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TikTok For Small Business: A Crash Course

Advertising & Marketing

Isadora Teich wrote this article


Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t escape TikTok. It has become a major generator of online culture, real-world culture, and a powerful tool for savvy small businesses. That’s why we are going to take a look at using TikTok for small business success.

However, as it is so new, a lot of people feel intimidated by it. You can hear even seasoned social media personalities on other platforms, who make YouTube and Instagram content for a living, say that they just “don’t get” TikTok.

If you want to know more about leveraging the power of TikTok for small businesses, this blog post is a great place to start! Hopefully we can clear up some of the big mysteries of this exciting new platform for you!

Why You Should Care About TikTok

For some reason, whenever anything new that is popular with younger people comes on the scene, everyone wants to write it off. However, with TikTok, you cannot really afford to do that.

TikTok is exploding in growth year over year and has a more global reach than many other social media platforms. It was the 7th most downloaded app of the 2010s. In this chart from Business of Apps, you can see that its user base grows on many continents every year.

via Business of Apps

There is a stereotype that it is mostly used by kids, but this is simply not true. Data shows that 35% of users are between the ages of 19-29 globally. This is actually the largest age demographic using TikTok.

A Super Quick Reality Check

Oftentimes, entrepreneurs feel pressured to get in on every trend, whether it will actually benefit them or not. While you should approach all new innovations with an open mind, and consider them thoughtfully, not every brand needs to be on TikTok.

For example, if you are looking to market to people under 30, then getting on TikTok is a no-brainer. However, say your product is for retired people. In this case, pouring resources into TikTok might not be the best way to reach them.

The point of this post is not to say that every business needs to be on TikTok or else. It is to explore how small businesses are leveraging it and how you could get in on that if it makes sense for your business.

TikTok For Small Business Success Stories

Ritika and Niki Shamdasani, sisters and founders of South-Asian Clothing brand Sani, have more than reaped the benefits of TikTok virality. They started posting in early 2020, and in the spring of that year, one of their videos went viral.

Their video, showing quick snapshots of the garment creation process, garnered more than 3 million views. Currently, Sani has over 100,000 TikTok followers and owes over half of its monthly sales to advertising on the platform.

Bruce Graybill, the founder of Sider’s Woodcrafting, had his luck change completely thanks to a viral TikTok. He told Digiday:

“We had a video go insanely viral at a time when I was thinking of closing my business down. Financially it wasn’t making sense anymore. Then we had that video go viral on TikTok and we had increased traffic to our website by 4,000%. We sold everything we had on our website in 24 hours.”

Sider’s Woodcrafting has seen more than $30,000 in sales from TikTok alone.

A Super Quick And Easy TikTok Crash Course

What’s wonderful about TikTok is that it requires way fewer resources than traditional marketing, and possibly even other social media platforms. If you have a smartphone, you have everything you need to get started.

Essentially, users can post videos that are 15 seconds, 60 seconds, or 3 minutes in length. You have a library of effects, filters, and background music that you can choose from.

What many small businesses and TikTok users do is set short clips of something to a popular song to rack up views. If you wanted, you could stick to 15-second posts and create less than a minute of content a week.

Often, businesses share things like stylized commercials and trailers or more raw and casual behind-the-scenes content. If you have an artistic flair and want to express it, you can! If you want to share a few short clips to show how a product is made from start to finish, you also can!

Some More Tips For Diving Into TikTok

While many people speak of TikTok like it is an incomprehensible mystery, it has many things in common with other social media platforms. This includes both using hashtags and hosting a wide range of communities.

There is actually a whole thriving community of entrepreneurs and small businesses on the app that you can connect with. When you use it, be sure to check these hashtags and interact with posts. Also, include them in your own posts.

#smallbusiness – 33.8 billion views
#entrepreneur– 12.8 billion views
#smallbusinesscheck – 10.2 billion views
#sidehustle– 6.8 billion views
#supportsmallbusiness – 3.1 billion views
#smallbiz– 2.5 billion views

These hashtags were recommended by TikTok’s own blog in the summer of 2021, so you know all of these hashtags have even more views and people involved now!

Why TikTok Is Such A Powerful Marketing Tool For Small Businesses

While you can’t count on virality, if you are going to do it online, TikTok might be the most likely place to do it.

The other major players in social media marketing are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. These sites largely crush organic growth because they want their users to pay for marketing, have harsh policies that stifle creators, or use algorithms that users and businesses find indecipherable and annoying.

Why do they do this?

Well, many of these sites are not growing quickly anymore, so they need to find more ways to generate revenue from their existing users. As TikTok is growing rapidly, it does not need to ruin its own user experience by trying to find more ways to get its existing users to pay.

Al least, not yet.

Also, on TikTok, you can build a following with only a smartphone and less than a minute of content a week. This is way less than what YouTube requires, for example.

YouTube content gets longer and longer and has a higher production value every year. YouTube basically requires filming equipment, sound equipment, editing software, and hours of filming and editing.

To make a TikTok you just need you, whatever you want to film, and your smartphone. And, while many other social platforms stifle organic growth and potential virality because they want users to pay for it, TikTok is different.

One of the major things about the site that appeals to users is that almost anyone can go viral. The TikTok algorithm is set up for that.

Final Thoughts On TikTok For Small Business

If you want to reach a young global audience and have a chance of going viral, TikTok is more than worth a shot. It also does not require a whole lot of time, energy, or resources to get started.

While you cannot count on virality, you can connect with a whole community of entrepreneurs, as well as people who are looking to shop. In only October of 2020, TikTok made $115 million on in-app purchases from users.

TikTok is also the second-largest app when it comes to consumer spending in the world. Only Tinder beats it.

Are you a Tiktok lover, hater, or someone who just feels confused by the smash-hit app? Comment below!

About Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.


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