How to Make TikTok Work for Your Business

By Team Zeller

6.09.2021 Marketing

How to Make TikTok Work for Your Business

When it comes to mastering a new social media platform, there’s no time like the present.

TikTok isn’t merely an infinite source of entertaining videos. In the right hands, it can be a powerful business tool to grow your customer base and increase profits. The trick is knowing how to make the app work for your business.

No matter your business style or type, there’s a TikTok community already waiting for you — whether your goal is to reach new customers, drive product sales, or simply learn how to grow your business. With lockdown freeing up more time for business innovation and future planning, there’s no time like the present to make your first video. 

Keep reading to learn why TikTok should be part of your marketing strategy, discover how Zeller merchants are using it to drive more foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations, and get some ideas for your first video.

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What is TikTok, exactly? 

For those unfamiliar with the platform, TikTok is a mobile phone app that houses an endless stream of short videos. When you first download the app, you’re served a random hodgepodge of videos based on a combination of factors — including interests you express as a new user. The more videos you watch, the more the app’s algorithm tailors your feed to feature videos that reflect your interests. 

Say you spend more time on average watching cooking tutorials and, conversely, quickly scroll past dance clips. In this case, you’ll soon see more of the former and a lot less of the latter. That’s what makes TikTok such an addictive platform — it feeds the user a curated feed of content, in a seemingly endless loop. The ability to reach a hyper-relevant audience is what makes TikTok such a powerful tool for businesses.

Can it really help grow business?

Amassing more than 2.6 billion downloads across the globe, it’s safe to say that this social media platform is one of the most popular apps in the world. TikTok users typically whittle away nearly an hour a day on the platform, meaning there’s of plenty opportunity to catch their attention with strategic and engaging marketing.

For the staff of Leaf Cafe in Orange, New South Wales, creating TikToks was a way to pass the time and keep morale high during lockdown, when foot traffic was low. However, it didn’t take long for the true benefits of TikTok to be realised. 

“At first, it was just a bit of fun — but being on TikTok is actually helping bring in new customers,” says Leaf Cafe manager Lizette Mendigorin. “The other day, a customer visited the cafe because she saw our videos. She said they put a smile on her face, and wanted to tell us. It’s nice to know we’re making other people happy." 

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“Our videos are also helping bring back our old customers, who assumed we were closed because of the lockdown. When they visit the cafe, they tell us they knew we were open because of our videos. It’s increased our sales, and motivated our staff to keep making more,” she says.

Fluent Store owners Esha Watt and Logan Nikora knew their target market — sneakerheads — would be on TikTok, and used the platform to create hype around their grand store opening. In their own words, “it blew up like crazy!”

Although the impressive sneaker display and highly coveted products are the obvious heroes of Fluent Store's TikToks, it's not all marketing content. Some of the most popular videos Esha and Logan have created showcase a typical day in the life of small business ownership, and boast tens of thousands of views.

By using localised hashtags, such as #perth, #perthlife, and #perthtodo, Esha and Logan have put Fluent Store on the map for tourists and locals alike, while simultaneously engaging in the small business community.  

How to build a strong business presence on TikTok

Establishing a presence on TikTok is as simple as downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play Store and creating an account. From there, have some fun exploring everything the platform has to offer — then follow the below steps to drive more customers to your business.

Understand your audience

TikTok was dubbed the most downloaded app in 2020. Available in over 150 countries, there can be little doubt as to the potential this app holds for businesses wanting to break into new markets and expand their customer base. But who are the most frequent TikTok users?

According to Roy Morgan, women and girls make up over 60% of TikTok users in Australia. But in terms of age, it’s the younger users who are burning the most hours on the platform. In fact, more than a quarter of Generation Alpha (aged 15 and under) have TikTok accounts. Coupled with Generation Z (those aged between 16 and 30), the two cohorts make up over 70% of the app’s Australian user base.

That’s not to say your TikToks won’t reach a different demographic of audience. If you use niche hashtags and create content that is hyper-relevant for a particular type of person, you’ll soon find your perfect customer. 

Watch TikToks

One of the best things you can do when starting out is to watch a few TikToks — familiarise yourself with how the app works, how the algorithm operates, and what’s trending at the moment. 

Get a feel for what kinds of videos are being produced, and which ones are getting the best engagement. Which songs are popular? Which filters are viewers loving? 

Take note, because it will help you create your own cut-through content later on.

Find and engage in your TikTok community

Not only is it important to publish relevant content, but it’s also equally important to create and engage in your community. This means following and engaging with accounts in the same or complementary industry. 

Be sure to like, comment and converse with people who show interest in your videos, and in the same vein, make sure you interact with other people’s videos too — that’s what boosts brand sentiment. 

You should also spend some time searching for competing businesses and market leaders on TikTok, as they can give you inspiration for your own videos.

Create your first TikTok

Don’t overthink it. Once you’ve watched a few examples, try creating your own. 

At this point, it’s important to keep in mind that the success of your video will largely depend on how entertaining it is, so try not to go too hard with the sales pitch — as audiences might lose interest and start scrolling.

Simply hit the ‘+’ button at the bottom of the screen, and tap ‘allow access’ to allow both your camera and microphone to record. From there, hit the red button to start recording. You can add filters, effects, and stickers — and even put a music track behind your clip, thanks to the Apple Music integration. 

When it comes time to post your clip, make sure you add relevant hashtags to ensure your video reaches the right audience. Do some research to see what your target audience is clicking on, and discover hashtags that relate to your business. 

5 TikTok ideas for your business

Ready to make your first TikTok video, but wondering where to start? Here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

  1. Create a ‘meet the team’ post that introduces your brand, mission, and staff. Make sure you give it a soundtrack that captures the essence of your business.
  2. Host a behind-the-scenes walkthrough of your workplace. If you run a hospitality business, this is a great opportunity to showcase your meat drying chamber or next-generation coffee roaster, for example. If you sell products, you could record your products being lovingly packaged.
  3. What’s your start-up story? Is there anything you learned along the way that could help other would-be business owners? If so, consider sharing your brand’s origin story.
  4. If you’ve received any powerful testimonials recently, you could repurpose them into a video by inviting the customers to share a few words about their experience. 
  5. If your business has a corporate social responsibility strategy – share it. Customers are becoming increasingly perceptive when it comes to what they’re buying, eating, and the businesses they support. If you’ve got any sustainable or ethical initiatives, share them with the world.

Whatever you choose to post, remember that no matter how much time and money you put into planning, strategising, creating and sharing content, it’s never guaranteed to go viral. Video popularity is often completely unpredictable. What you can do is ensure you understand your target market, create authentic content, and remain active. All of these ingredients will put you on the path to TikTok success.

At this point, it’s also important to note that TikTok isn’t for everyone. Before investing resources into the platform, think about whether or not your target market uses the app. That said, you can be sure most people have some extra time on their hands in lockdown. So, have some fun, connect with customers, and get ready to present your brand to the TikTok world.

Now you’ve got the knack of TikTok, it’s time to master the entire marketing ecosystem. Sign up to our Business Blog to cash in on valuable insights sent straight to your inbox.

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