What is TikTok?
Now, this might seem like a silly question to answer for many of you, but there are still a lot of people that are not aware of what TikTok is! TikTok is a social media platform that is becoming exceedingly popular here in the US. In fact, it was the most downloaded app in the world in 2020 surpassing Facebook!
TikTok is a platform that has grown dramatically over the last few years, especially in the younger age groups. However, as more time has passed, older audiences are joining the platform making it a very legitimate social media network.
How is TikTok different from other social media platforms?
TikTok is very different from all the other big players in social media (like Facebook and Instagram) for a number of reasons. But I really want to talk about one reason in particular.
The biggest thing that sets TikTok apart is the type of content that is being posted. While some have tried to imitate it (we are looking at you, Instagram Reels), no one has really been able to truly capture what TikTok has going on.
For those of you that have not used TikTok in the past, the platform uses a mix of music and other audio trends, paired with video where people get to use those trending sounds and songs in creative ways, often turning them into viral dances, mini comedy sketches, or just something that is creative or interesting. These videos can be anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds and really run the gambit of informational, funny, emotional, and sometimes just plain nonsense. This content is divided into 2 areas, one of them showing the content of accounts you follow, while the other, called your “For You Page” is algorithm-based and pulls videos from all accounts about topics or trends you have recently engaged with or showed interest in.
I know… it seems like a lot. Really the best piece of advice I can give is to tell you to spend some time on the app and play with it a little.
But anyway, back to the content. This type of creative content is really what separates this platform from the rest. And while it is fun for individual users to jump on the latest trend, it can be difficult for brands to really find their place on the platform and understand the best way to use it to get brand awareness and sales.
Because the content is untraditional, many people have a hard time trying to find the connection between their business and the content they need to make. This also makes it a uniquely difficult platform to be successful using for marketing.
It is also difficult because much of the content that is posted on TikTok is very unpolished. This is a good thing because it forces brands to be authentic, but many companies don’t want to come off as looking cheap or unprofessional. Just another element to TikTok that makes it very different than the other major platforms out there.
Is TikTok Helpful for Small Businesses?
Yes, it is. But ONLY IF you have the time to dedicate to it.
As an agency that works almost exclusively with small businesses, we know what happens when a business tries to add another platform to its mix. Oftentimes, they get excited about the platform for a week or two, and then their attention moves on to something different, leaving an abandoned social media account behind.
Now, we aren’t saying that is going to be you…but just know that we would still recommend platforms like Facebook and Instagram more because they are easier to post consistently and you can have some controls of geography which is extremely important for brick and mortar stores or businesses in the service industry that only serve a small market.
However, if you have the time to add TikTok into your mix and want to have some fun creating educational and fun branding content, we would definitely recommend it over other platforms such as Twitter.
Being able to jump on the latest trends to show off who you are as a business, give information about your services, or position yourself as an expert are all good ways to grow on the platform and provide value to an audience. You can even use your TikTok videos on other platforms, giving you even more content to spread out in other places.
What is a good TikTok strategy for small businesses?
When creating a TikTok strategy for your small business there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Find trends and get creative! There is always something new trending on Tiktok for you to get involved with. Keeping up with those trends in scrolling through your feed or doing research is the best way to get reach. You may need to get a little creative to find ways to relate this trends to what you do, but you’ll get the hang of it after a little trial and error.
- Be consistent! Like we mentioned above, TikTok still has that “viral” factor. That means, the more often you post, the higher chance that you have of making something reach thousands and thousands of people. In order to make that happen, you need to make sure you are posting on a regular basis, trying different trends, and seeing what works best for you.
- Find relevant hashtags! TikTok is similar to many of the social media platforms that we know and love in that they use hashtags to place content together. Hashtags are particularly important on TikTok because they help drive their algorithm as to where you content should be shown. Make sure you are using hashtags that are relevant to what you are talking about and even do a little research on competitors or others in your industry to see which ones they might be using. Also, don’t forget to drop that #fyp or #foryourpage!
Should my small business do Tiktok?
In summary, TikTok is an extremely exciting and fun platform that small businesses should definitely add into their mix if they have the time and dedication to do it right! You’ll need to keep up with the latest trends on the platform and really put some thought into how to best relate them to your business and what you do.
This platform is almost completely about branding and positioning yourself as an expert in your field… while also having a little bit of fun! We are constantly learning more about it here ourselves at SocialSurge, we’ve started to add TikTok to our social media marketing services, and even started doing it ourselves. We can’t wait to talk about more of our TikTok tips here soon!