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Can TikTok help your business?

Diane Hall


TikToc logo on a 3d background

I’ve come late to the party, I know, as a recent convert to the joys of TikTok. I used to spend my evenings mindlessly scrolling through my network’s Facebook posts, but now most of my spaced-out downtime is spent on the platform commonly thought of as the one for youngsters only.

I never quite got the hype about Instagram, and I lost interest in Twitter quite a while ago…Facebook was the only social media platform I continued to interact with. TikTok, however, has shoe-horned its way into my attention span.

I should stress that I enjoy TikTok as a consumer of content, rather than a creator. I send my daughters cute puppy videos, and share the slapstick/dark humour ones with my husband. I don’t speak to other TikTokers, though I follow a number of new influencers who are using the platform well to get their messages across. I’ve also purchased a couple of items after seeing them on TikTok, so its advertising capabilities are working on me, too.

I run a small business, and I’ve wondered whether adopting TikTok would help me achieve more sales. However, I haven’t seen any content relating to what I sell—either I’m not seeking out the content my competitors are posting or there aren’t many of my potential customers on the platform. I’d hazard a guess that the first one is more likely to be the truth.

So, back to the question in the title—could TikTok help your business?

Social media apps on an iphone with a purple background

Social media apps on an iphone with a purple background

There’s no reason why not, is my answer; however, this does come with some caveats. The first is: audience. Half of all TikTok users are aged under 34. I’m proof, though, that older people go on it, as I’m nearing 50 and can spend a good hour or so a day scrolling through my ‘For You’ page.

As a rule of thumb, if your products are aimed at younger people rather than older generations, there’s no reason why TikTok wouldn’t work for you. Think of the alignment between the type of content you would be putting out to attract traffic and how it matches the things you offer within your business.

If you don’t already target your marketing at younger generations, TikTok could open up a whole new audience to you; however, this will only work if said younger people would want what you offer. For example, if you sell funeral plans or mobility aids, TikTok may not the best place for your time and efforts.

The second consideration is consistency. Every social media platform is only as effective as the person or people behind it. If you have the time to build a following on TikTok, you could make this work for you, but if you think you only need to make a couple of videos and they will instantly go viral—whilst this is certainly possible—it’s unlikely to get you far. This is probably the main reason why I wouldn’t incorporate TikTok into my marketing mix, I just don’t have the time for it.

If you’re already promoting yourself on other social media platforms, and these are working for you, think of where you can make more time to attack TikTok properly. Time is a finite entity; unless you can free up some time from ditching another activity, you may have to dump one or more social media platforms from your marketing mix in order to find the time for TikTok—but if these are working for you, why would you do that? What would throwing TikTok into this mix achieve?

You don’t have to be trained by Steven Spielberg nor invest in any expensive video equipment to create viral content suitable for TikTok, but you will get more from the platform if your videos are planned and executed well enough.

The third consideration is to read the room. Whilst there are many, many videos on there, covering all the genres and topics you can think of, the majority of the content that does well on the platform is humorous in nature. If this tone fits the products or services you sell, and you can think of some funny videos you can create, then go for it.

Think of the TikTok videos that do well…most are short and easily digestible, they feature scenarios people like to share with their friends—some can even become themes in themselves, which means you can put your own spin on existing content and trends. Some videos do well with musical effects; with others, music is an annoyance, as you can’t make out what’s being said/what’s happening. Do your research first then work out what your approach is going to be.

TikTok has already been around a few years and is no more a flash in the pan than any other social media channel. If you think it would fit your business and you have the time and creativity to get the most from the platform, I’d recommend getting on board.

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