TikTok for small business — a quick guide

Small BusinessCategory
22 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 monopolise the space, another comes along and the landscape shifts. 

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 demographics, 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. We’ll walk you through: 

  1. Create a TikTok Business account
  2. Complete your profile
  3. Craft a TikTok strategy
  4. Shoot original videos
  5. Try user-generated content
  6. Get influential
  7. Boost views with ads
  8. See how you’re doing

Before we dive in, 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, skilled TikTokers get a huge amount of engagement.  

Produce the right video content and you could connect with potential customers.

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 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 (more on this later).  

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

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

Related: How to get new social media followers for your business 

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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: 

  • 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. 

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2. Complete your profile

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

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, choosing the right username is important. Okay, it’s not the most important aspect 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 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 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 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 branding 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 brand and what you do that’s 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 sharpen your skills and get your TikTok bio just right.

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3. Craft a TikTok strategy

Woman recording video on an iPhone

The next phase of the TikTok for Business operation 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 at the right time.

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, pain points, 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 your audience while providing viable solutions to their most pressing pain 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 relevant content and tapping into conversations 
  3. Use relevant and well-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.

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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 your fundamentals 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 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 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! 

Related: How to tell your brand story 

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 content is also popular to maximize your reach and grow your audience faster.  

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 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. 

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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 employ user-generated content as part of their marketing strategy —and you should, too.  

Social media fans love interacting with other users, after all. 

When it comes to TikTok marketing, one of the best ways you can use UGC to your advantage is to share and curate the content of users 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, 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.

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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. 

Related: How to find influencers to help promote your business 

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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 

This official platform how-to guide will help you understand what you need to do to make your TikTok ad as successful as possible. But 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 — which brings us onto our next subject 

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. Users can skip these ads after three seconds and offer a click link format that can help you drive people to specific web or landing pages. These 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 £24,000 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 not only help you optimise 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. 

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8. See how you're doing

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 graphs, which helps take any guesswork out of your content strategy.

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, 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 set up an online shop 

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TikTok Business tips 

Finally, we move on to our bonus TikTok for Business marketing tips. Here are five savvy ideas that will help you gain an 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 capitalise 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. The best times to post on TikTok are 6 am - 10 am and 7 pm - 11 pm. 

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Final thoughts on TikTok 

“’Build it, and they will come’ only works in the movies” says author and blogger Seth Godin. “Social Media is a ‘build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay.”’  

In these visual 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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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 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. Optimise 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, TikTok's’ 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. 

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