If you are a business, TikTok could be a great channel to build brand awareness, gain new followers and convert them into customers. Due to the fact that many brands have just started discovering the potential in TikTok, the competition is relatively low at the moment.
Although, TikTok users are typically from the younger ages, – Gen Z and Millennials – the platform has started increasing its user age range. According to Statista 21.7% of TikTok users are between the age of 30-39, 20.3% are between 40-49 and more than 22% are between the age of 20-29 in the US. (Statista, 2021)
Image Source: Statista
Some Mind-Blowing Stats
- According to Statista, TikTok users spent 858 minutes per month on the app in 2020 (Statista, 2021)
- TikTok was the 2nd most popular app downloaded to iPhone in 2020 (W., Geyser, 2021)
- TikTok has 1 billion active monthly users worldwide (B., Doyle, 2021)
- TikTok users spent more than $110 million in February 2021 (J., Chan, 2021)
- TikTok influencers have higher engagement rate than other social platforms. In 2020 engagement rate was nearly 18% in the U.S. while international TikTok users’ engagement rate was nearly 16% (W., Geyser, 2021
- According to Global Web Index 68% of TikTok users watched someone else’s video and 50% shared someone else’s video on other social network (C., Beer, 2019)
Image Source: Global Web Index
- TikTok was the 3rd fastest growing app in 2020 (Morning Consult, 2020)
Image Source: Morning Consult
How Brands Can Improve at TikTok
- To be successful on TikTok as a brand, you need to have a reason to be there. Identify problems that interests your target audience. What are they struggling with? What they want to learn more about? What makes them feel happy or entertained? What inspire them? – points out Mike Mikho, CMO of Laundry Service in Forbes Magazine’s article. (M., Greenwald, 2021) If you cannot answer to these questions, ask! – suggest Neil Patel. (Neil Patel, n/a) People are usually happy to share their opinions.
- Identify how you want your brand to be seen. Where do you want to position your brand? Identify gaps not yet covered and see how your brand can fit in. To effectively do that, you will need to see your brand in your audience’s perspective. “Content developers need to be users.” – says Mike Mikho, CMO of Laundry Service to Forbes. (M., Greenwald, 2021)
- Create the right environment for content creation and be authentic. For example, if you are a bakery, create videos in your kitchen and show how you make your signature bread and pastry. Do not be too filmy or cinematic, though. Use fun filters, effects and editing tools. Follow trends, use relevant hashtags, follow hashtag trends, and use popular music. That all matter for TikTok algorithm to push your content to more users’ For You page.
- Work with influencers. TikTok influencers know their audience and how to make engaging content.
- Boost your engagement with TikTok ads. TikTok has recently launched TikTok for Business for brands to advertise on the platform. If you do not have inspiration, get inspired in TikTok for Business ‘inspiration’ page where you can read case studies on how other brands have used TikTok ads successfully. Remember: Don’t make ad. Make TikTok!
Optimise Your Bio
Image Source: @urbanadventurerldn
On TikTok, optimising your bio does not have to be difficult. Follow these simple steps to make the most out of your TikTok.
Describe Your Brand
Like every social media channel, TikTok has a character limit. You can use only 80 characters to describe your brand. Yes, that’s pretty tight and you have to use your characters wisely.
- Pick the most important aspects of your brand and highlight only those
- Using emoji because that can help emphasise those aspects without using too much space
- You can add emoji to tell your audience what you want them to do. For example, add and arrow emoji or a pointing finger emoji to show that you want your audience to hit a button
Add a Link
When it comes available, add a link in your bio. This became available to me when I exceeded 1K followers.
You can only add a single URL to your bio, so be wise. Add your most relevant blog post, website, or promotion. Alternatively, – similarly to Instagram – you can add Linktree or other services to share a collection of links.
Add a CTA Button
CTA button in the bio is a must-do to every business. CTA tells your audience what to do. For example, “Shop the link below”, “Get inspired”, “Get a quote” or “Book your table”.
TIP: Get the habit to insert a CTA in (almost) your every single video and ask your viewers to follow you on TikTok. In this way, you encourage your audience to take an action immediately after viewing your content.
Link Your Other Social Channels
TikTok gives you the opportunity to link your other social media channels and highlight them in your bio.
When you create a new video, add a text box saying, “Follow me on Instagram/YouTube”. In this way, you can easily gain new followers on those channels because those who are interested in your content on TikTok, will likely follow you on your other channels.
Switch to Pro Account
If you switch your TikTok account from personal to pro account, you can choose from two options: ‘creator’ or ‘business’ account. Switching to pro account costs nothing but you can get access to analytics.
With creator account you:
- Get access to Q&A feature to engage with your audience and answer their questions in video
- Maximise your live events by planning ahead and promoting them
- Making your videos more accessible by automatically generated subtitles, text-to-speech for visually impaired or blind communities and photosensitive epilepsy warning that notifies viewers if you used effect in your video that may trigger photosensitive epilepsy
- Can use thousands of music from the most popular singers and bands
(TikTok for Business, n/a)
Business account is specifically optimised to promote a business. With business account you can:
- See your ads performance in real time
- It helps businesses to recognise relevant posts and trends
- Get unique engagement solutions
- Have creative tools to help you accelerate your business success
- Get access to commercial music library
(TikTok for Business, n/a)
Q&A feature can be enabled from ‘creator’ account. Q&A on TikTok is designed to help creators answering questions from their fans. If someone asks you a question, you can answer it with a video.
It helps connecting with your audience and build trust.
Learn How TikTok Algorithm Works
Image Source: Pexels
Did you know that from hashtags to music to location, and even the very first TikTok video you liked, can all influence TikTok algorithm? (M., McGlew, 2021)
Unlike other social media platforms, neither the size of an account’s follower base, nor weather the account had previous viral videos are direct factors in the recommendation system. (TikTok, n/a) It means that even if you are new to TikTok and never had high-performing videos or never posted anything before, you still have the opportunity to appear on TikTok’s #ForYou page and go viral.
Factors That Matter
TikTok algorithm recommends a video based on a combination of factors. These factors can be strong or weak factors.
A strong indicator of interest can be whether you finished watching a video or not.
A weak indicator can be if the creator and the viewer are in the same country.
- User Interactions
These are videos you liked, shared, or commented as well as accounts you follow, and content you create.
- Video Information
This includes sounds, hashtags and captions.
- Device and Account Settings
This includes your location, your language preferences, and device type. This factor receive a lower rate in the recommendation system.
What Influences TikTok Algorithm
TikTok lets users know how many viewers each hashtag gets. Use hashtags that the best relate to your content, and do your research on current hashtag trends because those are prioritised by TikTok. (M., McGlew, 2021)
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, TikTok is not the platform of long text format. Keep your copy short and concise.
Use jokes or ask questions to generate conversation.
Using trending songs and sounds can really boost your content on TikTok, as this is one of the major factors of discoverability. It actually means that even if your chosen song was not too popular at that time you posted your video, if that song goes popular later, it can boost your video. So, it is worth to keep an eye on your contents’ performance weeks or even months after you posted. This is called “slow burn” phenomenon.
(M., McGlew, 2021)
How to find trending songs?
- TikTok regularly send a notification of the current trends, including viral videos, trending songs, trending hashtags and more.
- Alternatively, you can use online tools, such as
#Video Content & Editing
It is worth to have a solid TikTok video strategy and spend time to learn editing your videos. TikTok is the platform where you can let your creativity flow. Leverage of the endless filters and editing features and find your own style.
If you do not know how to start, just think about those videos that really captured your attention and you watched more than once in a row. Analyse why those videos kept you going back and try out what you have learnt.
Location is definitely one of the key factors on TikTok to get your video appear on other users’ For You page.
Although, it is not a strong factor on TikTok whether the creator and the viewer are at the same location or not, it is a fact that users start to see content from their location (city, country).
Another thing why location-based content is important, is time-zone. You want to share your video when your audience is active, don’t you? There’s no point to share something with your audience in the middle of the night when they are more likely to sleep.
(M., McGlew, 2021)
Know Your Audience
Image Source: Pexels
You want to share your new content when your audience is active. But when is the best time to post on TikTok?
To find out what is the best time to post on TikTok, ask yourself where is your audience located? Which time zone is it? Do you have a global audience?
If you have a local audience or your audience is in different time zones but relatively close together, then it’s simple. Time zones will not disrupt (much) your posting schedule.
If, on the other hand, you have large audience from different countries with different time zones, that will require extra work.
Unfortunately, TikTok does not (yet) have scheduling function, neither social media management apps allow to link your TikTok and schedule your posts (yet). It means, you have to build your own schedule, considering the core territories your fans come from and are the most beneficial to your business.
(N., Landsberg, 2021)
How do you know when is the best time to post?
- If you are new to TikTok, just do your search on Google. Influencer Marketing Hub is one of the most reliable platforms if you need support.
- Do your own experiment. As every user is different, the best time to post on TikTok is vary from user to user. Share posts on different days of the week at different times and keep an eye on your analytics. You will shortly see what days and times works for you.
- The easiest way is to use TikTok analytics. This available if you have ‘pro’ account (it’s free to switch to ‘pro’).
Go to your analytics and click ‘Followers’. Scroll down and voila. A diagram will show your follower activity in days and hours. Now you know exactly which day of the week and what time you should post to reach your audience.
If you are an active user of TikTok, to get to know the best time to post check your video performance, check the time you posted it and your audience’s time zone.
- TikTok uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in their analytics. It means that if your audience is in a different time zone, you will need to convert the hours.
- Here is a time zone converter to make this easier for you.
- TikTok captures data for the last 7 days, so it is worth to create a spreadsheet to keep your track records.
(K., Lapelosová, 2020)
To access to your analytics, simply go to your profile, click on settings, select “Creator tools” then select “Analytics”.
What Takes a Good TikTok Video
Similarly to other social platforms, TikTok algorithm is constantly changing. It means there are no golden rules that can lead you to success.
There are some factors, however, that can help your brand perform better.
Posting consistently is important on all social media platforms, including TikTok. There is no need to flood your platform with content, though. Instead, make sure you share 1-2 posts a day or every other day.
Do not be afraid of doing experiments. Try new formats, filters, themes and genres and use the editing tool embedded. You do not even need to worry too much about aesthetics. Just make videos that resonate with your audience.
Duets are side-by-side videos, when a TikTok user allows other users to react to their video.
If a creator allows duet, other users can create their own video alongside the original one. Duet videos appear on split screen. One side there is the original video, on the other side there is the video the other TikTok user created.
Brands can also create Duets to interact with their fans.
You can enable duet before sharing your video.
If you want to make a duet with a user, click on the share button and select ‘Duet’.
Use trending filters to enhance the experience.
Choose from different layouts.
Here is a duet between the famous K-pop band, BTS and one of their fans.
Image Source: @bts_official_bighit
Find Your Superpower
What’s your superpower? Decide what will you want to post about and become an expert in that field. That makes your channel consistent.
Find your own unique style and let it shine. Use that style consistently while making sure it resonates with your audience. Make sure your content is authentic and free from cinematic or too filmy elements.
Keep in mind: Don’t make video! Make TikTok!
Keep It Short
TikTok is not the platform of lengthy content. The maximum length of a video was limited to 60 minutes once. Now this has been expanded to 3 minutes.
However, shorter videos tend to perform the best. Videos between 9-15 seconds are likely to see the highest engagement rate. – reports Vimeo in one of their latest blogs.
(J., Aldredge, 2021)
This is because shorter videos are most likely watched till the end and re-watched multiply times. This triggers TikTok algorithm to show those videos to more people. – says Later in one of their latest articles. (M., McGlew, 2021)
Make Video Series
Make sure you post every day or every two days to get your videos noticed. Constantly coming up with new ideas, however, can be challenging.
Creating video series is a good way to overcome this. Create a developing story, for example making art video series where you showcase different stages of the process. Or share different episodes of the same topic, for example, a video series of the most Instagrammable cafes in London.
More examples of video series:
- Fun things to do in London in August
- The cheapest restaurants in London
- How-to videos/tutorials
- Best drama series for teens
- Best anime hairstyles
- Behind the scenes
- The best places to visit in the Summer
- How we make our most Instgarammable cocktails
- Marketing tips
…and the list goes on.
This year TikTok has introduced Playlist feature to group videos and organise your content around different themes. This makes it easier for users to find and watch different parts of a video series in one sitting.
Sadly, Playlist feature is not available to all Business and Creator profiles just yet. It is only available for a group of selected user accounts to test, but there is a potential for the option becoming available to more users in the near future. – according to Social Media Today.
(A., Hutchinson, 2021)
Choose Popular Music
Music a very important part of a TikTok video. Music – as we saw above – is one the major factors when it comes to discoverability. TikTok has agreement with most of the major music studios and permitted using short clips from songs.
Certain songs and sounds go viral. In some cases, only after years of their release. Tracks that have gained popularity can increase the number of views of a video. (W., Geyser, 2021)
Work with Influencers
As TikTok has grown popularity, more influencers recognised the platform. The result of this: more brands have incorporated influencer marketing in their TikTok marketing strategy.
Studies revealed that international engagement rate on TikTok was 15.86%, while U.S. influencers’ engagement rate went even higher: 18% in 2020. – reported Influencer Marketing Hub in their latest report. (W., Geyser, 2021)
TikTok helps you finding the best influencers on the platform that fit to your brand. Register on TikTok for Business Creator Marketplace and start your TikTok influencer campaign.
Create Hashtag Challenge
Trending hashtag on TikTok, created by a brand
Create branded hashtags and announce a hashtag challenge by asking your followers to create and upload creative videos that showcase how they are using your products, or funny, educational or entertaining videos related to that hashtag.
Samsung’s #UnfoldChallange on TikTok
Image Source: @samsung
Samsung has recently started their hashtag challenge. They created a collaboration with the famous K-pop band, BTS to encourage their audience to capture short videos or photos that unfold their day. Audience is asked to show how they discover new things, get inspirations, or try something they have never tried before, using their Samsung smartphone. To take part in the challenge, users have to use Samsung’s branded hashtags, #UnfoldChallange #SamsungUnpacked #withGalaxy and use the song ‘Butter’ from BTS.
Collab with Celebrities
TikTok has become very popular among celebrities. From today’s pop stars such as Justin Bieber to movie legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger to K-pop singers and models, there are everyone on TikTok who counts.
Partnering with local celebrities or big names from the entertainment sector can definitely be a winning strategy. (E., Cucu, 2021)
Be Authentic – Use UGC
Millennials and Gen Z hates feeling marketed. They want to see fresh content, be involved and challenged. They want to get their voice heard and feel that their opinion matters.
This is where user-generated content (UGC) comes into light. Invite your audience to be part of your story. – points out Social Insider in one of their latest articles. (E., Cucu, 2021)
UGC is a way to turn your audience into brand advocates by helping you fill your social feed with fresh content.
Encourage your audience to make and share videos of your brand and use your branded hashtag(s). Make sure you actively participate in the fun. Make Duets with your fans’ best videos, or you can even announce a Duet challenge. These can make massive engagement on TikTok.
Embrace New Features
Did you know that TikTok highlights what tools and features you use when editing your videos?
TikTok is a platform of experimentation, so if you want to gain more followers, you will definitely want to experiment with new editing tools, features and filters. Just think about the relatively newly released TikTok voice-over feature that enables users to put a narration over their videos making them more easily available for people with visual impairments. (M., McGlew, 2021)
TikTok Social Commerce Coming Soon
TikTok has confirmed testing their eCommerce tool to capitalise the huge potential within the platform. – Bloomberg reported. (C., Liu, Z., Huang and G., Turner, 2021)
TikTok has been working with brands, such as Hype to test the new feature and explore new ways.
TikTok announced their agreement with Shopify in 2020. However, this is not yet the classic on-platform eCommerce we know on Facebook and Instagram. Instead, this agreement enables Shopify users to create their dashboard and run promotions from that dashboard on TikTok. Those merchants who are eligible to use this feature can claim $300 ad credit to jumpstart their first campaign on TikTok. – reported Social Media Today. (A., Hutchinson, 2020)
Why is TikTok the future of eCommerce?
Social media content is increasingly visually driven. This why short video content has become the most powerful type of content. You might remember Adam Mosseri’s announcement this January that Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app. People want to be entertained and the best content type for that is video content. And the competition is huge. – Mr Mosseri said in his video.
Social media platforms, like Instagram want to embrace this challenge by launching IGTV, Instagram Reels and other features to encourage users to use more video content.
TikTok, however, unlike other major platforms, is specialised in short-form video content with which brands can reach vast amount of audience and not just that. The power in TikTok is their younger audience base. Typically, younger than other platforms’ audience. Many brands prefer TikTok because that is the platform where they can reach Gen Z and Millennials. (B., Chacon, 2020)
This makes TikTok to become the next big social commerce platform in the near future. Just think about #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag that definitely reinforce this.
Jump on Trends
Starbucks using a trending filter on TikTok
Image Source: @starbucks
TikTok trends are a great way to show more of your brand’s personality and create fun and engaging content.
Keep an eye on the current trends. It can be a hashtag trend, a TikTok challenge, a new filter, or a song. You can check the latest trends by clicking on the ‘Discovery Page’ (simply click on the search button on the bottom of the page) or check them through your notification. TikTok sends you notifications about the latest trends regularly.
Before jumping in, however, make sure that the trend or challenge fits to your profile and your brand values you want to represent. “Just because something is trending, does not mean you have to participate.” – warns Influencer Marketing Hub in one of their recent articles. (J., Santora, 2021)
Engage with Your Audience
TikTok, like any other platform, is social. It means, you need to engage with your audience. Generate conversations, answer questions, create duets with your best fans and try other features, like live stream to engage with your audience. In this way you not only you show the human side of your brand, but you can build trust. So, don’t be shy, just make sure you are not spammy. (J., Santora, 2021)
Host Live Events
Going LIVE on TikTok
Image Source: @urbanadventurerldn
Live stream is one of the best ways to engage with your audience because through this way you can directly contact with your audience in real time. (M., Greenwald, 2021)
Host Q&As or a loud product launch with confetti and surprises. Share your experiences and encourage your audience to share theirs by leaving comments or host interviews.
How LIVE streaming works on TikTok?
- To go LIVE, tap the ‘create’ icon and select ‘LIVE’. Then add a topic and a title and pick a cover image
- Do not do never-ending LIVES. 30 minutes is the best practice, according to TikTok
- To go LIVE on TikTok, you have to be over 16 years old and have more than 1,000 followers
- Once you are LIVE, you can add effects, filter comments and even add moderations
- You can even raise money for charities by using a donation sticker. Just pre-select your preferred charity before going LIVE
- The LIVE feature allows creators to support other creators by sending them virtual gifts. Those gifts can be exchanged for funds later
Image Source: TikTok for Business
TikTok has recently launched TikTok for Business to give opportunity for businesses to shine by unlashing their creative sides. To understand how TikTok ads work, register on the website and download their free guide.
To start, you have to create a campaign. Within the campaign, you can create ad groups, and within the ad groups, you can create ads.
Before starting a new campaign, define the purpose.
Then, choose your objective.
- App install
- Video view
Now, it’s time to create your ad groups within the campaign. You can create one or more ad groups within one campaign. An ad group is a collection of ads (one or more) that share the same audience, targeting and bidding criteria.
After creating your ad groups, it’s time to upload your ad creative(s) you will promote your brand with on TikTok. You can add multiply creatives and let Ad Creative Optimisation (ACO) to automatically identify the best performing creative and optimise it. How handy!
An ad group with disabled ACO can support 16 creatives at the same time. However, TikTok suggests starting with 5 creatives and allow the system to pass the learning process (that’s 50 conversions) before adding new creatives.
It is recommended to refresh your ad creative after 7 days. It is highly recommended to constantly add fresh creatives throughout the period of your campaign.
Audience targeting on TikTok can be
- Lookalike audience
- Custom audience
Here you have to select tags that are relevant to your business and products and how they are used. You can even A/B test different interest tags to see how they perform against each other.
If you choose lookalike audience, TikTok will search for new audience similar to your existing audience group. Obviously, this can only work if you already have an audience base on the platform.
Apply “Fresh Lookalike” feature in every 30 days to make sure you are constantly exploring more active users.
By choosing custom audience you can retarget audience group that has engaged with your business. Custom audience is perfect for re-marketing, increasing app install, or creating lookalike audience.
If you do not know where to start, surf on TikTok for Business inspiration and explore brand success stories.
Measure Your Success
If you are using TikTok, you definitely want to know how your videos performing. To get access to your analytics, you will have to switch to “pro account”. This does not cost anything.
- Go to your profile
- Click on “Manage my account”
- Select “Switch to Pro account”
You will be asked to select a category that best describe your business, before a few other simple steps and you are ready. You will instantly get access to TikTok analytics.
You can now see analytics on each of your video by clicking “More data” on the bottom of the page. It shows a number of useful data for you to learn from, such as average watch time, how many per cent of watchers watched the full video, where your video traffic comes from (For You pages or personal profile) and audience territories (which countries your audience is coming from).
To access more data, go to your profile, go to settings, click “Creator tools” and choose “Analytics”.
This will show you an
- “Overview” of your total engagement (video views, profile views, likes, comments and shares)
- Your “Content” with your latest videos and trending videos. By clicking on each, you see the analytics belong to each video
- “Followers” gives you information about your new followers, your growth rate and gender. It also shows the top territories views comes from and follower activity in hours and day. This helps you identify the best days and times to post your new content
- “LIVE” shows data in connection of your live streams
If you want to learn more about TikTok best practices, register on TikTok Learning Centre. Here you will find short courses about how to use TikTok for Business, the different ad formats, creative best practices and much more.
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