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TikTok for Business — a quick 2024 guide for small businesses

SkillsCategory
23 min read
Dan Hughes

The one constant you can count on with social media is that it’s always changing. Just when you think one platform has managed to monopolize the space, another comes along and the landscape shifts.

Right now, TikTok is emerging as one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms on the planet. While young Gen Zers were once the main TikTok demographic, as the popularity of this short-form video-sharing platform grows, droves of millennials are also flocking to the platform.

Whatever your niche, if you’re a small business owner looking to expand your audience and drive traffic to your website, investing in TikTok marketing is essential.

To help guide you to social media success, we’ll look at a mix of practical TikTok for Business marketing tips—walking you through everything from setting up your business account and optimizing your profile to working with influencers and creating eye-popping ads.

But, before we do, let’s consider why TikTok is so important right now.

Why is TikTok for Business marketing so important?

As a video-based social media platform, TikTok encourages a huge amount of engagement, and if you produce the right content, you will connect with even more potential customers.

You’ll also encourage more people to invest in your products or services while sticking with your brands 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 800 million times.
  • Videos created on TikTok earn 17 billion average views on a monthly basis.
  • Since COVID-19, TikTok app downloads have increased and more Instagram influencers have migrated to the platform (but, more on that later). As a small business owner, the time to strike is now.

Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

Now that you know why TikTok is good for your business, let’s look at practical ways you can put theory into action.

1. Create a TikTok Business Account

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

1. Download the TikTok app and open it

2. Set up a personal account and set your preferences (ignore this step if you already have a personal account)

3. 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) and make the big switch to a TikTok business account before choosing the categories relevant to your business

2. Optimize your profile

Once your account is set up, one of the most fundamental parts of using TikTok for Business is optimizing your profile for success.

As the famous Field of Dreams (or Waynes 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 optimize 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.

Username

To know how to use TikTok to promote your business effectively, choosing the right username is important. Okay, it’s not the most important aspect of earning masses of TikTok for Business success—but it certainly counts.

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

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

Tip: When deciding on your user name or writing any copy for 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 peoples’ eye when popping up in a relevant search—so make sure it’s slick, clear, and represents your brand.

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. For the best results, make sure your image background is clear and de-cluttered to ensure your face bounces off the screen.

If you want to boost brand awareness, adding a logo to your profile picture will prove effective and 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 our easy-to-use logo maker to create the perfect branding for your TikTok business profile.

TikTok for Business bio

Your TikTok bio is the perfect opportunity to give users a quick introduction to your brand and what you do that’s different. As you only have 80 characters to shine your business in its best light, treating it as an impactful tagline is the way to go.

There are certain key ingredients that will make your TikTik profile bio stand out—let’s take a quick look:

  • 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 dedicated guide to effective business copywriting to sharpen your skills and get your TikTok bio just right.

3. Build a TikTok strategy

The next phase of the TikTok for Business operation is building a solid strategy. Armed with the right strategic foundations, you 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 insight you need to craft the right content at the right time and earn the best possible return on investment (ROI) for your efforts.

The latest TikTok algorithm has certain signals and content ranking factors that if leveraged 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 content a greater chance of earning user engagement and getting picked up by the almighty algorithm.

Know your audience

Another key aspect of TikTok for Business marketing is knowing your audience. Much like any other social media or marketing channel, understanding who you’re speaking to and why will ensure your content strikes a chord with the right people at the right time—offering you a consistently solid return on investment (ROI).

The best way to understand your audience is by creating buyer personas based on certain segments of your audience. Buyer personas are basically profiles of your ideal TikTok users—those that include essential details including aims, pain points, aspirations, age, occupation, and personal interests.

Armed with this information, you can craft original content (more on that in a short while) that will engage, inspire, entertain your audience while providing viable solutions to their most pressing pain points.

Read: Top 20 questions to build a buyer persona that will skyrocket sales and create the perfect profiles for your TikTok for Business marketing efforts.

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 not only give you major inspiration for your own content creation efforts—it will also help you spot any potential gaps or weaknesses that you can use to your brand-boosting advantage.

Tip: Read our guide on How to find inspiration from your competitors (without stealing their ideas) to understand how to examine your other brands’ TikTok content and improve your strategy.

In addition to spying on the competition, one of the keys 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, searching for relevant trends will prove an effective use of your time.

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

Hashtag symbol  decorated with light bulbs

Credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Like Instagram, hashtags are the lifeblood of TikTok in terms of visibility, and 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 relevant content, and tapping into conversations.
  3. Leverage relevant and well-performing hashtags to help promote your original TikTok content and reach the right audience.

To help you on your quest for trending success, here is a list of 100 powerful TikTok hashtags for your consideration and exploration.

4. Create original content

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

When it comes to creating original TikTok for Business content, you can be as creative as you wish as long as your video is three minutes or less.

TikTok for Business video creation top tips 

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 your fundamentals right:

  • Decide on the key message you want to convey. Remember, you only have a limited amount of time to work with (10 minutes is the max), so work with one strong message or concept to avoid confusion and maximize your impact.
  • 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 a small business marketing what you have to offer, but the best way to make a mark with your content is to inspire, entertain or offer genuine value.
  • Set your tone from the outset. Before you dream up your concept and hit the record button, you should decide on the tone of your TikTok video. Do you want to be hard-hitting and stoic? Do you want to make people roll on the floor laughing? Do you want to be sarcastic? Or maybe empathetic? Setting your tone from the outset will give your video direction and make it far more engaging as a result.
  • 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 and digest narratives or stories better than anything else. While you only have three minutes, there’s no reason why you can’t tell an interesting tale with your video 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!

Related: How to create a valuable video update for your customers

Chipotle: a shining example of TikTok marketing

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

To celebrate one year of TikTok, the fast food brand leveraged 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.

Chipotle on TikTok

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.

When it comes to creating 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 humor, if possible)
  • Content collaborations with relevant influencers
  • Polls and opinion pieces
  • Mini three-minute films with a strong narratives
  • Trending dances, routines or challenges

Here’s one of our how-to articles on achieving success from GoDaddy’s very own TikTok library.

Being consistent with your content is also popular to maximize your reach and grow your audience faster. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to post around one to four times per day to maintain a steady momentum.

Remaining active on the platform will 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 content’s reach, you should use relevant hashtags wisely. To do so, you should 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. Dabble in 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 employ user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy—and you should, too. Social media fans love interacting with the content of other users, after all.

When it comes to TikTok marketing, one of the best ways you can leverage UGC to your advantage is to share and curate the content of users posting videos based on your niche.

By shining a light on the content of others, you will connect with more people, improve your engagement levels, and build trust with your audience.

Using this simple yet effective TikTok marketing tactic, you will be able to 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 engaged users of all different demographics, and as the platform continues to grow in popularity, more businesses will follow in their footsteps.

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, sharing the content 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 you accelerate your success on the platform.

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

Related: How to work with brand influencers when you don't have a budget

7. Take advantage of ads

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

TikTok’s ad revenue is more impressive than Snapchat and Twitter combined—and with a 17.9% reach of all web users aged 18 or over (that’s a lot of people)—taking advantage of paid platform advertising will make a wise marketing investment.

Getting started with TikTok ads

Although you will need a modest advertising budget to begin with, when executed successfully, paid advertising offers an excellent return on investment (ROI) across many social media platforms and TikTok is no exception.

While TikTok’s paid advertising is still in its early days compared to the likes of Instagram or Facebook, it can still be a viable way to boost your brand awareness and attract shoppers or visitors to your website. 

Here’s how to get started:

Sign up for a TikTok ads account

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

Create your campaign

Once you’re all set up, you can create a paid advertising campaign, setting your objective, ad placement type and target demographics (age, location, interests, etc.) to tailor your ad to the right audience. 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.

Follow these best practices

This official platform how-to guide will help you understand what you need to do to make your TikTok ad as successful as possible. To summarize, 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 byte to give your video ad a wider appeal
  • Try a balanced mix of different TikTok ad types—which brings us onto our next subject

Know your TikTok for Business ad types

Knowing your TikTok ad types will give you plenty of scope for creating 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 brand-boosting advantage.

TopView ads

TikTok’s TopView ads are typically displayed to your target users once a day. Users can skip these ads after three seconds and offer a click link format that can help you drive conversions to specific web or landing pages. These ads have a 60-second time limit.

In-Feed ads

When it comes to TikTok for Business marketing, In-Feed ads are effective because they help you set a clear objective and win people over with snappy 5 to 16-second video content. These ads are cohesive as they’re served up to users’ feeds based on their personal content interests.

Brand Takeover ad

These high-budget ads come in at the colossal price point of around $30,000 per day. But, if you’ve got capital, Brand Takeover ads will allow you to dominate a whole TikTok category for a full day with full-screen video content that stands to earn droves of engagement and a very healthy conversion rate.

Dabble in branded effects

A lesser-known form of paid TikTok advertising, branded effects are a powerful promotional tool. By commissioning media effects including customized logos, stickers, filters, and sound bytes, you will bring your TikTok marketing campaigns to life while maximizing your brand awareness in a way that is fun, playful, and memorable.

Branded hashtags

Using well-placed paid branded hashtags will not only help you optimize your TikTok ads, but they will also 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.

Related: How to promote a podcast effectively

8. Use analytics and other tracking tools

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

TikTok Analytics are visual to make your performance insights to take any guesswork out of your content strategy

To access 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, check how many followers you’ve gained over a set timeframe, video views by geographic location, and viewer demographics.

With this priceless data-driven info 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.

Related: How to start selling online, full guide for beginners

9. Other TikTok Business tips

Finally, we move on to our bonus TikTok for Business marketing tips. In addition to our essential advice, here are savvy ideas that will help you gain an all-important edge on the competition.

  • Create a mini-series related to your brand niche
  • Try live TikTok broadcasts and content
  • Lead with a tone of voice and style that is authentic and true to your brand
  • Learn from your mistakes and capitalize on the type of content that performs well
  • Use your TikTok Analytics tools to discover the best times to post

Extra tip: Although looking at your personal analytics is an effective way of knowing when your content is likely to perform best, studies suggest that best days to post on TikTok are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday while the best times to post on TikTok are around 6 am to 10 am and 7 pm to 11 pm.

Using TikTok for Business FAQs

Should businesses use TikTok?

In a word, 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 one billion active users, 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. Optimize your profile
  3. Build a Tik Tok strategy
  4. Create original content
  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?

In a nutshell, yes—TikTok ads are worth it. As one of the world’s most subscribed and highly-engaged platforms, TikToks’ advertising will offer you an excellent 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.

Final thoughts on TikTok

[quote]“Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.” ~ Seth Godin

TikTok is the newest social media kid on the block and in these uncertain times, people are turning to video content more than ever for entertainment, enlightenment or personal connection.

By taking action and striking while the iron is hot, you can reach a whole new audience and grow your small business in ways you never thought possible.

When properly executed, TikTok marketing can be cost-effective, powerful, and (if you have the time) fun to do.

Follow our TikTok for small business marketing tips and you’ll be on your way to social media domination in your space.

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