There's no denying TikTok has taken over the social media scene (and teenagers' lives) by storm.

As an ecommerce business owner, you should already be on the platform and taking advantage of everything it has to offer because, well, tick-tock, time is passing you by and every second you're not on it is wasted potential.

But what makes TikTok stand out from other social media sites and how should you market on it?

To answer these questions and more, we're joined by Oberlo's very own TikTok master, Neal Chauhan, who will let us in on some trade secrets of his.

If you're looking to understand this latest social media phenomenon, you're going to want to tune in to this episode.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and if so, do subscribe!

Fancy a condensed TL;DR version of our chat with Neal? Here's a seven-point summary:

  1. There's a substantial group of entrepreneurs both expert and aspiring that are on TikTok.
  2. The way to TikTok success is through authenticity.
  3. Most of the TikTok videos that do really well offer more value than others.
  4. It may take a while for TikTok's algorithm to latch on to your business niche.
  5. Don't try to use TikTok like every other social media platform because it's not.
  6. When marketing on TikTok, it's important to pop in and interact with other users.
  7. Do not overload your TikTok bio or captions with hashtags. Add a few specific ones to steer the algorithm in the right direction.

Start Yours is a podcast about ecommerce, dropshipping, and all things launching a business.

Join us as we meet entrepreneurs who have gone through the triumphs and headaches of running an online store, and learn how they managed to survive and thrive.

What Do You Mean You Run a TikTok Account?

Aleisha: Neal, we started our jobs at Oberlo the same week, and we both were given the keys to the car, so quite big platforms when it comes to working with Oberlo. You are the master of TikTok, and I'm the mistress of podcasts. 

So tell me a little bit about how you got into this role and also TikTok, it's a pretty niche thing. What do your friends say when you say, "Hey, I run a TikTok account"? I'm sure the responses might be mixed.

Neal: Yeah, very good question. So first off, thank you for having me, this is my first ever podcast, this is so cool.

Aleisha: Oh my pleasure, pleasure.

Neal: Yeah, most of my friends don't really believe me when I tell them what I do for a living.

Aleisha: Right.

Neal: The fact that I essentially run TikTok as my day job is really interesting. I love the fact that we're able to speak to this previously untapped demographic of these aspiring business owners, and... I can't think of a better platform to do that. 

I might be a little biased, but I think it really is the coolest thing ever.

Aleisha: Yeah, I mean, when we first met and we had our first chat, I was like, "This is a really niche gig," but also, can I just say, not to get too, you know, I don't wanna toot your horn too much, but I will, Neal, that you have now built, as of this podcast recording going out, a community.

You've got over 70,000 followers and 700... Over 700,000 likes on TikTok, which is pretty massive. So congratulations. You just started that from square one, zero when we first met, there were barely any people doing what you were doing and following you, so it's pretty extraordinary what you've achieved in such a short amount of time.

Neal: Yeah, thank you so much. I think a lot of it, and definitely don't give me all the credit, I think a lot of it comes...

Aleisha: Come on, just take it...

Neal: I think a lot of it does come from the fact that we're offering the TikTok community something they wanted and the fact that it's been received so positively has been so overwhelming and amazing on our part. So it's definitely been a team effort, but just seeing the things that we do work is kinda the biggest reassurance out of all of this.

Aleisha: Yeah, and I think it's interesting because I'm sure if you were to stop people on the street, obviously in these COVID times, no touching, social distancing must be... Must be remaining. But if you were to stop people and sort of say, "What do you expect to see on TikTok?" 

What's your initial response, Neal? What do you think people would say when you say, "I run a TikTok account," what do you think people think you do?

Neal: I think a lot of people think I dance. I think the first thing is people are like, "Oh, so you renegade on there? Are you an influencer of some sort?" and it's surprising. 

I don't think many people are aware of this genuine group of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs that exist on the platform. 

I think so many people see it as face-value, just cat videos, and memes of which there are many, but there is this underlying group of hungry aspiring kids who want to change their lives and that's kind of the demographic we're tapping into that, frankly, before I started this, I didn't really even know existed...

Aleisha: That's so interesting. I'm working on an episode that's coming up hopefully in the next month or so, about underage or young entrepreneurs and dropshippers specifically. When we were sort of talking about it during this episode, it really sang to me, 'cause I sort of thought, "Well, this is actually probably where we can really get into the nitty-gritty of marketing to that market as well as seeing who might be watching your videos," which, I think, I'd be really interested in drilling into a little bit more. 

But seeing that you, you know, you talk to teenagers now and they're like, "I'm not on Facebook, what a nana thing to talk about," which makes me laugh, 'cause I'm like, "Oh, I'm on Facebook. I like Facebook." 

But then the kids aren't... The kids, I sound like... This is where I sound like a grandma. Just disclosure here, we're not that... I'm not that old, Neal is not that old, but it just makes me feel like when we're talking about marketing to 17-year-olds or 15-year-olds, it's a completely different domain for... Where they're watching and where they're viewing and what information they're taking in. So your primary target audience is people who wanna learn about business but are young as well.

Neal: Exactly, I would say the predominant group of people that do follow us are maybe not even current entrepreneurs, just people who are either in high school or college about to enter that workforce. Or maybe they've had their first part-time, full-time job and maybe they like it, maybe they don't. 

But we're tapping into that demographic who knows there can be more out there, and that demographic who want something different.

Aleisha: So when you first started, did you sort of know that that was the market, that's who you were going to be targeting and getting this information to? 

Neal: I had no idea. When I started this, I was just hoping that it would stay alive and the channel would grow long enough for me to make my mark... Somehow, I didn't know who we were targeting. When I inherited the channel, we had, I think, 103 followers at the time, so there weren't a ton of existing metrics or anything to go off of. 

And then it just became this really interesting back and forth of trying different marketing experiments through TikTok videos and then stuff works, stuff doesn't... And eventually, we kind of stumbled upon that demographic...

Aleisha: Interesting. I've been going back through the feed and you really can spend a lot of time looking into all of the back catalogs. How has your presentation changed from when you first started? 

Neal: You know, that's one of the things that I've had countless conversations with my team about it's... The concept of how do you market to this brand new demographic, this younger millennial Gen-Z, they're hungry for change, but they also aren't necessarily the most accepting of larger corporate entities on the platform.

Aleisha: Oh yeah, good.

Neal: If I could sum it up in a word, I think authenticity would be the way to go. Our content has relatively had the same tone throughout the entirety of us posting. It's always been me talking to the camera with some screenshots. 

But I think the one thing that's been underlying while everything else changed was the fact that we were just entrepreneurs trying to talk to other entrepreneurs, we weren't coming at it from, “We are some big company trying to convert people to the platform.”  We just want other people to experience what entrepreneurship has to offer.

Aleisha: That's so interesting, 'cause I know that David and I talk a lot about the podcast and what we wanna bring to people and we're in the same boat. We all work for Oberlo and we love it, but it's also not necessarily our primary goal to be a branded podcast. 

So I think it's a really good thing to say that, which brings us really neatly to the topic of today about marketing on TikTok if you are a brand or if you've got a store or you're a merchant, how you can do what you're doing and still sell things or at least get your brand messaging out there without seeming hacky and that you're just there to make a sale. 

Because that's where I think a lot of people fall down on social media, that they jump on and they yell at people when people don't wanna be yelled at.

A Different Sort of Marketing on TikTok

Neal: Exactly. It's really interesting seeing the shift on TikTok from the stuff you typically see on your standard Instagram or Facebook ad. TikTok seems, and maybe I'm a little biased, but the most human social media platform I've seen so far. It really is just people talking to other people who fall within a similar engagement cluster, and that's I think what a lot of small businesses can start to leverage. 

I've seen so many people use TikTok's discovery algorithm for their own benefit, just posting interesting, genuine, and down-to-earth content where honestly, production value doesn't really matter, which is one of the few social media platforms where that's actually the case.

Aleisha: You are so right because I was looking at Instagram last night, I was doing the scroll before bed and thinking, "Gosh, it is... " And this is an obvious thing, but there is so much... The curation happening on Instagram, that's probably the word I would use if you were saying, "What's the one thing you'd say about Instagram?" 

It's like, "Well, everything's really pretty and people don't really... " Even though I'm sure there are many authentic things that have been curated. But it's also really... It's hard to say that you're going to look at a picture of a plate of food that doesn't look gorgeous and edible, you don't wanna...

Neal: Exactly...

Aleisha: Or if you do see something that's not... You're like, "Ugh get off my feed. I don't want this crap on here because it's ugly, it doesn't look edible." Or whatever... But I think with TikTok, when you're in, when you're sort of in it... You don't... I don't take notice of that at all if something doesn't look as sexy and filtered as it should.

Neal: It almost makes it more appealing, exactly. I think Instagram is phenomenal when you're trying to curate this clean presence of your brand, which of course in some aspects is super important. 

But at the same time, I think when it comes to TikTok, what a lot of small businesses who are doing TikTok correctly are doing, it's just that, "Hey, here is me, a human being and a business owner, this is me going through my day." or "This is me decorating cake,” or building a necklace, just normal, not flashy or pretty things for the sake of it. 

And I think that's what people really connect to, it's maybe a little refreshing compared to what they're used to on social media.

Aleisha: When it comes to the look of things, and I really wanna go back... Rest assured, if you're listening and you're like, "I don't know... I don't know what to do, where to start with TikTok," I'm gonna get into that in a second.

But I just wanted to talk a little bit about the Oberlo, the page when you first go... And I'm on a desktop at the moment looking, and it's a different experience when you're on a phone, so we can also look at that about how we're marketing to people and what various platforms they might be consuming the content on. 

But what I've noticed is that you have really developed a consistency in the look of posts. So if you're looking at the wall of feeds, you've always got a really strong heading so it captures attention straightaway of going, "Okay, I know what this video is gonna be about." It could be a question, it could be a headline. 

And then your videos are pretty swift... Like you really get to the point. Tell me a little bit about how you came to the decision, and I know you said there's been a lot of work over the last six months in developing this. But how did you get into the look of it all and decide, "This is what we're gonna focus on." and have that consistency.

Neal: You know, it's funny, I think a lot of it just came down to... I've been out one to two pieces of content a day for the past six months. A lot of them have done really poorly and I think that was an interesting learning exercise. And as time went on, you kind of filter out what doesn't do so well, and you start getting into this really cool pattern of generally well-accepted posts. 

One of the things that we've seen, and to your point of the swiftness, it's timeliness. People on TikTok seem to scroll through their "For You" page and it's not too often you'll be able to capture someone's attention enough for a full, minute-long video. I think that's one of the reasons that we've been aiming more towards those 15-second ones. 

And of course, with some larger topics that need more time, we either break it down into multiple sections or even hop on a live chat and talk to people in real life. I think the most important thing is figuring out where people find your videos. 

An interesting TikTok statistic that I'm seeing is, most of the people that watch our stuff are coming straight from the "For You" page, they're not necessarily already on our page. 

So while the headings are super useful for categorization's sake, just having a strong opening two, three seconds is really important, so people don't skip you right to the next video.

Offering Value on TikTok

Aleisha: That's so interesting. So... Now, obviously, when, people are listening... Depending on... They're gonna go to the page and it's gonna be different content, but today when we're recording this, the top... What I'm looking at, desktop feed, you have on the second row a video that has... You're averaging about... What do you reckon? 10,000 views a video, maybe more. But this one has 50,000, 50.7K views, and the headline is "The three-dollar life hack that will change your life." And I'll play a bit of audio in now so you can hear it.

Neal (on TikTok): Here's a crazy life hack. Go to your computer and download TextExpander. It's a shortcut tool that can save you hours if you're messaging multiple people. This is huge if you're dealing with teachers, suppliers, or even customers. Tons of companies use it, and the link is in the comments.

Aleisha: Tell me, Neal, about that video and what it is that maybe set that one aside from the others.

Neal: Yeah, absolutely. So what's really cool about what we're able to do here at Oberlo and Shopify as a whole is to experiment. And hopefully, we can experiment so you, listening, don't have to as much. 

One of the things that we've seen are the videos that do really well, we've seen quite a few with 50,000, 100,000, I think our most-viewed video at this point is 800... 900,000 views, which is crazy to think about...

Aleisha: That's nuts.

Neal: It's just... I feel like it taps some sort of nerve to elicit a response from people. Whether that is a share or something they really wanna comment on or favorite or something like that. 

Most of the videos that do really well offer more value than most. 

And I think that's a really important distinction. Often, you'll see on other platforms clickbait being a super popular thing. But here, no matter how enticing your title might be, if the content, if the value isn't there, people are gonna skip it and they're not gonna interact. 

So I think that's what makes TikTok one of the more transparent platforms, and one of those things that make videos blow up as they do. It's just... If you tap into a nerve and you offer something really valuable, it can blow up.

Aleisha: Value is such a great thing to remember. I suppose that's a good little beacon to have in your mind when you're producing content for any sort of platform. It's to say, "Why would someone stop the scroll? Why would they spend the time to listen to what I have to say?" or "What's the message that you're actually going to take away?" It's a really good point that I think people often forget when it comes to making content.

Neal: I think coupling that with TikTok's incredible discovery algorithm, which, unfortunately, we don't know much at all about, but as it stands, as far as we know, people who watch your videos tend to enjoy videos in a similar niche.

So for anybody getting started on TikTok or maybe who have thought about it and haven't dived in just yet, once the algorithm learns what kind of videos you make and what channels are similar to you, I think that is when things tend to grow. 

I was looking at my analytics earlier today, and for the first month, maybe even two months, things were growing pretty slowly until we seemed to have latched onto the business niche, and then things seemed to explode. 

So it definitely takes time for the algorithm to learn your videos and learn your channel, but once it does, most of the people that are exposed to it are already kind of predispositioned to enjoy it, which is the most amazing thing.

Aleisha: That's great, 'cause it's really hard to do that if you are... For example, let's compare it to having a Facebook page, a business page, it's not... I mean you do select a category, if you are producing... If you are an ecommerce or you're doing dance lessons or whatever, you can select that, but that's not automatically putting you in front of the people that are wanting to consume what you're putting out there. 

So that's a huge leap that TikTok has made over the other platforms, I'm assuming, to actually serving content to people that want to see that.

Neal: Absolutely, and I think for any small businesses or even medium-sized businesses trying to jump into something, me, myself, as an entrepreneur, it can be a little intimidating starting a YouTube page or an Instagram page looking at competitors and seeing them already have 50, 100, 1,000,000 followers, whereas here... 

You can take us as an example, we started with nothing at the start of the summer, and just after some dedication and some interesting videos, things seemed to blow up. And I think that is what makes TikTok so special for people wanting to start a business or start some sort of following, it's just... 

People will find you. And that's the most amazing thing.

Marketing on TikTok: Ecommerce Example

Aleisha: Well, let's go to a business owner, or as you said, someone who... In the podcast, for us, we say it's about starting your own thing, and that doesn't necessarily mean you are leaving a full-time job to be an entrepreneur. It could just be a side hustle or just dipping your toe into something that might make you money or bring you joy in the future in a business sense.

So let's talk a little bit about... Should we use a hypothetical... Let's just create a business. I'm selling mugs that are super sassy and I wanna market them on TikTok but I've never used TikTok before. 

Can you talk us through the process of starting an account and not necessarily the ins and outs of the admin, but more about where we start with introducing who we are and the brand is to people, and then actually developing content that will help you mature that brand and get the algorithm cooking, so it's actually sending people that wanna buy my mugs to my page.

Neal: Absolutely. So when it comes to your sassy mug company, once you've registered your email and all that boring stuff, you can start with your first video. And me, as the person who, six months ago was making his first video, I was terrified. I had no idea what to do, I thought about some sort of introduction, jumping right into it. I think it took me the better part of a week just to finally commit and put something on the platform. And as soon as I did, that's when I realized that TikTok was a little different.

When people start looking at your videos, they're either going to already be on your profile and select it, or they're just gonna come across it on the "For You" page.

So the first thing I'd suggest is don't worry about making too large of an initial introduction, I would say start posting as soon as possible. With that said, I always like the idea of the human element. I think that's what made our page so successful and a lot of the other people that we follow as well. 

So starting up with a brief intro post on, "Hey, this is who I am, this is what I'm trying to do," would be a great way for people once they already find your page to learn a little more about you. 

From there, I would start with the actual products themselves. If you're making them, shoot some video of you on a time-lapse creating the actual mugs themselves or maybe hop into a quick video on how you're coming up with these slogans on the mugs. 

There are so many ways to go about that, but I think just approaching it from, "I am a human being just trying to launch a side hustle," you would be surprised by how many people treat that with the most positive interaction ever.

I've seen so many small businesses, restaurants, get tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of views and comments just based on, "I'm trying to start my dream and I need some help." And coming up across like that is so much more important in... From what we've seen versus just, I'm already an established brand and I'm gonna use this as a sales funnel

I think that's the one biggest takeaway is don't try to use TikTok like every other platform because it's not.

Aleisha: Oh, it's brilliant. And I think, coming back to the authenticity, it's... A lot of people would be going, " I don't, I'm scared to talk in front of the camera, I'm scared I wanna... Is my make-up on or whatever," that's my first instinct to go, "Do I want people to see me in this raw state?" 

But actually, as you said, you relate so much more to people when you realize the curation isn't there as much or it's not a perfect take, but also they've had a really good bit of messaging that you can take away and use later on or that they are struggling as well. 

I think seeing people... I'm not just saying it has to be all doom and gloom, but I do connect with people that are saying, "Oh, today was really hard," and then you go, "Yeah, it was hard. It sucked. Yeah."

Neal: Absolutely, I think you can relate to so many more people like that. The way I like to think of it is, Instagram is a bit of a highlight reel for your brand. It shows the products, the wins, and the big successes, and it does so beautifully. 

But TikTok is a look behind the camera. 

It's these little Q&A sessions and those lives and really everything that shows what goes into that business and the human or the humans behind that brand. And I think that's the most important thing, and at least the most important piece of advice for anyone who already has a business or someone who's thinking about it.

Communicating on TikTok

Aleisha: Tell me a little bit more about how we communicate via TikTok. Is there a way? You know, on Instagram, we get our hearts and people can leave comments underneath the post. On Facebook, they can DM you, same with Instagram as well, but it's probably less. Well, it's all joining together now, isn't it? Why am I passing judgment? But tell me a little bit more about how we communicate directly with people watching our videos.

Neal: Absolutely. So there are three main methods of communication. The first is a simple "like" you can do that on a video or you can like a comment. Personally, we do this as just a form of acknowledgment just to say, "Hey, we see you, and we appreciate that." 

The comments are where it gets the most interesting. People have free rein to comment on any video or any existing comment they've seen. And these are all public. So while you're welcome to filter out certain keywords, just for brand sake, it really is an open invitation to start interacting with people in the comments. 

I cannot tell you how important it is, at least from what we've seen, to pop in there and actually engage in communication. 

People click a video and if they see that the creator has responded to every or the vast majority of comments, that adds so much confidence to that person watching that video, it really shows that they aren't just posting and forgetting about TikTok existing. 

So those are the two ways. And the last one is just a standard DM, just like Instagram, Facebook, or any one of those other platforms. 

You'd be surprised how many people hit you up and just either ask for advice or say they enjoy the page or even shoot you a video that they enjoy and all of those are great ways to foster that community within the app itself.

Aleisha: Yeah, that's great. So there are lots of ways that you can communicate directly and obviously in your... Not obviously, but in the bio, you are allowed to leave a link and I've noticed in your... The Oberlo bio, you're using Linktree. Tell me a little bit more about Linktree, 'cause it's something we can use on other platforms as well, isn't it? 

Neal: Absolutely, so Linktree has been crucial for us. It's totally free for their beginner plan, and it just provides a way for people, once they click that, to see what other channels or websites that you're here to promote. So on ours, we have our Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and I think our website as well, it's...

Aleisha: And we’re there too, which is nice, Start Yours is there.

Neal: Yeah, you are. It is a whole lot easier having just one place for all that versus spamming a bunch of links. 

One of the things to note with TikTok is they don't necessarily want you to leave the app super easily.

So if you post a link in the comments, assuming the spam filter doesn't pull it, you'll have to copy and paste that, same with the bio, same with everything else, and that's why using something like Linktree in your actual profile is super, super important because anything you can do to save time and reduce those clicks is totally crucial.

Aleisha: Yeah, it's great. And it does give you the opportunity, I suppose, the Linktree link looks quite niche and then takes you to another page where you just see the banners and you can put your product there. You can really do anything, but it also gives you multiple options, doesn't it? So it's good to just not have that one link going to a landing page and then you're missing all these other potential people that wanna snoop around, see what else you're doing.

Neal: Yeah. And thankfully, it also has the ability you can just click your Instagram and link your YouTube channel as well, right to TikTok, so that does save quite a few clicks there as well.

Producing Pillar Content for the Different Social Media Platforms

Aleisha: You've just mentioned YouTube, and it's a really good segue. Thank you, Neal. Talking a little bit about repurposing content, I know a lot of people enter the social media world, especially promoting brands or businesses, and feel completely overwhelmed because you're being told, “Okay, you've got to produce a video in this shape and size for Facebook and Facebook looks at videos in a better way if it's 30 seconds to a minute. And then Instagram, it's gotta be in under a minute, and then TikTok, as you said, has been working well for you 15 seconds and under.” 

People can understandably freak out a little bit going, "Oh my gosh, have I gotta produce 28 videos a day, at different dimensions and times?" and it can feel a bit crazy when you're trying to start up. 

What are some tips that you can provide? 'cause I think you do it very well in repurposing content that has perhaps been made for YouTube or you're talking a lot about the Oberlo blogs, you look at the computers... Video at the computer screen, how does that work and also save you time and not the freak out that might occur when you're thinking about producing content for all of these various places? 

Neal: Absolutely, and that's, I think, a really good question. I've spoken to so many small business entrepreneurs who are currently using TikTok and it's hard. They don't have all this time to make brand new content for every single social media platform. 

Right off the bat, I think TikTok is definitely worth investing the time into. 

However, the way you do that, you can get a little creative. One of the things that I have been doing on our end is the concept of pillar marketing, and there is a ton of information online if you wanna Google that term. 

But essentially what I've been trying to do is take one large piece of content, let's say that is a 40-minute YouTube video that we have already on the channel or even some sort of podcast. From there, I can take the best things that I've learned, transfer that into a blog post or grab a couple of stills and put that on Instagram. Or in this case, cut it up a little and throw it on to TikTok. 

So with that logic, you can take one larger piece of content, whether that's your promotional trailer or an interview you've done, or really anything like that, and split it up.

The one thing that I do wanna note with TikTok is, while you very much can just post a video that previously existed on your YouTube, you have the ability to cut and paste and add effects on TikTok itself to the point where their green screen effect is something we use every day, and it's by far the best I've seen out of any social media platform. 

So definitely leverage the tools that TikTok provides you, but you can definitely repurpose some of your content. Just make sure that it looks like it was built for TikTok. Keep that time low and think of yourself as an average user. Would you watch the video? And if so, you might have a good shot at posting it.

Aleisha: Yeah, does it have value? Exactly. Going back to that great messaging you said before...

Neal: That's all it's about.

Aleisha: And I do love... Yeah, yeah, and the fact that I think a lot of people... And it's so good you mentioned that we then struggle to go, "I have nothing to talk about today, I've talked about my sassy mugs too much," but as you said, it could be about, "Alright, how do I brainstorm five sassy sayings that I'm gonna put on my new mug,” or “I've written a blog, how do I talk about that on TikTok?" 

But you do that so well by talking about, "Here's the latest blog we're doing, and here are three points that you might get from it." And then I think " All right, I still wanna go and read that blog," but also maybe I haven't got time to read it now, but I've had my three points. I get it. 

So I think it's about thinking laterally, isn't it? It's all about how you can convey that information and not have to just sit and talk to the camera if that doesn't make you feel comfortable.

Neal: Absolutely, and I think the word value can be interpreted in so many different ways to us. For me, for the longest time, it meant offering some sort of business knowledge to the followers. But let's say you do have that sassy mug company. If you can't figure out something to think of, value for that day might just be letting someone zone out and relax and watch you paint a mug for 60 seconds. 

There are so many ways to go about it. But you'd be surprised how well the satisfying videos do 'cause often people are so bombarded with information, especially on TikTok, they might need a minute just to breathe.

Aleisha: Oh, gosh, don't we all. I love a little making of something or a time-lapse video, I get sucked in by those so much, the cooking, any sort of art, sewing, I've been watching time-lapse sewing.

Neal: That's my entire "For You" page. You got it.

Using Hashtags on TikTok

Aleisha: Well, that's good, it's really good. Let's just talk before we... Before we head off, you've been a wealth of information and I'm very much enjoying talking with you, Neal, let's just go back to the algorithm. 

As you said, you mentioned before, no one really knows what's going on with it, as do we not really fully understand any of the algorithms, I suppose, because it's the companies that produce these social media platforms, it's their... I suppose their prerogative to keep us slightly in the dark as to how they're choosing content and who's winning and who's losing. 

But tell me a little bit more about what we can do with our profiles and make sure when we are generating this content that we can tag it all, create the content that hopefully will be then picked out by the algorithm and delivered to the people we want it to be delivered to. Is there any trick to it? 

Neal: Yeah, absolutely. So, using hashtags is an interesting topic when it comes to TikTok. I've seen so many people use the #FYP, which is the “For You Page” hashtag just because everyone else does. But in reality, with so many people using it, the chances someone will find your video just because of that tag are relatively slim to none. 

What I can suggest is, do not overload your bio or your captions with hashtags. 

We've tried it, it doesn't work. What we have seen is adding a few specific hashtags to, from what we've seen, just steer the algorithm into the right place. For example, on a recent video, we used #marketing, #businessTikTok, and #Oberlo and #Shopify, so that way, other people who are watching similar business videos or Shopify-related videos, things seem to get pulled in their direction. 

And I think that's the most important thing to think about when it comes to this platform being different is that there are so many people using it, and I guarantee you whoever is listening, whatever you start putting out there, there will be people who are interested in that. 

It's just about finding that user base, and I think doing so via carefully curated hashtags and even watching some other videos that you find within your niche would be a great way to give you some inspiration on where to go.

Aleisha: That's excellent. So I suppose it's just, yeah, powering on and not feeling that hesitation when it comes to in the early days producing content 'cause it does feel a little constricting, a little bit, when you're vague on, " I don't know what to talk about. I don't know what to do, " but as you said. Just start making it and get it out there and talk to them like they're your friends.

Neal: Absolutely, and any one of the gigantic creators that you see on the platform, it is important to realize that not too long ago, they started with zero followers making their first video, and they just happened to ride the wave of that discovery algorithm, and you absolutely can too.

Aleisha: That's amazing, Neal. Well, congratulations on the success so far, and I think there will be a lot more followers, and if you want to check out Oberlo's TikTok page, where should we go to spy on you, Neal, in a non-creepy way? 

Neal: So you can just search up Oberlo on the TikTok app if you have it downloaded and if you don't, it would just be tikok.com/ then the @ symbol Oberlo.

Aleisha: Awesome, thank you so much for sharing all of these lovely insights, and let's catch up again soon and talk more, TikTok 'cause there's so much more to say.

Neal: Absolutely. This has been such a blast, and as soon as I have a bunch more tips, I will let you know and let's hop on this again.

Aleisha: Deal. Absolute deal. Thanks, Neal.

Neal: Fantastic, take care.

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