Illustration of a man on a surfboard shooting a tiktok video

TikTok for business marketing: is it right for you?

MarketCategory
23 min read
Ashliegh Gehl

Whenever a new social media platform pops up and gains traction, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of investing time and energy in it. If you’ve thought about using TikTok to promote your business, but aren’t quite sure, this blog is here to help. Together, let's discover if TikTok for business is right for you.

TikTok has become one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms on the planet.  

TikTok

While young Gen Zers were once the main TikTok target of this short-form video-sharing platform, droves of millennials are also flocking to the platform.

Whatever your niche, if you’re a small business owner looking to sell to these groups, investing in TikTok marketing might make sense.

To help guide you to social media success, we’ll look at a mix of practical TikTok for business marketing tips. But first, a little history.

Authenticity: A brief history of TikTok

TikTok was born in China and came on the social media scene in 2016. It immediately clicked with youth. 

Some say TikTok is a Gen Z subculture because of the ease in which a message can be communicated. 

Short, splashy videos threaded with music encapsulate all of the feels. Sad, happy, silly, or hilarious, TikTok is living up to its mission of inspiring creativity and bringing joy through short-form mobile video. It’s addictive, surprising and at the heart of it — real.

To TikTok or not to TikTok?

TikTok has climbed great heights to be one of the most authentic social media apps around. But before you jump into TikTok for marketing, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions to determine if it's worth the effort your small business.

What age group am I targeting?

Girl wearing a shirt that reads fries before guys

If the bulk of your customers are between 16 and 24 years old, TikTok for marketing is an avenue you want to seriously pursue.

When it comes to social media, this is where 16 to 24-year-olds live and breathe.

They may be on other channels like Instagram, but you’re less likely to reach them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Knowing your target market is the first step to any marketing effort.

Related: Best ways to use Instagram for business

What do I offer that might appeal to this group?

What you have to offer matters. TikTok isn’t necessarily the place for the hard sell. It’s a soft sell, full of feeling. 

Woman recording video on an iPhone

Marketers know that emotional connections sell products, more so when the messaging is airtight and drives straight to the heart of the customer you’re trying to reach. It’s an art. 

Evaluate your products and services, assess their emotional nuances and envision how you would market them via video to your target audience.

Take it slow and start with one product. Brainstorm the many ways you can create content that matters. With TikTok, you’re not creating ads. You’re creating memorable experiences.

Is my small business local, regional, national or international?

If you’re a brick-and-mortar small business with an online store and have a shoestring marketing budget, it’s likely that your audience is within 50km of where you’re established (give or take seasonal travellers who pop in).

Using TikTok for business can help you enter markets in other areas or cities, both nationally and internationally. 

It’s available in 158 countries, after all. Test the waters and target potential customers with paid ads and then measure the results.

How to start using TikTok for business

If you think using TikTok for business is a good idea for your venture, here’s how to get started.

1. Create a TikTok Business account 

First and foremost, to use TikTok for Business you need to set up the right account.

Six people playing in a tube

If you’ve already got a personal account, you can make the switch to a business account in a few easy steps.

Here’s what to do:

  • First, download the TikTok app and open it  
  • Next, set up a personal account and set your preferences (ignore this step if you already have a personal account) 
  • Finally, tap the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner, then tap the Menu button in the top right-hand corner (look for three horizontal lines).

Make the big switch to a TikTok business account before choosing the categories relevant to your business.

2. Complete your profile

Once your account is set up, you'll want to make an effort to craft your TikTok for Business profile.

As the famous Field of Dreams (or Wayne’s World Two) saying goes: ‘if you build it, they will come.’ To add to that statement — if you build it well, they will flock. 

To set up your TikTok for Business account in a way that will attract and engage the right visitors, there are certain key elements to consider. Let’s take a look at them now. 

Start with the right username 

Man with pen and paper thinking

To use TikTok to promote your business effectively, start with the right username.

When choosing a username for you TikTok account, you should:   

  • Pick a username that is short and punchy (two or three syllables is usually the sweet spot)
  • Go with words or phrases that represent your business and what it does 
  • Use terms that are relevant to your niche or industry
  • Add special characters or numbers sparingly to avoid confusion 

Tip: When deciding on your username or writing your TikTok for Business profile, ensure you know your character limits. The limit for usernames is 24 characters and the limit for bios is 80 characters.

Your profile image is your chance to catch people’s eyes when it pops up in a relevant search. So make sure it’s slick, clear and represents your business. 

Using a headshot is a good idea if you have a personal brand and you’re looking to connect with your audience on a personal level.

Make sure your background is clear and de-cluttered to ensure your face bounces off the screen. 

If you want to boost awareness of your business, adding a logo to your profile picture will increase your chances of engaging the right people at the right time.  

In both cases, your imagery should be high-resolution and cropped to fit perfectly. 

Tip: Try GoDaddy’s easy-to-use logo maker to create the perfect image for your TikTok business profile.

Write a good TikTok for Business bio 

Your TikTok bio is the perfect opportunity to give users a quick introduction to your business and what makes you different.

As you only have 80 characters to shine your business in its best light, treat it as an impactful tagline

There are certain key ingredients that will make your TikTok profile bio stand out: 

  • Tell potential followers what you do and why they should follow you 
  • Add a relevant emoji or two to your bio. For example, if you’re a sustainable clothing brand, you might throw a green leaf or tree emoji into the mix 
  • Put a ‘link in bio’ to direct your audience towards a webpage, landing page or channel that showcases your services or products
  • Add a call-to-action to your bio to tell people how to interact with you or what action to take next 

Tip: Read our guide to copywriting to get your TikTok bio just right.

3. Craft a TikTok strategy

The next step in your TikTok for Business journey is building a solid strategy. This will increase your chances of growing your audience and boosting brand awareness effectively. Let’s explore.

Understand the TikTok algorithm 

First of all, getting to grips with TikTok’s algorithm will give you the insight you need to craft the right content at the right time and earn the best possible return for your efforts. 

The latest TikTok algorithm has certain signals and content ranking factors that if used the right way, will boost the reach of your posts in a big way.

Here’s a video guide that serves up a few useful content-boosting tips based on user engagement, location, audio trends and video subject matter.

Tip: Knowing the ‘TikTok lingo’ — the words and terms people commonly use on the platform — will give your videos a better chance of getting picked up by the almighty algorithm. 

Know your audience 

Another key aspect of TikTok for Business marketing is knowing your audience.  

Importância do mobile first

Much like any other social media or marketing channel, understanding who you’re speaking to will ensure your video strikes a chord with the right people.

The best way to understand your audience is by creating buyer personas for different segments of your audience.

Buyer personas are basically descriptions of your ideal TikTok users — including essential details such as their aims, aspirations, age, occupation and personal interests.

Armed with this information, you can craft original videos (more on that in a short while) that will engage, inspire and entertain them while providing viable solutions to their most pressing problems.

Know your competition 

Getting to know your audience is essential to using TikTok for Business — and getting to know your competition is equally important. 

Creating a list of your main competitors and essentially spying on their TikTok content (as well as how their followers interact with it) will: 

  • Give you inspiration for your own videos 
  • Help you spot any potential gaps or weaknesses that you can use to your advantage 

All this requires is you spending a few hours on their accounts. 

Another key to successful TikTok marketing for small businesses is keeping your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground. 

We know that you’re busy and don’t have time to scroll through TikTok all day.

But when you are on the platform, search for trends that are relevant to your business.

To discover trending videos or content in your niche, you’ll need to search for the right hashtags. 

Like Instagram, hashtags are the lifeblood of TikTok in terms of visibility. If you tap into the right pocket of the platform, you’ll be able to: 

  1. See what your competitors are producing and saying. You can use this as fuel for the creative fire and find ways to improve on the videos your competitors are publishing. 
  2. Connect with prospective customers by leaving comments, engaging with videos and tapping into conversations
  3. Use relevant and high-performing hashtags to help promote your original TikTok videos and reach the right audience

To help you on your quest for trending success, here is a list of powerful TikTok hashtags for your consideration.

4. Shoot original videos

Speaking of original content, creating your own funny, inspirational or compelling TikTok videos is the best way to stand out in this crowded space. 

When it comes to creating original TikTok for Business content, you can be as creative as you wish — as long as your video is: 

  • Longer than 10 seconds 
  • Shorter than 10 minutes 

There is some evidence to suggest that videos of less than 60 seconds are most successful. But this could change. 

Editor's note: Use GoDaddy’s online video editor to make your videos picture perfect.

TikTok for Business video creation top tips  

Consejos para crear vídeos efectivos

You can mime to famous sound clips, add music or audio sound effects and apply images or filters.  

But to really strike a chord with your audience, you must get the basics right:

  • Decide on the key message you want to convey. Remember, you only have a short amount of time to work with (10 minutes is the max). So focus on one strong message or concept. 
  • Don’t self-promote or use “salesy” language. If you do, TikTok users will breeze right past you and never look back. Yes, you are promoting what you have to offer, but the best way to grab attention is to inspire, entertain or offer genuine value. 
  • Set the right tone from the outset. Do you want to be hard-hitting and no-nonsense? Do you want to make people roll on the floor laughing? Do you want to be sarcastic? Or maybe empathetic? Striking the right tone from the outset will give your video direction and make it far more engaging.
  • If there is a video trend or contest, jump on it and throw your hat in the ring. TikTok is chock-full of trending video challenges and contests. Find one in your niche, create a video with a unique twist, and you will grow your follower base steadily over time. You could even launch a little contest of your own. 
  • Humans connect with stories better than anything else. You may only have a few minutes, but there’s no reason you can’t tell an interesting tale in that time. Carve out a clear-cut beginning, middle and end and you’ll have the framework for a TikTok video that has serious small business marketing potential!

Chipotle: a shining example of TikTok marketing 

An excellent example of a business hopping on a trending hashtag while having a firm grasp of their brand tone is Chipotle.

The fast-food brand used the hashtag #oneyearofTikTok to promote its quirky yet catchy video across a host of additional social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

The clip in question — a piece of content that earned droves of engagement — features tortilla chips cluttered around a bowl of guacamole with Adele’s “Someone Like You” playing over it. 

As the sound bite itself features Adele’s audience singing back to her, the video creates the illusion that the chips are singing to the guacamole. 

Maximizing the success of your TikTok for Business content 

When using TikTok for Business marketing, creating content that people actually want to see is, well, vital.  

What I mean here is: you should work with your buyer personas, competitor research and trending content searches to find out what people are enjoying the most right now. 

To create the kind of TikTok content that travels (or maybe even goes viral), there are several avenues you can explore — including:

  • How-to videos and tutorials 
  • Life hack videos 
  • Behind-the-scenes footage 
  • Trending news broadcasts (injected with a little humour, if possible) 
  • Content collaborations with relevant influencers
  • Polls and opinion pieces 
  • Mini three-minute films with a strong stories 
  • Trending dances, routines or challenges 

Being consistent with your posting schedule can help maximize your reach and grow your audience faster.

Aim to post around one to four times per day to maintain a steady momentum. 

This level of activity can also boost engagement. Regularly responding to comments or feedback, interacting with your followers and asking questions to inspire new conversations are all effective ways of sparking positive engagement.

Tip: To maximize your video’s reach, you should use relevant hashtags wisely. Use three to five hashtags, weaving them into your video description naturally. Using one trending or popular, and between two and four slightly more niche hashtags, will give your TikTok for Business marketing content a better chance of getting noticed.

5. Try user-generated content

Another effective TikTok marketing tip for small businesses is to shine a little light on user-generated content (UGC). 

More than 86% of companies currently include user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy — and you should, too.

Social media fans love interacting with others, after all.

When it comes to TikTok marketing, one of the best ways you can use UGC to your advantage is to share the content of others posting videos in your niche.

By shining a light on the videos of others, you will: 

  • Connect with more people 
  • Improve your engagement levels 
  • Build trust with your audience 

Using this simple yet effective TikTok marketing tactic will help you showcase your services and products in a way that is fun and authentic ... and increase your revenue in the process.

6. Get influential

Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful social media marketing methods.

If you team up with TikTok influencers in your niche, you will be able to promote your brand to the people who are most likely to find it valuable. 

Big brands such as Calvin Klein, Sony and FIFA have dipped their toes into influencer marketing campaigns through TikTok, reaching plenty of people of all different demographics. As the platform continues to grow in popularity, more businesses will follow in their footsteps. 

Person shooting video of a singer

A shining example of influencer marketing on the platform comes from TikTok itself. 

To promote its addictive bite-sized video-making capabilities, TikTok teamed up with a mix of celebrity influencers for a "15 seconds of fame" meme-athon. 

Developed to build awareness and improve platform engagement in its earlier days, TikTok asked celebs like Kris Jenner, Charlie Puth and Paris Hilton to create short TikTok video memes using the hashtag #memeathon.  

Influencers than shared their posts via their respective Twitter profiles to extend the campaign's reach.  

The celebrity-based influencer marketing campaign reached 3,173,500 users and earned an engagement rate of 338,500, as well as 26.1 million views for posts with the hashtag #memeathon. 

While this was a high-profile influencer marketing campaign, it's a testament to how the right people can help speed your success on the platform. 

Do your research, find smaller influencers making waves in your industry or niche, and reach out to them. 

7. Boost views with ads

TikTok for Business boasts an ad platform that is pretty easy to use. If handled correctly, it can offer some serious business-boosting results. 

TikTok’s ad revenue is more impressive than Snapchat and X combined. 

With a 17.9% reach of all web users aged 18 or over (that’s a lot of people), TikTok’s paid ads may be a wise investment. 

Although you will need a modest advertising budget to begin with, paid advertising can provide a good return on investment (ROI) across many social media platforms. TikTok is no exception. 

Here’s how to get started: 

Sign up for a TikTok ads account 

tiktok social media trend

Visit TikTok’s official advertising platform and create an account for your small business.

Once you’re all set up, you can create a paid advertising campaign, setting your: 

  • Objective 
  • Ad placement type  
  • Target demographics (age, location, interests, etc.) to get your ad in front of the right people 

With your campaign details defined, you will be able to set a budget and schedule to ensure your ad reaches the right audience at the right time. 

Ad best practices 

Here are some TikTok advertising best practices that will help you get ahead of the game:

  • Take time to understand the finer details of how to use TikTok for Business 
  • Use emerging TikTok trends to shape your ad’s themes and stories 
  • Make sure your ad descriptions are clear, concise and punchy
  • Ensure that your visuals are slick and well-edited 
  • Create your ads with a catchy hook and inspire action with a clear-cut call-to-action (CTA) 
  • Add a trending soundtrack or sound bite to give your video ad a wider appeal 
  • Try a balanced mix of different TikTok ad types

Knowing your TikTok ad types will give you plenty of room to create compelling content that will attract users to your brand (in their droves). 

Here are the main types of TikTok ads you can use to your advantage. 

TopView ads 

TikTok’s TopView ads are typically displayed to your target users once a day. These ads offer a click link format that can help you drive people to specific web or landing pages. Top View ads have a 60-second time limit.

In-Feed ads 

In-Feed ads are effective because they help you set a clear objective and win people over with snappy five- to 16-second videos. These ads work because they’re served up to users’ feeds based on their personal interests. 

Brand Takeover ad 

These high-budget ads come in at the colossal price point of around AUD 46,376 per day. But, if you’ve got the funds, Brand Takeover ads will allow you to dominate a whole TikTok category for a full day with full-screen video content that commands attention.

Dabble in branded effects 

A lesser-known form of paid TikTok advertising, branded effects are a powerful promotional tool.

By commissioning media effects including customised logos, stickers, filtering and sound bites, you will bring your TikTok marketing campaigns to life in a way that is fun, playful and memorable.

Branded hashtags 

Using well-placed paid branded hashtags will give people a glimpse into what your business is all about, building trust and engagement in the process. Adding a branded hashtag or two will optimize your ads for success.

8. See how you're doing

If you want to get analytical, TikTok has its very own in-built analytics platform that will give you insight into how your content is performing.

TikTok Analytics are visual graphs, which helps take some of the guesswork out of your TikTok marketing.

TikTok analytics dashboard

To open TikTok Analytics, you should: 

  1. Tap the profile icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your mobile screen 
  2. Tap on the three vertical lines located in the top right corner and click Creator Tools 
  3. Tap on Analytics and view your content engagement stats 

Once on TikTok’s analytics platform, you can:

  • Drill down into engagement trends — likes, comments, shares
  • Check how many followers you’ve gained over a set time period
  • See where viewers are located, along with demographics like age and gender

With this priceless data to hand, you will quickly get to grips with the type of content that resonates with your audience the most. Armed with this priceless information, knowing how to use TikTok to promote your business effectively will quickly become clear pretty quickly.

TikTok, the Canadian way

Screenshot of a tweet about Justin Bieber'ss TikTok

Canadian actors, musicians, comedians and politicians are killing it on TikTok. So are sports teams, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, or companies like Tim Hortons. And then there are people using TikTok to bring customers to small businesses.

Shawn Mendes paired the launch of his album Wonder with ‘A World of Wonder,’ a content series that guides his followers through his personal journey. It’s both intimate and engaging. If you’re the creator of a product, it may give you some ideas on how you can pair your product launch with TikTok stories.

Check out this article in Bloomberg as it speaks to TikTok’s growth in Canada.

TikTok for business marketing recap

TikTok is a lot of fun — it’s even more enjoyable when the content makes you laugh (or laugh and cry at the same time). 

If you’re up for the challenge, you too can create short videos that resonate with your audience. It’s not a hard sell, but more of a glimpse into how your products or services can make life a little more enjoyable. 

With everything you create, keep your target audience in mind and use reliable content development tools like GoDaddy Studio that give you the freedom you need to produce authentic ads in true TikTok style.

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? The answers may be here.

Why is TikTok for Business marketing so important? 

As a video-based social media platform, skilled TikTokers get a huge amount of engagement.  

You could encourage more people to buy your products or services while sticking with your brand in the process. 

To put the potential of TikTok into perspective, here are some stats and insights to keep in mind: 

  • Due to its rising popularity and appeal among younger cohorts, TikTok is now available to download in over 150 countries
  • To date, TikTok has been installed on mobile devices around 4.1 billion times.
  • Videos created on TikTok earn 17 billion average views on a monthly basis.

Clearly, as a small business owner, the time to strike is now. 

Should businesses use TikTok? 

If your target customers spend time on TikTok, then yes. Using TikTok for Business marketing should be a core part of your business’s social media strategy.

Not only are there countless opportunities to engage your audience with creative video content, but with the right approach, you can accelerate your growth and boost your brand awareness through the platform. 

Is TikTok for Business free? 

TikTok for Business accounts are free and offer access to additional creator tools as well as useful stats and engagement analytics.

You can set up your TikTok profile from scratch or switch your existing TikTok profile from a regular account to a business account with a few swift taps.

How should a business use TikTok? 

Using TikTok for business is a strategic step-by-step process. By taking the right measures and creating consistently head-turning content, you will grow your follower base and boost your brand awareness.

For total TikTok for Business success, here are the steps you should take:

  1. Create a TikTok Business Account 
  2. Craft an interesting profile
  3. Build a TikTok strategy
  4. Create original videos
  5. Dabble in user-generated content 
  6. Get influential 
  7. Take advantage of Ads 
  8. Use Analytics and other tracking tools 

Should I have a separate TikTok for my business? 

If you’d still like to post regular content for your friends, family or personal follower base and grow your business, having two separate accounts is advised.

But, if you’re not precious about posting separate personal content, switching to a business account is a good idea because you will already have an engaged follower base you can build upon.

Are TikTok Ads worth it? 

As one of the world’s most subscribed and highly engaged platforms, TikTok's’ advertising may offer you an good return on investment (ROI) if you get your content and targeting efforts right.

With a consistent and balanced approach to your ads, you will get plenty of bang for your marketing buck, expanding your brand reach and boosting your profits in the process.

What are the benefits of TikTok for Business? 

There are many brand-boosting benefits of using TikTok for Business. In addition to reaching a wider demographic of users, you can also drive more social media conversions and sales. Working with TikTok for Business will also bring your brand to life and give you a fun, interesting outlet for advertising your best products, services, and business USPs.

Dan Hughes contributed to this post.

Products Used