Maybe you are waiting for your business to grow a little more or make it big before you debut on TikTok. Or maybe, you’re stumped as to how to even start your account. TikTok is home to a plethora of short videos that can range across all topics. From recipe videos to book recommendations, to celebrity memes, there’s something on there for everyone.
That being said, why not take advantage of the audience on TikTok? As a small business owner, knowing your audience, your product, mission, and paying attention to TikTok trends can just be the tip of the iceberg to launch a viral TikTok as a small business owner.
Here at Slam Media Lab, we have worked with small businesses, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies to help grow their TikToks.
From tech, education, health, direct-to-consumer, to entertainment, we’ve done it all. We’re here to help you map out your content and build it for success.
In this post, we’ll break down TikTok for small business:
- What is TikTok
- Why small business TikTok
- How to start
- TikTok small business tips & tricks
- Small business TikTok examples
What is TikTok?
When TikTok first launched in 2016, the app mostly consisted of fun dances and niche humor for Gen Z and millennials. From long sarcastic story-time monologues to daily astrology readings, the app offers just about anything. Which is exactly why a small business can do so well on the platform.
What makes TikTok different from other video streaming platforms?
- Personal Curation
TikTok is known more as one of the less “filtered” social media platforms. Rather than creating perfectly angled Instagram posts or YouTube videos with impeccable editing, TikTok welcomes authenticity from its creators.
Whether that be a stripped-down transparent video between a content creator and their viewers, or even a behind the scenes video on how shoes are made in a factory. The genuineness that TikTok provides over other platforms is what draws in its audience.
Of course, there are many other strategically filmed videos with beautiful cinematography. What is most important though, is delivering to your target audience.
Which brings us to the second point, personal curation. TikTok has what is called the “FYP” or the “For You Page.” If you are unfamiliar with the term, the FYP is much like Instagram’s explore page. It is the feed of recommended videos shown to you based on your likes and interactions.
For example, if you begin to like videos about puppies and comment here and there on puppy related videos, TikTok’s algorithm will start to place more puppy related videos onto your FYP.
What this means for your small business on TikTok
As a TikTok small business, the FYP is going to be your best friend. Whether you already have a business established and are looking to create TikTok content, or if you’re looking to start your business on TikTok, you will start with zero following. That means the only way to gain followers is by landing onto their FYPs.
Don’t worry though, the beauty of TikTok is that anything can go viral. You don’t need a budget that breaks the bank to hit a million views, sometimes good lighting (or bad) and an oddly satisfying shot is enough to become viral overnight.
Once you gain followers, you’ll still want to continue to create content that lands on FYPs. The audience on the app is astounding, and constantly having outreach on there is to your small business TikTok account’s best benefit.
How to Start a TikTok for Your Small Business
Creating your small business TikTok is one of the first steps to expanding your online presence and ultimately growing your business. Here, we’ve broken down the TikTok account set up and brand development process to guide you through this journey.
- Create an account
- Connect social media accounts and links
- Establish your small business TikTok
Create an Account
Download the TikTok app and create an account. However, instead of making a personal account, you’ll want to make a TikTok Business Account.
Rather than having a personal account, the TikTok Business Account is perfect for small business TikTok. Not only is it free but you’ll get these features and more:
- Real-Time metrics
- Audience Insights
- Call-to-action buttons
- Promote on TikTok
- Business Creative Hub
- Access to pre-cleared sounds
Besides the launch of TikTok Business Account in 2020, TikTok has created the Business Creative Hub. By offering guidance on content creation and trends, this tool is one of the ways to help grow your TikTok small business.
Connect Social Media Accounts and Links
One of the great ways TikTok sets up account bios is by allowing to connect other social accounts and inserting your small business TikTok website. Using tools such as LinkTree takes users to another landing page where all of your desired links are displayed. That way, when visitors click into your account, they can not only see videos, but links to your website and other accounts as well.
Connecting social media to your small TikTok business profile:
- Tap “Profile” on the bottom right
- Tap “Edit Profile”
- Tap “Add Instagram to your profile” or “Add YouTube to your profile”
If you have other social media accounts or links, feel free to add a LinkTree directly into your bio. This allows you to connect your audience and potential customers to your website and other platforms on the web.
Now that you’ve set up the basics of your Small Business TikTok, it’s time to scroll around and tinker with the app. Look up other TikTok small business accounts similar to yours to see what they’re posting and how they’re posting.
Establish Your Small Business on TikTok
If you already have a website and other social media platforms, you may already have your online presence established. However, if not, now is a great time to cultivate your TikTok small business brand voice and presence.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What does my small TikTok business sell?
- What is my small business TikTok purpose?
- Who is the target audience my TikTok should be angled for?
- How old is the audience?
- What are their beliefs/interests?
- What is my brand voice? (Ex. Humorous, serious, formal, informal, etc.)
- What is my brand’s personality?
Check out this article for more information about creating your brand voice. The cultivation of your brand voice/personality is one of the most important components of your small business presence on all platforms. By syncing all your social media platforms, website, emails, etc. with a specific brand voice, this will be how you communicate with your customers.
In terms of TikTok, your small business brand voice and personality take part in what types of videos you post. If you are a beauty brand, your voice might be slightly formal but uses slang to appeal to your Gen Z audience. Certain videos you could create may be high-definition videos showing your product, and others could be trendy videos that are popular on TikTok during the week.
Your small business on TikTok not only incorporates brand voice/personality through the types of videos you post and caption, but also how you interact with other videos, such as commenting.
Now that you’ve established your voice as a small business owner on TikTok, it’s time to create content. TikTok allows for videos to range from 3 seconds to 10 minutes long. Additionally, we recommend updating your TikTok about 3-5 times a week for best results.
There’s More to Small Business TikTok Though
By following steps 1-5, you’ve just set yourself up for success as a small business owner on TikTok. However, there are a few more tricks we recommend you use as you work on growing your presence.
Here are a few more components we’ll go over to set you up for success:
- TikTok Ads for small business
- Ecommerce Storefront
- Sprout Social
Using Hashtags to Improve Discovery
One of the best ways to have your content discovered and searchable is by including hashtags. Make sure to use relative hashtags and keep them to a minimum. Accounts that follow certain hashtags are more likely to come across your content. Additionally, if someone is searching up a product your small business TikTok specializes in, they’ll be more likely to find it.
Finally, check out the hashtags that are trending and being used by competitors with small business TikToks similar to yours. When you go to add hashtags to a video, trending hashtags for the day will appear below as recommendations. Some of these hashtags have thousands to billions of uses. Furthermore, by using the same or similar hashtags competitors use, when their videos are found or suggested your content is likely to be shown as well.
Taking Part in Trending Sounds
Another way to boost your likelihood of discovery on the FYP is through using trending sounds. Many trending TikTok challenges and trends are born through associated sounds. These trends are made practically every day and can last from a week to months. You can shape your content around these trends to get your message out there as a small business owner TikTok while also gaining good exposure.
Mention Your Location
Whether it’s talking about your location, tagging it before posting, or even including it in your caption, TikTok’s algorithm recommends videos to users not only curated through their following and likes, but also by where they are located. Meaning if your small business from TikTok has a physical location, this not only gains attention for your account online, but can also bring customers to your store.
Utilizing TikTok Ads Manager
Moving on from basic methods of account growth, one of the perks of a TikTok Business Account is access to the TikTok Ads Manager. This feature allows you to set your goals, audience, budget, ad design, and more.
Using TikTok Ads Manager to combine your organic content with paid campaigns is the recipe to reach the widest audience for your TikTok small business.
Ecommerce Storefront for Small Business Shops on TikTok
If your small business TikTok sells a product, creating your own TikTok store is another way to up your awareness and sales. Your products can be shown right on the app, making it easy for customers to purchase and check out through Shopify.
Organizing Your Social Media Using Sprout Social
As a small business owner TikTok, utilizing social media management tools such as Sprout Social will save you time in updating all your platforms. By connecting your TikTok to Sprout Social, plan an editorial social media calendar, schedule posts, and monitor performance with ease along with your other social platforms as well.
Take The Opportunity
Taking the leap to post content on TikTok as a small business owner is a step in the right direction to growing your business. As this platform appeals to a wide variety of audiences, you are opening up your opportunities of being discovered! Through utilizing TikTok’s business account features, regularly updating with quality content (that fits your brand personality) and using a few of the tips and tricks given in this post, your TikTok small business will be on its way to taking off!
Let’s Analyze Some Small Business TikTok Examples
Check out Elyse’s small business owner TikTok @eylsebreannedesign. With a total of 468.7K followers, her videos on how she runs her stationary store have thousands of views.
- 4.3M views
- Elyse shows how expensive it is to run her business
- This gives viewers and customers interesting and authentic insight
- Hashtags such as #businessowner, #smallbiztok, #whatispendinaday, and more are used
- Cheeky caption, “so I guess I could’ve bought a couple of cars instead 👀”
- Use of popular sound Monkeys Spinning Monkeys, typically used to depict chaotic events
- Bio with physical store address and links to her other sites/platforms
- Consistent casual narration
- Use of trending sounds
- Daily posting
- Interactions with comments
Nancy’s small business owner TikTok @lashedupp has become successful by telling outrageous customer stories with her shop. With a following of 277.3K, Nancy typically shows herself packaging small trinkets such as candy and beauty products, to give a behind the scenes of her business.
- 102.4K views
- Nancy shows herself packing an order sped up while having the TikTok narrate text to tell her customer story
- Hashtags used are #smallbusiness and #fyp
- Casual caption, “small business problems 😩”
- Trending sound used, Blue Blood
- Bio with links to other sites/platforms
- Customer stories playlist
- Posts every 2-3 days
- Interactions with comments and uses video replies
- Fast paced customer stories inform viewers not only about her products and business experiences, but also about her customer service
Dasie’s TikTok small business @charmedbydasie with 61.5K followers promotes her jewelry business. Her product and TikTok content appeals more to Gen Z audiences with her casual and spontaneous brand personality and trendy jewelry.
- 1.2M views
- Short video less than 10 seconds, but shows the product and price
- Some hashtags used are #fyp, #smallbusiness, #beadedbracelets, #smallbusinesscheck, #bracelets, and #shopblackownedbusiness
- Relatable caption, “i’m running out of ideas 😓”
- Bio entailing business product and processing time
- Links to Instagram and website
- Content alternating between random TikTok trends and trends while relating it to jewelry
- Interacting with comments
Figure Out What Works for You and Your Small Business TikTok
After analyzing these small business video TikToks, we can see that there is not one specific formula that works for all small businesses. However, there are common trends between them:
- Informational bios with links
- Hashtag use
- Trendy sounds and TikTok trends
- Audience interaction
- Consistent Posting
- Brand voice/personality consistency
Even though these brands differed in the products they sold, they each included information to find their products and incorporated ways to boost their content such as hashtags, sound use, and consistent posting.
As for areas that were slightly different, even though each brand included similar small business hashtags, @charmedbydasie goes into more detail by including hashtags about her specific product. Finally, each business used a different personality/voice fitting for their audience and product. @eylsebreannedesign was casual, yet informational with her brand. While @charmedbydasie and @lashedupp were even more personal in their brand voice but still informational and appealed to their audiences with their specific content.
With the use of these main points from earlier:
- TikTok Ads for small business
- Ecommerce Storefront
- Sprout Social
Our team at Slam Media Lab has given you some of the foundational keys to grow your small business TikTok. What’s left for you is to hone your account according to the best way it fits your business.
Want some more help? We’re so excited to help your business grow, reach out to us here!
Free Small Business TikTok Tools
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We also have a post on small business TikTok ideas to help you get started quickly.
You can also check out our blog where our post on How Nonprofits Can Leverage TikTok to Reach a Wider Audience can give you some more tips even if you’re not a nonprofit. And if you're a restaurant using Toast, we can help design a website!
In addition, we just released our Airtable content calendar, where you can take control of your content machine and plan all of your content in one place. Get it today for FREE!