TikTok is shaping up to be the next big platform in brand marketing. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean that it’s a great fit for all businesses.
If you’re running a small business, you know how important it is to allocate your marketing dollars as wisely as possible. Sometimes that means focusing your budget on a new trend or platform that’s ideal for reaching your core audience — other times; it means opting out of things that aren’t a good fit for your brand.
So, where does that leave TikTok? Here’s what to know about marketing on the platform, including how to tell if it’s somewhere you need to be (or somewhere to skip altogether).
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a video-sharing app that allows users to post content ranging from 15 seconds to three minutes. Videos are shown at random on a user’s “For You Page” (FYP), with views, likes, comments, and shares all working to fine-tune the algorithm and show users more of the content they’re interested in.
For brands, TikTok offers both paid and organic opportunities to get in front of the right audience. And because the algorithm is so good at picking up on an individual user’s interests, it’s less difficult than it might be on other platforms to end up on the right feed. Moreover, the platform provides content creators with the opportunity to make money on TikTok through various monetization options, including brand partnerships, sponsored content, and the TikTok Creator Fund, allowing creators to build a sustainable income stream.
Pros and Cons of TikTok for Business
There’s no denying that TikTok is fun to use, but is it a beneficial marketing channel for your small business? These pros and cons of using the app might help clear some things up.
- TikTok has more than one billion active users, plus a global user base that has increased by more than 1000% since 2018.
- Social commerce is high on TikTok, with only Tinder raking in more consumer spending.
- In 2020, TikTok generated $1.9 billion in ad revenue.
- How’s this for engagement? The average user spends 89 minutes per day on the app.
- The app is all video all the time. If your marketing strategy isn’t at least somewhat video-focused, you’ll have no other way to engage.
- TikTok’s user base skews young, which may not be a great fit for all brands. 35% of its users are aged 19 to 29, and another 28% are under 18.
- An ad on TikTok will cost you $10 per thousand views, with a minimum ad spend of $500.
Is TikTok’s User Base Your User Base?
If GenZ and young Millennials are your target audience, then you’ll be glad to know that you can find them in droves on TikTok. In 2021, almost half (48%) of all U.S. 18 to 29-year-olds reported using the app, including 55% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
These are excellent numbers for brands that target that age group, but the numbers for older Americans aren’t quite so impressive — you’ll find only 20% of 30 to 49-year-olds on TikTok and just 14% of 50 to 64-year-olds. As for gender, TikTok’s users are split pretty evenly: 51% of users identify as male, and 49% identify as female.
There are other demographic considerations to keep in mind, too, including what types of content tend to do best (entertainment, followed by dances, lifehacks, and educational/informational videos) and whether that aligns with what you’re selling or can be applicable to your industry in some way.
Quick Tips for Being Successful on TikTok
If you’ve decided that adding TikTok to your marketing strategy is a good way to go, then your next step should be optimizing your plan to help ensure success. Here are some places to start.
- Master your TikTok hashtag game. Hashtags are huge on TikTok. Use hashtags that are relevant to your content, and regularly search what’s trending to see if there are any top-performing hashtags that you can get in on.
- Connect with influencers. You can hire influencers to promote your products or services just as you would on Instagram. Do plenty of research to determine which influencers have sway with your audience, and, if it’s in the budget, check out influencer platforms like Post for Rent or Izea to simplify your search.
- Mix up your content. Not every video you post needs to be created with the intent to sell — nor should it. Creating general interest content that’s relevant to your brand and industry will help you get more followers and engagement than overt marketing content alone.
- Stay consistent. If you’re going to make TikTok part of your small business marketing strategy, then you need to go all in. This means keeping up with a frequent posting schedule and engaging with your followers in a timely manner.
Notice that none of these tips include buying TikTok ad space. Organic success is absolutely possible for brands on the app (we’ve seen it happen again and again), but it takes effort and creativity. If you’ve got both to spare, you should see good results in return.