TikTok is becoming one of the greatest tools used by small businesses. Due to TikTok’s unique algorithm and personalized experience, small businesses can be discovered by anyone using the app. TikTok is the perfect tool to grow your business, get to know your audiences, and expand your social media presence. If you’re in need of small business ideas on TikTok—you’ve come to the right place.
TikTok is predicted to reach 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022, and it will keep growing from there. If you think of the early days of TikTok, you probably remember teenagers making “TikTok dances” to popular songs. Now, you can find almost anything on TikTok, from recipe guides to stand-up comedy.
TikTok’s unique algorithm allows content to go viral even if you don’t have many followers. Using the algorithm’s system of the “for you page” (FYP), trending sounds, hashtags, and more, your video can reach a large audience without you even reaching double-digits in followers. This gives your small business the opportunity to compete against popular brands just by creating a viral video.
At Slam Media Lab, we help businesses use content marketing (TikTok, Instagram) to develop their brand, reach their audience, and make an impact. We know how hard it can be to reach new people who want to buy your product, so we’ll give you some ideas on how TikTok can work for your small business.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
- How to start a small business TikTok account
- The TikTok algorithm
- TikTok audiences
- TikTok small business examples
- TikTok small business trends
- Video ideas
Creating a Marketing Strategy
The first thing you’ll want to do when getting ready to use TikTok as a marketing tool is have a strategy. Who do you want to reach? What are your business goals? What do you want your audience to get out of your content? Once you can answer these questions—you’re ready to make your small business TikTok.
How To Make a Small Business TikTok
Getting to know a new platform can be overwhelming, but one of the reasons TikTok is popular is its simplicity. If you do some exploring, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Follow these steps to start your TikTok journey:
- Create an account
- Set a Goal
- Explore on TikTok
- Get To Know Your Audience
- Plan and Create Your Content
Create an Account
- Download the TikTok app (Apple / Google). We recommend using the app version over the web version
- Choose a username—make sure it’s memorable and represents your brand
- Add a profile photo or video
- Link to your other social media accounts. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are all other great platforms to use
- Get to know TikTok—spend some time exploring the features of the app
Set a Goal
Before making videos on TikTok, you should know what your goal is. Set a goal for what you want to be known for and what you want to accomplish.
Do you want to increase sales of a certain product? Make it your goal to make high quality videos about that product. If you’re not sure, check out other small business accounts and see what products they post content for, how they interact with their audience, and what their bio says/looks like.
Explore on TikTok
Explore! Get to know the app, the interface, and the tone. Have some fun watching videos and getting to know what TikTok is all about. Try finding other small businesses that are successful on TikTok. Take inspiration from them, but use your unique voice to stand out.
Get To Know Your Audience
If you think of TikTok as a platform mostly for teens and young adults, you would be right. A large proportion of TikTok users are part of Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012). Look through the comments of other small business videos to get to know how TikTok users react to content. Trends will let you know what users on TikTok find fun and interesting!
Plan and Create Your Content
After getting to know your audience, exploring other small business TikToks, and setting goals–you’re ready to plan and create your content. Have a smart strategy for planning and posting content that involves timing and trends.
Using The TikTok Algorithm
The phrase “TikTok algorithm” may be unknown territory for you. Don’t worry–soon, it will seem like common knowledge. The algorithm is popular because of its difference from algorithms on other sites. Unlike other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, TikTok users are primarily engaging with strangers. This makes your small business even more discoverable to new people each day.
For You Page (FYP)
The FYP is the unique home page for each user on TikTok. When you create an account, you’ll be asked to select a few topics that interest you. TikTok will use this to create your FYP–an endless feed of videos. This feed is predicted by how a user interacts with the videos through liking, commenting, and even how long they spend watching the video. You’ll probably notice how your own FYP changes once you like some videos. Your content will need to stand out on an average user’s FYP—so you’ll need to think about what will make people pause on your video.
Hashtags are your best friend on TikTok! There are small business hashtags you can use in all your content, but make sure to tailor your hashtags to each individual video. For example, if your small business is in making digital portraits, make sure to include hashtags like “#portraits” and “#digitalartist.” Check out what hashtags other small businesses are using and what hashtags are trending that day on the “Discover” page.
Sounds are what make TikTok TikTok. Instead of just popular songs, sounds on TikTok include jokes, funny stories, jingles, and more. Some of them become new trends in a matter of hours. 67% of TikTok users prefer brand videos with popular sounds, so it is important to stay active on TikTok and pay attention to what sounds are trending. There is a sweet spot to hit when using a trendy sound–early enough that people still find it entertaining, but late enough that it attracts people to your video.
The videos you post on TikTok should be filmed for TikTok. This means they should be shot vertically in 9:16 and short in length. Vertical videos have a 25% higher six-second watch-through rate, which makes sense when you think about how a vertical video takes up more space on a user’s phone. Think about what attracts you to videos and use that in your content!
Influencers, a.k.a content creators with large amounts of followers, are another tool you can use in your marketing strategy. By having an influencer promote your product in their videos, you guarantee that their followers will see it. If you decide to go this route, make sure that the influencer you choose is someone you like who shares your values.
Small Business TikTok Audience
Most small businesses who post on TikTok are aiming to reach younger audiences. That is because TikTok users are mainly teenagers and young adults, and they are highly influenced by what they see online. It’s important to get to know your audience before you start making videos targeted at them.
Gen Z Is Taking Over
TikTok is known for being a recent platform that teens and young adults love. The good news is that as your business grows—so does your audience. You have the unique opportunity to attract customers that will be loyal to your business as it grows.
- 26% of TikTok users are ages 13-17
- 40% of TikTok users are ages 18-24
- 24% of TikTok users are ages 24-34
- 6% of TikTok users are ages 35-44
- 2% of TikTok users are ages 45 and above
This means that your content is being seen by an age group that is different from previous generations. Your small business can make the most of this by getting to know what they want.
What Does Gen Z Want From Small Businesses?
Gen Z is different from other generations in that they want to buy from businesses they like, relate to, and trust. They want to purchase from unique small businesses that have values similar to their own.
So what does that mean for you?
We identified some traits as desirable to Gen Z that you’ll want in your small business. Here they are:
- Authenticity and relatability — Gen Z loves businesses made up of real people that care. They want to know that the person behind the screen understands them and relates to them.
- Unique branding — People in this age group tend to like businesses that share their values. This is why you should strive to be creative and original—this will attract the audience that you want.
- Inclusivity and diversity — Gen Z is changing expectations of diversity and inclusive branding—they like companies that are made by real people for real people.
- Customization — 48% of Gen Z shoppers want the ability to customize products for themselves. This can include putting their initial on the product, choosing the colors, or having a photo printed onto a product.
Small Businesses on TikTok
TikTok can help small businesses reach larger audiences and create more engagement. One of the reasons is that TikTok has an immersive and engaging environment that differs from other platforms. TikTok gives users a personalized experience, which means that your small business is being shown to people who are more likely to buy your product.
Small Business TikTok Examples
Many small businesses use TikTok to get their message out there and form a close relationship with their audience. You can gain inspiration from some small business accounts who follow TikTok trends closely, engage with their viewers, and make unique products.
Some examples of small business TikToks we identified are:
- @moreofsafetyboutique: Safety keychains with a target demographic of young women
- @siderswoodcrafting: Woodworking with a target demographic of young adults and homeowners
- @happyandpolly: Cat products with a target demographic of cat owners
- @cheerwareco: Glasses and cups with a target demographic of coffee/iced drink lovers
- @designsbyfelicias: Clothing with a target demographic of teens and young women
TikTok Trends for Small Businesses
These small business TikTok accounts all have something in common: they follow trends, have a consistent style, respond to comments, advertise new products, and have a unique brand. You’ll want to pay close attention to the trends they follow, like:
Responding to comments is popular for showing your viewers that there is a real person behind the business. It shows your authenticity—that you read comments—and your relatability—you see your comments and get affected by them. One popular trend on TikTok is responding to a criticizing comment and proving it wrong. Have some fun with these trends by telling your story in a relatable fashion or making products for your favorite holidays.
TikTok Small Business Ideas
Outside of trends, there are plenty of small business TikToks you can make at any time. Just make sure you’re having fun with the videos you make and don’t get discouraged if you don’t blow up right away.
Small Business Ideas on TikTok
Here are some ideas that take inspiration from existing small business TikToks:
- New Products
- Restock Announcements
- Product Information
- Product Creation
- Packing an Order
- Designing/Creating a Product
- Office Design/Products You Use
Posting new products and restock announcements can excite your audience and remind them to purchase from you. TikTok videos on product information show off the amazing quality of your work in an easy-to-find place. Designing and creating your product shows the audience that you are authentic and put care into your work.
Packing a customer’s order is another way to show your audience that a real person is behind the camera, which is what your target audience wants to know. You can also post videos about your office space and small business products that you use, making small business friends who will advertise your products and collaborate on ideas.
Even though all of these ideas exist on pretty much every small business TikTok, each brand does them differently. Choose some colors and text themes to add fun to your videos and make them unique. Your videos should have defining factors that make them yours.
Sharing Your TikTok
While we’re focusing on TikTok, you should also share your videos to other platforms! This will help your followers see it and attract people who don’t use TikTok as their main form of social media. You can either share the video through the TikTok app or download it. For platforms like Instagram Reels, you will want to have your video filmed beforehand so you can post it without the TikTok logo.
TikTok Small Business Smart Tips
TikTok provides a personalized experience for both you and your audience. Your audience research, video content, posting times, hashtags, and sounds will all depend on your personal brand and the goals that your small business has. Once you have the basics figured out, you’ll want to stay open-minded to keep learning and growing.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Make your video format consistent
- Follow and collaborate with other small businesses
- Stay up-to-date on TikTok grants
- Engage with your audience
Make your video format consistent
Generally, you want your videos to be short, to the point, and eye-catching. Viewers are more likely to watch through videos that are less than 60 seconds long and don’t leave any information out.
Follow and collaborate with other small businesses
Small businesses on TikTok love to support and promote other products. Make sure to follow businesses who have values that align with yours and like and comment on their videos.
Stay up to date on TikTok grants
You can stay up to date on TikTok’s small business grants and programs through their newsroom. TikTok recently partnered with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to grant awards to Latinx business owners. Keep an eye out for a grant that may apply to your small business.
Engage with your audience
The most important thing as a TikTok creator is your audience. Respond to comments, address questions and concerns, and pay attention to changing trends. Form a relationship with your audience that is more than just numbers on a screen.
Small Business TikTok Resources
Starting a small business TikTok may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The more videos you make and the more you use the app, the easier it will be to know what content you want to make. TikTok trends and audiences change often, so don’t be afraid to change your strategy and adapt.
Here at Slam Media Lab, we have plenty of resources to help you get started and turn your great ideas into viral videos, and we can help with your small business content strategy for all social media platforms. For more info on leveraging TikTok in your content marketing strategy, check out our article on TikTok for nonprofits.
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