Should I Bother With TikTok For Business?
Written by Belicia Chevolleau
Wondering if the insanely popular TikTok can work for your business? Let’s walk through the considerations you should make before adding TikTok to your marketing strategy.
TikTok is a fun and engaging short-form video app owned by Chinese tech company, ByteDance. Users can shoot and edit all in-app; adding filters, music, and sound effects. The metaphoric love child of the obsolete Vine and Musical.ly earned a frivolous reputation as a platform for teens due to the mainstream content, dances, and lip-syncing videos that went viral.
However, if you are familiar with the runnings of the app, you’ll know Tiktok is much more than just dancing. But can it work for your business? Ask yourself these questions first.
Is your target audience using TikTok?
Known to those who don’t peruse the app as a ‘kids app’, this social media platform gained notoriety during the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic.
Most social apps received a little boost in downloads and usage since the start of the pandemic, but the video-based platform experienced a significant surge in popularity that led to over 300M downloads in a single quarter. As of April 2020, TikTok surpassed 2 billion downloads. As of February 2021, TikTok has over 1.1 billion monthly active users, which is pretty impressive!
According to Statista, Americans accounted for approximately 65.9M users in 2020. Of the 65.9M, 58% are women and 42% are male; women aged 20-29 make up the largest group from the demographic.
The short-form video platform is composed mostly of teens and young adults. Users range from little kids to college students and professionals to grandparents. As of March 2021, the primary American user bases are 10-19-year-olds who form 32.5% of U.S. users, and 20-29-year-olds who make up 29.5%.
For businesses with a target audience of 40-49, the percentage is much smaller. However, consider the context: 13% of users (aged 40-49) is still a whopping 8.45M.
Thirty-seven percent of U.S. TikTokers reported over $100,000 in household income, meaning the buying power is higher. Some creators gained riches from the app’s creator fund, partnerships, and sponsorships. TikTok also remains one of the top-grossing non-gaming apps with user spending estimated at $110M monthly.
If your business is local such as a restaurant or school, you can use your city’s hashtags to target users who live there. Some users even specifically say something like “If you’re from X, stop scrolling”.
And for global businesses, it’s much easier to reach a large audience.
TikTok has virtually every consumer niche you can imagine: parenting, cooking, branding, sports, books, photography, pets, beauty, technology, real estate, artists, and even small businesses.
The only type of business we don’t particularly recommend TikTok for are B2B businesses. It’s harder to succeed, but not impossible. There are a few wholesalers that promote their products on TikTok and reach other businesses that can rebrand them and resell them.
Unless your target audience is something obscure or ‘inappropriate’, chances are TikTok will work for you. It simply requires strategy, time, and creativity.
So, if the naysayers tell you TikTok is only for kids: ignore them.
Is your business visual?
TikTok is a visual app. As a video platform, what users see is important. Visual-only does not work as well on TikTok. Sound plays a huge part there, but it’s the combination of sounds with visuals that led to TikTok’s overall success.
If you have a physical product, it’s much easier to showcase. If you offer a service, we suggest having a spokesperson or you yourself can become the face of your brand.
Catch attention—fast! With short attention spans, TikTok users will scroll after 3 seconds if they feel like you have nothing to offer. You must give them a value proposition from the beginning to capture their shifting attention.
Until December 2020 TikTok videos were only 15-60 seconds long. Loops and short videos were two methods to gain more traction. However, some creators experienced difficulty fitting their content such as storytime or results (ex. photography or hair tutorial) into a single video. With short attention spans, users typically complain about Part 2s, especially when some users prolong their story for too long. TikTok users like short, straight-to-the-point videos unless they feel the payoff is extremely worth it.
In a new update, select creators are able to upload 3-minute long videos.
An amazing part of TikTok is the user-led initiatives for accessibility and inclusion with captions, flash warnings, and trigger warnings. The platform aims to be more accessible to the blind and hard of hearing community. Before auto-generated captions, some users manually typed text to assist the hard-of-hearing and visually-impaired community. Captions allow visually-impaired users to enjoy TikTok since screen readers read the text to them, and hard-of-hearing to see what TikTokers say or the lyrics of the sounds they use.
We highly encourage businesses to make their content as accessible as possible. Not only will this increase your audience, but it’s just good practice for creating a more inclusive space.
What “fun” can bring to your business?
Adding TikTok to your content strategy not only helps with organic reach, but it increases brand likeability. Good personality wins on TikTok. Remember the hilarity when Wendy’s started roasting people on Twitter? The sassy but likable personality shot Wendy’s into stardom.
Here’s another example. Certain local branches of the Canadian supermarket chain, NoFrills, post trendy videos with their employees that make users either 1) want to shop there, or 2) work there. Why? Doing these trends, dances, and posting original content builds a positive impression of the brand and establishes an emotional connection and trust with their audience.
Maybe dancing or lip syncing isn’t your thing. You definitely don’t need those to be successful on TikTok. However, having fun with your business makes people like you more, and who doesn’t want to support someone they like?
If your business is creating handcrafted vintage shoes, film behind-the-scenes segments of how they are made. Maybe you’re a real estate agent, then showcase a stunning property and make users guess how much it costs. If you sell business coaching services, demonstrate the results. There’s tons of existing content you can take inspiration from to adapt to your business.
One of the best ways to go viral is by hopping on trends when they’re fresh. Using the right sounds (audio, whether vocal or music) with a solid concept can increase your views tremendously.
Transitions (cuts between frames) are quite popular on TikTok. There are users whose accounts are solely transitions. In certain niches, such as among makeup artists, they’re very popular for the quick transition between before and after. Younger users tend to find it easier to make transitions than older users, so do not fret if you don’t know how to navigate it.
From dance trends, to mirror wipes (transitions), to hashtag trends, check out what’s popular and see how you can adapt it for your own purposes to get your brand out there in new and fun ways.
Is TikTok worth the time investment?
Many small businesses accredit an increase in sales due to TikTok. However, we won’t lie and say you will automatically go viral and sell out on your product or book out your services for the next year.
The potential of discoverability, however, is relatively unmatched.
What’s most unique about TikTok is the “For You Page” (FYP): a feed of curated content in line with your likes and interests. According to TikTok, this page is personalized based on your interactions, information in the video (hashtags, captions, sounds), and general data gathered from your account like your location, language preference, and device type.
Unlike the layout on both Facebook and Instagram where your homepage (home feed) pushes the content of people you follow, the For You Page sends you content from others you may find interesting, and occasionally people you follow too. TikTok does have a tab called ‘Following’, but most users spend their time on the For You Page.
The FYP is what creates the opportunity for insane organic reach. The FYP is also the key to reaching and expanding your target audience. The TikTok algorithm recommends videos to users (aka, pushes it onto their FYP) based on the content they’ve liked previously or may find interesting. This customized viewing experience will push your content in front of the appropriate audience if you use the right sound, hashtags, and editing.
With the great potential to reach your target audience, what’s the harm in trying?
Try it out for yourself.
Can you outsource your TikTok?
Yes and no. At Barker Social we believe you should be the face of your brand. Although we can walk you through TikTok’s trends and transitions, your brand should be a reflection of you. However, there’s another way to reach people on the app without taking hours to record one video, and that’s through influencers. The best way to outsource TikTok is by engaging influencers.
Increase your TikTok reach through Influencers
Our team won’t make the TikToks for you, but we can assist with influencer coordination, outreach, recruitment, and management. We can source influencers whose niche and audience intersect with your own, coordinate the agreements, and figure out how they can use their influence to get you more customers. Book a consultation today to discover how we can help you secure influencers to help make TikTok part of your marketing strategy.