TikTok For Business: a quick 3-minute guide

selling on tiktok

With 500 million active users worldwide, TikTok is the dream of any shopkeeper who wants to expand the shop’s reach, gain a new audience and retain customers who have already purchased at least once.

It was the most downloaded app in the world in 2020 and even today there are still people who don’t know what this app is and many wonder why it is so popular.

Do you know what TikTok is? Or have you never even heard of it?

What is Tiktok?

TikTok (iOS/Android) is a tool for sharing short videos, from 15 to 60 seconds, which offers extensive features for editing them. You can include filters, subtitles, background music, gifs, make cuts and use your creativity. Like on Instagram or Twitter, we can follow other people’s profiles and interact, liking posts, making comments, and even sharing on WhatsApp.

Before we start discussing the app’s features, we need to talk about where TikTok came from – and how it got to the coveted position of the world’s most downloaded social network in the year 2020.

How did Tiktok come about?

TikTok is owned by ByteMedia, which in 2016 had released a Chinese version of the app, called Douyin. A year later, the brand launched a new app with the same software as Doyuin – TikTok.

Shortly after, ByteMedia bought the Musical.ly app, which allowed you to create videos from famous songs; in August 2018, the brand combined TikTok with Musical.ly, and it didn’t take long for the new app to hit the internet.

One factor that may explain TikTok’s sudden growth is the fact that the platform has become a spot for new talent: musicians and bands who now create videos on the app using, as background music, an authorial song or melody.

The success of these independent artists is impressive: TikTok has even launched a kind of freshman program within the platform, although the feature is still only available in Japan and South Korea.

The app’s potential is monetization, it’s obvious – and it didn’t take long for commerce giants to figure that out.

In September 2019, the NFL formed a long-term partnership with TikTok to share highlights and other exclusive game content with app users; around the same time, some real-world celebrities, such as Will Smith and K-pop band BTS, began to establish successful profiles on the platform.

TikTok for business: how to use is to promote your brand

With just over two years of operation, TikTok is not yet a sales channel like Instagram– and that means there is still room for modifications and improvements that can totally alter a store’s marketing campaigns. (Learn how to sell on Instagram in this handy guide)

For now, if you have a brand, you can use TikTok in 4 different ways:

1. Create a profile

If you don’t have a big budget, the best strategy is to create a profile, start producing content, and gain followers.

There’s only one problem: you’ll need to balance the tightrope of promoting a brand while still gaining followers since the vast majority of users don’t access TikTok to watch ads and commercials – but rather to consume quality content.

Despite being the most obvious option, investing in paid ads within TikTok is not as simple as it sounds – not least because the feature is not yet available in all countries (and, in those that are, it has a somewhat high value). The truth is that it is possible to sell on TikTok and even choose our audience, a bit similar like other platforms.

Advertisements can be displayed in a variety of ways:

  • Pre-roll ads: videos that are displayed as soon as the user opens the app;
  • Ads in the feed: videos that are displayed as you browse;
  • Challenges and contests with hashtags: videos that encourage app users to submit their own content with the brand’s hashtag;
  • Exclusive filters: an exclusive filter for users, similar to those we see on Snapchat and Instagram, but with brand-specific information.

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3. Influencer Marketing

Digital Influencers, or Tiktokers as they like to call themselves, can be a good solution for shopkeepers who don’t want to spend tons of money on paid advertising on the platform and also don’t want to create their own TikTok videos.

Influencer marketing, as we know, has established itself as one of the best advertising strategies on social media, and is currently the darling of even the big brands.

But unlike Instagram Stories, TikTok’s video campaigns don’t yet have direct integrations with other buying channels. This means that you’ll have to ask the influencer to include your store’s link in the profile bio or in the post’s comments – something that can drastically affect the success of the campaign.

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4. Create “shoppable” branded videos on TikTok

If you’ve been using TikTok for a while, you’ve probably heard the rumor that the platform will soon launch a shoppable video feature, similar to what exists on Instagram today.

This feature actually exists: it has been working on Doyuin for some time, but on TikTok, it is still in the testing phase, and is only being used by some elite influencers on the platform.

Just like on Instagram, where you can include the swipe up option in Stories, TikTok’s feature will make it possible to include URLs in videos; that way, the user will only need to click on the link to be automatically redirected.

Whichever strategy you choose, however, it is important to remember the following:

Most TikTok users have grown up with the internet, which means they are also pickier about the type of content they consume. New generations don’t care about traditional ads with a simplistic message: they want something creative that matches their lifestyle, and the values they carry.

Get on the bandwagon and start advertising on TikTok today. Don’t know how? Talk to us

Did you know that you can use Whatsapp as a sales platform? Learn 10 key tips to sell on WhatsApp