Some business owners may be tempted to dismiss TikTok as nothing more than a social networking site for short dances, lip syncs, and skits. But no, the platform can actually be a great marketing tool.
Originally launched in 2016, TikTok started gaining real traction in 2018 and rose to even greater heights during the global pandemic. Fast forward to the present, the app has received over 3 billion downloads and now has 1 billion monthly active users.
For a startup entrepreneur, TikTok is a wellspring of social media marketing opportunities. When utilized well, the platform can give you instant exposure to a huge number of potential customers – and not only among Gen Zs and young Millennials but also among older generations.
And yes, there are businesses that are, to this day, still hesitant about jumping onboard – which means you have less competition to worry about.
Sounds like a good time to give it a shot, you say? Well, allow us to share a few pointers about how your business can make the most of this increasingly popular app.
Tip #1: Create your own TikTok videos
Before getting started, the first thing you need to keep in mind is that people use the app for entertainment purposes. For this reason, you definitely want to make your content appealing, fun and not ‘salesy’. No one likes a hard sell – and especially not on TikTok.
Sparkhouse CEO Torrey Tayenaka wrote about this subject in an Entrepreneur article, saying:
“There is nothing fun about feeling like you’re being pitched. It’s ok to have a goal for each video. But have a plan to reach that goal in a way that feels natural.”
Take time to brainstorm with your team before making your videos. The possibilities are limitless on the platform so use your creativity.
Also, make sure to pay attention to what type of videos are trending. You can use the Discover page for this. Also, check out which hashtags are getting used a lot on the platform and what challenges are the latest craze. Doing this gives you the chance to see what kind of content is currently popular and how you can adapt these for your own marketing objectives.
Again, just go with something that feels consistent with your brand and will appeal to your target demographic. Remember that your main goal is to reach prospective buyers on the platform without sounding like an aggressive salesperson.
Tip #2: Collaborate with influencers
Aside from producing your own content, another viable option for you would be to contact and work with TikTok influencers.
Collaborating with an influencer grants you easy access to a wide audience – their subscribers. That’s why it’s very important to pick only those who are related to your niche. An influencer may have the greatest number of fans but if those people are likely to be largely uninterested in your product or service, then your message will only be ignored.
So instead of prioritizing reach, try to focus on relevance. An influencer with fewer subscribers can actually be more effective in helping you hit your goals if their niche perfectly matches your own. Moreover, taking this direction will lead to savings since you won’t have to spend a huge amount of your marketing budget on less appropriate ‘celebrity’ influencers.
Case in point, if you own a streetwear brand, it might be a good idea to get in touch with athletes, artists, rappers, rock musicians, and skateboarders, among others. They can make amazing ambassadors by wearing your products and even mentioning your company in their videos. A quick unboxing video, for example, can attract a lot of views.
When contacting influencers, be clear about what you want to happen and how much you will be paying them. Wait for their response and pay attention if they have any suggestions in mind. A collaboration can only be successful if both parties are happy with the deal.
With conditions satisfied on both ends of the bargain, content creation will soon follow and you can ultimately expect to see an increase in your sales. This is because social media followers tend to support brands promoted by their trusted influencers.
Tip #3: Advertise on TikTok
According to the official TikTok website, the platform offers “flexible spending, easy setup, and efficient ad delivery” for businesses planning to place paid ads with them. There are several available ad formats.
‘In-Feed’ ads are the most affordable. These embedded ads auto-play as users go to their ‘For You’ page. Viewers can even like, comment, and share your video ads if they want. When creating these ads, you can use the TikTok Ad Manager and incorporate elements you deem important (such as a call to action).
Next, you can also go for a ‘Brand Takeover’ ad, which appears as soon as a user opens the app. This means a person will only see one of these ads every day. Compared with in-feed ads, these can be more expensive but the big advantage is that they reach a wider audience.
Meanwhile, ‘Top-View’ ads show up on the top part of the ‘For You’ page when users open the app. A video for this ad format could run from 5 to 60 seconds, which can yield a huge number of impressions for advertisers.
Alternatively, a ‘Brand Takeover’ is a static or dynamic ad shown in a full-screen scale. People often compare this with YouTube’s non-skippable advertisements. Unlike an In-Feed ad, however, users cannot like or comment on these videos.
‘Branded Hashtag Challenges’, on the other hand, are fun-filled campaigns that encourage users to participate in certain challenges. As TikTok explains, this ad type allows brands “to go where their target audience already is, speak their language, and be part of the culture.” As such, Branded Hashtag Challenges can effectively help boost your brand awareness.
Lastly, the ‘Branded Effects’ option allows advertisers to share effects, filters, and stickers that the TikTok community can use when creating their own content. Much like the Branded Hashtag Challenge, the beauty of this kind of ad campaign is that it promotes your band by engaging your audience.
With its widespread popularity, it’s safe to say that TikTok isn’t going away anytime soon. When you use it the right way, it can definitely help your startup business prosper.
For an in-depth look at just why TikTok is so popular and how you can use it to humanize your brand, check this out.