Everything you need to know about TikTok for small business

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Social media is one of the best places to market your small business and connect with your customers while driving engagement, sales and revenue. And while most small businesses are already utilising Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there’s a new social media platform that’s taking the world by storm — and that’s TikTok.

Since launching in 2017, TikTok has racked up an astounding 1 billion active monthly users. And as the platform has grown, brands have recognised that marketing on TikTok is an ideal way to connect with their target audience and drive real results for their business.

If you want your business to thrive in 2022 (and beyond!), understanding the ins and outs of marketing and advertising on TikTok is a must. Here, we’ll jump into everything you need to know about TikTok as a small business owner — including tips on how to use the TikTok platform to take your business to the next level.

What is TikTok — and why should you use it for your small business?

Before we jump into how to use TikTok for small business, let’s quickly cover what TikTok is — and why marketing on TikTok is a must for brands in today’s social media landscape.

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create and share short videos, as well as view, share and comment on content from other users. While users can create videos on virtually anything, there are a number of trends that have really taken off — from challenges, dances and pranks, to product and how-to content.

While TikTok has gained a reputation as an app for younger users, the platform’s user base is fairly evenly spread across age demographics. According to data from Statista, in the US, 47.4% of users are 29 or younger, while 42% are between the ages of 30 and 49 (11% of TikTok users are 50 or older). And because TikTok is attracting such a wide variety of users, a wide variety of businesses are realising that the platform offers an opportunity to connect with their customer base in a new, meaningful way.

So, what are some of the benefits of marketing on TikTok? There are plenty of reasons why TikTok for small business is a solid move, including:

  • TikTok is less saturated than other social media platforms. While TikTok is quickly gaining popularity with small businesses, it’s still not as well-known as other platforms. So, TikTok has less competition than other well-known platforms, and it can be easier (and more affordable!) to make an impact.
  • The platform offers diverse marketing and advertising opportunities. There are multiple ways you can reach customers on TikTok. You can create content and build your following organically — or you can use advertising on TikTok to target your ideal audience through paid efforts.
  • TikTok gives you performance analytics that can help you optimise your marketing strategy. To optimise any marketing strategy, you need data — and TikTok delivers that data through their performance analytics features (which are accessible with TikTok Business Accounts). TikTok gives you the real-time data you need to understand what kind of video content is connecting with your ideal customer — so you can optimise your content strategy and create and deliver the videos that are going to make an impact for your business.
  • It’s easy to create, edit and share high-quality videos. If the thought of creating video content feels overwhelming, don’t worry — TikTok has a host of customisation tools that make it simple to film and edit your content (including text layers, sound effects and filters).
  • TikTok gives you the opportunity to form a more authentic connection with your customers. Video content gives you an opportunity to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business. For example, if you run a restaurant, you can post a Q+A video with your chef. Or, if you own a clothing brand, you can share a video of how your clothing is designed and produced. This kind of content can create a deeper, more meaningful connection with your followers, which can ultimately translate into higher levels of engagement and sales.

Ready to get started? Here are a few tips we’ll cover for an effective small business marketing strategy on TikTok:

  1. Spend time exploring the platform.
  2. Outline your goals.
  3. Create valuable, useful content.
  4. Embrace trends.
  5. Get people excited about your products and services.

1. Spend time exploring the platform.

You might be tempted to jump straight into marketing and advertising on TikTok. But if you want your TikTok strategy to be effective, you need to spend some time actually navigating the platform. This will help you get a baseline understanding of TikTok’s functionality and what kind of content is performing on the platform. So, sign up for an account and start exploring!

See what kinds of videos are on the platform, which kinds of videos are gaining traction and which categories might make sense for your business. If you have competitors that are currently on the platform, do your research to see what kind of videos they’re pushing out. While you don’t want to steal any of their ideas, competitor research can give you helpful insights into what kind of videos your ideal customers are consuming.

2. Outline your goals.

You won’t know if your marketing strategy on TikTok is successful if you don’t know how you’re defining success. So, before you roll out your TikTok strategy, take some time to outline your goals — and how you’re going to measure your progress.

For example, let’s say your ultimate goal for TikTok is to drive new customers into your brick-and-mortar shop. How many customers do you want to drive in from the platform — and how are you going to track whether they’re coming from TikTok? Maybe you can share an exclusive discount code in one of your videos, and then track how many customers use that discount code in the following weeks.

3. Create valuable, useful content.

If your videos don’t add real value to your customers, they’re not going to drive real results for your business. That’s why it’s so important to think about what kind of value you want to add to your audience — and then create videos that deliver on that value.

For example, do you get lots of customer questions and inquiries about how to use one of your products? Create a quick tutorial video addressing their questions. Do customers rave about a particular dessert on your restaurant’s menu? Create a video that shows the different steps it takes to make the dessert to build a new appreciation for it.

Keep in mind that TikTok, in many ways, is an entertainment platform — so sometimes, the value that you add to your audience will be entertaining them for a few minutes. Don’t be afraid to create and share videos that are funny, quirky or otherwise entertaining. Getting someone to smile or laugh at your video could be just what you need to grab the attention of a potential customer. 

VistaPrint Tip

New to creating video content? Start with a TikTok template on VistaCreate, then add your own personal, branded touches.

4. Embrace trends.

Trends have a way of taking off on TikTok, whether it’s a ‘TikTok challenge’ or trending sound — and when using TikTok for small business, creating your own take on the latest trend is a great way to expand your reach and get your content in front of new customers.

For example, if you’re on TikTok to market your line of hair care products, you might create a video around the Beautiful Hair Challenge, which encourages people to show off their locks. If you’re using TikTok to build buzz around your new fitness studio, you could create a series of videos with your staff recreating TikTok’s biggest dance trends.

When you create video content around things that are already trending on TikTok, it can make it easier to get your content in front of a wider audience — and convert some of that audience into followers and (hopefully!) customers. Showing that you’re up to date and onboard with the latest trends can also help you win ‘cool points’ with your followers…never a bad thing!

VistaPrint Tip

Making TikTok trend videos can get you in front of a whole new audience — so, make sure your videos are branded. Wearing branded merchandise, like t-shirts, hats and caps, can ensure that your logo stands out in your videos.

5. Get people excited about your products and services.

It doesn’t matter how many people see your videos on TikTok. If those videos don’t make them excited to engage with your business, your TikTok for small business strategy isn’t going to translate into additional engagement, sales or revenue.

So, when you’re making videos, make sure to make a solid number of videos showcasing your products and/or services — and showcasing them in a way that generates major hype with your audience.

For example, are you launching a new line of bath bombs? Create a video showcasing the product, from unwrapping it, to dropping it in the bath, to watching it fizzle and foam into a rainbow of bubbles. Are you using TikTok to connect with new customers for your business consultancy? Create a series of videos offering free advice and tips for running a business.

The more exciting your videos make your products or services appear, the more likely it is that your audience will actually engage your business in the real world.