TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms and a great way to grow your business. With a largely Gen Z audience, TikTok offers a way to tap into a new market and gain attention for your small business. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Take a look at this ultimate roadmap to fuel your business growth with these simple TikTok marketing techniques.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media app that allows users to watch and create short videos. Like YouTube, TikTok is all about video content, but differentiates itself by being a “destination for short-form mobile videos.” The plan worked since TikTok became the most popular app downloaded all over the world in 2020. Now, it’s the sixth-largest social network.
The ideal video length for TikTok is 15 seconds. Users can record a short video between 15 seconds and 60 seconds to post to the platform. Posting a video is quick and easy as well, especially if you’re already familiar with YouTube and Facebook Live.
TikTok Basics for Small Businesses
Like other social media platforms, TikTok has its own “lingo.” Here’s a glossary and list of TikTok features:
- FYP: FYP means “For You Page,” which is the newsfeed for the platform. When you open the app, you’re directed to the FYP, which has content curated for you based on your previous viewing habits. You’ll not only see videos from the accounts you follow, but suggestions that fit your viewing behavior and interests.
- Music: Videos wouldn’t be complete without music, and TikTok integrates Apple Music with a massive library of songs and sounds for videos. You can also learn a bit about what songs and music are trending in audio clips to guide your content strategy.
- Filters: TikTok offers filters and effects to alter your video content, including visual effects, transitions, GIFs, stickers, and text overlay. While you don’t need to use them in every video, some of them can elevate your content and messaging.
- Trends: TikTok is highly influenced by trends in content. At any given time, users are following trends and completing hashtag challenges, such as dancing to a popular song. Users are encouraged to copy the trend or challenge and put their own spin on it, which can certainly help you create content that will get attention from your TikTok audience.
- TikTok Live: Social networks offer live features that allow users to broadcast in real time. TikTok has its own live feature, but it’s only an option for accounts with 1,000 or more subscribers.
- Advertising: TikTok has plenty of ways for brands to advertise, including branded hashtags, in-feed video ads, and challenges on brand pages. While advertising on TikTok can be expensive, you can gain a lot of brand awareness and interest on the platform.
TikTok for Small Businesses
TikTok is young and new, so many businesses aren’t taking it seriously yet. With its rapid growth, no one can afford to neglect TikTok as part of the social media marketing strategy. Gen Z is the biggest portion of the audience, but it’s likely to gain older users as interest grows.
In fact, the social media platform itself is growing, and so is short-form video content. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest users are all favoring short-form videos, so this trend is likely to stay.
So, your brand needs to create video content to get users’ attention and get to work on developing the TikTok strategy. TikTok seems to be setting the stage for video content trends across all social media, so your brand can’t afford to get left behind.
How to Get Started on TikTok
Fortunately, getting started on TikTok is a breeze. Here’s how:
- Create an account: TikTok can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Once you install the app, just sign up and create an account.
- Complete your profile: Your TikTok profile is a lot like other apps and includes a username, profile picture, and bio. This is your chance to summarize your brand and craft compelling messaging that resonates with your audience.
- Link to other social accounts: TikTok should be part of your overall social media marketing plan for your small business. Be sure to link your TikTok account to your other social media accounts, such as your Instagram. This will help followers from your other accounts find you on TikTok, and conversely, TikTok users can find you on their favorite platforms.
- Watch videos: TikTok has videos of all types. Once you get your account, you should watch a bunch of trending videos to get a feel for the app, learn what users are enjoying, and see what works in terms of video content. You can also follow other small businesses with hashtags like #smallbusinessowner and #smallbusinesstiktok.
- Follow other accounts: After watching some videos, choose some accounts to follow. You could even follow the same accounts on TikTok that you do on other platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. It’s important to focus on some accounts in your niche to get ideas about industry trends and inspiration.
- Engage with content: TikTok is good at showing you content that may interest you, but only if you give it the raw data. Once you follow accounts, be sure to engage with the videos by commenting or liking them. This will give the algorithm some guidance to supply content suggestions that are personalized to you.
- Make your videos: Now that you’ve done all the legwork, it’s time to make a TikTok video of your own. Don’t stress over your first video being perfect. If it’s easier, you can record your video outside of the app, edit, and upload it after. You can also find video templates to help with high-quality TikTok videos.
Tips and Tricks for TikTok Success
Now that we have the basics down, here are some tips and tricks to help you succeed on this popular platform:
- Cross-promote: TikTok doesn’t allow you to add your brand’s website, but you can cross-promote your brand’s social media accounts that do connect to your site. For example, you can cross-promote your brand’s Instagram by linking it to your profile or adding your handle to your TikTok videos. You should also promote your TikTok account on your other social accounts.
- Post consistently: Like other platforms, TikTok takes time to build a following and presence. Best practices still apply – post consistently and often to gain traction on the platform and grow your small business.
- Find a niche: Your brand should already have a niche, and niche content tends to perform well on TikTok. As you watch videos, see what niches users are following and use it as inspiration for your own brand’s content. For Zutobi, we want to drive Tik Tok users to our most popular commercial license tests. So in this case, we’d engage with profiles and users in these exact states.
- Invest in quality lighting: Your TikTok videos don’t need to be Hollywood quality. Users are looking for authentic, approachable videos, but one of the basic setups you should invest in is quality lighting. Your video can’t be appealing if users can’t see anything!
- Choose trending songs and sounds: Remember when we mentioned music? TikTok has sounds and songs that trend, and if you use one in your video, it will increase the chances that it will show up on user’s FYP. All you have to do is save a song from a video you’re watching or search for trending sounds on TikTok playlists to choose a sound.
- Be authentic: Branded video content is for your business, but that doesn’t mean you should create overly salesy, promotional videos. Create approachable, relatable, authentic videos to gain trust in users and attract more prospects. For example we’ve promoted Zutobi’s CDL test in Texas by creating a video that discusses the stress of the test and offers some tips to ace it. And the key here is we are specific to our users in the state. That way it feels authentic and not some generic packaged content that could go for anyone in the globe.
- Engage: TikTok is a social media platform, so you need to engage with other user’s content. This not only helps the algorithm customize your FYP, but it builds connections within the community and industry. Also, comment back to users that comment on your videos for direct engagement with your audience.
Tips for Video Content
If you’re still stuck on what type of video content to create, here are some questions you can ask to inspire:
- What is your brand?
- What is your mission?
- Who is the owner?
- Why did your launch a small business?
- What makes you passionate?
- What are your products or services?
- What does a day at the office look like (think behind-the-scenes content)?
- What are some lessons you learned creating a small business?
- How did you get started?
- How do you make your products?
- How do you package your products?
- How do you manage your day-to-day responsibilities?
Use these questions to develop your content. Consumers are more focused than ever on a brand’s story and mission, so offering insights into you as a business owner, your processes, your employees, and behind-the-scenes content can help you gain more attention from TikTok users. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Ready to Get Started?
Now that you know the lingo, the benefits, and how to get started, you’re ready to get your brand out there on TikTok! After you create an account and post a few videos, you’ll be on the way to gaining a valuable follower base on the hottest new platform!
Author: Leo Waldenback
Leo Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their licenses. Leo founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable and easily accessible for all.