TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users. It’s the place to see and be seen, which means ample opportunity for businesses to engage with audiences in a whole new way by tapping into trending topics and hashtag challenges, experimenting with TikTok live streams, and creating compelling content with dynamic editing tools and trending sounds.
Read on to learn how to use TikTok for business — from setting up an account from scratch to measuring your success.
(To be clear, this article is about using TikTok to market your business in organic and paid ways and not exclusively about the “TikTok for Business” platform. If you’re looking for intel on TikTok for Business specifically, head here!)
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If you’ve already got a personal TikTok account, it’s easy to switch over to a Business Account: just skip right to step 3.
A business account on TikTok is free. TikTok’s business accounts give you access to insights about your video performance and followers and allow you to access Business Suite tools like advertising, auto-messaging, and more. You’ll also be limited to the music you can use, but it’s actually a good thing: TikTok prevents businesses from using copyrighted music, so you don’t accidentally set an ad to Harry Styles’ latest bop.
1. Download and open the TikTok app.
2. Create a new personal account. You can use your email or log in with your Google, Twitter, or Facebook account.
3. Tap Profile in the lower right corner, then hit the menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the top right corner.
4. Tap Settings and Privacy.
5. Tap Account.
6. Tap Switch to Business Account.
7. Now, pick the category that best describes your brand and tap Next.
8. Add an email address to your profile.
And that’s it! Congrats on your new TikTok Business Account!
Even if you’re a whiz at Instagram or Facebook marketing, it’s important to remember that TikTok is its own beautiful, chaotic beast that requires a specific game plan. And building that game plan starts with gathering information.
Before you build a TikTok strategy, you need to get to know the platform inside and out. Get familiar with TikTok: spend time browsing through the videos on the For You page. Play around with the editing features, filters, and effects. Spend a few hours losing yourself in the infinite variations of whatever the latest dance craze is.
The TikTok algorithm is constantly evolving, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. Read up on how TikTok ranks and distributes videos and just what trending videos have in common.
This quick video about TikTok hashtag strategy is going to be helpful viewing, too:
TikTokers speak a different language—one that’s constantly evolving. Words and emojis have different meanings. (e.g., 💀=😂). Trying too hard to emulate this digital slang reeks of “hello, fellow kids” energy (and may not be a fit for your specific brand voice!), but understanding common phrases, tropes, and usage can help you avoid looking too out of touch.
For starters, learn about how certain emojis are used on TikTok.
At this point, TikTok stars have parlayed their fame into not just lucrative sponsorships but also reality shows, movie roles, and business ventures. These are the characters around which the TikTok world revolves, but your industry or niche likely has its own power players. Keep your eye on those rising stars… like Sengalese-Italian content creator Khaby Lame, with his 153 million followers.
Before you dive into making your first video, know your audience. While TikTok is extremely popular with teenagers and Gen Z, a wide range of demographics have fallen in love with the app.
Where does your target market overlap with TikTok users? Or is there a new or unexpected audience to reach here? Once you’ve got a good grasp on who you’re talking to, the content planning can begin.
Is your business nemesis already on TikTok? Watch what they’re doing to get a sneak peek of what’s working and what’s not with your shared audiences.
TikTok influencers or creators may fall into the category of “competition” here on the app, too, so don’t rule them out as sources of inspiration or information, either.
Once you’ve compiled all this intel, it’s time to set some goals. Your TikTok strategy should establish what you hope to achieve on the platform.
A good place to start is with your business objectives: how can TikTok help you accomplish them? Try applying the SMART framework to ensure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
See how a local candy company used Hootsuite to gain 16,000 TikTok followers and increase online sales by 750%.Read now
There’s certainly something special about a spur-of-the-moment when inspiration strikes post (especially on fast-paced TikTok), but plotting out content in advance is typically a good idea for a busy social media marketing pro.
A social media content calendar ensures you don’t miss important dates and allows you enough time for creative production. A social media scheduler like Hootsuite can even help you pre-load important content so it goes up on TikTok at the optimum time. (More on that later!)
Look for opportunities to capitalize on holidays or events or develop themes or series that can guide your creativity. Creating content pillars—topics or themes—can help focus your brainstorming and make sure your posts align with your overall brand goals.
That being said, trends come and go fast on TikTok. What’s cool one day is cheugy the next, so it’s important to also plan for the unplannable. When you see a trend that’s a good fit for your brand on TikTok, jump on it and never look back.
For brands with limited resources, TikTok offers a very low barrier to entry. You don’t need to invest in a video production team or equipment to make a splash here — in fact, creating polished content may actually hurt your success on the platform.
According to a 2021 study by Marketing Science, 65% of TikTok users agree that professional-looking videos from brands feel out of place or odd on TikTok.
Of course, having clear audio and decent lighting makes a video more enjoyable for the viewer, but using your phone in a bright and quiet space will do the trick just fine and fit with the authentic TikTok aesthetic. Even Taylor Swift shoots her TikToks fast-’n’-loose… and you know she’s got access to audio equipment.
You’ve only got a few lines and one opportunity to share a link, but your TikTok profile is basically your digital storefront, so do it up right.
Make sure your profile photo looks good and represents your brand. Ideally, it should connect your TikTok account visually to your other digital platforms, using the same logo or colors to make it clear this is part of the same family as your website, Instagram, and Facebook.
With only 80 characters to work with, your TikTok bio needs to cut to the chase and include a CTA. Use an emoji if it’s appropriate for your brand voice: it can add personality and save on the character count. Win-win.
Here are 130 TikTok bio ideas to inspire.
Should it direct users to your ecommerce site, a specific landing page, your other social accounts, or a current blog post? That all depends on your strategic goals.
Verified TikTok accounts benefit from increased exposure and a certain amount of cred. A verification badge is basically a stamp of approval from the TikTok overlords, one that can help give your brand an aura of authority and confirm its authenticity.
You don’t have to be super famous to get one, and lots of businesses (even paint companies) have them. You can request to be verified through the Settings and Privacy menu, but many sources believe there are other actions you can take to speed up the process and earn that beautiful blue check.
Read more about how to get verified on TikTok here, or watch the video recap (you’re busy, we get it!):
There’s no secret recipe for making a successful TikTok video, but there are some good rules of thumb to follow.
It may seem obvious, but the better your sound and video quality, the more enjoyable your content will be to watch. That doesn’t mean you need to invest in pricey equipment, as mentioned above, but be conscious about filming in well-lit spaces where the audio is going to be clean… like at a holiday light display, for instance.
If clean audio is impossible, add a trending track to your video instead of the original sound. Here’s how to find business-friendly sounds to use on your TikTok.
Whether it’s a fitness video or a cooking demo, audiences tend to like a little bit of education in their TikTok feed. Create videos that show off your expertise or reveal some behind-the-scenes intel to keep them watching.
Try out the Duets feature to engage with other videos or commission an influencer for a partnership.
Like going live on any social media channel, doing a livestream on TikTok is a chance to connect in real time with your audience. Followers can engage with you in the moment, asking questions or sharing feedback: it’s spontaneous and authentic, and downright exciting (not to mention a great way to drive social commerce.)
Anything could happen when you’re broadcasting live… for better or for worse. Try sharing a live tutorial, putting on a performance, or broadcasting a conversation or interview. Whatever you’re putting out into the world, it’s a hyper-engaging way to spotlight your brand’s voice and values.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to going live on TikTok.
TikTok hashtags will help your content get discovered via search and help the TikTok algorithm identify what kind of topics you’re covering.
Learn more about the best TikTok hashtags to use to grow your reach and view counts.
Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.
Hashtags, as mentioned above, are a vital part of getting your content discovered. But TikTok has leveled up its keyword and caption search ability in recent months (no wonder that Gen Z uses TikTok as a search engine more frequently than Google!).
Savvy brands can take advantage of TikTok’s growing search capability by applying good old-fashioned SEO rules to get over to the For You Page. Do your keyword research, think strategically about how your target audience would use search, and share your TikTok in a microblog that is also jam-packed with your sweet, sweet keywords.
To get your content in front of people, it doesn’t just have to be good: it has to go up at the right time.
Of course, the “right time” varies by audience and day of the week, and how the stars are aligned, but broadly speaking, you’ll see positive results if you post on Thursday at 7 p.m. (Check out our full explanation of the best time to post on TikTok for the full data breakdown.)
But what happens if you’re busy on Thursdays at 7 p.m.? That’s where a scheduling tool steps in to save the day.
You can schedule your TikToks right in the TikTok app… however, the platform has a few limitations. You can only schedule up to 10 days in advance, and only on a desktop computer. What if you’re on vacation without your desk?!
Luckily, Hootsuite offers workarounds to both of those issues. With Hootsuite, you can schedule your TikToks weeks and months in advance, on your computer or on your phone. Plus, after you’ve used it a few times, Hootsuite will automatically calculate the best times to post for your unique audience.
Check out our detailed walk-through of how to schedule a TikTok post:
First off: Don’t buy followers! We tried, and it’s a very bad idea! Stop it! Put that credit card down.
Ultimately, creating great content (see above!) is the #1 way to get those sweet, sweet views and follows. To keep those followers interested and engaged once they’re on board, the same rules of thumb apply as to any other social media platform:
- Try out interactive live streams.
- Experiment with polls and questions.
- Respond to comments and questions.
- Comment and like content on other TikTok accounts.
- Practice social listening to make sure you’re on top of trending topics in your TikTok community.
Once you’ve been playing around with TikTok for a while, it’s important to look objectively at how things are going. How are your reach and engagement metrics doing? Are those tutorial videos actually hitting? Who is actually watching and following your content?
Analytics take the guesswork out of content strategy: they prove what’s working — and what’s not. TikTok’s in-platform analytics tool can show you some really interesting metrics to help inform your next steps.
Some hot numbers for you: TikTok ads can now reach an estimated adult (18+) audience of 825 million people worldwide.
Advertising isn’t a fit for everyone’s social strategy, but if paid reach is something you’re interested in, check out our guide to TikTok ads here.
And if you’re marketing to a younger audience, especially women, you’ve got even more of a reason to get in there — 36% of TikTok users are aged 18 to 24, and women in that age group make up almost 20% of TikTok’s advertising audience.
TikTok’s commercial influence is huge. TikTok reports that 67% of users have been inspired to shop by the app, while 66% say that TikTok helped them decide what to buy. And if that’s not enough to convince you, there’s always the #tiktokmademebuyit hashtag.
On TikTok, you can promote your posts (spend some money to boost content you’ve made) or find creators to partner with via TikTok’s Branded Content portal.
Those are just the more organic ad options. There are also traditional ad placement formats accessible via the TikTok ad manager: place your ads in-stream, on the For You Page, invest in a paid branded hashtag challenge, and more. Find more details about all your options here, in our ultimate guide to TikTok ads.
Okay, there you have it: TikTok for Business 101! Get your account up and running and start exploring all the opportunities this wild and wonderful platform has to offer and explore the rest of our expert TikTok guides to deepen your knowledge even further.
Grow your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts for the best times, engage your audience, and measure performance — all from one easy-to-use dashboard. Try it free today.