How To
14 min read

How to use TikTok for Business

Soniya Khubchandani

June 2, 2022

If you’ve picked up your phone anytime in the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz about TikTok.

Since its initial release back in 2016, this video-based social media app has seen meteoric growth and massive popularity.  Over 1 billion people use TikTok every month, and that number includes plenty of current and potential customers for your business. Because of its advanced algorithms and widespread appeal, many companies are now using TikTok to connect with their target customers. 

That's right: TikTok isn't just for making viral dance videos and playing around with filters. It's also an incredibly effective way to grow your audience, engage your target demographic, and increase brand awareness.

But how exactly do you go about using TikTok for your business? The answer is simple: Any way you want!

You can post short videos about your company, create tutorials for customers, or find a new way to promote your product. Whatever you decide, TikTok is an excellent social media marketing platform for any business.

This guide will lay out some actionable steps you can take to get started on TikTok. 

person holding black iphone 5

Who should use TikTok?

When you hear "TikTok," you probably think of a bunch of teens lip-syncing to the latest hit single. And while that's certainly one popular trend on TikTok, it's not the whole story. In fact, the platform is also incredibly popular among young adults and middle-aged users.

TikTok started as a Gen Z haven, but it's not just for them anymore! Brands are also jumping on board en masse, realizing they can use the platform to share informative and educational content with surprising success. From Ikea to Nike, some of the biggest brands in the world are making TikTok work for them.

So whether your brand appeals to teenagers or their parents, there's ample opportunity for you to make your mark on the platform.

Benefits of using TikTok for business marketing

If you're looking to expand your brand's social media presence, here's a little secret: TikTok is a gold mine.

Whether you're looking to expand your audience or connect with your current customers, here are some benefits of experimenting with business marketing on TikTok.

Reach your target demographics

Perhaps the best reason to use TikTok for business marketing? It’s the fastest-growing social media platform in the world, plain and simple. According to data from Statista, TikTok had more than 80 million users in the United States as of 2022. And unlike some other platforms dominated by one or two demographics, 60% of users in the U.S. range in age from 16 to 24 years old. This means any company has the ability to reach its target demographic on this platform.

Connect with a younger audience

TikTok is notoriously popular among Gen Z and millennials, making it a great way to build relationships with your target customers or introduce your brand to new demographics. For example, if you're an entrepreneur who sells makeup brushes and most of your customers are between 18 and 25, TikTok might be an excellent channel to try out.

Share tutorials and how-to videos

If you have skills relevant to your industry or niche, share them on TikTok! Creating short videos that teach people how to do something will help you establish credibility and build brand visibility. For example, if you run a fitness brand, you can post helpful exercises for people to try out. If you run a beauty brand, you can post makeup tutorials using your products.

Show off your brand's personality

You can show users your brand's personality through fun, short videos that are engaging and relatable. For example, if you're a clothing brand, you could create videos demonstrating how to style a specific piece of clothing. You could even just show how much fun your team has every day at work! This will help attract potential customers and promote your company culture.

How to set up your profile on TikTok

Setting up your profile is the first step in letting your customers know who you are and what you have to offer. Regardless of whether you're marketing a new product or just connecting with potential customers, your TikTok business profile should include the following information.

1. Profile photo

Choose a profile photo that represents your brand and stands out in the feed. This will be the first thing people see when they find you, so make sure it's clear, distinctive, and captures what your company is all about.

person taking photo of woman

2. Username

Pick a name that embodies your brand and is easy for people to type into the search bar to find you!

3. Profile description

This space lets you tell people more about yourself and what makes you unique as an individual or business on TikTok. Make sure your profile is brief but informative—you only have 100 characters here!

4. Link to your website

If someone wants more information about what you do or what products/services your company offers, direct them to your website by including it in this section of the profile setup process.

5. Business email address

If you don't have a separate email address for business, you can use your personal email instead. Just make sure it's one that you check from time to time—this is how TikTok will communicate with you about things like monetization opportunities, so it's good to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

6. Add your location

This makes it easier for other users to find your content. You can share information about where you're from or where you're currently living—whatever feels best!

7. Choose an account type

Most users will have a personal account, but if you run a business or manage an organization's social media, you’ll want to select a business account.

8. Fill out any additional information that TikTok asks for to complete your profile setup.

Congratulations! You just successfully set up your TikTok account!

How to grow your TikTok following

Getting started on TikTok is easy—but growing your following can feel like a challenge. Here are some tips for building up your following:

1. Engage with other users' videos

You can like, comment on, and share other people's videos on TikTok. As you become more active in the community, more people will notice you and follow you! Just make sure your answers are thoughtful and relevant to the video so people can tell it's not just spam.

2. Follow other users in your niche

The easiest way to get followers is by following people who already have a lot of them. You can search for users by interests or hashtags, or even browse through the "For You" page if you need some inspiration. Remember to follow accounts that are similar or relevant to your content (otherwise, no one will engage with you).

3. Use hashtags

Hashtags are another great way to ensure that you're reaching the right audience for your content. Make sure to use them when posting new videos and responding to other people's posts (bonus points if they're trending)!

4. Post regularly

Once you find your audience and they come to rely on you for content, they'll want that content regularly. Aim to post at least once a day and as frequently as possible. You're more likely to build up serious engagement by consistently releasing new content.

5. Use popular music or sounds

TikTok is full of trends and challenges fueled by popular music and soundbites. When you're creating a video, keep an eye out for these trending sounds and try to incorporate them into your content. By using popular themes and sounds in your videos, you'll be more likely to connect with viewers who are already seeking out content featuring those sounds.

Browsing through what's trending on the app should give you a good idea of what songs or sounds resonate most with users.

6. Use TikTok contests or challenges

If a contest or challenge is going viral, join the fun! You'll get tons of likes and comments from fellow TikTok users who are also enjoying the trend—which means your video will quickly rack up the views (and hopefully followers).

You can also use this to your advantage by holding a contest or challenge for your followers. Make it something fun that will get people excited to share their creativity and join in.

7. Collaborate with TikTok influencers

By connecting with TikTok influencers who already have a large following on the app, you can help spread the word about your brand and grow your following significantly. Just reach out to them to see if they'd like to collaborate with you! They might repost your video or mention you in their posts, which can be a great way to get a lot of eyes on your content very quickly.

woman in black long sleeve shirt holding white smartphone

8. Use TikTok ads

There are a million different types of TikTok ads—you can promote your video in the TikTok feed, create a hashtag challenge (one of the most effective ways to get more views), or run brand takeovers (full-screen ads that show up as users open TikTok). These options allow you to grab the attention of your specific audience more easily.

9. Use TikTok analytics

Your analytics show you which videos are performing best and what kind of content is resonating with your followers. Understanding this allows you to tailor your future content to be just as (if not more) successful than what is already working for you.

Create a TikTok marketing strategy

Now that we’ve established the benefits of using TikTok for your business, it’s time to break down how exactly to create a TikTok marketing strategy that works for you. No two businesses are completely alike, so your strategy will depend on your specific brand identity and goals. 

At a baseline, these are the key elements of a TikTok marketing strategy:

1. Goals (High-Level)

The first step in a marketing campaign is to establish your goals. These goals should be broad and high-level— not just what you hope to achieve, but also where you want to be at the end of the campaign. 

Are you trying to reach a new audience, or are you looking to generate buzz among an existing one? Do you want to increase conversions or drive traffic to your website?

Whatever your high-level goals are, it's essential to keep them in mind while developing the rest of your strategy.

2. Brand Personality

You have to develop a brand voice and personality for TikTok that are consistent with your other platforms. Whether that voice is hilarious, sarcastic, earnest, or dry depends entirely on your brand—just be sure it makes sense and fits what your audience expects from your company.

3. Target Audience 

When you start a TikTok marketing campaign, it’s critical to know your audience. You can't make content that appeals to the wrong audience, or you'll never get the engagement rates you want.

Look at both demographics and psychographics when you build a TikTok marketing strategy. Demographics are the facts and figures of your audience—things like their age, gender, location, and income level.

Psychographics are less significant for building a strategy, but they're important for how you create your content. They cover things like what values your audience has, whether they're introverted or extroverted, and what types of personalities they have.

4. Content Strategy

Your content strategy is all about what you want to put out there. Start with a general theme for your TikTok: What content will you create? How often will you publish new videos, and what themes will they cover? Will you encourage users to create their content for the chance to be featured on your profile? The answers to those questions are entirely up to you.

Once you know what type of content you want to produce, you’ll need content ideas for TikTok.

5. Choose between organic and paid content (or both).

Once you've decided on your strategy, you need to determine whether you'll be making organic or paid content. Organic content allows you to build relationships with your followers, but paid content will help get more reach for your video and allow for more analytic tracking. When it comes down to it, it's probably best to make both kinds of content as part of your TikTok marketing strategy.

Use hashtags to grow and improve discoverability

Hashtags are one of the most effective ways to increase your visibility in search engines and social media platforms, but there's a science to using them for maximum impact. Here's how:

  • Use hashtags that are relevant to your brand. For example, if you're a food blogger posting about fried chicken, you’d want to use hashtags like #friedchicken, #southernfood, or #southerndish.

  • Use popular hashtags. Many people look at the trending hashtags on Twitter or Instagram to find exciting things to read or follow. Using a popular hashtag will increase the chances that your post will be seen.

  • Create unique hashtags for your account. This helps other users who are following your account find more posts by you. For example, if you often post videos of yourself playing the ukulele and singing sea shanties, it would be helpful to use a unique hashtag like #ukulelelady or #seashantiesongs so that others can easily find those posts when they search for them with that hashtag.

  • Use hashtags that are easy to read and spell. This way, people won't get confused when they try searching for them!

Take advantage of trends and viral content

One of the best things about TikTok is that you can find new trends and viral content on the app all the time. Whether you're looking to create your viral content or just see what's out there, you need to know how to use trends and viral content on TikTok to your advantage.

1. How to keep up with TikTok trends

The hashtags section is an incredible resource for finding new trends. The "For You" page updates regularly based on what you like, so it's constantly changing and showing you new things. 

If there's a new trend that fits your brand (say, #fyp or "for you page"), jump in and start engaging with other people who are using it! You don't have to be the first one—your followers will appreciate being able to see that you're in touch with what matters to them, which helps them feel like they know you better.

2. What are the latest trends on TikTok?

Trends change quickly, so you need to stay up to date. They also vary by niche and category, so it's essential to understand what is popular in your specific industry. However, there are some general trends you can keep your eye on:

  • Water filter challenge: People drink water through a filter straw and say what they love about themselves with each sip.

  • I do my laundry challenge: People show off their laundry skills by doing their laundry for someone else as if it was a performance.

3. How to use TikTok trends to your advantage

It's never too late to jump on a trend, even if it's already in full swing. Make sure you're doing something that feels natural and authentic, though—your followers will be able to tell if you're just hopping on the bandwagon for no good reason. 

Let's say you run a fashion blog, for example, and you notice a lot of people posting about their first-day-of-school outfits. Make a video where you show your followers how to put together some cute back-to-school looks! That way, you can take advantage of the trend in your own way instead of doing whatever everyone else is doing.

4. How to get ideas from viral content

Observe what others are creating and put your own spin on it so your content is unique but still part of the conversation. You can also create a spin-off of existing trends.

For example, if everyone is making videos about how they're spending their time at work, you can make a video about what you would be doing if you weren't at work. The possibilities are endless! You just need to find a way to connect with people by using what already exists as inspiration for something fresh and new!

5. How to use viral content to your advantage

You always want to keep an eye on what's viral. You can capitalize on this in two ways:

  • Use the latest trend as inspiration for your next video. If you're a beauty content creator, maybe you make a video reimagining that "Matty B Raps" song with lyrics about makeup and beauty products. Or, if you're a comedian, perhaps you spend some time riffing on your favorite viral memes.

  • You can use the latest trend as the basis for collaboration or series. For example, if a specific dance is going viral (like the "Renegade" challenge), you could reach out to other TikTok creators and do a joint video or create your own video series featuring different interpretations of the dance every day in a new setting.

Use engaging and entertaining videos

Engagement and entertainment are key to successful marketing on TikTok. Here are some tips for creating videos that people will want to watch:

  • First, create a brand story. Show people who you are and what you stand for.

  • Then, use interesting visuals. People will be more interested in your videos if they're visually appealing.

  • Next, be funny! Everyone loves a good laugh.

  • Use music. TikTok is all about music, so make sure the sounds in your videos are on point.

  • Show your brand's personality—don't be afraid to be fun and quirky!

  • Bring value and fun with every video you post, and people will keep coming back for more!

  • Use trending hashtags. You want people to find your content and follow you, right? 

  • Share user-generated content. People will love seeing themselves on your channel! They'll also enjoy the fact that you're using their content to promote your stuff—it'll make them feel like part of the community you're building around your brand.

  • Post at the right time—you don't want to post too late or too early when no one's watching!

  • Partner with influencers. These users have a large following who trusts them, making it easier for you to promote your brand and gain followers yourself.

Collaborate with influencers and other brands

TikTok is an excellent way for brands to connect with their customers. Whether you're an established brand or just starting out, there are countless opportunities to find your audience and grow your business on TikTok.

One of the best ways to grow your presence on the app is by collaborating with influencers and other brands.

But in order for these collaborations to be successful, you have to make sure the influencer will create content that makes sense for both of your brands.

For example, if you're an outdoor gear company and collaborate with an influencer who usually talks about makeup and beauty, their followers might not be interested in buying your products.

Influencers can help you expand your audience because they have an established following of their own. If an influencer with 100K followers were to mention your product in one of their videos, you'd get exposure to that entire audience. That's 100K people who might not have known about your product otherwise!

In addition to helping you build brand awareness, influencers can also help you connect with a new target audience. For example, let's say you're a fashion brand, and you want to start selling accessories for men. 

You might find an influencer with a large male following and create TikTok video content together—they could show how much they love wearing the accessories while also demonstrating how stylish they are.

TikTok advertising opportunities

TikTok advertising is an opportunity to get your brand out there in a way that resonates with your audience.

1. What is the Tiktok ad platform?

The Tiktok ad platform is a digital advertising space where you can run ads and grow your business. The Tiktok ad platform allows you to reach people who are already interested in what you have to offer and convert them into loyal customers.

2. What are the different types of TikTok ads?

There are multiple types of ads on TikTok:

In-Feed Ads

These are traditional ads that appear in between videos. The video or image you select will appear as the viewer scrolls through their feed.

Brand Takeover

A Brand Takeover is a simple image or video that shows up before users can access the TikTok app. It's an excellent opportunity to make a memorable first impression!

TopView

TopView is similar to a Brand Takeover, but it lasts longer—up to 60 seconds.

Branded Hashtag Challenge (BHC)

This type of ad allows you to create a branded hashtag challenge. You can create a hashtag and encourage users to engage with it by recording videos that fit the challenge criteria. For instance, if you're launching a new clothing line for pets, you could make your BHC about dressing up your pets in silly outfits!

Branded Effects

Branded Effects are different from Branded Hashtag Challenges because they aren't limited to a specific hashtag. Instead, these ads let you create an effect people can use when posting videos about any topic—and the effect will include your logo or branding!

3. What are the benefits of using TikTok ads?

TikTok ads are a powerful way to market your product or service—and here's why.

  • TikTok users tend to be very engaged with the content they see, making this a great way to get people excited about your products or services.

  • The app is growing fast, which means new users are signing up every day! This makes it an excellent platform for reaching out to potential customers in real time.

  • TikTok ads are highly affordable and cost just $10 per 1,000 views. This is much cheaper than other social media advertising options like Facebook and Instagram.

  • TikTok ads have a low barrier to entry, meaning they're accessible to brands working with small budgets (e.g., you can build 1-10 second videos that are eye-catching and engaging without having to be highly produced)

4. How to get started with TikTok ads

Getting started with TikTok ads is super easy! All you have to do is:

  1. Open the TikTok app
  2. Go to your profile
  3. Click on "Create an ad"
  4. Choose the style of ad you'd like to run: a video ad or a carousel ad
  5. Fill out all your information, including campaign name, budget, and creative assets
  6. Choose your audience targeting and placement, and then hit publish! You're all set!

5. How to use TikTok ads to grow your brand

TikTok is a social platform that can help you grow your brand visibility, build your community, and drive traffic to your website or app.

You can use TikTok ads to:

  • Increase awareness of your brand
  • Drive traffic to your website or mobile app
  • Increase downloads of your app
  • Reach new audiences
  • Drive sales and conversions

6. How much do TikTok ads cost?

TikTok uses a cost-per-mille (CPM) pricing model and has a minimum ad spend of $50. The average CPM is around $10-$15. The exact cost depends on your business's KPIs and the targeting you choose.

Wrapping up

TikTok is an interesting platform with a lot of unique challenges—think about why people come to TikTok in the first place (and it's not to shop)!

However, you can harness the power and popularity of TikTok to grow your business and strengthen your social media marketing strategy! You just have to think strategically about how the platform works, how its users behave, and what they're looking for.

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