You may not think of TikTok when you think of promoting your small business. People who don’t use TikTok or who’s only experience with the platform is seeing videos shared on other networks might be under the impression that it’s just a bunch of teenagers making videos of them dancing or doing pranks.
If you do download the app you’ll see that….there is a lot of videos of teenagers dancing and doing pranks BUT, what you’ll also notice that older people are using TikTok as well and not all of the content is light hearted entertainment. There are a huge number of accounts created by small businesses, from individuals selling handmade products from their living room to bigger companies wanting to share their tips on how they’ve found success and expanded.
Being a digital marketing agency, we wanted to test for ourselves how well the platform could work for local small businesses so we created our own channel to see the type of engagement we could get. The results were surprising with us gaining over 1000 followers within the span of a week. If you’re thinking about creating a TikTok channel for your business here’s what you need to know.
NOTE: If you’re going to run a TikTok account as a verified business or organisation you are going to be limited in your choice of music as you are unable to use copyrighted material. Keep this in mind before wanting to jump on the latest TikTok trend.
Like any social media account, it’s a good idea to have a back log of content when you launch so you’re not having to regularly come up with new ideas for posts. We had a brainstorming session where we came up with 50 different ideas covering a wide range of topics that related to what we do as a business.
If you struggle to think of ideas for content relating to your business, we recommend the site Answer The Public (which we actually found out about on TikTok). Simply enter a topic and ATP will show you a huge range of questions based off the autocomplete entries of search engines like Google. Each question is an idea that you can explore in either one video or as a series.
The best way that we found to organise all of these ideas is with the ever useful google spreadsheet. Along with the topic we’re covering we also assign people to be in each video and choose the specific hashtags that we want to target. It’s easy to see which hashtags are the most popular directly in the app as the number of views is displayed next to it when using the search function.
There are plenty of ideas about how many times you should post content on different platforms and there’s just as many ideas about what time of day you should post. What we found worked for us was posting 1 video per day, Monday to Friday. The time of day that worked best for us was late in the afternoon at around 4 or 5pm.
Our theory on why this time works is based on analytics of our followers. It’s an almost even split between the US and Australia. The time we’ve chosen to post aligns with when Australian and North American TikTok users are both using the app. It’s important to experiment and finds a time that works for you as this can dictate how many people in your target audience will see your video.
If you’re familiar with scheduling tools for other networks you may already be using a tool like Later to schedule your posts for the week or month. Many of these options require a monthly subscription if you want to fully utilise all the features they offer. If you’re not wanting to spend any extra money you can always save your posts ready to go as a draft in the TikTok app and then post it when you’re ready.
For 5 videos a week, we set aside one day to film all the content that we need. As most TikTok videos are relatively short this usually takes us about an hour. That doesn’t mean we’re done making content in one hour as the video footage we take still needs to be edited. Editing a video for us can take about half an hour for a video where we speak directly to the camera and up to an hour for videos that utilise a voice over.
With our handy spreadsheet of content ideas we spend some time before filming scripting out what we’re going to say. You can always do this part beforehand and have the script ready to go in your spreadsheet but with TikTok’s ever changing tastes and trends we find it best to have our scripts be us “current” as possible. Using a whiteboard is an easy way to have your script in front of you while filming if you’re not so great at memorising your lines.
We use a combination of Adobe Premiere Pro and the TikTok app itself to edit our footage. TikTok’s editing features are the more user friendly option but if you’re finding editing directly on your phone fiddly and time consuming but don’t want to pay for a creative cloud subscription there are plenty of free alternatives you can use. Remember to caption any thing you’re saying in your videos to make sure people are able to understand your content if their phone is muted.
THE CONTENT THAT WORKED
Out of the 5 videos we published in our first week there were two that stood out in terms of the amount of views they received.
Our first video was a simple introduction to our business, showing our office space, the team and explaining our goals for our channel. This video received over 13,000 views and close to 50 comments. It’s always a good idea to respond to comments on your videos as this shows that you’re active on the platform and increases your chances of gaining followers.
Our third video has been our most popular with just over 26,000 views. For this one we created a more informative video, listing 5 apps that we use in our marketing agency. List videos are extremely popular on TikTok and can easily be changed to suit whatever type of content you’re looking to put out; you can list your favourite products, unique aspects of your business or lesson you’ve learnt as your business has grown.
THE CONTENT THAT DIDN’T WORK
Not all of our videos did so well with some not even reaching 500 views. These videos covered a wide range of different topics so we don’t believe that the content itself was what was lacking but rather the videos themselves that didn’t capture the attention of our audience. Videos that didn’t perform well mainly involved us speaking directly to the camera, usually in one fixed position.
Remember that TikTok is a visual social media platform and that users can skip to the next video on their feed with a single swipe. If you’re going to shoot a video that’s just you speaking to the camera then get creative with your editing. Shoot from a few different angles and edit them together, walk around while you talk or set up your space with some interesting set decorations.
Hashtag Laddering is a technique used on Instagram in which you use hashtags with varying degrees of popularity in your post in order to have your content be seen by both a large amount of people and also smaller niche audiences. We wanted to test this technique on TikTok to see if it would lead to the same amount of success. The video we experimented with did not have a high number of views so it’s our opinion this technique is best left to Instagram.
TikTok can be an extremely useful tool for Brand Awareness. By producing informative content relating to your niche you can show potential customers your industry knowledge. An area where the platform fails however is tracking how many people will leave the app to visit your website. While you can put your website address in your profile there is no ability to see how many people have actually clicked on it.
TikTok is the perfect example of the ‘7 Touchpoints’ in marketing, where it takes a regular consumer 7 ‘touches’ before they will take action to your brand. Since users can experience an information overload on the platform, it’s easy for users to forget about your video. Therefore, by uploading consistently and targeting the same audience, the users are then able to familiarize themselves with your content – hence the 7 touches.
It’s important to produce visually interesting content. There are a huge variety of filters that can help you achieve this and watching popular videos will give you an idea of the kind of content that people are currently enjoying. There are plenty of videos on the platform for you to research ideas and popular hashtags from so spend some time going through your own feed.