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How Your SMB Can Harness the Power of TikTok Before It's Too Late

September 6, 2022

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With 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is no longer just a social media trend for the younger crowd. Now, it’s a full-fledged marketing tool for businesses of all sizes — and it’s not too late for your SMB to jump on board

Getting your business on TikTok might seem intimidating. But it’s actually quite simple (and fun) once you understand the format. Plus, it’s like any other social media platform: as long as you create and stay consistent, you’ll eventually see results. 

Steps to building a TikTok presence for SMBs

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing platform where users create up to 10-minute videos on any (and probably every) topic. But statistics show that shorter is better.

For example, 58% of viewers of all types of content will watch an entire business-related video if it’s under one minute. And 64% of marketers say the optimal length of a short-form marketing video (like TikTok) is 20-60 seconds.

Tons of businesses — both large and small — benefit from its ability to garner more exposure and connect with customers. Plus, it’s the number one app for driving purchases.

For example, Sider’s Woodcrafting (a small wood-working company) posted one viral TikTok video that led to a 4,000% increase in website traffic and sold out products in 24 hours. And TrapStix, a hip-hop themed lip care brand that started using TikTok in 2020, went from 75 units sold-to-date to a whopping 50,000 units in two years.

Ready to join them? Here’s how your SMB can start harnessing the marketing power of TikTok:

1. Create an account. 

First, sign up for TikTok by downloading it from the Apple App Store or Google Play. After you’ve downloaded the app, open it and create an account. 

You can sign up with your phone number or email (use your business info) or link your Google account using your Gmail address (again, the one you use for your business).

Now, create a username that matches your exact business name or your other social media handles. If someone’s already claimed them, consider TikTok’s suggestions (below the box you type in) or a creative workaround.

For example, the brand Made tacked on “dotcom” to create a unique handle (and subsequently advertise their site). But you can also:

  • Put your location after your brand (@partnerwineUK).
  • Insert “the” before your business, as in @thefacebook.
  • Place INC, LLC, or HQ at the end (@slackhq).
  • Put “we are” before your brand name, as in @wearetrainual.
  • Add an underscore after the title (@carbclub__).
  • Provide context around what you do (@elfcosmetics). 

Once you find a username, switch to a free business account (versus a personal one) under the “settings and privacy” menu. This way, you have access to marketing tools, engagement metrics, and running paid ads.

Finally, add a profile photo (your logo, perhaps) and write up your business bio. Your bio should succinctly describe what you do or what you sell — and don’t forget a link to your website.

2. Decide which type of content will connect with customers.

Now that you have an account, it’s time to start creating content. And more importantly, decide what kind of content will connect with your customers.

TikTok is all about creativity and expression, so there’s really no limit to what you can make. But if you don’t know where to begin, here are a few popular formats that work well for SMBs:

Behind-the-scenes (or BTS) content gives customers a sneak peek of how your business operates. And the best part about this content is there’s no planning or preparation. Instead, simply document whatever you and your team are already doing (and add your input or music). 

If you make or sell a product, you can demonstrate it on video. Or, you can record a stop-motion video of you packing products into shipping boxes. Then, on the flip side, you can make an unboxing video (from a customer’s POV). 

You can also create content that teaches a skill that’s related to your business. For example, if you have a cleaning company, you can teach followers tricks for cleaning stubborn messes. Or, you can share “inside hacks” that improve your service or products (like a five-point checklist). 

Finally, some brands create short series where they record several videos based on the same subject matter. The series can tell a chronological story, or each clip can work independently. For example, create a series based on the community-service events your team participates in year-round. Or put together a witty, light-hearted series of your customer FAQs. 

Whatever content you make, be sure you’re authentic in your delivery and stick to your brand's values. Also, don’t be afraid to take a risk and put out humorous content. The most viral videos tend to be original, relatable, and usually downright funny!

3. Post consistently to gain traction and see results.

Once you’ve come up with a list of great content ideas, it’s time to execute them and stay consistent. Frequent posts will help boost engagement and make your brand more memorable. Plus, the TikTok algorithm favors accounts with a steady flow of content.

Scrolling through TikTok, you’ll see many experts recommending at least one post per day. But for a business leader, the challenge is finding the time to create that much content. 

If you plan to execute on your content ideas, consider batch-creating content instead of making videos every day. Or, in the simplest terms, make a lot of content when you have the time. 

Then, use a content calendar to plan out your batch content. 

This calendar should outline what videos you plan to share and which day to post them. It should keep everyone organized on what’s getting published next. And if you delegate execution to someone else, it’s an easy way to stay aligned on their granular goals.

4. Make your TikTok searchable for a younger audience.

According to a recent internal study by Google, 40% of Gen Zers prefer using TikTok and Instagram to search online versus Google. The study is referring to U.S. users aged 18-24 years old, and businesses can leverage this new phenomenon to reach a younger audience.

But to do that, you need to understand what’s influencing Gen Zers to choose TikTok over Google. This includes authenticity, convenience, and relevancy — let’s run through each one.

Authenticity: Younger users would prefer the authenticity of visuals over reading through content. They want to see what a restaurant looks like right away for “maximum vibe reconnaissance,” and they want to know who’s sharing the recommendation.

Convenience: Gen Zers also prefer searching social media for the convenience and rapid access to content. They don’t want to scroll through a traditional blog (and a flood of paid ads) to get a dinner recipe when they can visually see how to make something in less than a few minutes.

Relevancy: And finally, Gen Zers appreciate that the search results are relevant to their interests. They don’t want to see a bland, boring list of recommendations from Google. Instead, they prefer the unique journey of finding content that engages them and fits their interests.

Now that you understand the motivation behind this trend, let’s talk about how you can leverage it for your business. Here are a few ways to make your content more searchable:

  • Publish informative content in addition to entertaining content.
  • Write up a clear caption that describes exactly what you’re sharing. 
  • Always tag your location (whether it’s a physical store or where you offer services). 
  • Use hashtags to capture users searching for a broad topic, like dinner ideas. 
  • Always add the hashtag #foryoupage or #fyp to reach users on their “For You Page.”
  • Get straight to the point with information, and make it authentic to you and your brand.

In addition to these tips, you also want to post content regularly and engage with any comments. The TikTok algorithm (like most) prioritizes pages that are actively engaging with their audience, and they suggest posting one to four times per day to stay active.

5. Promote your best content for maximum results.

Once you have a slew of content posted, pay attention to your views, likes, and shares for each piece. Then, consider promoting the most popular content to maximize engagement and reach more users with TikTok’s promote tool.

The promote tool enables businesses to “boost” their videos on the platform and track key metrics, including number of shares, viewer demographics, and website clicks. This way, your brand can capitalize on your best content, increase engagement, and hopefully convert more TikTockers to visit your website.

The easiest way to promote one of your videos is straight from the post itself. Open the video you’d like to boost, tap the “...” on the right, and tap “Promote.” Then, choose your goal (more views, website visits, or followers), target audience, and the budget and duration.

It's time to get your SMB on TikTok. Seriously.

TikTok isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Jump into the platform with both feet before it is too late and get your SMB on TikTok. Who knows — it may just be your best marketing tool yet.

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Article

How Your SMB Can Harness the Power of TikTok Before It's Too Late

September 6, 2022

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With 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is no longer just a social media trend for the younger crowd. Now, it’s a full-fledged marketing tool for businesses of all sizes — and it’s not too late for your SMB to jump on board

Getting your business on TikTok might seem intimidating. But it’s actually quite simple (and fun) once you understand the format. Plus, it’s like any other social media platform: as long as you create and stay consistent, you’ll eventually see results. 

Steps to building a TikTok presence for SMBs

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing platform where users create up to 10-minute videos on any (and probably every) topic. But statistics show that shorter is better.

For example, 58% of viewers of all types of content will watch an entire business-related video if it’s under one minute. And 64% of marketers say the optimal length of a short-form marketing video (like TikTok) is 20-60 seconds.

Tons of businesses — both large and small — benefit from its ability to garner more exposure and connect with customers. Plus, it’s the number one app for driving purchases.

For example, Sider’s Woodcrafting (a small wood-working company) posted one viral TikTok video that led to a 4,000% increase in website traffic and sold out products in 24 hours. And TrapStix, a hip-hop themed lip care brand that started using TikTok in 2020, went from 75 units sold-to-date to a whopping 50,000 units in two years.

Ready to join them? Here’s how your SMB can start harnessing the marketing power of TikTok:

1. Create an account. 

First, sign up for TikTok by downloading it from the Apple App Store or Google Play. After you’ve downloaded the app, open it and create an account. 

You can sign up with your phone number or email (use your business info) or link your Google account using your Gmail address (again, the one you use for your business).

Now, create a username that matches your exact business name or your other social media handles. If someone’s already claimed them, consider TikTok’s suggestions (below the box you type in) or a creative workaround.

For example, the brand Made tacked on “dotcom” to create a unique handle (and subsequently advertise their site). But you can also:

  • Put your location after your brand (@partnerwineUK).
  • Insert “the” before your business, as in @thefacebook.
  • Place INC, LLC, or HQ at the end (@slackhq).
  • Put “we are” before your brand name, as in @wearetrainual.
  • Add an underscore after the title (@carbclub__).
  • Provide context around what you do (@elfcosmetics). 

Once you find a username, switch to a free business account (versus a personal one) under the “settings and privacy” menu. This way, you have access to marketing tools, engagement metrics, and running paid ads.

Finally, add a profile photo (your logo, perhaps) and write up your business bio. Your bio should succinctly describe what you do or what you sell — and don’t forget a link to your website.

2. Decide which type of content will connect with customers.

Now that you have an account, it’s time to start creating content. And more importantly, decide what kind of content will connect with your customers.

TikTok is all about creativity and expression, so there’s really no limit to what you can make. But if you don’t know where to begin, here are a few popular formats that work well for SMBs:

Behind-the-scenes (or BTS) content gives customers a sneak peek of how your business operates. And the best part about this content is there’s no planning or preparation. Instead, simply document whatever you and your team are already doing (and add your input or music). 

If you make or sell a product, you can demonstrate it on video. Or, you can record a stop-motion video of you packing products into shipping boxes. Then, on the flip side, you can make an unboxing video (from a customer’s POV). 

You can also create content that teaches a skill that’s related to your business. For example, if you have a cleaning company, you can teach followers tricks for cleaning stubborn messes. Or, you can share “inside hacks” that improve your service or products (like a five-point checklist). 

Finally, some brands create short series where they record several videos based on the same subject matter. The series can tell a chronological story, or each clip can work independently. For example, create a series based on the community-service events your team participates in year-round. Or put together a witty, light-hearted series of your customer FAQs. 

Whatever content you make, be sure you’re authentic in your delivery and stick to your brand's values. Also, don’t be afraid to take a risk and put out humorous content. The most viral videos tend to be original, relatable, and usually downright funny!

3. Post consistently to gain traction and see results.

Once you’ve come up with a list of great content ideas, it’s time to execute them and stay consistent. Frequent posts will help boost engagement and make your brand more memorable. Plus, the TikTok algorithm favors accounts with a steady flow of content.

Scrolling through TikTok, you’ll see many experts recommending at least one post per day. But for a business leader, the challenge is finding the time to create that much content. 

If you plan to execute on your content ideas, consider batch-creating content instead of making videos every day. Or, in the simplest terms, make a lot of content when you have the time. 

Then, use a content calendar to plan out your batch content. 

This calendar should outline what videos you plan to share and which day to post them. It should keep everyone organized on what’s getting published next. And if you delegate execution to someone else, it’s an easy way to stay aligned on their granular goals.

4. Make your TikTok searchable for a younger audience.

According to a recent internal study by Google, 40% of Gen Zers prefer using TikTok and Instagram to search online versus Google. The study is referring to U.S. users aged 18-24 years old, and businesses can leverage this new phenomenon to reach a younger audience.

But to do that, you need to understand what’s influencing Gen Zers to choose TikTok over Google. This includes authenticity, convenience, and relevancy — let’s run through each one.

Authenticity: Younger users would prefer the authenticity of visuals over reading through content. They want to see what a restaurant looks like right away for “maximum vibe reconnaissance,” and they want to know who’s sharing the recommendation.

Convenience: Gen Zers also prefer searching social media for the convenience and rapid access to content. They don’t want to scroll through a traditional blog (and a flood of paid ads) to get a dinner recipe when they can visually see how to make something in less than a few minutes.

Relevancy: And finally, Gen Zers appreciate that the search results are relevant to their interests. They don’t want to see a bland, boring list of recommendations from Google. Instead, they prefer the unique journey of finding content that engages them and fits their interests.

Now that you understand the motivation behind this trend, let’s talk about how you can leverage it for your business. Here are a few ways to make your content more searchable:

  • Publish informative content in addition to entertaining content.
  • Write up a clear caption that describes exactly what you’re sharing. 
  • Always tag your location (whether it’s a physical store or where you offer services). 
  • Use hashtags to capture users searching for a broad topic, like dinner ideas. 
  • Always add the hashtag #foryoupage or #fyp to reach users on their “For You Page.”
  • Get straight to the point with information, and make it authentic to you and your brand.

In addition to these tips, you also want to post content regularly and engage with any comments. The TikTok algorithm (like most) prioritizes pages that are actively engaging with their audience, and they suggest posting one to four times per day to stay active.

5. Promote your best content for maximum results.

Once you have a slew of content posted, pay attention to your views, likes, and shares for each piece. Then, consider promoting the most popular content to maximize engagement and reach more users with TikTok’s promote tool.

The promote tool enables businesses to “boost” their videos on the platform and track key metrics, including number of shares, viewer demographics, and website clicks. This way, your brand can capitalize on your best content, increase engagement, and hopefully convert more TikTockers to visit your website.

The easiest way to promote one of your videos is straight from the post itself. Open the video you’d like to boost, tap the “...” on the right, and tap “Promote.” Then, choose your goal (more views, website visits, or followers), target audience, and the budget and duration.

It's time to get your SMB on TikTok. Seriously.

TikTok isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Jump into the platform with both feet before it is too late and get your SMB on TikTok. Who knows — it may just be your best marketing tool yet.

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How Your SMB Can Harness the Power of TikTok Before It's Too Late

September 6, 2022

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