The Ultimate Guide On TikTok For Business In 2021
TikTok has been making a splash in the business world. Although it was originally released in 2016, TikTok has exploded into the mainstream only over the past few years, reaching its height during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It should come as no surprise then that TikTok has become an important platform for businesses that want to reach the new audiences that call TikTok home.
But how exactly does TikTok for business work? And how can your business get the most out of a TikTok business account?
In this guide, we’ll answer all those questions and more. We’ll cover:
- Why you should use TikTok for business
- How to set up a TikTok business account
- How to use TikTok to promote your business
- Whether TikTok is worth it for small businesses
Why Should You Use TikTok For Business?
TikTok’s growth over the past few years has been nothing short of stunning. Within a relatively short time, TikTok went from a practically unheard of social media platform to a social network that was making headlines — and even causing something of a political circus!
But what’s been the driver behind TikTok’s swift expansion? It’s impossible to pin it down to one factor, but there are several aspects of the platform that have pushed it into the mainstream.
For one, TikTok is a social network that’s designed first and foremost for fun. And that makes it, well, fun to use. As a result, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that people come running to use a free app that’s genuinely and unabashedly fun.
Because the app is all about letting your hair down and having a good time, it creates a relaxed environment where people feel like they can be themselves. Unlike other social media platforms that still retain something of a distanced, business-casual vibe and corporations fill up the ad space with blatant advertisements, TikTok has been able to cultivate a space where users come across like real people, and ads are simply less in-your-face.
This live-and-let-live attitude where fun reigns supreme and money takes a back seat has given birth to an environment that radiates an almost child-like nonchalance. And of course — that’s brought the kids along with it.
There’s no doubt that TikTok has become the younger generation’s social network of choice. In fact, the majority of TikTok users are under 26, making it the go-to platform for businesses that want to reach Gen Zers.
All of this has culminated in a social network that is nothing short of a playground for self-expression, a sort of carefree sandbox where users can find and connect with like-minded individuals without any false pretenses.
For businesses, this means that TikTok is a marketing space that is not yet oversaturated and provides a direct line to the younger demographic.
However, TikTok has its own language, and if you want to be successful on the app, you need to make sure that your brand doesn’t break the unspoken rules of TikTok and come across like the sales-hungry corporations that the TikTok community has seemingly rebelled against.
But what do the numbers say about brands that are already using TikTok for business? As of May 2021, over 1,000 major brands are using TikTok for business. Active brands receive an average of 200,000 views per post and engagement rates of over 9%. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.
How To Set Up A TikTok Business Account
Making a TikTok business account is simple. To do so, the first step is download the app or sign up for TikTok on your computer. All TikTok accounts start out as personal accounts, which can be later upgraded to TikTok business accounts.
To start setting up your TikTok business account, download the app, and you’ll come to this screen:
When you hit sign up, you’ll be brought here:
After choosing your preferred signup method, you’ll arrive at the next screen. If you choose “Use phone / email,” it will look like this:
After you enter your email, you’ll be prompted to create a password:
Then, create a username:
After that, your personal TikTok account is officially created. Congratulations! Your profile will look like this:
To convert your account into a TikTok for business account, click the three dots in the top right. You’ll arrive at this page:
Select “Manage my account,” and you’ll see this:
Now, select “Upgrade Pro Account.” That will bring you to this screen:
Select business, and you’ll arrive at this screen:
Here, all you need to do is press the “Next” button. After that, you’ll be prompted to choose a category for your business:
Once you do that, you’re all set:
You now have a TikTok business account. You’re all done!
How To Use TikTok To Promote Your Business
There are several different ways you can use TikTok for business. Here are a few ways to consider.
Utilize TikTok Ads
TikTok ads are the most blatant incursion of the advertising world into the TikTok-o-sphere. Unlike the rest of TikTok, which features exclusively organic content (with the possible exception of influencer posts, depending on your definition of “organic”), TikTok ads are inorganic content: they are paid for and pushed to viewers.
In this section, we’ll cover the basics of TikTok ads.
How To Set Up A TikTok Ads Manager Account
Setting up a TikTok Ads Manager account is simple. To get started, just go to tiktok.com/business and click on the “Get Started” button in the top right corner. You’ll see this screen:
Enter your information as prompted and then click the “Sign Up” button. Next, TikTok will ask you for some additional information:
Simply enter the requested information and click “Register.” Your account is now registered. However, if you want to run ads, you’ll need to enter a bit more information. From your dashboard, select your profile icon, and then select “Account Info.”
Next, fill out the “Business Information” section on the next page:
Then, input your payment information. Once you’ve done that, your account will be ready for review, which can take up to 24 hours. If it’s approved, you’ll be ready to run ads on TikTok.
TikTok Advertising Options
If you want to advertise on TikTok, you have four options:
TikTok Brand Takeover ads appear to the target audience immediately upon opening the app. As a result, this is perhaps the best way to quickly reach a massive number of people. Here’s what a Brand Takeover ad looks like:
Although these ads are very effective, they are also very expensive, so they’re likely not the best choices for small businesses or brands that are just starting out. These ads tend to be better suited to large companies with large marketing budgets.
In-Feed ads are the types of ads that show up when a user is flipping through their For You page. They’re essentially the TikTok equivalent of Instagram story ads.
In-Feed ads can be between 9 and 15 seconds long and can include CTAs. However, they can easily be skipped, so you need to catch your viewer’s attention quickly if you want to make an impact.
Branded AR Content
TikTok Branded AR content is similar to Snapchat filters. You can create your own branded filters and then allow users to make use of them in their own creations.
These ads can be particularly effective because they become part of user-generated content (UGC), which is a bit more inconspicuous than other advertising methods. Viewers are less likely to view videos using branded filters as straight-up ads. Instead, the ads will be more of a sideshow, similar to product placement in a movie.
Custom Influencer Package
A custom influencer package isn’t a type of ad that you manage through the TikTok Ads Manager. It’s sort of a halfway point between organic content and a paid ad. Unlike TikTok ads, this is posted by a user and shows up just like any other video, but it’s a sponsored post.
To run an influencer ad, you’ll need to scope out a TikTok influencer (a TikToker with a substantial following) you’d like to work with, and then pay them to make a post about your product.
These ads are effective because viewers are more likely to see them like a recommendation from a friend than as a paid ad from a big company. As a result, they’re more likely to take them to heart and act on them.
Branded Hashtag Challenges
A branded hashtag challenge is a type of ad in which a brand asks TikTokers to create videos based on a prompt, i.e. a hashtag.
These types of ads reach the most people out of all types of ads and are consequently the most expensive ads to run. That said, they also work very well because on top of simply reaching a lot of people, you also reach them through user-generated content, which we’ve already established is particularly effective.
Work With TikTok Influencers
At the end of the day, TikTok is a social network, and that means that people come there to make connections with real people — not to watch ads. One of the keys to successful social media marketing is making people forget that they’re viewing advertisements by making it seem like they’re just receiving friendly recommendations from their peers.
And that’s precisely what TikTok influencer marketing does. Unlike regular TikTok ads, which simply beam marketing messages into viewers’ eyeballs, influencer marketing uses real people to promote products. It essentially leverages the power of social connection and the cult of personality to create an advertisement that feels authentic to viewers.
How To Find TikTok Influencers To Work With
The first step to running a successful influencer campaign is to find an influencer to work with. Here are a few ways you can do that.
InfluenceGrid is essentially a search engine for influencers. It allows you to search for TikTok influencers by niche, location, and username.
Once you’ve run a search, you can filter your results by various criteria, like location, age range, what other platforms they’re on, and more.
After you’ve pulled up your results, InfluenceGrid tells you important information about each of the influencers, like how many followers they have and what their engagement rate is.
From there, you can export your results to CSV for management in your CRM. Plus, you can also use InfluenceGrid to find validated email addresses for some influencers, which you can then use to reach out to them and make contact.
These features can help you connect with the right influencers and save time during your searches. By eliminating results that aren’t a good fit, you can make your influencer searches much more efficient.
Search TikTok Hashtags
One way to find influencers is to search for trending hashtags and see what influencers other similar brands are collaborating with. This strategy can work out well because it can help you keep tabs on who your competition is working with and what trends are hot.
Do a Google Search
Sometimes, the best strategy is also the simplest. If you’re not sure what influencers to contact, you can always run a Google search for influencers in your niche.
For example, if you run a fitness brand, sometimes finding the right influencer is as simple as searching for “tiktok fitness influencers” on Google.
From these results, you can find influencers like @meg.boggs, @eyalbooker, and more. It’s a great way to find influencers, but there is one downside: many of the influencers that the search returns will be at the high end of the influencer scale, so they’ll likely be more expensive to work with.
Create Original Content
We started off this article talking about how TikTok is built for fun. And yet, we’ve spent most of this article talking about advertising, which is practically the antithesis of fun — ads are what interrupts your favorite show and makes everyone groan. What gives?
If you figured that paid ads aren’t always the best way to get exposure on TikTok, you’d be correct. One of the best ways to build an audience for your business on TikTok is simply to post great, original, compelling, and unique content.
Of course, that’s also a lot harder than just paying for an ad that will be guaranteed to reach a certain number of people. Crafting memorable and lovable content is difficult, but it’s a rewarding pursuit.
It’s important to realize that you don’t need to dance or make a perfect video to create something compelling that people will want to watch over and over. In fact, sometimes imperfections make videos more compelling than they would be otherwise. TikTok is all about authenticity, after all, and authenticity shows up in the blemishes, not the Photoshop touch ups.
All you need to start building up your brand’s presence on TikTok are some rough ideas and a posting calendar. The key is simply to get out there, have fun, and experiment with new ideas to see what sticks.
If you’re in want of inspiration, you can always try checking out popular hashtags and jumping on a trend, whether it’s a song, filter, or something else. Just do your best to put your own unique spin on it so your viewers know it’s you.
Brands That Are Thriving On TikTok
The Washington Post
The Washington Post may not seem like your stereotypical TikTok brand, but the world-renowned newspaper has made a name for itself on the app. By assuming a more casual and funny vibe than the one they use on other social media platforms, they’ve concocted a TikTok hit.
Gushers have done well on TikTok by creating an account filled with fun and creative videos that fit in well with the rest of TikTok. They are able to have great production quality, while still maintaining a feeling of authenticity.
Crocs is another brand that has used TikTok with great skill. They’ve combined videos that utilize unique editing techniques with other more standard content to craft a great profile.
Is TikTok Worth It For Small Businesses?
When it comes to paid advertising, TikTok is a very different ballgame compared to other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. Unfortunately, TikTok is expensive, and that means that it’s simply out of budget for many small businesses.
But paid ads aren’t the only way to grow your business on TikTok. In fact, building your brand organically on TikTok is arguably better anyway.
If you’re considering using TikTok for business, the first step is to carefully evaluate whether it lines up with your target audience. TikTok is populated largely by the younger generations, so if you’re trying to market to Baby Boomers, for example, it’s probably not worth your time. Similarly, if you’re marketing to an erudite or sophisticated crowd, the fun, carefree nature of TikTok might not fit your vibe.
However, if you do decide that TikTok will work for your business, it can be a great way to show off your more personal and authentic side. For example, a small business, With Love, Imoni, used TikTok to tell her business’s story:
Other small businesses, like Slime Obsidian, use TikTok to show how their products are made:
Another small business, Palm and Anchor, succeeds on TikTok by posting behind the scenes videos:
TikTok has entered the mainstream at a rapid pace, and it’s now a platform that marketing pros have their eyes on.
However, TikTok has a more narrow appeal than other platforms, and its user base is mostly Gen Zers. Because of this, small businesses should think long and hard about whether TikTok makes sense for them.
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