How to Use TikTok to Your Small Business's Advantage

By: First Union


How to Use TikTok to Your Small Business's Advantage

While TikTok is certainly popular among teenagers, those who post videos of themselves dancing and lip-syncing, it should not be discounted by businesses. In fact, as one of the hottest and rapidly emerging new platforms, TikTok is making a name for itself as yet another social media channel that could help you ramp up your business.

As its audience size is daily increasing—TikTok currently has 500 million users and was Apple's #1 downloaded app in 2018—the platform is poised to prove a boon to numerous businesses globally. Certainly, there will be some companies who aren't quite a good fit for what TikTok has to offer by way of marketing and/or advertising, but for those companies who creatively figure out ways in which to leverage its massive influence, you could stand to attract a relatively large number of new customers. Below are a few ways that you can use TikTok to your small business's advantage…

First off, understand it

For one thing, there are plenty of non-teenage people who aren't 100% comfortable with using this particular platform yet. It is thus key to first familiarize yourself with TikTok. You don't want to utilize it for business and yet look as though you have no idea what you're doing on it. Learn how to post and how to interact with other users—this will be key for your business.

Much like Instagram and to an extent Facebook, TikTok is about offering content that is fun and that engages users. It tends to be a bit more quirky and sillier than some of the other social media channels, so think in terms of that mindset when developing your TikTok content. Remember, this isn't the place to formally market or offer a more traditional sales pitch. Quite the contrary. So spend a fair amount of time getting to know what people post, what's trending, and what gets a lot of engagement. Also keep in mind that the core group of users tends to fall between the ages of 16 and 24, so you're going to want to skew what your posts accordingly.

Keep it fun

This platform is all about users having some fun. Creativity counts here. The great thing about posting something on TikTok is that it is relatively inexpensive (if not free/) to offer content that has some fun with itself, highlights some component of your company and/or product and that provides something of an outside the box approach to marketing. The videos don't need to be ultra-polished or professional; as far as TikTok goes, you do want the opposite effect in some circumstances.

That said, don't go too far afield; meaning, yes, wacky videos are popular, but keep your business style and voice in mind as you are creating your TikTok posts. Also, try and stay simple with whatever you decide to produce by way of a video. This will help you appear far more authentic than if you try and over complicate things.

Hashtag challenge anyone?

Essentially this is where you get users to create content specific to your brand and use a branded hashtag when posting. For instance, Guess was one of the initial companies to start a hashtag challenge on the platform. They encouraged users to post videos of themselves in Guess clothing. The challenge was a raging success for the denim brand and allowed them to enter the realm of TikTok marketing quite effectively.

The key point here is that hashtag challenges are fun for users. In the process, you're extending your TikTok reach, promoting a new product or service, and of course engaging users with your posts.

Find those TikTok influencers

As with the other social media platforms available, TikTok also has its share of influencers. They may not be as big as say Instagram influencers—but given that the platform is growing by leaps and bounds, soon enough we will be seeing some major TikTok influencer action. Millennials and those in Gen Z tend to be anti-ad. Traditional advertising thus does not cut it with them; this is why reaching out to influencers could be a great way to target that demographic. People they trust, opinions they rely on...influencer marketing is becoming one of the biggest industries on the planet.

Do your homework here before just randomly selecting an influencer. Are they relevant to your industry, your specific niche? There are a variety of online resources that can help you research influencer bios to find the best match possible.

TikTok has its advertising now

Very recently TikTok did incorporate ads into the platform. There are four different types that you can choose from Infeed native content which is very much like an Instagram story. Brand takeover: essentially, a brand can take over TikTok for the day. They can then offer videos with links to landing pages, post hashtag challenges, or utilize the platform in some other creative way. There are also the hashtag challenges as previously noted. And finally, you can get branded lenses, much like the Snapchat lenses for photos/faces.

In conclusion…

First off, decide if TikTok is the right platform for your company. Get to know it inside and out. You don't want to look like an amateur. And most importantly, create fun and engaging content that keeps users wanting more from you.

First Union Lending is helping small businesses across the US navigate their way through this difficult time. A new marketing strategy may be exactly what is needed. If you require additional cash to get a marketing effort off the ground—or for whatever project you happen to have in mind—we can certainly help. We offer short term loans, lines of credit, and merchant cash advances among other financial products. And businesses get the cash they need fast—sometimes within as little as two days. Even if your credit score is lower than what you'd like, we can still sit down with you and discuss your options. Call today!

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