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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 19 February 2024
  • Public Relations

Unlocking TikTok: A Comprehensive Guide for Enhancing Your Business Strategy

As one of the most popular social media platforms, TikTok is crucial for businesses striving to reach a large and active audience of potential new customers.

The social media platform is also beneficial for connecting with existing customers.

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There are 732 million monthly active TikTok users worldwide. This rapidly growing social media platform, characterized by short, engaging videos, provides businesses with a unique opportunity to engage their audience in creative and meaningful ways.

Whether you're a newcomer to TikTok or a seasoned pro at using TikTok for business, this guide will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to significantly enhance your business's presence on the platform and tap into the TikTok community.

What is TikTok?

Before jumping into how to use TikTok for business, it's important to understand what the platform is and how it differentiates from other social networks.

TikTok is a social media app that empowers users to create and share short, entertaining videos often set to music. Originating in China as Douyin, it went global as TikTok in 2016 and has rapidly grown in popularity, especially among young audiences.

The platform's unique algorithm and user-friendly creative tools have made it an exciting and fertile ground for small businesses that have recognized the value of having a TikTok presence. They began leveraging TikTok to connect with consumers in a more personal and engaging way, often via viral challenges or visually appealing content.

This innovative marketing strategy of using TikTok for business has led to substantial growth and visibility for many small businesses on the platform.

The Power of TikTok for Brands

In an increasingly digital world, TikTok has emerged as a powerful marketing tool for businesses. But why is TikTok marketing so potent, and how can businesses capitalize on this trend and reach new customers?

In the next section, we delve into the significance of TikTok in enhancing a business's outreach and engagement, and how you can effectively incorporate it into your digital marketing strategy.

Expanding Your Reach

With over 2 billion downloads and 800 million active users, TikTok's audience—consisting primarily of Gen Z and millennials—is exploding. This demographic shift makes it one of the most vital social platforms for brands looking to connect with a younger audience.

TikTok also boasts a massive international reach, with over 154 countries having access to the app. This level of global presence presents a unique opportunity for businesses looking to expand their reach—and their online sales—beyond their local markets.

Leveraging User-Generated Content

One of TikTok's most significant advantages is its emphasis on user-generated content (UGC). UGC refers to any content that is created and shared by users rather than the brand itself.

Sharing user-generated content has become increasingly popular in recent years, as consumers crave more authentic and relatable content from businesses.

With TikTok's simple yet creative tools that make it easy for TikTok users to generate UGC, brands can harness this trend to their advantage.

By collaborating with TikTok influencers or starting viral branded hashtag challenges, businesses can tap into the power of user-generated content to expand their reach and increase brand awareness.

Humanizing Your Brand

TikTok's emphasis on short, engaging user content allows businesses to create videos that tell their brand story in a more human and relatable way. By showcasing the people behind the brand and highlighting their brand personality, businesses can establish a deeper connection with their audience of TikTok users.

This approach is particularly effective for small businesses looking to build a loyal following of engaged customers. By using TikTok for business, you can show the personal side of your brand and create a more authentic and relatable image.

How to Set Up a TikTok Business Account

There are several account types you can choose from when setting up your TikTok profile.

One of those types is a Business account. If you’re interested in building your brand on TikTok, consider using a business account separate from a personal one to gain access to more features that will help you grow on the platform.

To set up a TikTok business account, download the TikTok application from either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Once installed, open the TikTok app and opt for 'Me' at the right bottom of the screen to sign up. You can register for your TikTok account using your email, phone, or social media accounts.

After signing up, go back to the 'Me' section, tap the three dots, and select 'Manage Account,' where you'll find the option to switch from a personal account to a Pro Account.

Choose 'Business' and follow the prompts to complete the setup for your TikTok account. Remember to fill in all relevant business information and link your accounts on other social media platforms for optimum reach.

How to Set Up TikTok Shop

Another benefit of using TikTok for business is the ability to leverage the platform's eCommerce space, TikTok Shop.

Setting up a TikTok Shop is a straightforward process. From your TikTok profile page, tap the three dots in the top right corner to access settings and privacy.

Within this menu, and if you haven't done so already, locate and tap 'Manage Account,' then select 'Switch to Pro Account.'

After selecting the 'Business' category, you will be prompted to set up your TikTok Shop. Start by filling in your shop details, including shop name, description, and contact information.

Once your business information has been verified by TikTok, you can start adding products to your shop, complete with product details and pricing.

Congratulations! Your TikTok Shop is ready to engage potential customers.

How the TikTok Algorithm Works

Now that your account is set up, it's time to learn how to start creating content the platform likes and will push to your audience.

Like many social media platforms, TikTok's algorithm works in a unique way to show your content to people who engage with similar content.

The TikTok algorithm uses machine learning to analyze user behavior, including the types of videos they like or share, accounts they follow, comments they post, and content they create.

It then personalizes each user's TikTok feed based on their engagement patterns.

This unique feature of the algorithm means that even businesses with a small number of followers have the potential to reach a large and diverse audience, provided their content resonates with TikTok users.

Understanding this algorithm is key for small businesses as it can inform their TikTok content strategy, helping them produce videos that are more likely to gain traction, increase visibility, and ultimately, enhance their brand presence on the platform.

Understanding TikTok Content: Virality, Trends and Authenticity

There are a few key things to keep in mind to create engaging content that resonates on TikTok.

How to Go Viral

Going viral on TikTok can seem like an unpredictable phenomenon, but several common elements are often present in viral TikTok videos. Firstly, these videos often tap into trending topics, hashtags, or sounds. Aligning your content with what's already gaining traction on the platform can greatly enhance its visibility.

Secondly, viral videos tend to be highly engaging. They include factors like creativity, humor, or the ability to evoke strong emotions. The TikTok algorithm favors content that keeps users on the platform longer, so TikTok videos that can hook viewers in the first few seconds and keep them watching until the end are more likely to go viral.

Thirdly, authenticity is crucial. Generation Z and millennial audiences that are active on TikTok respond positively to genuine content that doesn't feel overly manufactured or salesy. Showcasing the human side of your brand and connecting to viewers on a personal level can greatly enhance the shareability of your videos.

With all that said, while these elements can increase your chances, going viral is not a guaranteed outcome and it's not always realistic for every video to reach such a status. Virality often involves a degree of luck and timing, as well as a deep understanding of your audience and what they find appealing.

So while understanding the algorithm and creating content that suits it is helpful, at the end of the day, staying authentic and creating content that your audience will connect with is what's most important.

Identifying and Using Trends

Another way to gain traction and help you find ideas for content creation is to identify and use trends on TikTok.

This involves staying up-to-date with the 'Discover' page, which showcases current popular TikTok hashtags and trending topics.

Incorporating these trends into your video content can increase engagement and visibility. To implement trends effectively for your small business, the key is to blend trending elements with your brand’s unique personality and message.

Instead of just copying a trend, create content that adds a twist or perspective that aligns with your brand.

This keeps the content original and relatable, enhancing its potential to engage your target audience and gain wider exposure on the platform.

Staying Authentic

As mentioned previously, authenticity is a cornerstone of successful content creation and TikTok strategy. The platform's userbase values real, unfiltered content that connects on a human level.

Businesses that maintain their unique voice and perspective, instead of merely jumping on trends or producing generic content, can build a more engaged and loyal following.

Authentic, relevant content helps to establish trust and foster a deeper connection with your audience, which in turn can lead to higher engagement rates and better brand positioning on the platform.

Ideas for Optimized TikTok Content Small Businesses Can Create

Now that you have a general understanding of what TikTok is and how it can help you reach a broader audience for your small business, here are some ideas to get you started on how you can use TikTok for business and what kind of content to create.

And don't worry, you don't need fancy equipment or lighting to create solid content that resonates with your audience.

Recording with your phone in a well-lit room with minimal distractions and clear audio works just fine!

Educational Tutorials or How-to Videos

Sharing your expertise through a step-by-step guide or tutorial not only provides value for your audience but also positions your business as an authority in your field.

Behind-the-Scenes Content

Showcasing the daily operations of your business or the process of creating your products/services can help humanize your brand and build a deeper connection with your audience.

Testimonials and Reviews

Sharing customer testimonials or product reviews is a great way to build trust and credibility. Be sure to ask your happy customers if you can share their positive experiences in a TikTok post.

Challenges and Contests

Participating in existing hashtag challenges or creating your own contests and giveaways can stir up engagement and increase visibility. Contests with prizes can also encourage your audience to interact with your content and share it.

Product/Service Demos

Create your videos showcasing the benefits and features of your products/services. Make the videos engaging and informative, focusing on how your business can solve a problem for your audience or otherwise improve your audience's life.

Influencer Collaborations

Partner with influencers who align with your brand values. They can help promote your products/services to their followers, expanding your reach on the platform.

Q&A Sessions

Engage directly with your audience by answering their questions. This not only builds a stronger audience relationship but also provides valuable insights into their needs and interests.

User Generated Content

Encourage your audience to create videos featuring your products/services and share it in their TikTok posts. You can repost or stitch the best ones on your page for additional content.

Trending Topic Videos

Stay up-to-date with what's trending on the platform and create content that aligns with these trends, while staying true to your brand's voice and message.

TikTok's Advertising Platform

Posting organically on TikTok isn't the only way to grow your business on the platform.

As with many social media platforms, there's an opportunity for your business to advertise on TikTok.

TikTok's advertising platform provides a unique opportunity for businesses to reach a younger, highly engaged audience.

It offers various ad formats, including In-feed Ads displayed in the user's news feed, Brand Takeover Ads that appear when a user opens the app, and Hashtag Challenge Ads that encourage user participation and interaction.

With powerful targeting tools and an immersive, full-screen ad format, TikTok's advertising platform is designed to drive awareness and conversions in a highly engaging environment.

When and How to Use TikTok Ads for Your Business

For small businesses seeking to leverage TikTok Ads, it's essential to first clearly define your advertising goals, be it brand awareness, engagement or conversions.

Once your objectives are set, identify your target audience using TikTok's demographic, interest, and behavioral targeting tools.

Create immersive, engaging ad content that resonates with your target demographic and aligns with your brand's voice.

Optimize your video ads by testing different content, audiences, and ad placements to see what works best, and use TikTok's analytic tools to measure performance and make necessary adjustments. Remember, consistency and authenticity are key to successful advertising on TikTok.

For more helpful information or resources that can help you run an efficient small business, visit The UPS Store Small Business Services Center.

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