How to use TikTok for business effectively and grow your audience

With over 1 billion monthly active users, tiktok has quickly become one of the largest social media platforms in the world.

what started as a fun video streaming app for generation zers has taken the world of marketing and advertising by storm, completely changing the way brands create and share content.

in this article, we will show you why tiktok should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy. and we’ll describe how to best promote your products, connect with customers, and grow your business on tiktok.

let’s get started.

why should companies consider using tiktok?

You may think tiktok is all about dares, pranks, and dance videos. while that’s not entirely untrue, there are also plenty of opportunities in entertainment content for brands to connect with their audience on a personal level.

in addition, 47.4% of tiktok users are under 30 years old and more than half of those users are teenagers. for brands targeting younger audiences, tiktok is a gold mine.

Bar chart statistic by Statista: Distribution of TikTok users in the United States as of March 2021, by age group

But even if your business isn’t targeting Gen Z customers, you can still benefit from establishing a presence on the platform.

depending on your industry and niche, these young users will eventually grow up to become your target audience, and tiktok will greatly influence their desires, aspirations, and even purchasing decisions. Also, let’s not forget the fact that more than 50% of tiktok users are still over 30, which means there is now an untapped potential audience for your business on the platform.

That being said, here are some of the main benefits of using tiktok for business:

  • increase brand awareness: tiktok offers multiple ways to spread your brand. You can work with influencers, run various types of ads, and use features like hashtags and brand stickers to put your brand in the spotlight. Also, if you create entertaining and unique content, your videos have a high potential to go viral.
  • promote products: the best thing about tiktok marketing is that it doesn’t feel like marketing. there are many ways to promote your products without seeming too pushy, such as partnering with influencers your audience trusts, creating truly useful and entertaining videos, and more.
  • broaden your audience: tiktok has millions of users distributed in more than 140 countries. it is one of the best platforms to reach an international audience and grow your customer base. Plus, there’s always the added benefit of reaching tiktok-only users who don’t actively use any other social platform.
  • attract new customers: tiktok is all about creating authentic and engaging content that feels human and personal. This helps you build strong relationships with your audience and increases the chances that they will become customers. Plus, if you get on the right trend at the right time (or better yet, start a trend), you can end up acquiring a lot of new customers.
  • Now that we’ve covered why you need to bring your business to tiktok, let’s look at the different ways you can use the platform to its full potential.

    8 ways to use tiktok for business

    it’s not enough to be present on tiktok, or any social platform for that matter. it’s the way you leverage the creative tools and app features that can make millions of users around the world aware of your business.

    let’s explore how you can use tiktok as part of your marketing strategy.

    1. create unique and relevant content

    The first thing you notice when you open the app and scroll through your feed is the seemingly endless amount of video content on the platform.

    To stand out in this sea of ​​content, your videos need to be unique, engaging, and relevant to both your audience and your brand. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

    • consider the audience and the nature of the platform. tiktok is a place for fun, playful and entertaining content – you must learn to adapt to this ‘culture’ without compromising your own voice and brand values.
    • avoid creating overly formal and scripted videos. the more authentic you are, the better you will do on tiktok. Don’t think too much that you need a fancy video setup, either. you can easily shoot video with your phone as long as your ideas (and lighting) are good. our guide to remote video production is a great starting point for social media video, wherever you plan to shoot.
    • Show the human side of your business. Take your audience behind the scenes in your office. have your employees show off their desks or what they do in a day. Do you have an office pet? make them say hello to the camera! here’s an example of how esports brand fnatic shows users their headquarters:
      • join the trends and challenges. the beauty of tiktok is that you never run out of ideas for new videos. Just search for trending hashtags, music, and videos, and join. remember to put your own spin on tiktok hashtags to make your brand stand out. Here’s how Burger King used a trendy audio clip to create its own hilarious video:
      • 2. add music and effects to your videos

        tiktok is all about taking your social videos to the next level and grabbing attention with the help of creative effects and catchy, trending music.

        Simply tap add sound at the top of the recording screen and browse a huge library of audio clips in categories like trending, recommended, and genres. you can save the sounds you like in the favorites tab to use them later.

        You can add a sound before or after recording your video, as well as to previously recorded videos. In addition to adding sounds to your videos, you can also access a ton of video editing features from the recording screen.

        here is a quick summary of these functions.

        • Video length: Choose the video length that best suits your content, up to 10 minutes long.
        • flip: switch between the front and back cameras of your phone.
        • Speed: Adjust the frame rate of your videos to speed them up or slow them down.
        • Filters: Apply color or contrast filters to make your videos look more attractive.
        • beautify: access a series of beauty filters to modify facial features.
        • timer: stops recording automatically after a set period of time.
        • reply: reply to comments on your own video or any other video.
        • flash: turns the flash on your phone’s camera on or off.
        • Effects: Add overlays, face morph effects, background changers, voice changers, interactive effects and more.
        • Templates: Drag and drop your photos and/or videos into these pre-made templates to quickly create eye-catching content. you can always edit the sounds, effects and text later.
        • other video editing features include trimming your videos, stitching multiple videos together, applying effects and filters afterwards, and more.

          note: you can also develop your own branded filters, effects and 3d objects, similar to instagram and snapchat. tiktok users can use these elements in their own videos and spread the word about their business.

          3. take advantage of tiktok’s content publishing features

          tiktok makes sharing, optimizing and organizing your videos as easy as recording and editing them. Here are some ways you can take advantage of the platform’s content publishing tools to make sure your videos get the attention they deserve.

          • write a description: your tiktok descriptions are limited to 150 characters, so keep them short, meaningful and interesting. They can also be helpful for hearing or visually impaired audiences to understand the context of your videos.
          • Include hashtags: Adding the right hashtags can help get your videos in front of the right people. pay attention to trending hashtags and make yours as specific as possible to attract specific users who are genuinely interested in your content.
          • Tag friends: If you collaborate with another brand, content creator, or influencer, you can tag them in your description with the “@” symbol. this is also useful if you republish user-generated content and want to give credit to the original creators.
          • add links: If you have a tiktok business account, you can add a link in your bio by editing your profile and adding a url to the website field. In your videos, you can ask users to sign up, browse products, or make a purchase via the link in your bio.
          • Set privacy: Make your videos visible only to you, your friends or followers you follow, or everyone.
          • enable duet/stitch: allow users to use your videos to create duets or stitch your videos with theirs to create unique or responsive content.
          • 4. decide when and how often to post on tiktok

            one of the most important strategies for any social media platform, not just tiktok, is to pay close attention to the usage behavior of your audience. what time are you online? What days of the week do you use tiktok the most?

            If you post late at night when most of your customers are sleeping, for example, you may not get as much engagement as you hoped in the early hours. and without that initial buzz, your videos may not get a boost from tiktok’s algorithm.

            It’s crucial to constantly monitor and analyze these metrics in order to post your videos at the best times. you can access tiktok’s built-in analytics by switching to a business account for free. Go to your app settings and click manage account to switch.

            5. share user generated content on tiktok

            It’s no secret that brands love user-generated content (UGC). for some industries, like b2c, it’s the easiest (and sometimes least expensive) way to acquire and share high-performing content.

            ugc is content that users create for your brand. You can share or republish this content on your own social media profiles in different ways, with permission of course. Here’s how fashion brand stradivarius encourages user-generated content with a branded hashtag:

            sharing user-generated content is a great way to feed three birds one bun:

            • constantly filling your tiktok feed with engaging videos
            • delight existing customers by offering recognition
            • acquire new customers by leveraging social proof
            • you can encourage ugc on tiktok in a number of ways, such as collaborating with an influencer to push a trend, create a branded hashtag, or start a challenge. This brings us to the next point.

              6. create a tiktok challenge

              challenges are the bread and butter of tiktok. they have extreme viral potential, everyone wants to try them and they are very entertaining videos.

              Prada, for example, recently launched the #pradabucketchallenge on tiktok to encourage people to make videos showing how a prada bucket hat can make a difference in their wardrobes.

              To promote this challenge, Prada enlisted the help of several major influencer accounts with millions of followers, including Bella Poarch, Michael Le, and Lexi Rivera. as of this writing, the hashtag has received over 6 billion views.

              Before you start a challenge, know why you’re doing it in the first place. what are your objectives?

              • Do you want to increase brand awareness?
              • Are you looking to drive sales of a new product?
              • Do you want to promote an upcoming event?
              • once you’ve defined your goal, you have several ways to boost and promote your new tiktok challenge:

                • work with tiktok to promote your challenge. the cost to run a sponsored hashtag challenge is around $150,000 for 6 days. during this time, your challenge will appear in your audience’s feed as they explore the app.
                • Launch a contest on social media to encourage participation. Turn your challenge into a competition by awarding a prize to the best entrant. You can also set more rules for entry, such as making it mandatory to follow your accounts on instagram and tiktok.
                • Partner with influencers to spread the word. While people may participate in challenges sporadically, if they see their favorite influencer participate, they’ll likely jump at the opportunity. Reach out to select influencers on tiktok in your niche and ask them to participate in your challenge while using the hashtag. keep in mind that working with influencers can be a financial investment that could be worth your while.
                • Alternatively, brands can also choose to participate in existing challenges and ride the waves. Starting your own challenge can be very rewarding, especially if it goes viral. however, it can also be expensive, depending on how you choose to promote it.

                  7. advertising on tiktok

                  Although tiktok is not heavily focused on monetization, businesses can still run ads that blend seamlessly with the rest of the content on the platform to grow their following. there are some types of ads you can post on tiktok.

                  • In-feed ads: These are native ads that appear as full-screen videos in between a user’s scrolling activity. In-feed ads can only be up to 60 seconds long and can link to landing pages or app store listings. You can also create compelling ads using interactive card, voting card, and graphic card formats.
                  • Brand Acquisitions: These are ads that appear as soon as users open the tiktok app. Brand acquisition ads can be 3-second photos or 3.5-second videos, and are more expensive than in-feed ads. Only one advertiser can run one brand takeover ad per day per interest, assuming the entire voice share for that category, and it also comes with a hefty price tag.
                  • topvew ads: these ads are upgraded versions of brand acquisitions and are naturally more expensive. These videos can be anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds long and users can interact with them by liking, commenting, and sharing.
                  • 8. collaborate with tiktok influencers

                    Last but not least, tiktok is a haven for brands looking for influencer marketing. there are countless influencers of all levels on the platform, from mega influencers with millions of followers to nano influencers with a few thousand fans.

                    for example, nutrition brand tropeaka partners with lifestyle influencers like lauren bullen (@gypsealust) who help create video content for the brand in unique ways. here is an example:

                    Working with influencers can help you attract new audiences and build a credible brand image by reaching out to someone they trust. Here are some tips to maximize your tiktok influencer marketing campaigns:

                    • Find the right influencers to work with. Look for influencers who align with your brand voice. Also, consider whether to go for big influencers or small ones. larger influencers offer more reach but are expensive. Smaller influencers are more affordable, and while they offer less reach, they often have a loyal and highly engaged following. depending on your goals, the influencers you interact with may differ, which brings us to the next point.
                    • Keep clear goals in mind. Partnering with influencers without clear goals can be a waste of resources for both parties. You need to know exactly what you hope to achieve with this collaboration, and communicate that to the influencer so they know what to do. is it brand awareness? Is it an increase in followers or a certain number of sales?
                    • Don’t be too controlling. Once you’ve communicated the ultimate goal to the influencer, don’t try to control every aspect of the campaign. outline the points you want them to cover, but let them have their creative freedom and do things “their way”. this will not only improve your relationship with the influencer, but it will also make your brand look more credible and authentic.
                    • Measure and analyze results. Track the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns during and after the execution phase. know if your defined goals and objectives have been met, or if you need to pivot in some way.
                    • if done right, influencer collaborations on tiktok can be very rewarding for your brand. be sure to work with your chosen influencers during the planning and strategy phases.

                      don’t forget: they’re experts at what they do and can come up with lots of great ideas or valid concerns that you might otherwise have missed.

                      reach new audiences and grow your business with tiktok

                      tiktok is here to stay and will continue to grow. if you’re not already using it for your business, you’re missing out on tons of brand awareness, revenue, and engagement potential.

                      If you’re ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level, here are six lessons to learn from tiktok trends that you can apply to any social media platform.

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