Following closely behind Facebook and Instagram, TikTok is a social media powerhouse. It’s estimated that 45% of social media users in the US are using the platform. Whether they’re learning the latest viral dance or doing hashtag challenges, it’s clear that the TikTok community is thriving around the world.
This makes TikTok a great opportunity to grow your business reach and even make some online sales. But if you’re new to the platform, or to social media marketing in general, it can be a bit intimidating to know where to start.
Consider this article TikTok for Business 101. We’ll outline your first steps when it comes to getting to know the platform, creating killer content, running video ads, and engaging your audience every step of the way.
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Create a TikTok business account
Using TikTok as a brand requires you to create a business account. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Download, install, and open TikTok on your smartphone.
- Register for an account. You can use your phone number or email, or log in with one of the listed social media platforms.
- Enter a username. Then click Edit Profile to create a bio, upload a profile image, and link your YouTube and Instagram accounts.
- You’ve successfully created a TikTok account. But to access TikTok’s entire range of features, you’ll need to become a Pro user. To do so, click on the upper-right-hand corner of the Me tab (or the three dots icon).
- Tap Manage Account > Switch to Business Account.
- Select between Creator and Business as your account type.
- Choose the category that best describes your venture/business.
- Finally, add your email and website to complete your profile.
And that’s it. You are officially good to go. By upgrading to a TikTok business account, you’ll unlock a plethora of benefits, such as up-to-the-minute performance tracking for both organic content and advertisements, as well as the ability to direct traffic to external websites.
Get familiar with TikTok’s algorithm
When it comes to the TikTok algorithm, the For You Page is a game-changer. For those unfamiliar, it’s a personalized feed of videos tailored to each user’s interests that’s curated by the platform’s algorithm. Because it’s the default homepage for most users and where they spend most of their time, going viral on TikTok is easier. To make the most of this algorithm, keep in mind these top three factors that do and don’t influence it:
Factors that influence the algorithm
- User location determines the initial exposure of their TikTok account
- Audience interactions have a significant influence on TikTok’s choice for videos to show
- Using trending sounds and hashtags should help boost discoverability
Factors that don’t influence the algorithm
- The overall followers count
- Performance track-record of TikToks
- Age of the videos (i.e., how long ago they were published)
How to use TikTok for business marketing
The good news is that there’s no single right way to run your TikTok business account. That being said, there are some general tips and best practices you can follow to make sure you’re on the right path.
Do your research
One of the best ways to get a feel for the landscape is to dig in. Start by researching your competitors and other brands in your industry and niche. Head over to their TikTok accounts and gather as much intel as you can. Look for things like:
- The types of content they’re posting
- How regularly they’re posting
- How many followers they have
- How engaged users are with their posts in terms of likes, comments, and shares
- The posts that have been the most successful
- Any cool, creative, or successful ideas and strategies they’re bringing to the table
When you can see what works and what doesn’t, you’ll be one step closer to finding what will work best for you.
Set SMART goals
Sure, you want to go viral and hit a million followers as fast as possible. But let’s be real: it’s extremely rare to find that kind of success overnight (and any marketing guru who promises you that is lying!). The most level-headed approach involves setting tangible, specific goals that you can measure and reach incrementally.
One of the tried-and-true goal-setting exercises is called SMART:
- Specific: More than just “I want to be successful”—try something like “I want to grow my brand awareness” or “I want to increase my TikTok followers.”
- Measurable: Add some numbers to the goal, like doubling your followers in six months, or getting 1,000 new visitors to your website from TikTok in the next three3 months. Choose something you can track through TikTok or your website analytics.
- Attainable: Like we mentioned, one million followers isn’t going to happen overnight. Keep your goals attainable based on the amount of time and resources you can spend on marketing.
- Relevant: More than just getting more likes and views, make sure your goal ties into the core success of your business. What will the goal lead to that furthers your bottom line?
- Time-bound: In the “measurable” step, you’ll see deadlines. Set specific dates so you can hold yourself and your team accountable for meeting those goals.
You’ll want to consistently stay in the feeds of TikTok users so they build a relationship with your brand over time. That’s why you should have a consistent content strategy: create videos regularly and post them regularly.
Also take note of the best times of day to post. If you have a Pro account, you can navigate to Analytics and see the times of day that your target audience is most active.
Create “behind the scenes” content
TikTok is known for casual, informal content. TikTok users want to know who’s behind the brand, what they’re like, and what they stand for. “Behind the scenes” content is a great way to show the TikTok community who you are—and have some fun along the way.
Ecommerce businesses can do this by creating content about packing your orders, sourcing or creating your products, or the classic “meet the team.”
Share UGC (user-generated content)
Having trouble creating a ton of content? Try sharing content from other TikTok users. User-generated content can be an amazing tool to tap into your TikTok community. It also gives users the spotlight, giving them a little boost, and often a greater affinity toward your brand.
By posting original and user-generated content, Shopify works to build its social media community, showcase diverse content creators, and have a well-rounded and entertaining TikTok presence.
TikTok content best practices
Looking to create killer content that boosts your audience reach and keeps them coming back for more? Here are a few ways you can flourish through your content strategy.
The first few seconds are the most important. Make sure you’re packing a punch or you could risk losing your viewers. In this post, Cult Beauty leads with curiosity by asking, “Ever wondered what your skin care ingredients look like in their natural form?” Chances are, most skin care product consumers haven’t seen these ingredients before, so they’ll be enticed to stick around.
Keep it short
One of the main goals is for users to watch to the end. This means that shorter is better. If your videos are too long, you run the risk of losing their attention and having them scroll right past. Ideally, shoot for less than 30 seconds to a minute.
Take advantage of your amazing content by posting it on your other social media channels. For example, repost your TikTok video as a story or reel on Instagram or Facebook, or a YouTube Short. Just be mindful that the content “makes sense” on the other platforms too. Nobody knows your users better than you, so get a feel for which posts they may be more responsive to.
Streamline things with the Shopify TikTok sales channel
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed after digesting the steps on using TikTok for business, don’t worry! There’s a solution that can make your life a whole lot easier: the Shopify TikTok sales channel. Say goodbye to the headache of running campaigns and creating videos all on your phone. By simply adding the TikTok sales channel to your Shopify store, you can streamline your operations and manage everything efficiently, straight from your desktop.
Use the in-profile shopping tab
TikTok lets you add an in-profile shopping tab that enables viewers to access all your products with a swipe. Shopify store Kylie Cosmetics uses the shopping tab to make sales directly on TikTok.
Once your captivating product reels hook in your audience, they don’t have to leave TikTok and can make a purchase right there and then. For them, your TikTok profile is like a one-stop shop, so they’re likely to buy and come back for more.
Run, track, and optimize campaigns
All the tools you need to scale up your sales are right at your fingertips with the sales channel. From effortless Pixel installation to laser-focused audience targeting and campaign optimization, this integration has got you covered.
Find success on TikTok
While it may seem intimidating, tons of businesses use TikTok to help reach their goals. The name of the game is consistency: develop smart goals and a solid marketing plan, post regularly, track and measure your performance, and keep improving along the way.
With time, patience, and creativity, you’ll likely find that your goals aren’t so far away.
How to use TikTok for business FAQ
How does a business account on TikTok work?
If you’re familiar with personal TikTok accounts, you’ll have no trouble getting the hang of a business account. These accounts allow you to create and share videos, engage with other users, and more. However, a business account’s real value lies in its added resources. With a business account, you’ll have access to powerful analytics tools and advertising features, and the ability to create a customized business profile. Plus, you can add a call-to-action button and custom links that direct viewers to your app or website.
What are the disadvantages of using TikTok for business?
- When it comes to marketing options, TikTok falls a bit short. Companies aren’t able to track customer analytics or take advantage of features like influencer marketing, targeted ads, and A/B testing.
- Advertising options are limited. Companies can only advertise through sponsored posts, which aren’t always as effective as other forms of advertising.
- Customer service tools are also lacking on the platform. Businesses won’t find live chat or customer feedback forms, making it more difficult to engage with their audience.
- Creating content for TikTok can be time-consuming, as businesses need to create, edit and monitor the performance of their videos.
- Finally, TikTok’s strict content policies can make it difficult for businesses to promote their products or services.
How do I set up TikTok for my business?
- Create a professional profile: When building your profile, include your business name, logo, and a brief description of what you do in the profile information.
- Develop a content strategy: Take the time to figure out what type of content you want to post and how often you’ll post it.
- Endorse your content: Use relevant hashtags, link to other accounts in your bio, and consider using TikTok’s ads platform to give your content a boost.
- Evaluate your results: Dig into the data to see what type of content resonates best with your target audience. Then post more of such content to get more engagement and drive sales.
Is TikTok for business free?
No, TikTok for business is not a free service. In order to access its features, a paid subscription is required.
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