first in-feed post.
  • Branded hashtags – video ads at top of discover page.
  • Brand takeovers – pop up ads when users open the app.
  • Branded lenses or effects – ads created with a custom filter created by the brand.

As a new and growing platform, TikTok is going to be essential for your social media strategy, especially if your business targets a younger audience. So, get stuck in now and start creating your first piece of TikTok content.

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