TikTok can be overwhelming, yes. But that’s exactly why it’s such an exciting opportunity for your business. Here’s why.
Irina Novoselsky, Hootsuite CEO, shares how she has found her niche as a social CEO at Collision 2023—and much more.
TikTok can be overwhelming, yes. But that’s exactly why it’s such an exciting opportunity for your business. Here’s why.
Maybe you don’t trust your dance moves. Maybe you don’t think you’re “cool” enough. Maybe you can’t keep up with the endless trends and challenges that pop up and burn out just as fast.
Maybe you’re not sure if you belong.
TikTok can be intimidating and—dare we say it—even a bit overwhelming. But would you believe us when we say that’s also what makes it exciting?
It’s true: The same stuff that gives you nervous sweats is also exactly what makes this app so thrilling. And powerful. And impactful.
That’s where the real value for your business actually lies.
Not quite sure you’re on board? We took a look at a few of the most common hesitations when it comes to using TikTok for Business and broke down why they’re actually massive opportunities.
Read on to discover TikTok’s real potential.
The social media strategies you use on every other channel won’t work on TikTok. None of your hard-won insights apply.
You’ve spent ages figuring out exactly what you need to do on each different network and now you’re terrified you’re going to have to toss it all out the window. (Can you even imagine treating TikTok the way you do Twitter?!)
TikTok is vastly different from every single other social media platform, yes. But, that’s NOT a bad thing. It also means that the problems you struggle with on your other social channels don’t apply here.
Declining organic reach? Haven’t heard of her.
How many followers you have matters far less on TikTok than it does everywhere else. That’s because the TikTok algorithm is a recommendation engine, designed to show you videos it thinks you’ll enjoy based on user interactions (like what videos you’ve watched or liked previously), categories you’ve marked as interesting, and more.
TikTok itself even says that “the TikTok algorithm is based on content engagement rather than social connections.” There you have it.
You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel to put your business on TikTok, but you do have to go back to the fundamentals of good social strategy.
Ask yourself: What does your audience want?
So long as your content is relevant to your audience, it can reach them on TikTok. This is your chance to do something new. Nerve-wracking? Yes—but exciting too.
Bonus: TikTok’s biggest demographics, key things you need to know about the platform, and advice on how to make it work for you? Get all the must-know TikTok insights for 2022 in one handy infosheet.
What’s cool lives and dies on TikTok. And a lot of that is powered by the young demographics that make up the majority of the user base.
As a result, TikTok has become an engine of culture and trends that dictates not only what’s cool on social media, but in real life as well: in fashion, in food, in music, in pop culture—everywhere.
That can be intimidating, because marketing to these groups is notoriously difficult. Your brand can be embraced one minute and shunned the next.
Yes, TikTok is Gen Z’s home base (making it the perfect place to reach them, btw) and a lot of the app’s cultural influence stems from them, but they’re not the only ones there: American TikTok users aged 35 to 54 have more than tripled year-over-year. (Read that again.)
Plus, older adults are increasingly using TikTok to defy stereotypes and define what’s cool—and they’re being welcomed with open arms.
So you can actually reach the “cool” people in any demographic on TikTok, but more importantly—it’s not just the “cool” people who get to be tastemakers anymore. TikTok has opened the door for random hobbyists, eclectic subcultures and aesthetics, and traditionally “uncool” or uncelebrated communities to not only gather, but flourish.
There’s no one kind of cool anymore.
Users organize themselves around niches—and there’s one for everything. Yes, really. Even tech. Even finance. Even law. Even B2B. Even [insert your industry here].
TikTok is for every kind of business.
You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a box where you just don’t fit. So, challenge what you think it’s cool. Because TikTok is wildly embracing things that aren’t traditionally or mainstream cool—so long as it comes across as authentic.
What doesn’t work is pretending you’re cool or trying to be cool if you’re just… not.
This is all good news for your business. It means you don’t have to pander to things that are superficially cool in order to be popular. You just have to find the right people and deliver your content in the right ways.
First up, know what the essence of your brand is and lean into it wholeheartedly. Don’t try to be something you’re not: TikTokers will throw you to the wolves over that.
Second, figure out where your audience hangs out on the app.
Are they reading up on #BookTok? Growing strong in #PlantTok? Vibing with #CottageCore? Do some poking around and watch some TikTok videos to find your niche. (Call it research.)
But don’t stop there.
Create videos about their passions—ones they can relate to, that entertain them, or even teach them something new. Comment on videos that others in the subculture post. And, if you’re able to, collaborate with creators in your niche.
Looking for a cheat code to what the f@*! is actually happening on TikTok? Check out Make it Make Sense: A TikTok Culture Guide for your shortcut to understanding top creators, popular subcultures, and more.
TikTok is where trends are born. It’s at the cutting edge of culture. But everything moves so damn quickly that it’s hard to keep up, not to mention create content that actually performs.
And there are so hecking many trends that even if you could keep up, you couldn’t possibly do them all. You can’t be blamed for wondering: what’s the point in even trying?
The eternal struggle of every social media manager (we know it all too well): what the hell do I post today? And tomorrow? And the day after that? And on and on and on…?
Filling a calendar with content that feels fresh, clever, and entertaining is one of the most difficult parts of the job.
The whiplash speed and sheer volume of trends on TikTok may be intimidating at first, but look at it this way: it’s also an ENDLESS fountain of content ideas.
The entire platform is designed around the idea of recycling, remixing, and collaboration. So there’s always something to post on TikTok.
TikTok is FULL of content ideas, so take advantage of them.
But—and this is important—don’t feel like you have to jump on every single trend flying by. In addition to the fact that we’re pretty sure it’s not humanly possible, we also wouldn’t recommend it.
Trying to do it all will mean that what you actually do is spread yourself too thin. Not every trend is going to be YOUR trend, and that’s okay. Hopping on the wrong trend will often make your brand look worse than if you’d done nothing at all. You’ll know the right one when you see it.
Instead, focus on consistently creating good, valuable content. Treat trends as your own personal idea repository.
The good news is that, even if you don’t ever take part in a single trend, simply staying up-to-date with them will put you ahead of the pack.
Why? Because TikTok trends are at the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist and what you see there will be what’s popular everywhere else in about two weeks.
So even if you don’t have the time or resources to jump on a trend as it happens on TikTok, you’ll at least get the references and be prepared to play off them on your other social channels later on (if appropriate, of course).
Our TikTok Trends Newsletter can help. It’s your biweekly update on the latest TikTok trends, whether you should hop on them (or not), inspo from other businesses on the app, and hot tips so you can live your best TikTok life.
Video is EVERYTHING on TikTok, which could leave you concerned that you need professional-level video production skills to make good TikTok videos.
Not having the right equipment, skills, or (let’s face it) budget can be a huge hurdle when it comes to creating excellent social content. And some of the most popular TikTok videos seem to be chock full of fancy editing tricks and effects.
The app may be all about video, but that doesn’t mean it’s about glossy video.
Authenticity rules on TikTok. Sometimes heavily produced videos take off, but more often than not, it’s scrappy DIY stuff that hits the #fyp.
Globally, an average of 64% of TikTok users say they can be their true selves on TikTok, while an average of 56% say they can post videos they wouldn’t post elsewhere. Importantly, this is something they like about the app—and it’s what they want to see from businesses too.
In fact, 65% of TikTok users agree that professional looking videos from brands feel out of place or odd on TikTok, according to research TikTok conducted with Flamingo (Marketing Science Global Community and Self-expression Study 2021).
Authenticity is just good business: 56% of users and 67% of creators feel closer to brands they see on TikTok—particularly when they publish human, unpolished content.
Users don’t want polish, they want real. So just be yourself—mistakes and all.
The best equipment for filming is something you’ve already got: a mobile phone. Use TikTok itself to edit your video (it has a TON of easy-to-use features). And, if you want a little help, check out our TikTok Video Making Workshop, where a creator walks you step-by-step through the process of making your first video.
If the style of your video isn’t that important, what is? Its content. In addition to a bottomless supply of trend-fueled content ideas, there are tons of other possibilities for what you can post.
You can show people a day in the life of your business. Give them a peek behind the scenes. Teach them something new. Tell them a story. Highlight a new product. Showcase your most interesting employees. The possibilities are endless.
Retail and B2C brands tend to get the most attention for doing cool stuff on TikTok.
You only have to look at ones like Chipotle and Gymshark—hopping on trends, running popular branded hashtag challenges, and racking up follower counts in the millions—to see it in action.
Seeing all of these brands touted as success stories can be a little intimidating.
You don’t want to be the boring guest at the party. And TikTok seems like a place where your brand has to be super cool, or trendy, or provocative—and that just doesn’t come naturally for your brand or industry.
B2B businesses (and lots of service-based companies too) often operate in very niche areas with very niche audiences. On other networks, this works against you.
But the TikTok algorithm is way more likely to get your very niche content to the very niche audience who’s most likely to be genuinely excited about it. In this way, TikTok actually serves B2B businesses (and other not-obviously-exciting-brands) better than other social networks.
In the same way that you don’t have to produce glossy films to succeed on TikTok, you also don’t need to create wildly splashy videos to reach YOUR people.
Entertainment is one of the most popular types of content on the platform, it’s true. But people often forget about the other two: inspiration and education.
The secret to content success on TikTok is right in front of you: TikTokers LOVE to learn. And few businesses are better positioned to create educational content than B2B brands. (It’s also a perfect strategy for lots of business types, from banks to law firms.)
It’s the kind of content you’re probably already really good at creating for your other marketing channels. You just have to start adapting that mindset to TikTok.
If you’re STILL not sure you belong, consider this: 13.9% of B2B decision makers who use social for work research say that TikTok influences their purchase decisions. That simply wouldn’t be the case if B2B brands didn’t belong on the app. And think about this, while you’re at it: TikTok videos using the #Finance hashtag have 6.6 billion views. We rest our case.
Good news! TikTok users are very willing to watch content from brands: 73% of TikTokers say they feel deeper connections to brands on TikTok than on other sites and apps and 56% feel more positive about a brand after seeing it on TikTok.
How do you give them those good feels?
Seal the deal with your audience by helping them learn something new—38% of TikTok users said a brand feels authentic when teaching them something.
Taking the risk with any new platform can feel intimidating. No one wants to pour their time, energy, or precious budget into something and not get anything tangible or measurable back out.
But the great news is that this isn’t likely to happen with TikTok.
It’s an amazing place to get new eyeballs, it’s true. So good, in fact, that 70% of TikTokers say they’ve discovered new products and brands on the platform that fit their lifestyles. (Remember what we told you earlier about that magic algorithm?)
But it’s not just for brand awareness. Heard of a little thing called #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt? At 14 BILLION views (and counting), it’s a force to be reckoned with.
TikTok’s got purchase intent in spades too:
TikTok users aren’t just more likely to buy, though. They’re also engaged consumers who’re 2.4x more likely than other platform users to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product and 2x more likely to comment or DM a brand after making a purchase.
TikTok is for discovery. And consideration. And conversions. And customer loyalty too.
It’ll be hard for TikTokers to see your business if you aren’t on the platform, so put yourself out there.
Sign up for a TikTok for Business account. Create content that shows the value of your product or service and your brand. Engage with your audience. Join a community.
Then (and this is important) MEASURE it all.
Add a link to your bio and use UTMs so you can track traffic and conversions in your website analytics. Keep track of your reach, engagement, and other key metrics using a social media management platform like Hootsuite to schedule your TikTok videos, manage comments, and—crucially—measure TikTok alongside all of your other social channels. TikTok even has a customer relationship management (CRM) integration so you can set up a direct flow of leads using LeadsBridge or Zapier.
So now you see, the reasons you’re nervous about TikTok are also the exact same reasons you’ve got to give it a try. Check out Make it Make Sense: A TikTok Culture Guide for a crash course in what people are doing on TikTok and why it matters—so you can create a strategy that connects and drives tangible business results.