How to Use TikTok for Business
By: Cori Widen, Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks
Sometimes social media marketing is a bit of an arms race. By the time you really get a handle on the platform, your audience has moved on to the next big thing.
This is especially true if your target audience is young: just like in real life, the fun is over for teens when their parents walk in.
These days, the place you’re most likely to find teens hanging out online is a new video-sharing app called TikTok. TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world, with over 500 million users as of the last quarter of 2019.
Why should you use TikTok for your business?
If your target audience is on the younger side — teenagers and young adults — now is the time to get in on it. A few reasons why:
It’s new and not saturated yet
On other social media platforms, there are tons of other businesses and influencers vying for users’ attention. TikTok is still relatively new and growing, so now is a unique opportunity to establish yourself in your niche.
It’s fun and casual
Unlike Instagram, the content on TikTok is spontaneous and unpolished. Not only does this lower production costs, it appeals more to younger audiences who are averse to more traditional marketing styles.
You can share content across platforms
Any content you create on TikTok can be shared across different platforms right from the app. You can also download your content as a video or GIF to use however you like.
Drive traffic to Instagram and YouTube
You can link to your Instagram and YouTube accounts directly from your TikTok profile. That means that anyone who visits your profile on TikTok will instantly be able to find and follow you on those other platforms.
How to get started on TikTok
Learn your way around
The first thing to know about using TikTok is that it’s an entertainment-based platform rather than a lifestyle-based platform. That is, the purpose of the content shared on it is to entertain your friends and express yourself creatively.
With that in mind, download the app and start exploring. Look at the content other users are sharing and see what’s trending.
Create some fun videos
The native video creator tool is super simple to use. You can take a video of up to 60 seconds and add music, filters, effects, text, and stickers. Check out our Tik Tok Video Length & Formatting Guide for full insights on TikTok’s native video creator.
Experiment with it and see what you come up with!
You can also use third-party apps like Boosted for more options for filters, text, and effects.
Explore trending hashtags
Just like on other platforms, hashtags are a super important way to connect with other users and get your videos noticed.
Search for hashtags related to your niche and see what kind of content other users are uploading. This will help you find both hashtags and users to follow.
Using TikTok to grow your business
Once you’ve learned your way around the app, you can start developing content to upload and share.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be as big a project as it is for platforms like Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram. One of the great things about TikTok is that the content isn’t supposed to be highly polished.
In fact, TikTok’s users are more likely to be put off by highly polished content that looks like an ad. So get creative, experiment, and be yourself.
Make fun content
TikTok is a place to “let your hair down” as a brand. You’ll find that even serious businesses will introduce lighter, more fun content on TikTok while maintaining their solemn, professional brand image on other social media platforms.
This gives you the freedom to get silly and be yourself.
Here are some ideas for types of content that have been successful on TikTok:
- Go behind the scenes: Everybody loves a good behind-the-scenes video. This is a great opportunity to showcase your business in a less formal and more relaxed way.
- Follow a trend: TikTok is full of users making videos based around a similar idea: for example, a certain dance to a certain song. Keep an eye out for trends that suit your brand, and join the fun.
- Introduce a pet: 15 years after the first cat video was uploaded to YouTube, pets are still one of the most popular subjects of content on the Internet — and TikTok is no different. If you have a pet, consider making it your business mascot!
Get a better feel for TikTok content by watching the most popular videos from this month:
Partner with influencers
This is a social media strategy that works on other platforms, too: find a business or influencer with lots of followers in your niche and team up to create content together and cross-pollinate your audiences.
Networking and working together with influencers is a great way to create organic content that doesn’t come off as aggressively promotional.
Create a hashtag challenge
Hashtag challenges encourage users to create videos within a certain theme and add your branded hashtag to it. You can offer prizes as an incentive to join.
They work especially well when they give users a fun idea for their own content to create.
One example of a highly successful campaign was the #GuacDance by Chipotle: in honor of National Avocado Day, they encouraged users to post videos of themselves dancing to express their love for guacamole. There were 250,000 submissions — and Chipotle served 800,000 sides of guacamole that day.
Paid advertising on TikTok
TikTok has recently introduced paid advertising. This is great news for businesses trying to reach audiences on TikTok, especially if you’re not sure how to build a following.
There are 4 different ad formats:
- Infeed Native Content: An ad similar to those you see on Instagram or Facebook, which appears in users’ feeds and allows users to click through to websites or to download apps.
- Brand Takeovers: This is a full-screen ad that pops up when users first open the TikTok app. It’s called a “takeover” because only one brand in each category can use this type of ad each day.
- Hashtag Challenges: This promotes a hashtag to get more engagement — a great way to give a hashtag challenge a boost.
- Branded Lenses: These are unique filters developed by your brand that work like Snapchat lenses for faces and photos. They allow users to interact with your business using AR (augmented reality).
- Download TikTok, create an account, and learn your way around.
- Create a video using the native video creator or Boosted and post it to TikTok.
- Follow some hashtags and influencers related to your brand.
- Create a hashtag challenge.
- Consider paid advertising.
Cori Widen is the Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks. She has been leading product marketing campaigns and doing qualitative market research in the tech industry for 10 years.