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5 min read

Should My Business Be On TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform that launched in 2016 and immediately stood out from the others with its vertical video format and unique creator style.

As with any new social network, there were the early adopters and the intentional shunners (typically the older generations), but by 2020, TikTok had surpassed 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide and became harder for anyone to ignore, particularly brands wondering if they should jump on the bandwagon.

The stats making TikTok hard to ignore

  • TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, with 656 million downloads (over 100 million more than Instagram).
  • TikTok has now had over 3 billion downloads.
  • 70% of TikTokers say they’ve discovered new products and brands on the platform that fit their lifestyles, and almost half of TikTok users say they bought something they saw in the app.
  • 9% of B2B decision makers using social for work research say that TikTok influences their purchase decisions.
  • TikTok users are 2.4x more likely than other platform users to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product.
  • 93% of TikTok users have taken an action after viewing a TikTok video.
  • 39% of TikTok users say they discovered a product or brand on TikTok they didn’t know about before, and 47% of TikTok users say they bought something they saw on TikTok.
  • The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has had over 6.4 billion video views.

Why should I be on TikTok?

Marketing your business organically through social media is making use of a zero-budget channel, but even without spending on ads or creative, it will be time-consuming, so you need to make sure it aligns with your overall marketing strategy and is worth the use of resources.

As social media channels go, TikTok is growing rapidly in popularity while attention towards some other platforms is waning. And with channels like TikTok and LinkedIn, which are less mature than the likes of Facebook and Instagram, you will tend to see higher organic views for your content (whereas views for brand content on Facebook and Instagram can rely a lot on putting budget behind ads now).

Contrary to popular belief, your audience (even if they’re not Gen Z) are probably using TikTok. American TikTok users aged 35 to 54 are more than tripling year on year. It is also a good channel for B2B brands (after all, you’re still targeting a person, right?) If anything, being the sort of business that might not traditionally use a channel like this is going to make it easier for you to stand out.

How to stand out on TikTok

TikTok allows you to get as creative as you want with sharing, and you can have a lot of fun with the videos you make – almost anything goes. The good news is that videos that aren’t polished will resonate more with users – it’s about being real. 65% of TikTok users agree that professional-looking videos from brands feel out of place or odd on TikTok (Marketing Science Global Community and Self-expression Study 2021). And remember, if you’re enjoying it, it’s much more likely that viewers will. It will take a bit of practice to get to grips with the app’s functionality (although TikTok has made creating videos as easy as possible), plus some trial and error to see what sort of posts work well for you. The best way to find out how to use it and what works is to jump right in and start doing it.

4 questions you should ask yourself before launching your brand on TikTok

1. Is my audience on there?

Do a bit of research about your target audience’s use of the app and what similar or competitor brands are doing.

2. What am I trying to achieve with my social media strategy?

Does this align with the rest of your marketing and social media strategy? How are you going to measure whether it’s working for you or not?

3. How will I create content?

Who will create the content, when will they do it, how often will you post and interact, and what sorts of videos will they create?

4. Can I provide value?

If in doubt, be helpful. 38% of TikTok users said a brand feels authentic when teaching them something.

10 content ideas for businesses on TikTok

  1. Make day-in-the-life and behind-the-scenes videos
  2. Encourage user-generated-content with challenges and competitions
  3. Create a funny sketch about your industry
  4. Get your team to do a little dance
  5. Share a hack
  6. Showcase a product
  7. Share a success story or testimonial
  8. Spotlight an employee
  9. Create educational videos aligned with your values
  10. Answer FAQs

7 TikTok fun tricks and effects to try on your videos

  1. Voiceovers – create comedy instantly by changing your voice to “chipmunk” or “baritone”.
  2. Green screen – transform your backdrop or clone yourself.
  3. Slide shows – use multiple images to tell a story.
  4. Transitions – nail the “snap” or the “cover the camera” instant transitions.
  5. Captions – make your videos accessible to those with hearing impediments or who are watching with the sound off.
  6. Make text appear and disappear on beat – set the duration for your text to make it appear and disappear at just the right moments.
  7. Duet or react with another TikTok video – if the creator allows sharing, you can make magic with another video.

7 brands killing it on TikTok

Take inspiration from these brands who just get it.

1. Tonic Health (@tonichealth)

Tonic Health nails helpful videos that are interesting for viewers and align with its brand values.

2. Chipolte (@chipolte)

Brand games, encouraging superfans, influencer-led challenges and food hacks have led Chipolte to be one of TikTok’s top brands.

3. Gymshark (@gymshark)

Regular posting (at least once a day) and fully understanding the app and its audience have amassed Gymshark over four million followers.

4. RyanAir (@ryanair)

RyanAir excel at taking the mick out of themselves and have embraced the green screen effect.

5. Duolingo (@duolingo)

Duolingo worked on a clear and consistent strategy following TikTok’s advice to create a mixture of ‘Flicker’ (reactive), ‘Flash’ (proactive) and ‘Flare’ (interactive) content.

6. Revolut (@revolutapp)

A clever card partnership with Sidemen Clothing got Revolut over 14 million views for one video.

7. Little Moons (@littlemoonsmochi)

Little Moons make sure they thank users for creating videos about them and give out free products.

How to get started on TikTok

If you’re convinced that time spent on TikTok would be valuable for your business, here are seven steps to getting started:

1. Download the app and set up your account

If you haven’t got TikTok already, download the app and get your brand a good handle.

2. Add a pic and write your bio

For inspiration, check out other brand bios, and add a good picture and your website address. Don’t spend too long on this – better to get something up straight away as you can change it at any time.

3. Follow other brands

Follow some of your favourite brands, your competitors if they are on there, and other businesses with similar target audiences to yours (even if the products and services are different).  

4. Pay attention to what you pay attention to

When it’s your business, the temptation always seems to be to stay safe and act “professional”, but ask yourself what you find interesting and entertaining, as well as seeing what videos have had a lot of engagement.

5. Learn how to speak TikTok

Every social media platform has its own etiquette; the only way to get to grips with this is by using it. Get involved by proactively commenting on other brands’ posts. This can also be a good way of driving traffic to your profile.

6. Make your first video

Don’t obsess over it for too long; best just to get that first one out of the way. Share a tip or make a video out of a series of photos.

7. Get serious

Get access to TikTok’s metrics and audience insights, set up trackability from your account to your website and connect it to your social media management platform if you have one to schedule posts and get more stats.

To sum up TikTok

If there were one nugget of information to hold with you on your TikTok journey, it would be not to take yourself too seriously. You are likely to do well if you can behave like a person on the platform instead of a formal brand (and one with a good sense of humour).

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Sophie Cross

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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