The Ultimate TikTok Marketing Guide for Small Businesses in 2021

By now it’s almost impossible to have never heard about TikTok the new social media platform that Generation Z is obsessed with. If you’re considering checking out TikTok to help your small business grow, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading for the Ultimate TikTok Guide for Small Businesses in 2021 covering all of the basics, tips for how to succeed on TikTok, video content ideas and more. 

Ultimate TikTok Guide: What is TikTok?

In the most basic terms, TikTok is a social media app to watch and create short videos. TikTok calls themselves the “destination for short-form mobile videos” and they’ve been gaining popularity extremely quickly. In 2020, TikTok was the most popular app downloaded globally and in 2021, it is now the sixth largest social network.

Short-form video content is king in 2021 and TikTok proves it the ideal video length for the platform is 15 seconds. TikTok users can record a short 15-second video within the app with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Not sure how to create your own videos within the app? Here’s a video tutorial from social media expert Rachel Pedersen that will walk you through the process:

Check out the next section of our Ultimate TikTok Guide for Small Businesses to learn all of the TikTok basics like terminology and features!

The TikTok Basics Small Businesses Need to Know

It wouldn’t be an Ultimate TikTok Guide if we didn’t cover the basics, right? If you’re not familiar with TikTok yet, here are a few basic terms and features you’ll want to know about to help you better navigate the platform.

FYP: FYP is TikTok’s lingo meaning “For You Page.” The FYP is TikTok’s version of a “homefeed” within the platform. As soon as you open TikTok, you will land on your “For You Page” and will be able to immediately begin scrolling and watching videos. What’s unique about the FYP is that you won’t only see videos from TikTok accounts you follow, you will also automatically be shown videos that TikTok thinks you will enjoy. Learn how to get your small business featured on TikTok’s FYP here.

Music: TikTok isn’t the type of app you can enjoy without sound music makes up a huge part of the fun of the video app! TikTok is integrated with Apple Music and they have a massive music library full of all your favorite songs and sounds. Keep an eye out for sounds and music that are trending within TikTok: these are the audio clips that are most popular on the app at the moment and are an important element to growing on the platform.

Filters & Effects: You can do a lot of fun things with your video content within the TikTok app. Within the app, there’s everything from filters, visual effects, transitions, stickers, GIFs, text overlay and more. Play around with some of the effects, but don’t feel pressured to use them in every video you create some of the top trending TikToks don’t use any effects!

Trends & Challenges: Something unique about TikTok’s platform is the way the content shifts based on trends and challenges that are popular at the moment. A TikTok trend could simply be the use of a trending song with your own spin on it. There are also dancing trends, hashtag challenges and more. The thing these all have in common is the way users are encouraged to “copy” a trend by creating a TikTok with their own twist.

Live: Most social networks now have some feature that enables users to ‘go live’ and broadcast in the moment. TikTok’s Live feature is similar to going live on Instagram or Facebook, but for now this feature is only available to accounts that have 1,000 subscribers or more.

Advertising: TikTok also offers a variety of ways for brands to advertise on the social network. There’s everything from in-feed video ads, branded hashtags and challenges with branded pages. TikTok advertising can be pretty pricey, so for now it’s mostly large brands with big marketing budgets that are paying to play on TikTok. Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about advertising on TikTok.

Why Small Businesses Should Care About TikTok

Some brands aren’t taking TikTok seriously yet because it’s an app known for having younger users. The reality is though that TikTok is a powerful platform growing among all demographics. While Gen Z is the largest user demographic on TikTok currently, it’s important to remember that most social media platforms tend to gain popularity among younger users first (just like Facebook and Instagram did!).

Not only is the platform itself growing short-form video content is increasing in popularity across every platform. Customers today love video in fact, the average consumer is now watching 16 hours of video in just one week!

It’s also been reported that 86% of customers would like to see more video content from brands. If you aren’t sure where to start with video content creation for your small business, tools like Boosted can help you create professional videos to grow your brand on TikTok, Instagram and beyond.

Not only is it important for your small business to create more video content, but it’s also important to care about TikTok as a platform whether you are creating videos or consuming them. TikTok sets many trends for the type of video content that consumers enjoy, so even if you prefer to create and edit video content outside of the TikTok app, it’s still important for your business to be aware of what’s happening within the platform itself.

Small Business Guide: How to Get Started on TikTok

If you understand the value of TikTok for small business owners, but aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven simple steps to help your small business get started on the platform.

1. Create an account: TikTok is an app that you can download from the Google Play or App Store. Simply install the app, select a method to sign up and create an account.

2. Complete your profile: Setting up your TikTok profile is similar to other apps. You’ll want to create a username, add a profile photo and a short bio. Keep in mind that TikTok only allows up to 80 characters for your bio.  

3. Link to other socials: If you’d like to use TikTok to help grow your small business, it’s important to link your other social media accounts that you might be more active on within your TikTok profile. It’s easy to link to your Instagram within the TikTok app. Doing so helps users find another way to easily connect with your brand.  

4. Watch videos on TikTok: There’s a ton of different types of videos on TikTok! One of the most important steps to getting your small business started on TikTok is a fun one simply watch lots of videos! This is the best way to learn how consumers are using and enjoying the app. To find out what type of content other small business owners are creating, check out #smallbusinesscheck, #smallbusinessowner & #smallbusinesstiktok.

5. Follow a few accounts: As you are watching some TikTok videos, you’ll want to start following a few accounts as well. Focus on finding some of your social media connections you’ve built on other platforms and following them on TikTok also. You should also try to follow accounts in your niche. 

6. Engage with videos: Once you’ve started following accounts, it’s important to engage with videos that pop up on your FYP. By liking and commenting on videos, TikTok will begin to learn what type of content you enjoy seeing. Then, the platform will start showing you even more content that you’re interested in, which makes the TikTok experience super personalized to you, unique and more enjoyable!  

7. Make your first TikTok! And finally, after you’ve set up your profile, watched several videos and engaged on TikTok, it’s time to actually make your first TikTok video! Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect. And if you are having trouble figuring out how to record and edit videos within the TikTok app (it can be difficult!) don’t forget you can upload video content created outside of the app. Boosted has tons of video templates to help you create high-quality TikTok video in just a few minutes.

Here’s a great TikTok on the topic from social media strategist @jera.bean:

Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses to Succeed on TikTok

It wouldn’t be the Ultimate TikTok Guide for Small Businesses without sharing all of our favorite tips and tricks for small business to succeed on TikTok! Keep reading to learn a few key strategies to help boost your small business’ presence on TikTok.

Cross Promote Socials: While you can’t usually add your website to your TikTok profile, you can (and should!) cross promote your other social media accounts that do drive traffic to your website. Cross promote your Instagram easily by linking it in your profile or adding your IG handle at the end of your TikTok videos.

Post Often: While some TikTok videos go viral overnight, it can take a lot of work to create a strong presence on TikTok for your small business. It’s important to post on TikTok often to help your small business grow and succeed on the platform.

Find a Niche: Niche content does extremely well on TikTok. As you are watching videos, see what niches other users are focusing on and begin thinking about how you can create content for your own niche.

Get Good Lighting: Videos don’t have to be perfect on TikTok! Users expect and want authentic videos that look like the average person could have created them. That being said, it’s still important to have good lighting and overall good quality for your videos.

Use Trending Sounds:  If your TikTok videos use a trending sound, it will increase the chances of your videos being shown on more people’s FYP. Simply save a song from any video you’re watching to use the sound or you can search trending sounds in TikTok’s playlists when you are looking for a sound to add to your video.

Be Authentic: While consumers might want more video content from brands, they don’t want salesy videos, especially on TikTok! Be sure to create relatable content, be authentic and avoid creating videos that seem like ads.

Engage Frequently: And finally, don’t forget to engage often. TikTok is a social network after all! Engaging with content you like not only helps customize your FYP even more, but it’s a great way to build connections and grow your own following as well. And most importantly, if someone is commenting on your small business’ videos, be sure to like and comment back! 

29 TikTok Video Ideas for Small Businesses

Now that you know the TikTok basics and all of the tips & tricks you’ll need for your small business to succeed on TikTok, it’s time to start creating! As we mentioned before, it’s a great idea for you to find a niche to post about on TikTok. There are tons of small business owners on TikTok and some of their top trending videos are super simple TikToks showing the behind the scenes of running their small business.

We’ve put together a great list of questions or thought starters for you to begin brainstorming a list of video content ideas to create and post on your small business’ TikTok account. For even more TikTok video content ideas, read our “41 TikTok Video Ideas For Small Businesses” blog post next.


– Who are you? 

– Who works with you?

– Where do you work? (Show off your workspace!) 

– Why did you launch your small business? 

– Why are you so passionate about what you do? 


– What is your small business? 

– What are your products/services? 

– What are your most popular products/services?

– What does a day in your life as a business owner look like?

– What does your inventory look like?

– What does it take to run your business? 

– What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way?

– What are tools you use to run your small business?


– How did you start your business? 

– How do you make your products/services?

– How do you package your products/services? 

– How do you manage inventory? 

– How do you market your services? 

– How do you run your small business?

We hope our Ultimate TikTok Guide for Small Businesses has been helpful! It can seem overwhelming to learn the ins and outs of a whole new social media network but once you’ve learned the basics, explored all of the amazing TikTok features and have created several videos to boost your small business, it won’t seem so difficult. If you need help creating video content to post on TikTok (or any social media platform!) be sure to check out Boosted.

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