TikTok is a platform which has snowballed in popularity and taken the world by storm. What was once considered a children’s dancing app is now heavily influencing fashion, music charts, what people are eating and what people are buying.
Instagram and Facebook are seeing growth slow down, with many high value names such as Kylie Jenner making public statements about their disappointment at how the platforms are now developing. Users across social platforms are more engaged currently with TikTok than with their Meta counterparts. Not only is TikTok a creator of the latest trends in the consumer world, it also now holds great power in the business world.
Short form content is King
You have likely already noticed, but short form video is currently ruling social media feeds. Since the popularity increase of TikTok, other platforms such as Instagram have started to refocus – not only accommodate short videos, but to encourage their use over the previous photo-only direction. Studies have been carried out to determine the effects of short video consumption across social media, with some citing it as an addictive effect. Attention spans across social media are dwindling. To get your point across in video, brevity is on your side.
Take your message, no matter the subject, and send it out to the world in a swift screen swipe.
Casual viewing requires casual content
Before now, brands spent hours agonising over professional and aesthetic social media content. This is by no means devalued – content trends are eternally evolving. Currently, most businesses are switching up their social media ‘voice’ to something a little more relaxed, more real, and much more informal than before. As always, it is worth remembering that different social medias carry different audiences. You may be appealing to young one-time purchasers on TikTok while building a long-term relationship with customers over on Facebook. Keep the differing audiences in mind when creating your content plan.
Hopping on to TikTok to film yourself packing an order using only daylight and a phone tripod to get the shot right is the TikTok norm. Over-processed, strongly branded and ‘sales-y’ content isn’t valued here. Shrug off your brand guidelines, your pre-conceived visions of video marketing and embrace the ‘here-and-now’ attitude towards commercial TikToks. If you’re looking for an example of this, head over to Duolingo’s TikTok for an eye opener of just how informal a brand can be.
Remember, people don’t open TikTok to be marketed to, they open TikTok to be entertained.
71% of users said TikTok inspired them to shop when they weren’t looking to.
Find your niche community and post your videos for entertainment purposes – the sales aren’t the key driver here.
In a world where everything seems go go go and there’s brand messages everywhere you look, taking time for yourself (yes, even to scroll social media) is considered a luxury by many. After work, childcare, studying or working hard in the home, a user’s social media experience is entirely personal and a chance for them to unwind. To take space within this leisure time is a privilege, and should be treated as such. You want your TikTok content to offer users some entertainment, education, or excitement in some capacity to make you worth keeping around. Nobody tries to unwind after a long day by being bombarded with sales pitches.
Your social media strategy doesn’t need an overhaul
The thought of adding in a new channel for social marketing can, understandably, be daunting. Referring to our previous point, you don’t need to take the TikTok influence and dramatically change everything you’re posting online. It has always been recommended to tailor your messaging across your various platforms, and adding TikTok into the mix is no exception. Different styles of content complement each other and build the brand up in a web of multi-channel communication, extending reach for potential customer profiles into corners never met when using a singular message everywhere.
In terms of content creation, you will need to add in a little more time to your schedule to accommodate the extra outgoings. Fortunately, the time needed to create video content here is much shorter per post than elsewhere due to the casual straight-from-phone nature.
Small business TikTok statistics
As internet users in 2022, we’ve learnt to meet any claim with a healthy dose of scepticism. Luckily, there’s already loads of credible information which enforces the urge to get small businesses onto the platform. For example, 61% of users feel that advertising on TikTok is different to other top social and video platforms. Many users report a better return when comparing their ad spend to the likes of Meta’s platforms. One potential reason for better return on TikTok ad spends may be that 43% of heavy TikTok users feels that ads blend in to their feed well, relating back to the claim that users are there for entertainment over marketing.
The returns are consistently positive throughout the calendar, with an incredible report in the holiday season. 79% of users said that TikTok played a role in helping them to purchase gifts during the holidays. These transactions won’t be limited to larger corporations, either. So many small businesses operate across TikTok to push their brand reach to a crowd which may not have been readily available before their venture onto the platform. At the time of writing, #smallbusiness had 74 billion views. #SmallBusinessTikTok came in at a much lower, yet still dramatic, 4.78 billion views. The dizzying heights of these views suggests that there’s a never-ending pit of content for you to contend with, although does help to quantify just how much interest there is. Perhaps don’t rely on these hashtags alone to attract a new audience, as you’ll likely be a drop in the ocean. It’s better to add in a good handful of hashtags of varying sizes to catch as many relevant views as you can.
Find your TikTok Niche
While brainstorming your TikTok approach, you may find yourself stuck in the idea that content needs to be brand related. If you already have a buyer persona established for your marketing, concentrate on this and making your content appeal to your person. If you’d like to branch out, or not stick to one particular audience, there’s a huge variety of hobbies and users on the app.
Ask yourself these questions repeatedly: Who would want a photobook? What would they have photos of? Do we want to work with influencers? Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, have a look through the relevant hashtags to see the views and engagement. Also check that this is an accurate destination for what your content.
Encourage users of the app who are fans of specific artists to consider compiling their best photographs into one place by making use of the hashtags associated with this artist. For example, Harry Styles has an incredible global following – hashtags such as #HarryStyles #HarrysHouse #WatermelonSugar will help you to reach an engaged audience for this specific market group who may be interested in compiling a photobook dedicated to their favourite artist. Obviously, make the most of your own adventures – this can apply to photographs from a recent trip abroad, a cake smash photoshoot for a first birthday or even a recent wedding. Whatever you have some quality snaps of, use these to show the relevant audience how they can best make use of their photos.
Take a look at the number of likes on these videos – such high engagement shows that there is demand on the platform for these products.
Personalised product peddling
You may be struggling to see how your personalised product range can extend to such a conversational (and informal) platform as TikTok. Hashtag research is a great way to see for yourself how the market is engaged on the platform. Using this, you can develop some creative ideas of how to market these products to new, and potentially younger, customers. Jump onto trending themes to show how ever-green personalised products are. Don’t just go for the “buy a photobook this Christmas” approach. Provide specific examples within a home setting of how products are received.
Provide context for these videos which help the viewer to apply the product to their own life. For example, if you’ve been to a concert recently and have some quality snaps, build your own photobook and use this as a product sample. Film a thumb-through which appears to frame the photographs as the main spectacle. Don’t directly push the sales of the product itself. Include some broader clips of the book, some close ups which show the print quality and some scenic lifestyle shots which show just how well the product sits amongst other coffee table books.
You can find a whole new market on TikTok which wouldn’t so freely be available to you elsewhere. Most posts on your feed can be adjusted in terms of direct audience allowing you to extend your reach to a huge circle. Consistency in overall messaging will benefit your brand, although you can choose who you would like to target next. Remember, it is statistically unlikely that users will be searching directly for personalised products and photobooks. You’re much more likely to meet valuable users in their own space by making use of various hashtags, and tailoring your content to fit.
Reactive marketing provides great opportunity
Having access to such a fast-moving social space which has a want for un-polished content creates the perfect place for social commentary and reactive marketing No matter the relevance, you as a brand owner/figure can offer your personal insight into current affairs. All possible while abstaining from political opinion, if you wish. Users love to lap up jokes about current affairs, and some will also appreciate an educational deep dive into a topic if there’s something you happen to know a lot about. Ryanair are a great example of how this can be done. Their TikTok is fast paced, reactive, and above all, simple. They use novelty filters, trending audios and make jokes about what is currently happening in the world. Sometimes jokes at the gentle expense of their own brand, too. Take some inspiration from their style to see how you can lever your small business to be a TikTok personality, rather than a place for stale and outdated business content.
Ryanair include accessible humour in their videos, without much nuance and aiming for easy laughs. Racking up 18.7 million likes, their strategy clearly works.
By offering a service rather than a physical product, it would have been easy for Ryanair’s feed which offers little to no value for viewers. By treating their account as an opportunity to create an entertaining brand persona, rather than selling their service, the social media creators for Ryanair are effective in keeping the conversation about the brand engaging. This, in turn, is helping to maintain Ryanair as a household name.
You don’t need to slate your start-up for your business page to perform well; keeping your strategy casual means that you can jump in and out of trends when they suit you. You may be aware of the truly witty Twitter account for Aldi UK – see how reactive this is to current conversations (nationally and globally). Consider whether this is an angle you could apply to your own content if you’d like to push your products through a strong personality.
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