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TikTok for business: should you stay or should you go?

While many have been taking the most out of it, others question whether it’s good to use TikTok for business or not. Here’s our insight.
use TikTok for business

By now, TikTok doesn’t need any kind of introduction. Since its arrival, it took the digital world by storm, and has been on the rise since then. It came, saw, and conquered.

From teens to all grown-ups, from individuals to companies and/or brands, many fell over the moon for this social media platform. But while many have been taking the most out of it, others question whether it’s good to use TikTok for business or not.

And we have something to say about it.

Use TikTok for business: should companies sing along?

The singing part here has a meaning behind it. Just follow the lead!

Have you ever heard the song “Should I stay or should I go”, by The Clash?! The chorus sings along to “Should I stay or should I go now? If I go, there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know”.

The thing is that this could easily be the big question for those wondering if they should use TikTok for business or not.

Well, you’re probably humming the song right now and it’s just fitted to do so, given TikTok’s nature with all the songs and dances. It seems just right.

According to a report published on Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok’s numbers are quite impressive.

What’s the story?

Since its release, in 2016, Tiktok is now available in more than 150 countries, with over 1 billion users and over 2 billion downloads (and still counting).

TikTok is described as a tale of two apps, given that it is an evolution of the video-sharing social network app called Douyin, by the Chinese company Bytedance. The same company released an international version in 2017, naming that (as we know it) TikTok.

Both TikTok and Douyin have similar user interfaces and features, however they’re customized according to the characteristics of their respective markets.

Millennials and Generation Z took the plunge right into it and TikTok became massive among these younger generations.

However, fame brought some controversy. In 2020, the former President of the United States of America (USA), Donald Trump, even threatened to ban TikTok from the US, a decision that was later blocked by a federal judge. The block however happened in India, with the Indian Government banning the app in 2020, due to a border clash between the two countries (India and China).

Controversies aside, there’s no denial that TikTok is a rising star within the world of social media. A huge part of this rise was played by the COVID-19 pandemic and the general lockdown all around the world, which have pushed up the number of the app’s users.

And many companies went with the flow and created profiles on TikTok, such as:

Use TikTok for business: trick or treat?

The tricky part here is to understand whether this social media platform is suitable to be used for business.

For many, this might seem just a lip-syncing and dancing video app for teens, but it’s way more than that.

But let’s face it. Given its numbers and the growth rate, the next stage is quite obvious. TikTok is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. Plus, it has a huge popularity among content creators and brands aiming to grow their audience, increase engagement, and reach millions of people.

Simply put: if you have tons of users, it’s more than understandable that businesses and companies dive in to reach those users to promote their brand and/or products.

Furthermore, TikTok is quite a fun platform to use. Brands can display themselves to introduce their businesses and products to a wide audience in a lighter way, with appealing videos, while driving traffic to their webpages.

And even if this can be kind of a daunting social media platform for some users, with all the music and dances, you need no experience in those fields at all.

So, ask yourself (as a brand manager/ marketeer): are you on the fence of TikTok for business? It’s about time. Just buckle up and hop on the trend.

Tik Tok Marketing for Business - Digital Affair
Tiktok is available in more than 150 countries, with over 1 billion users

Use TikTok for business: yay or nay?

Just go with the flow. We’re getting a ton of digital lingo here, and by that we mean TikTok lingo.

And for that matter, if you’re questioning if you should or not use TikTok for business, it’s a yay! For most at least.

Some can say that TikTok is not a tailored platform for all kinds of businesses. And it’s truth. So, here’s how you can find out if it’s the right fit for you and how to approach it.

1. Study the platform

That is to say, get to know how it works, who’s there, what they’re doing, what kind of content works best, how can you interact with other users, and can your business fit into the vibe.

Keep in mind that TikTok is all about fun, compelling content, so forget all about serious sales pitches or down to business stuff. You want to reach users with creative content. That’s the way for success on TikTok. Either you play the game or you’re out (and by that we mean, in the dark, unreachable).

2. Fun, creative and unique is the key

As mentioned before, TikTok circles around fun and creativity, so if you want to use it for your business you have to do so.

And the positive aspect of it is that you don’t have to create the most polished videos, you can just keep it simple and authentic (it works better).

Either you play the game or you’re out.

3. Use TikTok paid advertisements for business

If you’re interested and have the budget for it, investing in paid advertising on TikTok might be the go-to strategy. TikTok offers five different types of ad formats you can use:

3.1. Infeed Native Content

It allows you to tell your brand story by integrating video content into users’ “For You” feed (or in other words: where users access the trending videos and the top video creators).

These video ads last less than 15 seconds on the “For You” feed, and they come out automatically with sound-on and full-screen mode, allowing users to access a specific page.

These also allow access to some stats (such as number of clicks, views, impressions, CTR – Click-Through Rate, play duration, and video interactions – like share and comments).

3.2. Brand Takeovers

If you want to hook users’ attention, Brand Takeovers are a good option. It allows you to create images, GIFs, and videos (with 3 to 5 seconds) with embedded links to landing pages or hashtag challenges, thus delivering guaranteed impressions.

3.3. Top View

A good way to present your business and/or brand, by capturing users’ full attention with image, sound, and story. Videos last to 15 seconds in length and gather Brand Takeovers + In-feed Content, with sound.

It also allows users to click on embedded links (for internal hashtag challenges or external URLs).

3.4. Hashtag Challenges

Looking for engagement?! Hashtag challenges are a go-to option. This ad format delivers strong brand awareness with a level of engagement, by inviting users to join in and create content related to the hashtag theme.

All the user-generated content (UGC) around the hashtag challenge will be aligned with the platform’s organic trends, thus generating traffic (by creating content, sharing, and, ultimately, going viral).

In summary, a hashtag challenge is good to promote your business, as well as to drive user interaction and engagement.

3.5. Branded Lenses

This is essentially like Snapchat 2D and 3D lenses for faces and photos. This allows users to include effects on their posts, like stickers, lenses, and Augmented Reality (AR) filters.

For brands, this allows them to add their own branded images to these packs. This way other users can use stickers with a logo of a certain brand or a specific line. Through this option, you can create content more engaging and raise brand awareness.

TikTok marketing do’s and don’ts

For those interested in using TikTok for business, there are also some essentials to keep in mind and others to avoid. Here’s what you need to know.

Do’s

  1. Be direct, funny, informal, and candid: opt to go straight to the point, while showing a more humorous side of your brand and taking up to 15 seconds)
  2. Use music: music is a big part of TikTok and can help you to create more interesting and engaging videos
  3. Shoot vertical videos: not horizontal to avoid black bars above and below the videos
  4. Participate in other brand/companies’ challenges
  5. Keep an eye on what’s trending: mimicking what’s on top, adapted to your company, proved to be effective
  6. Collaborate with influencers and partners to boost engagement and awareness

Don’ts

  1. Don’t use hard-sell or explicit ads: avoid to simply promote your brand/products/ services. The key is to create content able to generate a connection between you and your followers
  2. Repurposing YouTube or Instagram videos is a major no: different platforms require different contents. If you just replicate videos from other social media it won’t be engaging and won’t attract followers
  3. Avoid long videos: long videos won’t do your brand any favor on TikTok. People’s attention fades away in just a few seconds. So just avoid long videos. 30 seconds is the maximum recommendable length
  4. Don’t use content with zero value: even though TikTok’s main goal is to entertain, as a brand it’s also important to make room to inform your users

Final call

For those still wondering whether they should (or not) use TikTok for business, let’s just remind ourselves that this a fun and light social media platform where you can highlight a less curated version of your brand.

Marketers know that the key to stay ahead is to keep their eyes wide open and to have a proactive approach for new marketing strategies, and this includes social media. By now, using TikTok for business is something they have to consider as a prolific premeditated decision.

Just think this through, there are very few limits to what we can do on TikTok. The platform heavily encourages creativity. And that’s why a vast array of brands is already present on TikTok.

Júlia de Sousa

Graduated in Journalism, she went to the other side and have been working as a communication manager and content producer for the past years. She’s all about communication, marketing, social media, events and tech trends. Books, photography and music are some of the things she’ll happily talk you about.

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