A Guide to TikTok Marketing for Small Businesses


TikTok has been a phenomenal success since its international launch in 2017. Indeed, it is estimated that there are now 80 million monthly active TikTok users in the United States. That rapid growth in users has led to many businesses wanting a presence on the video-sharing site.

TikTok is relatively new and generally appeals to a younger audience than the more established social media sites. So, some business owners are unsure how to promote their brand on the platform, and some are not convinced that TikTok is the right place to be marketing their business.

So, what is TikTok all about, and how can you use the platform for marketing a small business brand?


What Is TikTok?

For those who have yet to visit the platform, TikTok is a video-sharing site. However, the site is not a YouTube clone. TikTok videos are short. Indeed, the maximum length of a TikTok video is three minutes, but most videos are significantly shorter.

Most TikTok videos are light-hearted and user-generated. The most prevalent topics relate to comedy, dance, and pranks. Other popular topics include beauty tips, fashion, and fitness. Often, TikTok content is dominated by what is trending on the platform.


Who Uses TikTok?

Most users of TikTok are in the younger age groups. However, it would be a mistake to think that TikTok is exclusively for kids. It is estimated that 60% of US TikTok users are aged 16-24, and 24% are aged 25-44. Approximately 60% of TikTok’s US user base is female.

So, the average TikTok user is likely to be a member of Generation Z or a younger millennial, and that group includes people born in the mid to late 90s to the early 2010s. Generation Z, also known as zoomers, have grown up with the internet and are generally considered trendsetters.


TikTok Content Marketing Tips

The demographics of TikTok users mean that the platform will not be suitable for every business. You are not, for example, going to sell many retirement homes or mobility scooters on TikTok!

However, that still leaves many other types of businesses that could leverage the TikTok marketing opportunity. And, as TikTok has yet to be flooded by marketing content, now is an excellent time to get in on the ground floor.

But how do you market a product or service in three minutes or less? Well, traditional marketing extolling the benefits of a product is unlikely to work. Instead, you must create entertaining content that people will share. Here are some tips to help you market a small business on TikTok.


Check it Out First

As mentioned above, TikTok is unlike any other social media platform that you will have used before. So, it would be a good idea to spend some time on TikTok before you begin planning a marketing campaign.

Create a personal TikTok account and review some of the content. Perhaps search for some of your competitors and see what content they have posted. Get a feel for the site and look at what types of content generate the most interest and engagement.


Keep It Brief

TikTok users love the platform, and typical regular users of the site will spend around fifty minutes per day viewing TikTok content. However, a user will flick through hundreds of videos in that time, skipping over any that take too long to get to the point.

So, brevity is the key to successful TikTok marketing. Don’t take too long to get to the punchline. Instead, get your marketing message across fast so that users don’t get bored and move on to the following video.


Create Original, Authentic Content

Try to convey the personality of your brand in TikTok videos. Perhaps share some amusing behind-the-scenes footage or even some of the things that didn’t go to plan in your business. Of course, you don’t want to show anything that might damage your brand. Even so, you do want to show the human side of your business.


Follow the Trends

TikTok is very much driven by trends. So, it will help to follow what is trending on the platform and see if you can incorporate any of those trends into your marketing videos. Some of the trends are merely seasonal, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Other trends are specific types of videos or challenges.

Following the trends will help keep your channel up to date and relevant. And you will probably attract more views by using trending hashtags, too.


Be Yourself

If you try to force it and post “trendy” videos that don’t reflect your personality, the content will look disingenuous. People will think you are merely trying to be “cool” to gain more sales, and TikTok users do not like advertisers invading their space in that way.

You need to be comfortable about what you are posting on TikTok, and you need to be yourself. If you don’t feel confident in front of a camera, it would probably be best to ask someone else to appear in your TikTok videos.


Entertainment First, Advertising Second

People are tired of being bombarded with advertising online, and that dislike of ads is even more prevalent in younger age groups. So, if you don’t want your TikTok videos to be skipped over, it would be best to prioritize entertainment over advertising.

TikTok marketing videos work best as brand awareness content. So, create content that will gain people’s attention and pique their interest in your brand. Then, once you have grabbed someone’s attention, you can direct them to your website, where the selling begins.


Collaborate with Influencers

It can be challenging for small businesses to gain a foothold on TikTok. But one way to get more exposure is to partner with established influencers on the platform. You might struggle to gain the attention of a creator with a massive following, though. So, micro or nano-influencers with only a reasonable following might be a better target.

To find influencers in your niche, look for creators using hashtags relevant to your business. Then, follow these micro-influencers, engage with their content, and then reach out to them with a collaboration proposal. Remember, though, that entertainment is the name of the game on TikTok, not straight advertising. So, any content proposals you make to an influencer must offer some value to that person’s followers.


Don’t Overproduce Videos

TikTok is dominated by user-generated content. The site features snippets of people’s lives and is generally light-hearted and fun. So, no one is looking for perfect production quality on a TikTok video. TikTok marketing content must be original and authentic.


Final Thoughts

Users of TikTok tend to be younger than the users of other social media sites. So, TikTok is not going to be a suitable marketing platform for every small business. However, TikTok does offer an excellent marketing opportunity for companies that sell products that would appeal to younger generations.

Like all social media platforms, you need to post regularly on TikTok. It will also help your marketing efforts if you interact with the community. Most crucially, TikTok videos need to be entertaining, even quirky, and, of course, relatively short. So, TikTok marketing content is somewhat different from other types of marketing but can be highly effective.


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