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How to use TikTok for business

With over 1 billion users opens in new window actively seeking out videos from popular travel destinations to the latest food recipes, TikTok offers small businesses an opportunity to reach their target audience and promote products and services immersively.

With 82% of TikTok users opens in new window saying they found small to medium businesses on the platform, discover how integrating TikTok into your marketing strategy opens in new window could help increase custom, drive website traffic, and boost sales.


Understanding TikTok

TikTok is a globally popular social media platform opens in new window that comprises short videos designed to entertain and inform viewers.

Viewers can choose what content categories to follow, such as sport, fashion, and music, and related content will automatically appear on their newsfeed.

It’s projected that there’ll be 15 million UK users on TikTok by 2025 opens in new window.

Since most active users are under 40, opens in new window the platform could benefit businesses wanting to market their products or services to younger demographics.

TikTok encompasses various categories, including beauty, health and fitness, and DIY so there is an opportunity for countless businesses to do their market research opens in new window, find their niche, understand their target audience opens in new window, and tailor their content towards them.

You don’t necessarily need to create a TikTok business account since anyone with a personal account can post on the app.

However, there are additional benefits of selecting a business account, as it gives you access to analytical tools that can help you track and optimise your performance on the platform.

Interested in other social media platforms? Read our guides on:

Read our guide on how to make social media work for your small business. opens in new window


Types of advertising on TikTok

There are various advertising options available on TikTok, such as:


TikTok’s in-feed ads

TikTok’s in-feed ads allow brands to promote their products or services within the app’s main feed.

These ads can include music, text, and special effects within a short video.

For example, a local business specialising in the events industry can benefit from in-feed ads to promote their shows or concerts by showcasing a short preview and a call to action to buy tickets.


Branded hashtag challenges

Branded hashtag challenges can encourage TikTok users to create and share content related to a particular trend closely linked to the brand’s message.

For example, a local well-being centre could create a hashtag challenge that invites its members to share their go-to self-care methods by circulating the hashtag #selfcaresunday.

Marketers could incentivise users to participate by offering prizes, free classes, or discounts opens in new window on treatments to those who partake.


Branded effects and stickers

Branded effects and stickers can be a powerful way to engage with potential customers and increase brand visibility opens in new window.

A brand can partner with TikTok to create a custom augmented reality (AR) effect or sticker.

The brand then promotes the effect or sticker through its in-feed ads.

For example, a restaurant could create a custom sticker that users can add to their videos when they visit.


TopView Ads

TopView Ads are the first thing users see when they open the app, so they need to capture the user’s attention quickly.

Local city tour companies, for example, may create short ads featuring their tour routes, landmarks, and positive reviews opens in new window in a video with upbeat music.

This bold and immersive advertising is likely to grab the attention of viewers interested in local travel destinations.


Partnership or influencer marketing

Many businesses can benefit from a creative partnership or influencer marketing.

A brand can choose a talented content creator on TikTok whose audience and style align with its message.

Similarly, you can opt for influencer marketing, which involves partnering with influential individuals with a significant presence on TikTok to promote a brand’s message or product.

Learn how to work with influencers on TikTok. opens in new window


Developing effective content strategies

Some ways you could leverage TikTok to achieve marketing success are:


Participating in trending challenges and using popular sounds

Since TikTok is a social media platform, it’s a good idea to keep up with current trends, as this helps you connect with your audience while allowing you to market your brand from various angles.

Hashtag challenges are a great way to do this; for example, a fitness brand may utilise the trending #MondayMotivation hashtag to encourage followers to share their fitness routines to inspire each other on their fitness journey.

You can add trending songs from TikTok’s sound library to boost engagement with your videos and reach more followers.


Embracing authenticity and relatability

Brands consumers find relatable and authentic are more likely to inspire users to get involved and engage with their content.

Avoid using overly formal language and speak to your followers in a way they can easily understand.

If humour is appropriate, don’t be afraid to inject some tongue-in-cheek wit, as this can strengthen the rapport between you and your followers.

These methods can help you build trust with your target audience, setting you apart from competitors.


Showcasing behind-the-scenes moments

Giving users a behind-the-scenes glimpse adds a human touch to marketing.

You could compose a behind-the-scenes look at a previously completed campaign and demonstrate all the effort and fun that goes into building it.

Not only does this create a sense of transparency and credibility, but it also gives your followers an exclusive look into your brand’s nature, helping you develop a personal connection with your followers.


Creating educational or tutorial content

Offering your followers helpful tips or valuable information can boost your brand’s credibility by proving it’s built on relevant expertise and knowledge.

For example, say your brand specialises in selling healthy foods; you may want to create videos that offer tips relevant to a healthy lifestyle, such as “five foods to avoid before sleeping”.

This educational or “life-hacking” content can help brands reach new audiences searching for similar information through related hashtags.


Collaborating with influencers and other businesses

Hiring influencers with a solid and active following on TikTok can help increase awareness of your products or services.

Ensure you choose influencers that cater to a specific audience aligned with your brand’s theme or message.

For example, if you are an LGBTQ+ clothing brand, it makes sense to hire an influencer who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community to advertise your products, as their message is likely to complement yours.

By partnering with an influencer with a similar target audience, small brands can increase their chances of reaching potential customers.


Utilising user-generated content

Using user-generated content is a great way to raise brand awareness and create a sense of community among followers and customers.

For example, a skincare brand could ask its customers to leave reviews of their products and talk about their skincare routines etc.

The company can share them on their TikTok account and give credit to the users who created them.

If you receive many positive reviews or if your content goes viral, you could approach the local press opens in new window, who may decide to write an article on the popularity of your product or service.

Whatever your content approach on TikTok, it’s important to remember that consistency and regular content posting is necessary to increase visibility and engagement with your brand.


Measuring success on TikTok

As with any marketing approach, tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by regularly checking TikTok’s analytics is crucial.

TikTok analytics offers insights into the performance of each video, such as how many views, likes, comments, and shares it gets.

TikTok’s analytics can help you measure the success of your marketing efforts and help businesses understand which marketing strategies generate the most engagement.

The tool can also alert you to content that may not be performing as you’d hoped, allowing you to change strategy.


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Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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