Is TikTok really meant for business use? The app has a reputation for hilarious, quirky, and ultra-creative video content, so naturally you might question whether your business or your clients are a good fit.
TikTok has experienced explosive growth over the past four years, and can now boast 850 million active users from all over the world. Brands and influencers alike have found that the TikTok platform enables them to go viral time and time again, garnering high video views, large followings, and increased brand awareness. If brand awareness and high engagement are what you’re after amongst a younger audience, it’s worth giving TikTok a look.
In this post, we're going to take a look at how to get started using TikTok for business purposes so that you can promote your own agency (now or in the future!) and your clients' businesses alike.
TikTok is an incredibly popular mobile-first site that's growing quickly. The app has surpassed 2 billion downloads in the App Store and is used primarily by adults ages 18-29. Users average 52 minutes on the platform every single day.
Because of TikTok’s broad organic reach, there’s a potential to see high ROI from the efforts you invest in the platform. Users love the authentic, off-the-cuff experiences they have with their favorite brands and influencers on the platform.
The average engagement rate on TikTok is also exceptionally high, even outperforming Instagram in some cases. Accounts with fewer than 10k followers have an average of a 9% engagement rate.
If you want to see a boost in your brand awareness and reach, this is the time to give TikTok a try.
How to Create a TikTok Profile for Your Business
It’s easy to create a TikTok profile for your business. TikTok users have the option of creating a business account, called a Pro account. It’s important to distinguish your business account from a personal account. Additionally, you’ll be able to dive deep into analytics and study your business’s performance on TikTok. Pro users can see their views by week and by month, find out which videos are trending, and see how many followers they have.
Here's how to create a TikTok profile for your business:
1. Once you’ve added an account, you’ll get a prompt to create your username. Choose a name that isn’t already in use by another brand, and get it as close to your brand's name (or your client's name, if you're creating it for them) as possible. The app will let you know when you’ve landed on an available username. Click Sign Up to move to the next step.
If you have an existing personal account but would like to start a business account, navigate to your Manage Account screen and click Add Account.
2. Next, you’ll get a view of your brand-new, empty profile. The basic screen layout displays your name, username, profile picture, number of followers, number of accounts you follow, likes, and videos. Click the three dots in the upper right corner to get to your settings--you’ll need this to set up a Pro account.
3. Once you’ve made it to the Manage Account menu, you’ll see red text that says “Switch to Pro Account”. Tap that text to create a business-specific account that will allow you to monitor your analytics.
4. Then, you’ll be asked to select an account type. You can choose between Creator and Business. Creator accounts are great for public figures, influencers, and personal brands that are geared toward the arts and content creation. Business profiles are best for service providers, organisations, retailers, and brands. Once you’ve decided which profile is best for you, tap the icon to move to the next step.
5. Now, choose your category. You’ll see a list of industries and niches to choose from. Select the one that fits best with your brand. If you don’t see a good fit, just tap Other.
6. Finally, you’ll be prompted to select your gender. Choose the answer that is most appropriate for you, then tap Done.
7. Under your Settings and Privacy menu, you’ll now see an option for Analytics. You can return to this screen to view your video stats at a later date, once you’ve begun uploading content and gathering followers.
8. Now, you can start making your profile your own. If you’re setting up a TikTok profile for a corporate business, use your brand’s logo for the profile picture. If you’re a personal brand, opt for a professional headshot. You can tweak your name, add a bio to your profile, and add Instagram and YouTube links to your profile as well.
How to Create Great Content That’s Relevant to Your Business
Because TikTok tends to hinge primarily on entertainment and education, you’ll want to be sure to create not only great content, but content that’s relevant to your business. Your content can be an extension of your usual content marketing, but with a fun, quirky, or humorous twist.
Use hashtags to extend your reach on TikTok. When choosing a hashtag, the app will display a number of relevant hashtags and their reach. This can help you choose which hashtags will have the best reach at any given time. In addition, use TikTok’s Discover feature to find trending hashtags you can use, when relevant, to give your videos an extra boost.
The Discover tab contains not only trending hashtags, but also TikTok “Challenges”, trending videos where multiple accounts participate using the same sound or their own take on a similar video in order to get new attention on their profile.
It’s important to remember that you should always drive TikTok users off-platform whenever possible. Until you have at least 1,000 followers, you won’t be able to include a website link in your profile, for example. However, you’ll be able to link your Instagram and YouTube accounts. Since you can’t include website links when first starting a TikTok, you’ll want to find creative ways to work your other platforms into your video content.
How to Promote Your TikTok Account
There are several things you can do to promote your TikTok account and get more eyes on your content. Let’s look at a few options.
Use vertical video.
When you make videos for TikTok, use vertical video on your smartphone. Because TikTok is designed for vertical video, utilise your entire screen and make sure you’re maximising the platform to its fullest potential.
Keep your videos short.
You can make a video up to 60 seconds long on TikTok. However, that doesn’t mean you should always utilise every possible second. Shorter videos tend to hold viewers’ attention for the duration of the video, so keep your content shorter if you can.
Participate in hashtag challenges.
Hashtag challenges are a fantastic way to increase your reach and brand awareness on TikTok. A challenge is a trend where users either create and re-create similar videos, use the same sounds, or highlight some aspect of their lives or businesses. This creates a flood of trending content about one particular topic or using one particular sound, and it can get your videos seen. Some challenges are sponsored by brands, while others are organic.
Here’s an example of the recent #CancelTheNoise hashtag challenge sponsored by Bose:
Get involved in trends.
The “For You” page often displays popular trending videos and sounds. While some of these are part of TikTok challenges, others are organic trends that take off across large groups of users. Use the Discover tab to find both sponsored and organic trends you can participate in.
Follow and engage with successful brands and content creators in and around your industry.
Engaging with other brands and content creators that have seen success on TikTok in or around your industry could help you grow your reach. The more you engage with users on TikTok in general, the more engagement you’ll have--which will contribute to your brand growth on the platform. If you can snag the attention of a major brand or influencer--and they duet your content, for example--then you’ll really bring more eyes to your brand. You can also pay close attention to what these brands are doing, and see what you can emulate.
Post your TikTok videos cross-platform.
When you create videos on TikTok, you can set them to download to your device. Then, you can upload your videos to other platforms such as Instagram Reels, Twitter, and more. This increases your reach across your branded platforms and will drive followers from those platforms to your TikTok.
Here’s an example of a TikTok video cross-posted to Instagram Reels:
Broadcast live to your audience.
After you’ve reached 1,000 followers, you’ll have the ability to broadcast live from your TikTok profile. This is a great opportunity to create exclusive content for your viewers, including live Q&A sessions.
Consider running TikTok ads.
TikTok ads are increasingly more accessible as the platform grows, though many of the platform’s ad variations tend to be expensive. Organic growth on TikTok is strong right now, so it’s possible for brands to experience exponential growth without purchasing ads. However, doing so can get your brand an even broader audience once you’re ready to invest.
4 Examples of Businesses on TikTok That Are Killing It
There are many businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing it on TikTok right now. From authors and artists to CEOs and major brands, TikTok is where it’s at for massive organic growth and explosive engagement. Let’s take a look.
1. K.M. Robinson
Author and marketer K.M. Robinson has built a following in the popular #booktok community, where she offers writing and publishing tips and advice, as well as marketing her own books. K.M. has seen viral growth on the platform, and encourages other authors and creatives to join and grow their own businesses, as well.
2. Hayley Nolan
Historian Hayley Nolan, author of Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies, is a researcher currently living in the Tower of London who specialises in all things Anne Boleyn. She uses biting wit, research, and logic to debunk popular, widespread conspiracy theories about the ill-fated second wife of King Henry VIII of England.
3. San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo in California is doing a fantastic job with its TikTok presence. From humorous animal videos to education, the zoo’s combination of their own brand with the platform’s tone is pitch-perfect.
4. Freelance CFO
Katelyn Magnuson, The Freelance CFO, is an expert accountant and financial consultant who creates TikTok content to help young entrepreneurs handle their finances. Accounting is typically a “boring” subject, but Katelyn handles it with ease.
4 Mistakes to Avoid on TikTok
While TikTok offers seemingly endless possibilities for organic reach, there are some mistakes you should avoid.
1. Not Reading the Terms of Service
As a TikTok user, your best friend on the platform will be the Terms of Service, which will let you know what sorts of content you need to avoid. TikTok is vigilant about violations of its ToS, and will limit the reach of certain videos, remove some content from its platform, and even remove profiles in the event of repeat violations.
2. Using Hashtags You Aren’t Familiar With
As on any platform, don’t use hashtags you don’t know the meaning of. Well-meaning hashtag use can translate into your content trending with a topic that doesn’t fit your brand. It’s important to understand the exact context of what you’re incorporating into your posts.
3. Using Only Background Music or Your Own Sounds
Experiment with using trending sounds, as well as creating your own sounds with your videos. Trending sounds and sounds found in TikTok’s library should only be used for novelty or educational purposes. TikTok will limit the reach of videos that appear to be using copyrighted music to market products or services.
4. Not Including Captions
Caption your videos using the on-screen text for accessibility. You’ll need to set the placement and duration of these pieces of text using TikTok’s built-in tools. You want as many users as possible to be able to enjoy your content, so make sure those who are hard of hearing can still read on-screen.
TikTok users are excited by, and highly receptive of, brands on the platform that are willing to create great content that keeps them engaged. If you commit to a solid content marketing strategy for your TikTok account, you’ve got a good chance of seeing success on the platform.
This makes TikTok a fantastic tool for both corporate and personal brands alike. The possibilities for organic reach and high ROI are still high, and it’s a great time to consider jumping on board the platform to give it a try. The secret to success on TikTok, like any other platform, is staying consistent and creating engaging, brand-appropriate content that is well suited to the platform and its users’ expectations.