TikTok is rising in prominence every day. This month, it was revealed that the platform is now the second most popular for social media influencer marketing: something small businesses should take note of.
While small businesses likely won’t have the funds to partner with a big-name influencer, their main takeaway should be the viability of marketing via TikTok in general.
Through the use of ads, influencer marketing, and creative organic content on TikTok, you can increase brand awareness and the revenue of your business.
Use Video as an Asset
TikTok is so much more than a fad for dancing teens and tweens; brands and businesses, big and small, are using it to highlight their attributes every day. Why TikTok? Why not other platforms? Sure, other established social channels are helpful but TikTok is a video-based service. This breaks down the invisible wall between the user and the subject. It draws the viewer in and takes them on a little journey inside your business in a way that a picture on Instagram or block of text on LinkedIn or Twitter just can’t. The user is there with you, getting a real sense of your business, products and how they’re used.
One great way to introduce your small business to potential new customers with video is through influencer content, including product reviews. While big-budget celebrity influencers are likely not achievable for most small businesses, you might find that local micro-influencers, with smaller but dedicated followings, have a stronger connection with your business and niche. Influencers are experts in content creation. Give them a little direction and product samples and let them create a truly powerful video that injects authenticity into your business.
Social Media Success Begets More Social Media Success
What makes your business unique? Figure out what your social media angle is: whether it’s a unique product that you can’t get anywhere else, that people just have to photograph themselves with, or a nice spot within your store that’s ripe for an Instagram post. These things are far more enticing to the younger demographics than any sale or buy-one-get-one deal ever could be.
Once you’ve got your angle in place, it’s time to start posting. It’s important to cover all your bases through cross-posting: using the same or similar content on multiple social platforms to catch the attention of people across several demographics. Show your singularity in action by getting people to visit your business or website so they can post about it themselves. Once people start posting, it’ll set off a domino effect of social word-of-mouth marketing. More people will tag you, putting your brand name and imagery in front of their followers, who will then frequent your business themselves so they can get a cool post, just like all their friends.
Of course, remember that you need to make all your social media handles known, as to encourage posters to tag your business. And, wherever possible, look to make your branded posts and influencer content participatory — ask questions and encourage users to respond in comments or share to their networks. Any engagement you can drive will help boost visibility for your business and its offerings.
Make Your Business A Tourist Attraction
This one might seem weird, if not a bit of an outsized reach but it’s important to remember that social media platforms like TikTok exist on a global scale. The possibility that your video would be seen predominantly by locals is unlikely. If you’ve created a unique, funny or shareable piece of content, it’ll likely be seen by people from all over the place thanks to the algorithms of apps like TikTok and Instagram. Some users may realistically visit your town or city at some point, and many won’t, but both of these types of viewers can be of value to your business. People who may never visit your town or city can still like, comment and engage with your post, further increasing its exposure to those who might. And those who might visit are obviously advantageous, as they might remember your catchy post and want to swing by your business or your website.
You may be wondering how realistic it is that an out-of-town visitor would stop by your business, either in person or online, based on a TikTok video they saw, but you need to keep in mind what a profound impact social media has on younger generations. It’s gone from being a tool to keep in touch with friends from high school, to a platform that dictates many daily activities.
Young people want to be there. They want to be on the cutting edge. They want to have access to the thing that no one else has and then want to show it off. If there’s a unique product, food or experience at your small business, you can bet they’ll make a point to swing by for a picture or video and share it right away.
Just look at the rainbow bagel craze in Brooklyn: it is literally just food coloring on a bagel. No added flavor. No difference in taste. Just a colorful bagel. But everyone wanted one.
Think outside the box. What can you do with your products? What can you do with your interior design? What can you do with your walls, door, entrance, anything? What local or industry-specific influencers can you bring in as ambassadors? There are all kinds of ideas that can pop and catch a 22-year-old’s interest on TikTok. They’ll tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends, and all the while, they’re promoting you on social media.
Justin Kline is Co-founder of Markerly, an influencer marketing technology partner and platform working with some of the largest consumer brands in the world.