Although TikTok was first popularized as an entertainment app for teenagers and young adults, it’s become much more than that: TikTok offers business plans to organizations and provides them with advertising and analytics tools to market their products and services on the app.
TikTok makes launching video-based marketing campaigns relatively easy with video editing features and campaign tracking tools. For smaller organizations, it’s especially useful as these startups work to bring awareness to their company. If you’re wondering whether TikTok could play a role in your marketing strategy, learn more about its key features designed for businesses in this article.
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What Is TikTok?
TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is an application for short-form video content, including musical and limited editing features. It was launched in 2016 and gained particular popularity during the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic. TikTok is primarily a mobile app, but it’s also available for businesses through desktop and web applications.
TikTok offers accounts to businesses as well as individual users and creators. Two types of professional user accounts are available: TikTok Ads Manager accounts and TikTok Business accounts .
The Ads Manager account includes a dashboard with views of metrics and campaigns, advertising formats to choose from, and audience targeting features based on characteristics like age and interests. The Business account includes a business content guide for questions about advertising on the app and a commercial music library with over 500,000 pieces of royalty-free music and sounds.
If your team is looking to dive deeper into TikTok advertising, consider the Business account, as it provides additional metrics to analyze content performance.
Who Uses TikTok?
Although TikTok’s audience is frequently generalized to children, teenagers, and very young adults, actual statistics for TikTok use reveal a much more diverse audience. The majority of TikTok’s audience base is young to middle-age individuals; about 64% are 20-49, according to Influencer Marketing Hub. Many of these users are business professionals. 11% of users are over 50.
Using TikTok as a business solution doesn’t limit customer exposure to content posted solely on the app. TikToks can be posted to Instagram, too, which extends brand awareness to all potential customers who use Instagram.
TikToks can also be posted to YouTube or embedded within blogs and online articles; posting a TikTok within written content not only adds a media component to the article’s text but also allows businesses to market their entire TikTok account to readers. If IT-focused businesses choose to create simple technical support videos through TikTok, those videos can be embedded in relevant articles as visual explainers.
Business teams that benefit from using TikTok include marketing, advertising, creative, media, sales, and editorial teams. These teams can use TikTok to create new forms of content for the business, manage publicity and brand awareness, and garner more sales contacts.
TikTok videos create a natural rather than pushy form of marketing, according to Sprout Social. Clever videos, as long as they’re brief and relevant and point to products that people actually want, don’t feel overly sales-y or overbearing to users.
Key Features of TikTok
The following TikTok features help businesses design and promote their videos and analyze the impact of ad content they’re posting.
Brief videos, which are the standard format on TikTok, make it easy to advertise products that need a visual description, such as beauty products, exercise programs, fashion, and architecture and construction. This video format is beneficial for other industries and product formats as well, like software development.
The TikTok Video Editor is available in the Ads Manager dashboard and allows creators to design videos frame by frame, organize their clips, and add music. Music selections can include copyrighted options, although businesses are responsible for staying within legal boundaries.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a landing page that connects creators and brands. Brands are able to view direct submissions from creators, who have either a personal or creator account, and contact them for partnership or sponsorship. This provides opportunities for both brands and individuals to find beneficial business collaborations through a social media account they’re already using.
The TikTok Creative Center offers a feature called Trend Discovery that helps businesses find trending hashtags, popular songs, and other creators whose content is currently trending. They can view analytics for individual hashtags and data about popular advertisements, such as the most valuable frame in a particular video.
Measurement solutions from TikTok place advertising content near similar video content. Placing companies’ ads close to relevant content creates a more seamless user experience for TikTok users and makes them more likely to engage with ad content.
TikTok helps businesses identify which traffic is valid and invalid and works to place content in front of real users. TikTok measurement also allows teams to monitor their web and application conversions from video campaigns and survey customers to hear their opinion on ad effectiveness.
Promote is a TikTok feature that allows businesses to convert one of their organic videos into an advertisement and create a campaign around it. After they select a video to promote, users set goals related to engagement, like number of follows or website visits.
Promote is useful for determining which individual videos are most effective in engaging potential customers. Users are able to track their campaign’s progress as it follows its timeline, which users set at the beginning of the campaign.
Pros and Cons of Using TikTok for Business
TikTok offers plenty of marketing and engagement benefits to companies, but it’s not a perfect fit for all teams or organizations. Here are some of the top pros and cons of using TikTok in your digital marketing strategy:
- TikTok is visually engaging: Video content attracts new customers, and the short, clever format of videos on the app attracts existing TikTok users to new brands. TikTok puts ad content squarely in front of potential buyers.
- TikTok provides users with analytics for ad performance: Business users can view statistics for each ad and make decisions based on user engagement.
- Video Editor supports content customization: TikTok’s Video Editor, within the Ads Manager dashboard, allows enterprise teams and startups to customize their videos frame by frame. This professional user feature gives them more control over their content than they’d have as an individual user in the mobile app.
- TikTok influencer partnerships: TikTok offers opportunities for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies to partner with influencers. Influencer marketing allows companies to hire individuals who will market their product for them. For example, a clothing brand like American Eagle might hire a young model with a strong social media presence to promote their products by wearing them, posting on their social accounts, and offering approved discount codes to draw in new buyers.
- Data privacy concerns: Because ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, is based in China, it is subject to any strictures of the Chinese government, including turning over customer data if required to do so. This could jeopardize the privacy of TikTok customers’ data.
- Limitations to advertising format: Although TikTok provides video editing services, the advertising format is limited, and larger businesses with long-established marketing practices may find it challenging to adapt to TikTok’s editing restrictions.
- Matching the tone of the platform: TikTok also isn’t ideal for businesses that don’t typically use humor as a key part of their marketing strategy. Although TikTok videos don’t have to be funny, many of them are humorous or clever. Businesses that aren’t trying to be either of those may struggle to meet the expectations of potential customers on the platform.
- Potential invalid traffic: Like other applications and search engines, including Google, TikTok sometimes receives invalid traffic from fraudulent users, which could skew ad performance metrics.
- Limited B2B benefits: TikTok is difficult for business-to-business (B2B) companies because they have to develop their brand marketing without advertising a clear consumer product. B2C companies have a much easier time getting started on TikTok simply because they can advertise a good or service with a simple video.
- Impact of influencer relationships: Companies risk damage to their reputation when they partner with influencers because they’re affected by the reputation of each influencer who represents their brand. If an influencer is involved in a scandal or any other high-profile event, this could hurt their brand partnerships and mass appeal on TikTok.
If you’re a B2B marketer and you want to learn from creative B2C companies, read Which B2C Tactics Will Improve Your B2B Marketing?
Benefits of Using TikTok for Digital Marketing
For businesses that particularly sell products and services to customers between ages 10 and 30, TikTok is a gold mine. Users spend hours at a time on the app, so it’s likely they’ll see multiple advertisements in one sitting.
TikTok for small businesses, particularly those in the creative space, is a quick way for startups to gain awareness and immediately promote their products. In the past, it’s been challenging for startups to place themselves squarely in the public eye. But because TikTok has such high engagement and content can so easily be shared, small companies can rapidly gain recognition and begin selling.
Using TikTok for B2B Audiences
Although it’s more challenging for B2B organizations to launch a digital marketing strategy through TikTok, different methods can work, depending on the industry. For example, TechRepublic’s TikTok account uses a short how-to video to explain how to delete the last fifteen minutes of Google Search history from an Android device. As a website that provides useful computer and technology recommendations, TechRepublic offers brief, practical advice through its TikTok account to smartphone users who want assistance with short tasks.
By sharing relevant videos, even B2B companies can build brand awareness and create useful content that draws customers back to their services at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Not sure if a TikTok campaign will take too much time to launch? Read 3 reasons why now is the time to launch a TikTok brand campaign.
Best Practices for Using TikTok in Your Marketing Strategy
Before starting to use TikTok as part of your marketing strategy, you must first ensure that the app aligns with your brand’s ideal marketing tactics. A few questions to ask include:
- Does our marketing strategy include short, visually appealing videos, or could it benefit from that format going forward?
- Is our target audience already using TikTok?
- Is our product or service easily explained or encapsulated in video form?
- Does TikTok provide a natural gateway for us to place calls to action?
Next, determine what is your best-performing video content and select it for campaigns. This may take time to calculate, but advertising the videos that accumulate the most engagement will benefit your business’s marketing efforts in the long run.
Finally, set a plan in advance for using TikTok’s analytics and management features. Although those tools can be useful when prioritizing advertising content, they’re only helpful when a business determines who will be managing those accounts and how TikTok data analysis will be prioritized. Decide how your teams will approach a performance- and intent-based marketing strategy before you dive into extensive advertising on the application. TikTok is a good tool for businesses that approach its advertising solutions with both creativity and strategic focus on high-performing campaigns.
Want to learn more about the benefits that TikTok has for smaller businesses? Read How TikTok is Helping Small Businesses next.