TikTok for business marketing: is it right for you?

We have three questions for you

Whenever a new social media platform pops up and gains traction, it’s worth weighing the pros and cons of investing time and energy in it. If you’ve thought about using TikTok to promote your business, but aren’t quite sure, this blog is here to help. Together, let’s discover if TikTok for business is right for you.

Authenticity: A brief history of TikTok

TikTok was born in China and came on the social media scene in 2016. It immediately clicked with youth. 

Some say TikTok is a Gen Z subculture because of the ease in which a message can be communicated. 

Short, splashy videos threaded with music encapsulate all of the feels. Sad, happy, silly, or hilarious, TikTok is living up to its mission of inspiring creativity and bringing joy through short-form mobile video. It’s addictive, surprising and at the heart of it — real.

To TikTok or not to TikTok?

TikTok has climbed great heights to be one of the most authentic social media apps around. But before you jump into TikTok for marketing, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions to determine if it’ll meet the marketing needs of your small business.

1. What age group am I targeting?

If the bulk of your customers are between 16 and 24 years old, TikTok for marketing is an avenue you want to seriously pursue. Girl wearing a shirt that reads fries before guys

When it comes to social media, this is where 16 to 24-year-olds live and breathe.

They may be on other channels, like Instagram, but you’re less likely to reach them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Knowing your target market is the first step to any marketing effort.

Related: Best ways to use Instagram for business in 2021

2. What do I offer that might appeal to this group?

What you have to offer matters. TikTok isn’t necessarily the place for the hard sell. It’s a soft sell, full of feeling. 

Marketers know that emotional connections sell products, more so when the messaging is airtight and drives straight to the heart of the customer you’re trying to reach. It’s an art. 

Evaluate your products and services, assess their emotional nuances and envision how you would market them via video to your target audience. Take it slow and start with one product. Brainstorm the many ways you can create content that matters. With TikTok, you’re not creating ads. You’re creating memorable experiences.

3. Is my small business local, regional, national or international?

If you’re a brick-and-mortar small business with an online store and have a shoestring marketing budget, it’s likely that your audience, from a geographic perspective, is within 50km of where you’re established (give or take seasonal travellers who pop in). 

Using TikTok for business can help you enter markets in other areas or cities, both nationally and internationally. 

It’s available in 154 countries, after all. Test the waters and target potential customers with paid ads and then measure the results.

How to start using TikTok for business

If you think using TikTok for business is a good idea for your venture, here’s how to get started in three steps.

Six people playing in a tube

Step One:

Download the app, create your own channel and start sharing your videos.

Remember that this isn’t the place for traditional marketing, or the hard sell. You need to reframe your thinking around the videos you’re creating. Lean in to the authentic culture of your company and highlight what makes you unique.

Launch your ad account and explore TikTok’s top view, branded hashtag challenges, branded effects and in-feed ad options.

Step Two:

Once you’re familiar with the platform, find your ambassadors. Start with your employees or look to local youth who are making a difference in your community.

It’s through influencers that you’ll be able to grow and expand your audience. If people find your content interesting and relevant, they’ll follow. Following can turn into sales.  

 Step Three:

When you’re ready to explore paid advertising, you’re going to want to have a bank of polished creatives of which you’re most proud. Over by GoDaddy is a one-stop content creation studio that’s easy to use. Plus, it’s full of videos and photography and it gives you the freedom to customize templates that honour your brand.

It’s also flexible and accessible. You can collaborate with your team and ensure everything looks perfect.

TikTok, the Canadian way

Screenshot of a tweet about Justin Bieber'ss TikTokCanadian actors, musicians, comedians and politicians are killing it on TikTok. So are sports teams, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, or companies like Tim Hortons. And then there are people using TikTok to bring customers to small businesses.

Shawn Mendes paired the launch of his newest album Wonder with ‘A World of Wonder,’ a content series that guides his followers through his personal journey. It’s both intimate and engaging. If you’re the creator of a product, it may give you some ideas on how you can pair your product launch with TikTok stories.

Check out this article in Bloomberg as it speaks to TikTok’s growth in Canada.

TikTok for business marketing recap

TikTok is a lot of fun — it’s even more enjoyable when the content makes you laugh (or laugh and cry at the same time). 

TikTok documents the emotional rawness and beauty of humanity.
 

If you’re up for the challenge, you too can create short videos that resonate with your audience. It’s not a hard sell, but more of a glimpse into how your products or services can make life a little more enjoyable. 

With everything you create, keep your target audience in mind and use reliable content development tools like Over by GoDaddy that give you the freedom you need to produce authentic ads in true TikTok style.

Ashliegh Gehl
Ashliegh Gehl is a creative multimedia marketing and communications professional who specialises in art direction, strategy and story. Her writing has appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Quill & Quire, Women's Post and a handful of Canadian community newspapers. When Ashliegh isn’t dreaming up creative campaigns, she’s travelling and writing works of fiction.