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TikTok for Business
17 min read

How to use TikTok for Business

Unless you’ve been covering your eyes and ears for the last few years – the chances are you’ve heard of TikTok.

This social media platform enables creating, sharing, and discovering short, engaging video content. And it seems to have struck a chord, because the platform has amassed over a billion monthly active users worldwide since its launch in 2016.

Originally popularised by teenagers looking to express themselves through its creative tools, TikTok has gained traction with Millennials in recent years. Which begs the question from businesses… is there still time to embrace TikTok marketing? Or is the bandwagon too crowded to make a mark?

Well, it’s good news – there’s still time. It just takes some smart planning, commitment and creativity. Whether you’re an established business owner yet to utilise TikTok, or are looking for tips to do it better, here’s everything you need to know…

Should my business be using TikTok?

There’s no doubt that TikTok has had a meteoric rise in popularity across a broad audience in a short amount of time. Why? Short answer: Its short-form, engaging video content caters to a wide range of interests and demographics.

TikTok’s unique algorithm promotes diverse content, allowing users to discover new creators and trends quickly. As you like and engage with videos, the algorithm serves up more videos that match your preferences and interests. Many users would call it ‘going down a rabbit hole’ – it’s hard to stop scrolling when the content you’re seeing is right up your street.

Its user-friendly interface and viral potential have made it particularly popular among younger audiences, but it’s increasingly attracting older users as well. This widespread adoption and continuous growth make TikTok a dominant force in the social media landscape.

The potential of TikTok for business

TikTok has huge potential when it comes to customer engagement and business growth. Its broad reach, engaging format and innovative advertising opportunities make it a valuable marketing asset that’s very much worth consideration.

TikTok Business Accounts are designed specifically with marketing and promotion in mind, which is evident in its features such as advertising tools, advanced analytics, web links, contact buttons, and access to a commercial music library. Every detail is strategically geared towards driving engagement and measuring performance.

Why this is the prime time to utilise TikTok for business

TikTok has been all the rage for quite some time now. As a major player in the social media landscape, it’s no surprise that more and more brands are taking notice and exploring how to use the platform to connect with their target audience.

But don’t let popularity and competition intimidate you. In fact, there’s never been a better time to leverage the power of TikTok for your business. Here’s why:

  • It’s still relatively new

    Compared to other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, TikTok is still a baby! Small brands can still compete with larger accounts – it just takes a bit of creativity.

  • You can reach a wider audience

    TikTok’s user base is huge and highly engaged. In America alone, there were 102.3 million users in 2023, and the number of users is expected to increase to 121.1 million by 2027. In the UK, TikTok has 3.7 million active users who engage with the app for an average of 41 minutes a day.

    It’s important to note, however, that – as you’ll likely have spotted in the news – TikTok has faced bans and restrictions in various countries due to concerns related to data privacy, national security, and inappropriate content. For example, in June 2020, India banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps, citing national security and data privacy concerns. These bans and restrictions highlight the regulatory challenges TikTok faces in different regions, often requiring the platform to adapt its policies and content moderation practices to comply with local laws and regulations. (Something to be aware of should you be looking at an international TikTok marketing strategy.)

  • Quick content

    TikTok focuses on short-form videos designed to be highly engaging and shareable. Creative and relatable content – including humour, challenges and educational tidbits – tends to perform well on TikTok. The main attraction is it’s quick – the user doesn’t need to hunt for entertainment or information.

  • Strong engagement rate

    According to a 2023 report by Rival IQ, the average engagement rate per follower on TikTok is 5.7%, which is significantly higher than the engagement rates on other social media platforms.

    You can increase your content’s visibility and engagement by making use of TikTok’s built-in features to connect with your audience e.g. hashtags, challenges and live streaming.

  • Valuable consumer insights

    See which videos are performing well, trending topics, and more, to inform future content strategies.

  • Prime time for adoption

    But it’s important to note that this ‘prime time’ to adopt TikTok won’t last forever. Early adopters will gain a competitive edge by establishing a strong presence and building brand loyalty before the masses descend. Capitalising on TikTok’s momentum now will allow you to stay ahead of the curve and maximise your digital marketing efforts.

Why is TikTok so good for small businesses?

The app’s unique discovery algorithm learns what you like over time, which means that the more you engage with its content through the For You Page (watch, like, share, comment), the more of that content you’ll see. This is a game changer for small businesses, because TikTok will most likely share your content with users who are going to be interested in your brand and content. Every TikTok video holds the potential to go viral, regardless of follower count or how new your business is.

But is it right for my business?

Target audience, marketing goals and your creative content capabilities are the areas that will help you decide if TikTok is a strategic fit for your business.

1. Target audience

 To connect with a younger audience, prioritise TikTok in your social media strategy, as Gen Z favours authenticity and creativity and appreciate small businesses that build community and resonate with their language. 

Stats-wise, as of January 2024, it was found that 18% of TikTok’s global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years (Gen Z), while male users of the same age made up approximately 18.6% of the platform’s audience. Millennials are also in the mix, with its online audience further composed of 15% female users aged between 25 and 34 years, and 17.6% of male users in the same age group.

If TikTok’s user base aligns well with your target audience, you need to be strongly considering adding the platform to your marketing mix.

2. Marketing goals

If they include increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, and leveraging influencer collaborations, TikTok can be highly effective.

3. Creative content capabilities

Does your business have the skills and resources to produce short-form videos that are creative, engaging and visually appealing? If not, do you have the budget to outsource this type of content creation? Avoid launching on TikTok if you’re not in a position to post creative content regularly. (It could do more harm than good.)

Step-by-step: How to set up a TikTok Business Account

Unsure how to make a TikTok Business Account? You’re in luck…

  • 1. Download the TikTok app

    Download and install the TikTok app from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android). Whilst you can use TikTok on desktop, most users are accessing the community and creating content on mobile. 

  • 2. Create an account

    Open the app and sign up using your email, phone number, or an existing social media account.

  • 3. Switch to a Business Account

    Setting up your TikTok as a Business Account is easy to do:

    • Go to your profile by tapping the profile icon at the bottom right of the screen.
    • Tap the three dots (or three lines) in the top right corner to access the settings menu.
    • Select “Settings and privacy”.
    • Select “Account”.

    Choose “Switch to Business Account” and follow the prompts to complete the switch.

  • 4. Choose your business category

    Select the category that best describes your business to help TikTok understand your content and target audience.

  • 5. Complete your profile

    Here are the basics you will need to create a profile:

    • Add a profile picture or logo that represents your brand.
    • Write a compelling bio that clearly explains what your business offers.
    • Include a link to your website or a relevant landing page.
  • 6. Optimise your profile

    Go further and make your profile as compelling and informative as possible:

    • Profile picture: Use a clear and recognisable logo or image that represents your brand.
    • Bio: Craft a concise and engaging bio that highlights your brand’s value proposition and includes relevant keywords.
    • Website link: Use the link in your bio to drive traffic to your website, online store, or a specific campaign landing page.
    • Contact information: Add your business email or other contact methods if applicable.
    • Consistent branding: Ensure your profile reflects your brand’s voice and aesthetic, maintaining consistency across all social media platforms.

Understanding your target audience on TikTok

Utilise TikTok analytics

After setting up your business account, access TikTok’s analytics by going to “Settings” > “Creator Tools” > “Analytics”. Analyse data on follower demographics, including age, gender, and location, as well as their active times and engagement patterns.

Observe competitors and trends

Follow competitors and relevant influencers in your industry to see what content resonates with their audiences. Participate in trending challenges and use popular hashtags to increase your content’s visibility and reach.

Engage with your audience

Respond to comments and messages to build a community around your brand. Create content that encourages interaction, such as polls, Q&A sessions, and challenges.

Experiment with content

Test different types of content (e.g., tutorials, behind-the-scenes, user-generated content) to see what performs best. Use TikTok’s features such as sounds, effects, and duets to make your videos more engaging.

Monitor and adapt

Continuously monitor your analytics to understand which content strategies are working. Be flexible and willing to adapt your content strategy based on performance insights and audience feedback.

How does the TikTok algorithm work?

The TikTok algorithm determines which videos appear on users’ For You Page (FYP), the main feed where users discover new content. Key factors influencing the algorithm include:

User interactions

  • Engagement metrics such as likes, shares, comments, and watch time.
  • Interaction history, including the types of content a user has previously engaged with.

Video information

  • Details such as captions, hashtags, and sounds.
  • The video’s genre and content, identified through metadata and on-screen text.

Device and account settings

  • User’s device type, language preferences, and location.
  • Account settings and preferences.

Content freshness

  • Newly uploaded content is given a chance to be seen by users, promoting fresh and relevant content.

How to leverage TikTok’s algorithm for business growth

Here are some best practice tips to ensure your content is seen by as many people as possible: 

  • Create engaging content: Focus on producing high-quality, entertaining, and valuable videos that prompt viewers to like, share, comment, and watch to completion.
  • Use relevant hashtags: Incorporate popular and trending hashtags relevant to your niche to increase discoverability.
  • Post regularly: Consistent posting helps keep your content fresh and increases the chances of appearing on users’ FYP.
  • Engage with your audience: Respond to comments, participate in duets, and interact with your followers to build a community and increase engagement.
  • Utilise trends and challenges: Participate in trending challenges and use popular sounds to increase your content’s visibility.
  • Optimise video descriptions: Write compelling captions and include keywords relevant to your business and target audience.
  • Keep it short and sweet: Create short, captivating videos that quickly grab attention, as shorter videos tend to perform better and are more likely to be watched to completion.

How to use TikTok analytics

TikTok’s analytics provides detailed insights into audience demographics, engagement metrics and content effectiveness. Knowledge is power – the more you understand, the more you can optimise your performance on the platform.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Monitor performance metrics: Regularly review metrics such as views, likes, shares, comments, and follower growth.
  • Understand audience demographics: Analyse the demographics of your audience, including age, gender, and location, to tailor content that resonates with them.
  • Track content performance: Identify which types of content perform best in terms of engagement and reach, and use these insights to inform your content strategy.
  • Adjust strategy based on insights: Use data to refine your posting schedule, content types, and engagement strategies. Experiment with different formats and trends to see what works best.
  • Benchmark against competitors: Compare your performance metrics with those of competitors to identify opportunities for improvement and differentiation.

Effective content strategies for TikTok

Developing a powerful content strategy

It’s not as daunting as it seems – you just need to approach it in a well-informed, bite-sized way:

  • Identify your goals: Define clear objectives such as brand awareness, audience engagement, or driving sales.
  • Understand your audience: Research your target audience’s interests, behaviours, and preferences. Utilise TikTok’s analytics to gain insights into your current followers.
  • Plan diverse content: Mix various types of content such as educational, entertaining, behind-the-scenes, and product demonstrations. Ensure your content aligns with your brand’s voice and values.
  • Create a content calendar: Get an overall view of what you’re posting and when to ensure a good balance of topics, types of video and keeping in mind any seasonal dates that align with your brand. (Keep things flexible though, as you might want to respond to trends etc. ad hoc or remove any planned content that could be considered inappropriate as a result of any unexpected events that arise.)
  • Emphasise quality and creativity: Focus on high-quality visuals, engaging storytelling, and innovative ideas to capture attention quickly. Use TikTok’s editing tools and effects to enhance your videos. (Tip: Authenticity goes a long way rather than corporate marketing jargon.)

Partnering with influencers for maximum reach

Those who’ve played Super Mario before will know of those secret passages that could be taken to move further along in the game. Well, partnering with influencers on TikTok is a similar concept – a smarter, quicker way to reach your desired destination. In a business’s case, it’s reaching your target demographic quicker. Here’s how you can do this effectively:

  • Identify relevant influencers: Look for influencers whose audience aligns with your target demographic and whose content matches your brand’s values.
  • Build authentic relationships: Engage with influencers by commenting on their posts and establishing a rapport before proposing collaborations.
  • Collaborate on content: Partner with influencers to create authentic and engaging content that resonates with their followers. Co-created content often feels more genuine and trustworthy.
  • Leverage influencer reach: Use influencer campaigns to amplify your brand message and reach a wider audience. Track performance metrics to evaluate the success of these collaborations.

N.B. Be mindful of disclosure policies and legal obligations when working with influencers to ensure compliance and transparency.

Utilising user-generated content and trends

This is a great way to build a library of engaging TikTok content for your business, as well as establishing a strong community around your brand. Here’s how to do it:

  • Encourage user-generated content (UGC)
    Run contests, challenges, or campaigns that motivate your audience to create and share their own content featuring your products or services. (Remember to abide by various rules and guidelines to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.)
  • Feature UGC on your profile
    Share user-generated content on your TikTok profile to build community and show appreciation for your followers. This also provides social proof and enhances brand credibility.
  • Participate in trends
    Stay updated with the latest TikTok trends, including popular challenges, sounds, and hashtags. Adapt these trends creatively to fit your brand narrative.
  • Create branded hashtags
    Develop unique hashtags for your campaigns to encourage user participation and make it easy to track UGC.

How do I use TikTok advertising for my business?

If you want to reach an even wider audience, allocate some of your social media advertising budget towards TikTok ads (promoted content that you pay to run on the platform). The cost for these is based on bids, just like how you pay for Facebook and Instagram ads. You’ll choose your target audience, create a fun video ad then promote it based on your specified daily or lifetime budget.

Types of advertisements on TikTok

  • In-Feed Ads

    These ads appear in users’ feeds as they scroll through the For You Page. They can include images, videos, and call-to-action buttons directing viewers to a website or app.

  • TopView Ads

    These ads appear when users first open the TikTok app, providing high visibility and engagement opportunities. TopView ads are ideal for impactful brand awareness campaigns.

  • Branded Hashtag Challenges

    Brands create and promote a Hashtag Challenge, encouraging users to create content around a specific theme. This can significantly boost engagement and UGC.

  • Branded effects

    Custom filters, stickers, and effects that users can apply to their own videos. These interactive ads enhance brand visibility and user interaction.

  • Spark Ads

    These ads allow brands to promote their own organic posts or those created by influencers, blending seamlessly into users’ feeds while leveraging existing popular content.

  • Image Ads

    These are static images that include a brand or app name, and text. However, the process of getting them live is a little different as they’re only available through the Global App Bundle and Pangle placements.

  • Carousel Ads

    Have a lot to say? Carousel format is an image-based creative format, allowing advertisers to upload 2-35 images in a sequence. Users can swipe between different images to view more details and control the viewing pace by themselves.

  • Playable Ads

    Playable Ads are interactive videos that allow you to showcase a preview of your app before someone downloads it.

  • Video Shopping Ads

    Powered by your product catalogue, Video Shopping Ads offer tailored product recommendations on the For You Page and multiple placements to boost product sales.

How much do TikTok Ads cost?

As much as you want them to! The platform uses an auction and bidding model, which puts you in control of what you spend per view, click or impression. However, a minimum budget is required when setting both lifetime budgets and daily budgets to ensure the continuous delivery of your ad.

  • Campaign level minimum budget: For campaigns, both daily budgets and total budgets must exceed $50.
  • ​Ad group level minimum budget: For ad groups, daily budgets must exceed $20. Lifetime budgets will be calculated as the minimum daily budget (20 USD) × scheduled days. E.g. if delivery is scheduled for 31 days, the minimum budget for the ad group would be $20 x 31 days = $620.

In terms of ballpark spend, TikTok ads cost between $10 per CPM (cost per thousand impressions) for In-Feed ads to over $100,000 for high-visibility options like TopView ads and Branded Hashtag Challenges.

TikTok bidding methods

There are four key methods:

  • CPV (cost per 1K views)
  • CPM (cost per 1K impressions)
  • oCPM (optimised cost per 1K impressions)
  • CPC (cost per click)

TikTok’s Suggested Bid feature is worth taking advantage of to ensure your price is right.

Maximising reach and impact with TikTok advertising

  1. Define clear objectives
    Set specific goals for your campaigns, such as increasing brand awareness, driving traffic, or boosting sales. This helps tailor your ad strategy effectively.
  2. Target your audience
    Use TikTok’s targeting options to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviours. Narrowing your audience ensures that your ads are seen by potential customers who are most likely to engage.
  3. Create engaging content
    Develop high-quality, creative, and authentic content that resonates with TikTok’s audience. Use compelling visuals, catchy music, and strong calls to action to capture attention.
  4. Leverage trends and hashtags
    Incorporate trending hashtags and participate in popular challenges to increase your ad’s visibility and engagement.
  5. Monitor and optimise
    Use TikTok’s analytics to track the performance of your ads. Analyse metrics such as impressions, click-through rates, and conversions to understand what works and make necessary adjustments.

Example of a successful TikTok advertising campaign

Brand: Gymshark – a UK-based fitness clothing brand


Gymshark66. “They say it takes 66 days to create a habit.
We believe it takes 66 days to change your life. Gymshark66 is a 66-day challenge that encourages you to focus on the small wins. Whether it’s 30 mins at the gym or a 30-min walk. 10 mins of mindfulness or 10 pages of a book.”

Type of ad:

Branded Hashtag Challenge (#Gymshark66)


We still can’t believe this happened 😮 tag your biggest supporter 💜 @demibagby #gymshark #gymshark66 #ladieswholift

♬ original sound – Gymshark


Promote a fitness lifestyle and increase brand engagement.


Launch a Branded Hashtag Challenge (#Gymshark66), encouraging users to share their 66-day fitness journey.


  • Over 193 million views.
  • 1000s of user-generated videos showcasing fitness transformations.
  • Strengthened community engagement and brand loyalty.
  • (Gymshark also increased its engagement around this campaign via influencer marketing on TikTok.)

Success stories and creative ideas for TikTok business growth

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by options, take a look at some of these examples from businesses who are getting the right balance between humour and inspiration on TikTok

How to consistently grow your brand on TikTok

Your performance with TikTok will reflect the time and effort you put into it. Consistently produce engaging content that resonates with your audience, get involved with trending challenges and hashtags, collaborate with influencers, post regularly, interact with your community, invest in paid campaigns to attract new users, channel insights back into your content… It all works towards growing your brand.

The more consistent you are, the more consistent your TikTok growth will be.

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