Are you a business owner or marketer who is on the fence about using TikTok as a business promotion platform? You might have shied away from or disregarded the mainstream social media channel altogether since its emergence, under the impression that it’s skewed towards a Generation Z audience only and creators with videography experience. These thoughts will no doubt have left you with the resounding question: is there any VALUE in using TikTok for business promotion? The hard and fast answer is, yes! Let’s get into why…

Whilst it’s true that the video-sharing app is especially popular with the younger demographic, the ever-expanding network has grown to encompass many older generations and its audience has changed significantly since its inception. The sheer scale of its userbase means that more and more businesses are seeing it as a marketing opportunity to advertise to and connect with a huge amount of online consumers at one given time. With more than 689 million global active users as of January 2021, it is certainly the leading destination for short-form mobile videos and is also now considered alongside social media giants: Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp and Instagram.

As video content marketing continues to top the charts as the most engaging and effective type of content your business can put out, you need to make sure your business is tapping into and leveraging the huge potential of dynamic formats. Often referred to as Instagram for the mobile video age, TikTok is an accessible and user-friendly platform that will help you align your advertising efforts with a growing trend of video marketing. It’s certainly not going to go away anytime soon, so you might as well hop on the bandwagon and incorporate it into your social media strategy!

Let’s address a couple of our most commonly asked questions…

Q. I Already Produce Video Content on Instagram, Why Should I Use TikTok Too?

You might be already familiar with Instagram Reels or even IGTV, but the one core difference that separates Instagram from TikTok is that you don’t need to have a large following, or followers at all, in order to have your content discovered on TikTok. So if you’re already in the habit of posting Instagram Reels, why not repurpose this content into TikTok videos?

Whilst Instagram has now grown into a highly competitive platform where ‘battle of the brands’ is rife and tackling the ever-challenging algorithm is the main goal to appearing at the top of your follower’s feed, TikTok does well to level out the playing field for brands that are just starting out. The one thing that makes TikTok so attractive as a promotional platform is its favourable and unique delivery algorithm. Virtually any profile, with any number of followers or likes, can be organically discovered by millions of people without spending a penny and with relatively little effort. Whilst on Instagram, success lies in being able to appear on your follower’s feed, and that’s after you’ve amassed a loyal following, on TikTok, the user’s main goal is to feature on the For You page.

Q. What Is TikTok’s For You Page, And How Do I Appear On It?

Often abbreviated to just ‘FYP’, TikTok’s ‘For You’ page is essentially the front page of TikTok. As a business with a TikTok account, your aim is to have your videos appear high up on users For You pages in order for your products, services or brand to be discovered. So, unlike Instagram, TikTok’s algorithm is not based on who you follow, but rather it is based on what the app THINKS you want to see or what you’ll be interested in. For instance, if you are in the food and beverage industry and you’ve been watching content surrounding meal preparation or immersive restaurant dining experiences, TikTok will be far more likely to show you curated content of a similar nature.

Given that the algorithm is geared towards showing tailored content it thinks you will like, it’s important to stay clued up on the kinds of videos that are trending and that users are interacting with the most, and use this knowledge to shape your content accordingly. Whilst it’s certainly important to find your niche when coming up with video ideas, a large part of cracking the TikTok algorithm is being equally involved in user trends. Here are three simple steps you can put into practice in order to maximise the reach of your videos:

  1. Create videos using trending/viral sounds and music. By identifying and using viral sounds that the TikTok community is already loving, you are effectively pushing your content to other people who also enjoy that trend, therefore increasing your visibility and reach on the platform.
  2. Use relevant and trending hashtags. Hashtags are more important than ever on TikTok and are a direct link to your content. Choosing the right ones can dramatically affect the reach of your videos whilst translating them into likes, follows and maybe even collaborations. The key is to keep them simple; hashtags on TikTok are used to categorise your account for optimal audience targeting, helping to get you on more For You pages.
  3. Take part in challenges and collaborations. When you post a video responding to a trending challenge, it gets displayed to those following the challenge and will increase the chances of your video going viral, whilst pushing your brand name out there to an engaged community.

For any keen TikTokers who have succumbed to the app’s addictive nature, you might well be up to date with all of the latest trending sounds, dances, challenges, hashtags and all the rest! But if you need some guidance, TikTok’s Creative Centre is a great place to start. Here you can discover top performing ads and user trends across regions and demographics. For example, at the time of writing this blog, #lettering is a popular hashtag on For You pages in the United Kingdom. If you can work in this trending hashtag into your videos, you’re one step towards making a potentially viral video! You could be a coffee shop owner writing out a daily specials board in attractive ‘#lettering’, or a self-employed graphic designer demonstrating writing out a new logo design or print advert.

Authenticity First, Aesthetics Second

The beauty of TikTok lies in its imperfections – it’s a cliché that must be said! You may have created the most satisfying, aesthetically designed video that would be gobbled up by the perfectionist culture Instagram has become known for, but if it doesn’t show the personality behind your business it won’t do well on TikTok. It’s important to keep this in mind when it comes to creating native TikTok’s; entertainment and authenticity should always be your priority over commerce. Brand awareness and engagement rather than hard and fast-selling are the keys to success on TikTok and getting on that all-important For You page.

Here are a handful of video content ideas to provide some food for thought:

  • Day in the life videos. Provide a true insight into your day-to-day life as a business owner or your job role within the business you’re promoting. Particularly if you’re self-employed or provide a service, giving potential customers or clients a unique ‘look into’ how your business operates can do lots by way of inspiring trust, credibility and putting a ‘face’ to the name!
  • Packaging orders.  A growing trend for ecommerce businesses on TikTok, not only are packaging orders satisfying to watch, but it’s also a great way to drum up engagement by encouraging customers to leave their order numbers in the video comment section to watch their order being carefully packaged by your business! This also helps to provide trust that each and every order is treated with care and respect.
  • Start to finish product videos. Whether you’re in the food and beverage industry and your ‘products’ are your dishes and drinks, or you design and manufacture jewellery, take the online consumer on a visual journey as you create your products. Whether you just show a “before and after” or do a timelapse, giving the customer a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into your business will help to build trust and win over new audiences.
  • Workspace tours and meet the team videos
  • Business advice videos. Are you a specialist in a certain field? Perhaps you’re a small business owner that has a success story to tell? Share you story on TikTok, connect with a community of like-minded accounts and reach out to your audience in an authentic way.

Maintain Best Practices, Measure Your Results and Make Sure You Post Consistently

The main two main things to remember when starting out on TikTok is to be authentic and personable, and as with any social media platform, post consistently. Aside from this, be sure to follow TikTok best practices, like always using vertical or ‘portrait’ videos and keep your content short and snappy so viewers will watch all the way to the end. If users reach the end of your video, TikTok will no doubt reward you by pushing your video onto more For You pages!

Once you’re ready to start posting onto the platform, it is well worth ensuring you’ve switched over to TikTok’s free Pro Account version, which you can do in your account settings. This way, you’ll have access to TikTok’s Analytics page which will allow you to measure all sorts of metrics and insights such as post-performance, average watch time, traffic source types, audience territories and even when your followers are most active! All of which is useful data you can use to grow your account.

If you want to know more about TikTok, why not book a place on our FREE upcoming webinar: How To: The Basics of TikTok and Instagram Reels? Or if you would like us to help with getting your business started on TikTok and creating video content, please feel free to get in touch with InSynch and we’d be happy to help.