With 689 monthly users around the world and 69% of America’s teenagers using it, TikTok represents a unique tool for small businesses to engage with a young audience, but only if they get it right. If you’ve been thinking of dipping your toes into those waters but don’t know where to start, here’s what you need to know.
How Small Businesses Can Use TikTok
A new guide from Zen Business has identified the six main ways that small businesses are using TikTok to create engaging viral content to advertise their products, raise their brand awareness and launch important campaigns:
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Anyone familiar with social media will know the significance of a hashtag in helping gather together content around a topic and they’re just as crucial on TikTok. Many brands have run hashtag challenges where they give their followers a task to perform and then upload to their own account.
These can - and should - be as quirky as possible because that gives them the most potential to go viral. A great example of this is Chipotle’s #GuacDance challenge, which earned well over a billion views by encouraging users to copy a quirky dance routine.
Hashtag challenges can help spread your brand or products to a huge new audience, potentially showcasing your product if you make it a part of the challenge.
Influencers can be crucial for attracting the right audience to your campaigns and promotions on social media. They’ve already got those audiences and have the knowledge and expertise to engage with them, and TikTok has a whole new generation of celebrities that are unique to its platform.
Finding the right influencer to align with your brand means doing your research but as the likes of Elf Cosmetics have demonstrated, getting it right can mean reaching a mass audience of exactly the people who should be interested in your brand or products.
TikTok isn’t just cat videos and people skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac songs. It can also be a place where people can go to learn things, and tutorial videos are a great marketing tool because they offer value to users by showing them tips, hacks and tricks they might not have known before.
Make-up tutorials are particularly popular, with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand well-known for their range of videos showing how customers can achieve the best results with their products. Fashion brands also run videos showing various looks that work well with their clothes or accessories and there’s plenty of potential for other sectors.
One of the biggest bonuses small businesses can get from social media is encouraging their users to create their own content for them. As well as costing nothing, this content also has the added benefit of reflecting the audience’s tastes better than anything created by a marketing team.
Good UGC on TikTok is usually something that calls upon users to come up with something creative that relates to the brand or product, like a campaign run by Converse that encouraged people to customize a pair of their sneakers and generated over 50 million views.
These can tie in with UGC or hashtag challenges, with incentives given to drive that engagement that is needed to help campaigns go viral. Especially for smaller businesses with less followers, running a giveaway can be essential for giving your campaign a great chance of success.
Running a live stream is a great way to engage with users and showcase products or events or to just answer questions in a Q&A. Particularly during the pandemic, live streams have been popular with the likes of French fashion brand Balmain, who broadcast from a catwalk event on a boat on the River Seine to make users feel like they were there.
If these suggestions have inspired you to have a go at setting up a TikTok account, here’s everything you need to know about how small businesses can benefit and how to get started.