Pick a song, do a silly dance, throw on some hashtags, and you’ve got a viral video – right? Think again. TikTok is no longer just an app “for kids.” It’s an app for business. Many of its users are not just playing around, and it’s a big player on the social media world stage that your business may no longer afford to ignore. But what do you need to know to set up TikTok for your business or brand successfully?
How does the TikTok algorithm work? Do you know what really goes into shooting great footage or hitting the right message? And we bet you didn’t know there are some serious legal implications if your business or brand’s marketing team chooses the wrong song. So yeah – it’s more than just hopping on a trending hashtag or putting some ad spend behind your best video. With details on how to target your audience for TikTok ads, how to use TikTok analytics in your favor, and all the different ways you can engage and advertise, we’re guessing you’ll need some assistance. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled the top ten need-to-know TikTok tips for businesses to not only launch your brand’s account but to launch it to success.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Top 10 TikTok Tips For Your Business
Tip 1: Understand the Algorithm
You may have heard of people referencing social media algorithms. Even if you don’t know how they work or what they really do, most people have a vague understanding that they are some sort of complex, all-knowing program that predicts what you want to see on your social media feeds. Although social media channels do not like to give away all their secrets, there are some things we do know about the TikTok algorithm.
How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work?
The TikTok algorithm tracks your media consumption and behavior on the app to fill your TikTok feed, called the For You Page or FYP, with content that it thinks you will be likely to watch. But what kinds of data does it use?
Almost any interaction you have on TikTok is used to curate your FYP specifically for you. Did you like a video of a dance trend? Did you click on a funny TikTok on the Discover page? Did you comment on a video of a dog that was just so cute? TikTok monitors every click, scroll, comment, or swipe you make on the app and compiles it all to predict your preferences. All of this information is then used to show you similar content.
In addition to your behavior on the app, TikTok uses your device and account settings to generate content that may be relevant to you. Demographic information such as your gender, age, and language, as well as locational information, are all fed into the algorithm as well. Are you seeing videos about events in your local area? Does your FYP show you a lot of TikToks from people in a similar stage of life, such as high school, recently graduated college, or maybe just married? This is no coincidence. TikTok uses your data to show you videos it thinks you will relate to.
So it sounds like TikTok is very good at knowing what videos to show on your FYP. But does it also know what not to show you?
Generally, TikTok does not show you content you have already seen before. New content is constantly being uploaded to the app, so why waste time showing users the same videos again and again when it has the potential to hook people with something new? In addition to not showing previously-seen content, TikTok avoids showing spam or potentially upsetting content to users. The app is designed to keep users engaged and entertained, so by pushing content that’s enjoyable rather than content likely to make users click away, the platform is more likely to retain users.
It’s also important to note that the TikTok algorithm does not favor creators with higher follower counts or those with high-performing videos in the past. Both large and small accounts are shown on the FYP. This helps give exposure to both new accounts and veteran creators alike. In addition, it encourages users of all kinds to post content. Many creators on TikTok started as small accounts that never expected their content to gain a lot of traction, so the chance that any video could “go viral” is encouraging to many.
Tips for Making the TikTok Algorithm Work for Your Business
So, how can businesses use the TikTok algorithm to their advantage? There are a few ways:
1. Use a Pro Account
2. Create videos specifically for the TikTok platform
3. Use trending sounds and hashtags
4. Optimize your content
5. Determine your audience or niche
6. Post at the right time of day
7. Engage with other users
We’ll go into more detail about all of these below!
Tip 2: Make It Official
If you’re setting up a TikTok account for your business, make sure that the account is set up for a business, not just an individual creator.
How to Set Up a TikTok Business Account
To get set up as a business, you should have a Pro Account. You can either set it up this way from scratch or turn your personal Creator Account into a Pro Account. You may be wondering: what’s the difference between Creator Accounts and Pro Accounts? Simply said, Creator Accounts are to be used by individuals, while Pro Accounts are for brands and businesses.
To get started with setting up a Pro Account, you can visit TikTok’s business site here.
Tips for Setting Up Your Business Profile on TikTok
When setting up your account, you should fill in your basic profile details so your business can be recognized by others on the app.
You’ll want to choose a handle, or username, that is as close to your business name as possible. Some brands add their website domains onto their handles, such as .com or .org. If your business has multiple locations and this account is for a specific one, you should also include the name of your location. It’s also a good idea to keep this name short and readable, so you can shorten your name if it’s long or complex.
Your business account should also have a bio section to tell people who you are. You only have 80 characters, so keep it short and to the point by shortening words or using emojis if you can. But keep in mind that this is also a place for your brand to show its personality, so make it catchy with a good hook and give your profile viewers an incentive to watch your content.
Your profile picture will be shown on all your content and interactions, so businesses should be professional and consistent by using their logo. Ideally, because these don’t take up much screen space, they will just be an icon. Remember, this reflects the professionalism of your brand, so this image should be high-quality.
The last element on your profile is the link in your bio. This is a great way to direct viewers to your other social channels, such as your Instagram or YouTube channel. TikTok is also testing an option for some accounts to be able to link to their website. Whether your business has the ability to link to its website or a different social channel, be sure to include a link here!
Tip 3: Shoot for Success
TikTok is primarily a mobile app platform, which is something you’ll want to keep in mind when creating your content.
Shooting TikTok Videos for Your Business
Because they’re predominantly watched on mobile devices, TikTok videos should be filmed vertically, specifically in a 9:16 aspect ratio. Other ratios can be uploaded, but they will not fit the screen and could be cropped, so for the best look, it’s recommended to shoot your videos in the final 9:16 ratio. Additionally, videos in this format, on average, have a 25% higher 6-second watch rate than horizontal videos, so the ratio matters!
When filming, make sure you also have good lighting and sound quality so that your videos appear professional and representative of your brand. It also helps to shoot videos specifically for TikTok instead of filming them to be used on all platforms. This is because TikTok has its own trends, as well as video format options (such as stitches and duets, which we’ll dive into later), sounds, filters, and many other elements that may not translate well on other platforms. So to take full advantage of a TikTok account, you’ll want to utilize these popular elements that are only available on the app.
Does Equipment Matter When Shooting TikTok Videos For Your Business?
TikTok is a more authentic, down-to-Earth platform than other platforms, so producing videos with very high production quality is not as necessary as it is on other platforms. In fact, it’s recommended to just use a smartphone with a high-quality camera and microphone. To ensure you have proper lighting, you may also want to use a ring light. Besides these items, other production equipment is likely not necessary, especially for a new account.
Tip 4: Face the Music
Part of the popularity of TikTok comes from its ability to integrate popular music and sounds–the app did get its start known as Musical.ly, after all. However, there are limitations on what music and sounds can be used by a business account.
Music Limitations for TikTok Business Accounts
Due to copyright laws, brands on TikTok only have access to use royalty-free sounds on the platform. To use other sounds, brands must obtain licensure to use a sound for commercial use. Available commercial sounds are found in the commercial library. If your account is set up correctly as a brand, these are the songs and sound options that are shown when adding sound to a new video. Simply click the “Add Sound” button at the top of the screen when creating your video, and you’ll be able to look through the many royalty-free options.
You should be careful not to upload videos that already have sounds or songs that are not in the commercial library, as these videos can be flagged for copyright infringement. In addition to having the video removed, it could also create legal trouble for your brand, so it’s best to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately, this does limit what kind of content brands can create, especially when many trends hinge on certain copyrighted songs or sounds. So how can you find acceptable audio to use?
Tips For Finding Music for your TikTok Business Account
A way to find popular sounds that brands can use is to browse through the “TikTok Viral” playlist on the app. This playlist, as well as many others, shows many popular songs and sounds that are available for commercial use for you to choose from. You can also create videos by clicking on a sound on the FYP. However, If you start creating a video this way with a sound that is not in the commercial library, TikTok will notify you that the sound is not available for commercial use. If you choose to use it anyway, the app will ask you to confirm that you have obtained the proper usage permissions.
Here’s a pro tip on TikTok sounds: faster tracks that play at 120+ beats per minute have higher watch rates. So turn up the tunes!
Tip 5: Get With The Trends
TikTok trends are ever-evolving, but staying up to date will show that your brand is relevant!
Using Trending Sounds for Your Tik Tok Business Account
As mentioned, Pro Accounts are limited on which trending songs they can use in their videos, so your business will have to stick to trends that don’t use copyrighted music. Another option: if you do want to make a video to go along with a specific trend, you can try to find music or a sound in the commercial library that is similar to the original but that is available for your brand account. However, as a downside, the TikTok algorithm is more likely to favor videos that do use trending sounds–many of which are not royalty-free.
Hop on the Hashtags with Your Tik Tok Business Account
Especially since a brand’s ability to use trending songs is limited, using hashtags is a great way for your content to be seen! There are many ways to find popular hashtags, such as browsing the Discover page, typing keywords into the search bar and clicking the “hashtags” option, or just searching to see what hashtags are used in your industry. TikTok also has many trending hashtag challenges that are used often, or you could even use small business-related hashtags.
If you’ve scrolled through the app, you’ve probably seen videos that use For You Page hashtags such as #FYP and #ForYouPage. While it has not been confirmed that using these hashtags will cause the algorithm to be more likely to show your videos, many brands and individuals still try it out. In fact, there have even been tests and experiments to see if using these hashtags will really boost your video views. The consensus? Using ‘For You Page’ hashtags doesn’t make your videos gain views or make them more likely to end up on the FYP. For this reason, we recommend using your video description to relay your key message and use hashtags that are more likely to get your video in front of your target audience rather than using these experimental hashtags.
Tip 6: Messaging is a Must
The video quality, trendy sounds, and hashtags you use aren’t the only important aspects of making TikTok videos; the message of the video itself is key!
Tips for Your TikTok Business Account Messaging
Since you are representing your brand on a public platform, you should be thinking about your video’s message and the caption you put on it. Staying in line with your brand voice and values is important–don’t lose your credibility just to be trendy. If your brand voice is professional and informative, keep it that way in your TikToks as well. You don’t want to mix messages or confuse your audience, who may follow you in many places, and there are still ways to have fun while sticking to your brand. On the other hand, if your brand voice is consistently more casual and relatable, use TikTok as a way to show that off!
Keep in mind that people spend time on TikTok for entertainment, not to shop. Because of this, your videos should aim to entertain before they sell. Viewers are much more likely to interact with, follow, and become fans of brands that appear practical, relatable, and authentic rather than just trying to sell their products or services. One form of entertainment that does well on TikTok is storytelling, so find some creative ways to relate your message through a story.
Limitations to Consider When Drafting Messaging for Your TikTok Business Account
When coming up with your best content, there are a few things to keep in mind. TikTok videos do have character limits on posts. However, as of September 2022, the character limit was increased from only 300 characters to 2,200 characters. This allows creators to add a lot more information and hashtags to their videos, which can make them more searchable and better targeted. So, don’t be afraid to write a bit more or include a few more hashtags–it may help you out!
Also, get creative with your calls to action, or CTAs. Having a CTA in a post increases the chances of your audience engaging, clicking, or otherwise just remembering your brand or post. A simple video might spark a chuckle or keep a user watching until the end, but without a CTA, they are likely to simply scroll on. However, by adding a CTA that encourages viewers to take a specific action, you can increase the chance for more engagement, followers, or even conversions, such as sales and leads! Unfortunately, organic TikTok posts cannot have links in the captions, but that doesn’t have to stop you from using some fun CTAs! Drop your Instagram handle, ask viewers to answer a question in the comments, or encourage them to stitch your video with theirs. The options are limitless (well, almost)!
Tip 7: Know Your Audience
TikTok videos would not be popular without the massive number of users on the platform, and knowing who you want to reach is crucial.
Finding and Growing Your Business’s Audience on TikTok
While many people think ‘going viral’ is the end goal of social media, your brand is more likely to garner real, measurable business results by targeting the right people. Your business should have a good idea of who its target audience is. Using demographic information like age and location is a good start, but you should also consider more detailed segmenting options such as interests, education level, and occupation to create a persona.
Once you have your audience defined, utilize it! Make content that is specific to your target audience. Having this niche content will allow you to find followers who are likely to relate to your brand and therefore interact, follow, and even convert. But make sure you don’t get too narrow and only target a small audience. Making more generic content as well for a broader segment can also help expand your audience and grow your platform. Try to find the right mix of specific and general content for your brand!
It’s also important to consider the user demographic of the platform itself. TikTok tends to have a younger audience user base than other channels such as Facebook or even Instagram. Generation Z is much more prevalent on the app, so it may benefit your brand to learn about this demographic to tap into TikTok’s main user base. However, being on TikTok doesn’t mean you have to target Gen Z. 24% of the app’s users in 2022 were age 35 and above, and that number has been steadily increasing.
You can also use TikTok to reach other age ranges that may be in your target audience. Use your brand’s buyer personas to understand their behaviors and interests, and you can find your niche on TikTok. Some tips for reaching older generations include making content that they can relate to, using older on-screen personalities or influencers, or creating content that is more educational.
Finding and Growing Your Business’s Audience on TikTok
Viewing your TikTok analytics will help you find information about your audience. Clicking on the Followers tab of your insights will show: gender, territories, follower activity, videos your followers watched, and sounds your followers listened to. You can use this information to see how well your target audience matches up with who is actually seeing your content or following you. If your target segment is not being reached, you may need to adjust your content strategy. On the other hand, if your brand has a large audience presence from an unexpected segment, it may be worth considering how this can be leveraged. You may want to incorporate them into your strategy as well!
Tip 8: Time It Right
One important factor you may not have considered is this: when is the best time to post your videos?
Use TikTok Analytics to Find the Best Times For Your Business to Post
Overall, TikTok users tend to be the most active from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. However, this is a generalization across all users on the app; your account insights will show you when your specific followers are most active. Use this to your advantage by posting videos regularly when activity is consistently high! TikTok is a fast-paced app with over 1 billion video views daily. To compete in this rapid flow of content, posting at the peak times when your audience is active can lead to you receiving more views and engagement rather than your video being lost in the shuffle.
Tip: For a new account, there may not be much audience activity yet to base your posting times on. For this reason, we recommend testing a posting schedule. Vary the times you post your TikToks throughout the day to see what yields the best results!
Tips for Scheduling Your Business’s TikTok Posts Ahead of Time
The platform itself allows you to schedule videos in advance for publishing later, which is recommended if you’re sharing a lot of content. This will allow you to plan out a schedule ahead of time, create your content in advance, and then spread your posts out over a period of time. However, keep in mind that scheduled posts cannot be edited. This includes editing the scheduled date and time. To make a change, you will have to delete the post and re-upload it, so we recommend doing quality checks on both the content and the posting schedule before uploading to TikTok itself.
In addition to scheduling TikToks on the site itself, there are also third-party scheduling platforms that allow you to schedule posts for TikTok, along with other social channels. Although most of these are paid services, utilizing them allows for an easier way to schedule and manage content on many different sites or platforms. Some of our favorites that we recommend using are Hootsuite and Loomly. However, there are many more out there as well!
Tip 9: Get Engaged
After you create content you’re proud of, it’s easy to post it and then expect to sit back and let the comments and followers roll in. After all, you think your content was great! So why wouldn’t it perform well? But part of what will make your brand appealing to users on the app is interacting with others!
Tips for Engaging on Your Business’s TikTok Account
TikTok users tend to be very active, so be sure to take advantage of this by engaging with them. Responding to comments, thanking people for sharing, and even commenting on other users’ content are all great ideas! Not sure who to interact with? You can use hashtags and sounds to find accounts similar to yours and engage with them or the people liking and commenting on those posts. It’s a great way to be engaged and ultimately build your own following.
TikTok also offers many fun ways to interact besides the standard likes and comments. For example, you can reply to comments within a new video to address a whole new topic or question. Videos can also be stitched, which allows you to use clips of other videos within your content while crediting the original creator. One last fun feature is duetting a video. These are usually used for reaction-based content, where the original video is played beside your video. They are both played at once on a split screen, so you can react, respond, or jump in on a trend yourself while showing the original video.
Tip 10: Add an Ad Budget
Like any other social media platform, TikTok also lets you put some ad spending behind your content. But how does this work?
Brief Overview of Advertising for Your Business on TikTok
Before you are able to run ads on the platform, you will need to create a TikTok Ads Manager Account. This is pretty simple and must be done before you can run ads. The steps to setting up this account are broken down in this short video provided by TikTok’s Business Help Center.
There are several types of ads that can be run:
1. In-feed ads are shown within the feed or FYP among organic videos. These appear the most natural on the page.
2. Brand Takeover ads “take over” the screen and are shown when a user first opens the app.
3. TopView ads are similar, but instead of showing when the app is first opened, they are shown at the top of the FYP.
4. There are also Branded Hashtag Challenges, which take a user to a landing page when they click any video with the branded hashtag.
5. Finally, there are Branded Effects such as filters, stickers, or lenses that are sponsored by brands for creators to use in their content.
Many of the above ads can be in different formats such as images, videos, and carousels, which appear on TikTok’s News Feed Apps (BuzzVideo, TopBuzz, and Babe) or are implemented on the TikTok ad network Pangle.
TikTok ad objectives are split up into three categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. These also have sub-objectives of reach, traffic, app installs, video views, lead generation, and catalog sales. Choose whichever objective fits your desired outcome! Similar to advertising on other platforms, setting up your ads will bring you through creating a campaign, an ad group, and then the ad itself. You will also be given different options for targeting, setting a budget and schedule, and bidding and optimization.
Pros of Advertising for Your Business on TikTok
TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing apps and was the top app downloaded at the beginning of 2022. It is also the social platform with the highest user engagement, so utilizing the app for advertising is a great way to increase your visibility and social engagement. In addition, if you’re looking to increase traffic to your website, TikTok ads can help by including clickable links, which can generate more traffic than just organic videos alone that cannot have links.
Because of the endless scrolling layout of the FYP and the autoplay of videos, it’s often said that ads can feel seamless and less disruptive than they do on other channels. People generally don’t love being shown ads on social media, so this more subtle integration is one reason why TikTok ads can be so successful compared to other platforms. So why not give it a shot?
Challenges of Advertising for Your Business on TikTok
Even with all the benefits of running advertisements, TikTok ads don’t come without their challenges. TikTok ads have minimum budgets for their campaigns and ad groups. Daily and total budgets for campaigns must be at least $50, and ad group daily budgets must exceed $20. So investing in TikTok ad spending may be a larger decision than anticipated, especially if your company is small, if you’re just starting out, or if you have a limited budget for social ads.
TikTok also has very broad targeting options, which, depending on your brand and audience, may not allow you to reach your target segment as easily if it is relatively niche. These factors contribute to the fact that TikTok ads tend to be less lucrative and more expensive than ads on other platforms such as Facebook. However, even with these challenges and limitations, due to the great opportunity for potential with the constantly evolving app, many businesses find success!
Becoming a Pro
After reading all of this, do you feel like a TikTok master yet? Don’t worry–we know it takes time and plenty of trial and error to find social media strategies that will work for any brand. However, by employing some of these tips in your TikTok strategy, you can be one step ahead.
The best place to start is by making a plan, creating content, and seeing what works. So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, find some fun hashtags, and get started!
For those wanting to know more about navigating the world of digital marketing and branding for your business, did you know that SN:D Agency is a full-scale digital and social media marketing agency? We have experience in marketing our clients’ brands and channels and growing their businesses using the same strategies we shared above, and we have years of expertise behind us. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!