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7 ways to use TikTok for business

TikTok is one of the hottest social media trends today. Businesses looking to reach Gen Z and millennials can use this platform to create videos, branded hashtags and challenges.

TikTok continues to trend among millennial and Gen Z users, offering businesses new ways to reach target customers.

TikTok is growing and is a hot social media trend. Videos can go viral within seconds with the potential to reach TikTok's 1 billion active monthly users. TikTok is also looking to expand by adding business advertising opportunities. And businesses wanting to market to younger generations need to adapt and jump on the video bandwagon.

Here are some ways to use TikTok for business promotion.

1. Advertise on TikTok

TikTok offers businesses various ways to advertise even though they do not focus on selling ads. These ads blend in with TikTok's platform. Here are the different types of ads on TikTok.

In-feed ads

Users see these ads while scrolling on their feed. In-feed ads are short and last up to 60 seconds but can link to a website or app store. These ads also enable users to like, comment and share as they are more native content.

Brand takeovers

When a user opens the TikTok app, brand takeover ads appear. The format includes three-second photos or videos. They are typically more expensive than in-feed ads, and advertisers can only run one takeover ad per day based on interest.

TopView ads

TopView ads are full-screen videos that appear first in the user's feed. The typical length lasts up to 60 seconds. There are no distractions in this view. Seventy-two percent of people surveyed preferred this ad version, according to a TikTok survey. Participants of this survey also said that they liked its natural platform placement.

For social media marketing, the five pillars include strategy, planning and publishing, listening and engagement, analytics, and reporting and advertising.
When planning a campaign, include all these areas to measure success.

2. Create new and relevant content

When opening the app, the user's For You feed is full of video content. To help stand out, videos need to grab attention, be relevant and be unique.

While making videos, don't forget the nature of the platform and the audience. Content should be fun and playful without sacrificing a company's values or brand. Videos should also not be too corporate or scripted. Instead, they should be lighthearted and authentic.

Businesses have the chance to show a softer side with TikTok videos. For example, take customers behind the scenes at the office, introduce employees, show off the office pet or show how a product is made. Find ways to connect without being boring.

To search for inspiration, check out trending hashtags, and add a new twist to these hashtags to stand out.

How to create a TikTok video

  1. Tap the black + button in TikTok, and give TikTok the needed permissions for the camera, microphone and photos.
  2. Choose the 15-second or 60-second video option.
  3. Add music and effects. TikTok has rights to the music, so there is no need to worry about copyright infringement. Tap the Sounds button near the top of the screen to add a song. Then, browse the library by genre, trending music and new releases.
  4. On the right side of the screen, add effects such as the following:
  • Change the frame speed.
  • Improve skin imperfections with Beauty Mode.
  • Add filters to screen colors and contrasts to make the subject more appealing.
  • Create a timer to video cuts by pausing and repositioning.
  • Flip the camera to rear- or forward-facing.
  1. On the left side of the red recording button is the Effects There are different effects to enhance the video, such as face filters or emoji.
  2. After the video is complete, hit the Upload button on the right side of the record button.

How to share video

  1. After adding music and effects, tap the red circle with the red checkmark at the bottom, and hit Next.
  2. Choose to add links, type a description and create a hashtag. Tag people, and decide who can see the video -- for example, creating a public post or only followers.
  3. Tap the Post button, and the video is ready to post. Choose other social media platforms to post the video to in addition to TikTok.

3. Share user-generated content

User-generated content is an easy way to get high-performing content. By sharing user-generated content, businesses fill their TikTok feed with engaging videos, recognize existing customers and acquire new customers.

Ways to kick-start this content include the following:

  • creating a branded hashtag
  • starting a challenge
  • partnering with an influencer
The seven ways to use TikTok for business include advertising, creating new and relevant content, sharing user-generated content, participating in TikTok challenges, learning the algorithm, working with influencers and posting location.
Here are seven ways to use TikTok for business.

4. Participate in TikTok challenges

TikTok thrives on challenges, and they tend to go viral as users try to be extra creative. To capitalize on this, organizations can create a branded hashtag challenge that is a three- to six-day campaign to encourage user-generated content.

Businesses should set goals to determine the challenge, such as selling a new product, promoting an event or increasing brand awareness. These goals help determine the challenge, and it can be subtle or straightforward.

For example, Colgate created the hashtag challenge #MakeMomSmile to celebrate Mother's Day. The challenge was open-ended and called for TikTok users to come up with creative ways to make their mother smile -- whether it was a good joke, breakfast in bed or poems. Colgate has 5.4 billion views on this challenge.

5. Learn the algorithm

On the For You Page, TikTok creates streams of videos determined by an algorithm based on users' interests. The For You page is the homepage -- or feed -- so users spend most of their time here.

By knowing how the algorithm works, businesses can create content for their target audience.

Factors that influence the algorithm include the following:

  • location
  • trending hashtags and sounds
  • user interactions

Factors that do not influence the algorithm include the following:

  • performance record
  • age of videos
  • number of followers

Since the algorithm does not consider follower count or past content performance, any content has the chance to go viral.

6. Work with influencers

Influencers are a great way to find new audiences and build an image through someone they trust.

Companies need to find an influencer that aligns with their brands. There are some influencers that have a larger following, so they are more expensive than those with smaller followings. Some of the biggest TikTok influencers are the following:

  • Charli D'Amelio
  • Loren Gray
  • Addison Rae
  • Baby Ariel
  • Zach King
  • Dobre Twins

One example of a successful influencer marketing campaign is from Gymshark. It wanted to reach fitness enthusiasts and created the "66 Days: Change Your Life" challenge, asking users for their goals for the next two months. It partnered with six influencers and used the campaign hashtag #Gymshark66. The winner won a year's supply of Gymshark goods. The campaign received more than 45.5 million views.

Businesses need to have clear goals when partnering with influencers so they know what organizations want to achieve. Goals can include increasing followers, hitting a sales number or increasing brand awareness. Following best practices with influencer marketing -- such as letting go of control, building a strong foundation and playing out all scenarios -- helps shape this campaign.

Once the goal is decided, the influencer may have some ideas to help meet them. These influencers should have a little creative freedom to make the campaign feel authentic. Influencers bring some ideas and concerns that businesses may not think about. There are two kinds of influencers that may have different followers: celebrities and industry experts.

Track the results during the campaign to see if objectives were met. With clear goals, it is easy to see if any changes need to be made or if the campaign was successful.

Learn more about creating a personalized marketing campaign.

7. Reach out to locals by posting location

Location is a big driver for local businesses to create brand awareness. Discuss the business location in videos, and include the location in both hashtags and captions. It helps people find a business. Create videos specific to a location to make the business appear more relatable to customers. Location is also a key influence on TikTok's algorithm.

Next Steps

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