Have you been thinking about joining TikTok to market your service-based business?

Maybe you see the potential but are wondering how you’re going to manage another social media platform.

Perhaps you’ve already set up an account but haven’t gotten much further than that.

The stats don’t lie:

  • TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2021 and in Q1 of 2022 and it now has over 1 billion monthly active users;
  • Users spend an average of 5 hours per day on the platform. That’s a whole lotta scrolling! And;
  • Contrary to what you may have heard, TikTok is no longer a dance-focussed app for teens. While 60% of the app’s users are Gen-Z, that still leaves another 40% of users who are 30 years or older (40% of 1 billion = a lot of potential customers or clients!)

Source: https://explodingtopics.com/blog/tiktok-demographics

It’s easy to see why savvy service providers are capitalising on this opportunity to increase brand awareness, connect with new clients (and future clients), and to make sales. In fact, TikTok is now the number-one app driving consumer spending.

TikTok vs Instagram Reels – What’s the difference?

While both TikTok and Instagram offer short form, vertical video formats, there are key differences between how the platforms, and algorithms, operate. On Instagram content is currently prioritised by relationships between users so you are more likely to see content from accounts you follow or whose content you have engaged with. TikTok algorithms on the other hand, prioritse content based on interest. The For You Page (the default feed) is largely comprised of content from users you don’t follow. For that reason, TikTok provides an incredible opportunity to be discovered by a new audience. TikTok’s interest-based algorithm, search functionality, and ongoing push towards longer-form content (users can now post up to 10-minute videos), means that TikTok is, in fact, more like YouTube than Instagram Reels – as evidenced by the fact that the majority of Gen Zers now use TikTok as a search engine.

Is TikTok Right for Your Business?

TikTok offers a unique opportunity for small businesses to connect and engage with a new audience. If you’re wondering whether or not to take the plunge, consider the following.

TikTok is right for your business if:

  • You want to increase brand awareness
  • You want to connect and engage a younger audience
  • You want to tap into an audience outside of Australia (TikTok has about 80 million monthly active users in the United States)
  • You want to connect with your existing audience in a new way (don’t just assume they aren’t on there, ask them!)
  • You are willing to show yourself on camera and experiment with different content styles
  • You’re already creating Instagram Reels – you might as well re-purpose them!

What type of content works well on TikTok?

There are many styles of content that perform well on TikTok. When starting out, experiment with different content styles, topics and formats and use your analytics to determine what’s working and replicate that.

TikTok content ideas for business include:

  • Authentic and relatable content that isn’t overly polished or produced
  • Content that shows people – users want to connect with the person(s) behind the brand so show yourself and your team
  • Storytelling and Vlog style content that shares your everyday life and takes users on a journey
  • Fun and light-hearted content that connects on a personal level
  • Conversation-sparking content or controversial opinions
  • Educational and informative content that delivers value or a quick win
  • Series-based content that users can “binge” on

The key to success is to be known for a certain topic or style and create that content consistently so your audience (and the algorithms) understand what your account is about and who your content is for.

Evergreen is Queen

For time-poor small businesses, I recommend creating high-value, evergreen, content that is not time sensitive. This style of content can perform well now, in a week, month or year’s time and can be reused and repurposed to save time. Evergreen content is great because it continues to deliver value long after you post. One of the interesting features of the TikTok algorithm is its tendency to continue to push out your older content to new followers. New followers get a highlights package of your best-performing content when they first start following you so that older content keeps delivering.

Are you ready to try TikTok?

Best practice tips for businesses:

  1. Create your profile including relevant keywords. You can add a website link once you reach 1K followers. Account analytics are available on both Creator and Business accounts.
  2. Watch and learn what others are doing, note down what others are doing in your industry or niche and any gaps you can fill with your content.
  3. Pick a content niche and stick to it. Those sharing unique content in their niche are doing better than those who came late to the party and are trying to copy the dances, voiceovers etc. This also helps the algorithms understand what your account is about in order to serve your content to the right audience.
  4. Be consistent. When starting out, post at least 1x per day to build momentum (you can post more often if you really want to supercharge your following).
  5. Be patient. The shelf-life for TikToks is much longer than posts on other platforms so it can take a few days for your post to be picked up. For this reason you should not delete TikToks just because they aren’t performing as expected.
  6. When creating videos, start strong with a hook (visual, audio, or text) and get to the point quickly otherwise you’ll lose attention
  7. Add text/closed captions to your videos and create written captions to improve accessibility, engagement and SEO
  8. Add value, rather than more noise.

Above all, have fun. Show your personality and don’t take it too seriously.

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