No matter how big or small your business is, you have to ask yourself: do I need TikTok for business? There’s no denying that TikTok has become quite popular since it was founded. TikTok allows users to film videos of themselves lip-syncing, dancing, or even acting out sketches. Whether you are a celebrity, influencer, or just want to start an account for your business, TikTok can help you reach people like never before.

If you are looking to start a TikTok account for business, then you have come to the right place. We’ll cover what TikTok is, how it works and share our easy steps to create your TikTok account.

someone holding a phone with a character doing a dance move
Illustration by OrangeCrush

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform where users can watch and create short videos. The videos can be anywhere from five seconds to three minutes long, and you can easily edit or add special effects. TikTok also has an extensive music library that you can access to add songs to your videos. With over 1.1 billion active monthly users, TikTok has become the “It” platform for businesses, brands and creators.

TikTok account types

tiktok app on iphone xs 
TikTok is available on Android and iPhone, and is a mobile-first app. Image via Unsplash

TikTok has two levels of account types: personal and pro. With a personal account, there aren’t any analytics or insights, but you can still enjoy all the latest trends and create videos. If you are looking for a more professional profile on TikTok with access to analytics and insights, then a pro account might be what you need.

There are two types of pro accounts:

  • TikTok for business offers exclusive access to specialized resources that help businesses and brands up their strong content strategies. The account allows you to track performance metrics, audience insights and tools that help you advertise and market your product or service
  • TikTok for creators allows users to have more creative space. It has fewer options for advertising and marketing but still has all analytics and insights you might need. One of the best features of a creator account is the creator fund and the question-and-answer upgrade. Users are able to be more interactive with their followers.

Whether you are a creator, influencer, designer, entrepreneur, or small- to mid-size business, you can create a successful TikTok for your business as long as you know how to use the platform, what your goals are and have a clear strategy on how to get there. Luckily, we have some of the answers below.

How does TikTok work?

The TikTok algorithm uses AI (artificial intelligence) to give users recommendations on which videos they should watch, based on their past viewings. The “For you” page is where you can discover new content and create videos.

Once a video is uploaded to TikTok, the AI algorithm uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) and computer vision to analyze the transcript of the audio, the images and the metadata (things like hashtags, descriptions and title of the video). This builds an understanding of the content and context of the videos.

home page for tiktok for business
via TikTok for business

After the content has passed TikTok’s regulations, the video is shared with a small percentage of the TikTok audience and an evaluation will happen based on how the sample set of users reacted to that content. The more people that rewatch, share, comment and engage with the content, the higher the aggregate score will be.

When there is a decent aggregate score, the video will be shared with a wider, targeted audience, who are looking for similar content. For businesses, this is useful because it helps introduce your brand to a highly targeted audience who could be interested in your content.

How to start a TikTok for business

  1. Use TikTok
  2. Research your competitors
  3. Find your target audience
  4. Identify your unique selling point
  5. Make some content
  6. Get discovered by your target audience
  7. Learn from your analytics and insights

1. Use TikTok

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the platform before you start creating any sort of TikTok marketing strategy. If you start your TikTok journey through the eyes of a user, you can see how the platform works, how people are using it, how people consume content and what content gets the most attention.

The “Discover” tab is a great way to get to grips with TikTok. It’s where you can search and explore the wide variety of content in the TikTok community. Make a note of videos you like and what you like about them.

2. Research your competitors

It’s important to pay attention to how other businesses and creators create content and engage with trending videos. You don’t want to copy what other people are doing, but it is helpful to get ideas and some insights on what is working. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What content is doing well? And what content isn’t? Research what content is getting a lot of views and engagement. Identify what element is or isn’t working in the video.
a person holding a phone on the app store downloading TikTok
via Unsplash
  • What content do you like? Take this time to identify what tone, style and type of content you like, as a user and also as a business owner. What content can you imagine your business creating?
  • How are your competitors engaging with users? When users engage with videos, they might share them, like them, or leave comments. Pay attention to how your competitors and other businesses choose to engage and how they engage with their followers. Is this the way your business and brand will engage with your followers?
  • What Influencers are your competitors working with? Find out who your competitors are working with. This will tell you what angle or strategic approach they are taking (and whether or not it’s working for them). It might also give you insight and ideas on finding out what creators you should be reaching out to for paid collaborations and what you could do for your own marketing campaign.

Answering these questions will help you understand how you can create content that matches your audience’s needs and wants, as well as help your business grow. Pay close attention to content that is authentic, creative and has a fresh perspective. This will help you stand out from other TikTok accounts in your niche and increase your video views and engagement.

3. Find your target audience

The best starting point to find your target audience is to assess your current audience. To do this, you can send out a survey or dive into your analytics. Once you have an understanding of your current audience, you can see what gaps of audience you might want to target or grow a large audience.

TikTok is a good opportunity for your business because it is a great way to show another side of your brand, build a niche community and target a younger generation of buyers. And to be successful you have to consider if TikTok’s audience is the same as your target audience.

person pointing a people to identify personas
Illustration by OrangeCrush

TikTok is used predominantly by 18- to 24-year-olds, followed by 13- to 17-year-olds. This might not be your target audience. But even if your audience is older, you can still use TikTok to market your business. Why? Well, just because TikTok’s audience is predominantly younger people, it doesn’t rule out older generations from using the platform, whether it’s to keep in touch with loved ones or to just keep up with the times.

In fact, there is content and audience growth for older demographics on TikTok like hashtags for family life or mom life, even businesses are figuring out ways to appeal to an older audience.

TikTok is a fun platform for experimenting with video, and with the right strategy, you can use TikTok to grow your business whether your audience is younger or older.

4. Identify your unique selling point

What is your objective for creating a TikTok account for business? What are your purpose and your reason for your business, brand and product or service? What sets your business apart from your competitors? What value does your business add? Answering these questions will give you your unique selling point (USP). It is the essence of what makes your product or service better than your competitors. You have to establish what is different about your brand, product or service, and why your target audience needs your products.

5. Make some content

Once you have your research, your target audience and your unique selling point, you can make some content. You don’t need a huge marketing budget to generate fun videos that your audience will watch. This is what’s great about Tik Tok. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, TikTok is a bit more unpolished and it’s a great (and affordable) opportunity to create content.

While TikTok is known for funny lip sync and dancing videos, other videos on educational, food-related, health-based and friendship-driven videos also do well. TikTok is not a place for a hard-sell ad or campaign. It’s important to be authentic, light, fun and candid. Give users a glimpse of your business and your brand’s personality. This is why the first step is to use TikTok, you have to understand how to think and be like the other users.

@99designsbyvistaThought it was about time we said #hello#graphicdesign #designer #fyp #99designs #99designed♬ ACDC Beegees mashup – Kim Austin

We tapped into our community of talented designers to showcase their work and our value for our first TikTok video.

Think of how to create content that can be an extension of your business’s offer, but make sure it doesn’t feel gimmicky. For example, if your business involves sending out a monthly package, then creating a video to show the behind the scenes of packing, like adding free samples or the care and consideration you put into the package, shows the users the added value of the package.

Quickly get over the fact that the first few won’t be good. It’s not supposed to be perfect or polished. That’s not the nature of the platform. So don’t let it discourage you. Keep practicing and working on your video content.

Check out these trailblazing TikTok entrepreneurs and what advice they have to share >>

6. Get discovered by your target audience

When you start a TikTok account for your business, chances are you might not get the results you want. You might not have many views, your engagement rate might be low and you might not be making sales yet. And that’s okay, you will need to test different content campaigns and get into the swing of a format that suits you. Here are some ways to help grow those views and likes and reach your target audience:

Hashtags

A huge part of your TikTok strategy is to use the right hashtags. We know this from the section above on “How does TikTok work?” that the AI algorithm takes the metadata, like hashtags, to determine where the content should go, and to whom. You don’t need to use a lot of hashtags, it’s about selecting the right ones. Four to five hashtags work better than 30 hashtags that don’t tell TikTok what your content is about.

But remember that TikTok is about creating content for your users. So hashtags should be what your users search for, and not just what your brand is.

@gymsharkStrike! 🎳 @nilewilsonator #Gymshark #StuntChallenge #Bowling♬ original sound – Gymshark

Gymshark participating in a challenge via Gymshark

Trending content

Use trending content to your advantage. When content has gone viral or is trending, think about ways you can piggyback on the content or participate in the fun. For example, if a dance video is trending, even though your brand or business might not involve any dancing, you could use the music from the video to create your content. Be mindful of how you use content though, you want to avoid appropriating or copying other creators’ content.

users all participating in a #stuntchallenge
via TikTok

Work with TikTok influencers

With 80% of businesses finding influencer marketing effective, it is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reach your target audiences. Working with an influencer can be a great way to gain engagement and awareness quickly because they create user-generated content, which could help improve awareness of your brand and conversion. What’s more, people are more likely to trust influencers rather than brands talking about their own products because they have a relatability factor.

To get successful results, you have to find someone who is an expert in your industry, has your target audience and aligns with your interests. Otherwise, it might seem like a mismatch and disingenuous.

tiktok influencer working with bank Up in australia talking about finance
As a way to tap into a younger demographic and audience, Up, a digital bank, partnered with the influencer, @TashInvests, who shares personal finance tips, to create an in-feed ad. Via TikTok for business.

Use TikTok ads

Using TikTok’s ads you can target the right audience using age, gender, location, interests and more. You can also create custom audiences and look-a-like audiences to reach people like your existing customers. Even though there are advertising options on TikTok, still be mindful of the content of your ad. Avoid hard-sell ads. Think more creatively about the content you want to create for the platform and your audience. There are five main ways that businesses can advertise their brand on TikTok:

  • Branded hashtag challenge—The gist is to get users to attempt the challenge. It’s an interactive sponsored TikTok ad that allows you to promote a branded hashtag to increase engagement and brand awareness.
  • Brand takeover—This is a full-screen ad unit that immediately appears when a user opens the app. It’s one of the best ad options on TikTok because it allows you to deliver mass awareness and drive sales.
  • TopView Ads—Like Takeover ads, TopView ads appear when the app is opened, at the top of your “For you” page. They are video ads that last up to 60 seconds with the sound on. These ads are shown five seconds after the user has opened the app. This is the only ad format for those who want to create longer video ads.
  • In-feed videos—These ads pop up in between user content. They can help you increase clicks, web traffic and even downloads. The videos are between 5 to 15 seconds long and are shown for one day only.
  • Branded effects—These effects are custom-branded filters that users can add to their videos. It uses augmented reality (AR) to sense face and hand movements. It can last up to ten days.
@unclefluffycafeReply to @one.aadam #unclefluffy #japanesecheesecake #businessidea #franchise


Uncle Fluffy Cafe uses in-feed ads to show a new service and to engage with customer comments via Uncle Fluffy Cafe

7. Learn from your analytics and insights

After putting out a few videos and trying some ads, campaigns or partnerships, you want to find out what content, ads, or partnerships are working for your business. Luckily TikTok for business will give your data on any video and its total likes, comments, shares, playtime, traffic source and audience demographics. This is just the start! There are insights into your followers and your profile. Pay attention to why some videos work and why others don’t and figure out how to do more of what works.

The future of TikTok

It’s little wonder that TikTok is such a popular social platform. Relatable, authentic and person-centric, TikTok shows no signs of slowing down just yet. But where does the future of TikTok lie, is it just another fad, or will it continue to rise? It’s hard to predict the future, but we can’t see TikTok going anywhere anytime soon.

With our guide to TikTok for business, you can use and create content and start growing your audience and brand. So explore your niche in the TikTok community and find out what works best for your business.

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