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How to Use TikTok for Small Business Marketing

Published on 03.07.2024 by Tracey Chizoba Fletcher

TikTok has enabled businesses to market their products uniquely to an audience of over one billion active monthly users. Users can create short videos and enhance them with filters, AR effects, and lenses. While teens initially used TikTok, young adults have now joined the platform, and statistics indicate that over 70% of the TikTok audience is below 40. 

This makes the platform a great choice for brands targeting a young audience. However, with the unique needs of this age group, businesses need to understand the right approach to TikTok business marketing. This article will provide a complete guide on the process.

Studies on TikTok for Business Marketing

Social media statistics clearly show that TikTok can benefit business marketing. Here are a few:

  1. A Statistica study indicates that TikTok users watch over 167 million hours of one-minute video daily.
  2. Data from SensorTower shows that more than three billion TikTok installations occur daily.
  3. In over 140 countries, TikTok is now among the most popular apps, especially in Asian countries.
  4. Around 35% of TikTok users are below the age of 35%.
  5. The most popular TikTok account has 136 million fans.

Why TikTok is Great for Business

There are several reasons why you should consider TikTok for business marketing. These  include:

Great for Reaching Millennials

As mentioned earlier, most TikTok users are millennials and Gen Z. Therefore, if you have a product or service trying to reach this audience, the app offers an unmatched opportunity to reach this age group. According to one study, 37% of TikTok users constantly seek to buy a product after seeing it on the platform. That means creating authentic content that resonates with your target audience can help you reach a new audience and build audience engagement.

Show Off Products

With the ability to create short product videos such as product opening videos, product reviews, and how-to videos, TikTok offers a great opportunity to showcase your products. According to a Sprout Social survey, the most popular videos on TikTok showcase how a product works, something that the short-form TikTok videos enable in seconds. 

High Conversion Rate

One of the reasons why TikTok is popular is its creative content, which most users can relate to. Using TikTok, small businesses can reach a larger audience and increase their conversion. Since the videos enable them to showcase their products, they can easily increase viewers' attention and conversion.

For instance, small businesses can create short, to-the-point videos that showcase their products and attract viewers' attention. They can then encourage users to take various actions, such as signing up, checking out, and more. 

Audience Engagement

A key part of a TikTok business marketing strategy is audience engagement. Studies show that the TikTok audience spends an average of 52 minutes daily on the platform. This provides a great opportunity for small businesses to create standout content and engage with their followers.

Brands can increase engagement by creating high-quality content using filters and humor. They can also use carousel posts to increase engagement. After users comment on your content, you can engage with them to increase brand loyalty and create a sense of community.

A Great Opportunity for UGC (user-generated content)

Traditional ads don't go well with millennials and Gen Zs. Instead, they appreciate authentic content that doesn't look too promotional. There is no better way of creating such content than using user-generated content (UGC). This content is great for UGC content with branded hashtags, challenges, and influencer marketing features. You can convince users to buy the product by sharing testimonials of satisfied customers.

A Guide to TikTok Marketing for Small Businesses

While TikTok has many benefits for marketing your business, this doesn't happen by accident. You need to take action that will take you toward those goals. Here are the steps to follow when using TikTok for small business marketing.

Set a Goal for Your Business

Before you start using TikTok to market your small business, you should determine what exactly you are trying to achieve. Remember that your goals are unique and not dependent on other businesses. At times, you can have more than one goal. Your goal will determine your TikTok marketing approach, from the type of content you create to how you share it.

While there is no way of setting TikTok marketing goals, there are several tips you can use. These are:

  • Consider the bigger picture. First, determine the main reasons why you want to be on TikTok. After that, you can think of the necessary tools and resources to achieve those goals.
  • Consider your target audience. You want to pay close attention to the audience you want to reach. Consider whether they are on TikTok and their habits on the platform. For instance, you need to find out what content they are watching and when they are mostly online. Create a customer persona to see if you will teach this audience through the platform.
  • Consider the overall approach of your business marketing. Does TikTok fit in this approach?
  • Tie the goals to TikTok metrics. The best goals are those that can be measured, and this applies to TikTok, too. With pressure mounting on marketers to prove the value of their marketing methods, tracking KPIs can help you show value for money in your TikTok marketing strategy.

Sample TikTok Goals and KPIs for B2Bs

If you are a B2B trying to use TikTok marketing, you can have goals and KPIs such as:

  • Brand awareness. Do you want to use TikTok for engagement or to grow your TikTok following? Do you want to increase brand considerations like web traffic, clicks, and more?
  • Audience engagement. You can aim to increase clicks, likes, comments, and shares.
  • Lead generation. You can also aim to get qualified leads on TikTok.
  • Competitor analysis. Is your goal to understand your market share or that of the competitor?
  • Increasing customer loyalty.
  • Get positive reviews.

Sample TikTok Goals and KPIs for B2Cs

If you are a B2C, you can have various TikTok marketing goals, such as:

  • Brand awareness. Increasing your engagement, growth, and consideration.
  • Making sales.
  • Finding opportunities for expanding your brand.
  • Increasing customer loyalty.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction.

Create a Small Business TikTok Marketing Strategy 

You must have a plan to market your small business on TikTok effectively. If you only do random posts, this will not work for you. The good news is that creating a social media marketing strategy doesn't have to be difficult. You can use several tips to create your TikTok marketing strategy without feeling overwhelmed. These include:

  • Have social media goals that help you solve challenges.
  • Create high-quality and engaging content.
  • Build meaningful connections.
  • Focus on networking that adds value.
  • Engage with your audience.
  • Keep tracking and improving.

Tips for Success on TikTok for Small Business Marketing

There are many tips out there that are all meant to help you finetune your TikTok marketing for small businesses. However, some general tips will apply to all forms and sizes of businesses. These are:

Use a Human-first TikTok Presence

When you are a brand marketing yourself on TikTok, it's easy to jump straight into the action of marketing your brand and blowing your own trumpet. After all, you need those sales as soon as possible. However, this strategy will not work on TikTok, where the audience demographic is searching for genuine and authentic content.

Instead, you should create high-quality videos to meet your followers’ needs. When adding social captions and comments, these should not feel like they were written by bots. Instead, you should add a human face behind your brand. When you personalize your replies to people, they can feel that you are there and ready to help them. 

Consider Your Social Media Account as a Resource

One mistake businesses make is considering their TikTok accounts as dumping grounds for their offers and coupon codes. This makes them look too salesy instead of building meaningful connections with their audience. We recommend that you treat your social media account as a resource.

Instead of creating a lot of promotional content, you should focus on:

  • Creating helpful and actionable content such as tutorial videos and how-to videos.
  • Sharing advice and answering your audience's questions.
  • Keeping your customer up to date.

Remember that your TikTok account may be the first place new customers hear about you. Therefore, sharing helpful resources with them can create a good first impression.

Keep Posting Consistently

Whether by creating TikTok videos or engaging with your customers, you must keep posting consistently. Just like other social media sites, TikTok rewards consistency. Waiting until your TikTok account gathers cobwebs or leaving your TikTok audience hanging won’t be good for you. Instead, you should make a conscious effort to keep posting and responding to your customers. Keep checking your social notifications and tags.

Experiment with Different Kinds of Content

There are lots of video content you can experiment with when creating TikTok content. From product opening, behind-the-scenes, and product reviews, you will be spoilt for choice. You can take a wholesome approach when considering the type of TikTok content. Instead of just one type of video, you can experiment with different formats. You can easily determine the videos that best work for your brands by comparing the results.

Post About Your Location

If you are a small business, one of the key drivers of your brand awareness is your location. Therefore, when creating videos, include the location in the hashtags and captions. This can make finding your videos easier for people in your area. It's also advisable to create videos unique to your area, as these will appeal to your target audience.

Understand the TikTok Algorithm

If you are a small business trying to market your products and services on TikTok, you may not have the luxury of using paid ads. And even if you do, your budget may be limited. In that case, your best option would be to leverage the TikTok algorithm. That way, you can optimize your videos to appear on the For You page. Here are tips to make the algorithm recommend your videos and increase the chances of your TikTok videos going viral.

Find Your Subculture

No matter your social media site, connecting with your community is important. But it's even more important on TikTok, where subcultures are big, and users primarily engage with the content on the For You page. Therefore, you must tap into a certain subculture by tagging your content using the relevant hashtags.

You also need to understand the behavior of your existing subculture to create content that resonates with them. By doing that, you can drive engagement and brand loyalty. TikTok will also consider your content to be valuable to users, making it push your content further to users in your niche.

Grab the Viewer’s Attention

The first few seconds determine whether people will view your videos or not. Additionally, video retention time is a key consideration for the TikTok algorithm. With the fast-paced nature of TikTok videos, you don't have the luxury of long and winding introductions.

You should use the first few seconds to grab the user's attention. You can do that by adding an element of curiosity in the first ten seconds. Studies show that curiosity can increase the video completion time by 1.4 times.

Optimize Your Videos for Search

We have mentioned that hashtags are key to the discoverability of your videos. However, there is another element you shouldn't ignore: keywords. TikTok SEO helps the algorithm to understand what your content is about and rank it accordingly. Therefore, ensure that you are using trending keywords in your niche. This will help put your content in the eyes of people interested in your niche.

TikTok allows you to add captions with a maximum of 2200 characters, providing enough space to add relevant trending keywords. You can go to the TikTok Creative Center to find the relevant keywords. Remember that TikTok will also pick your keywords from your text overlays and voice overs on top of captions.

Stay Authentic

TikTok isn't a platform for fake and overpolished videos that try to create a certain image. As noted earlier, TikTok users prefer real and authentic videos. According to a 2024 survey, users prefer brands that showcase their uniqueness and celebrate their culture. Another study suggests that 67% of professional-looking videos on TikTok look out of place. 

77% of TikTok users suggest they love it when brands show behind-the-scenes videos or provide more information about themselves. TikTok users love unpredictable videos that also have an element of fun and playfulness. Therefore, have fun by creating unique videos, such as behind-the-scenes videos or a playful reveal of your top ten products.

Create High-quality TikTok Videos

We have emphasized the need for authentic videos. However, this isn't an excuse for creating low-quality videos. Such kinds of videos will struggle to appear on the For You page. There are several tips to increase the quality of TikTok videos. These are:

  • Clear visuals and sounds. You will never go wrong with this one. Nobody wants to watch some poorly lit videos with poor sound quality. Therefore, ensure that you use good lighting with good audio. Use transitions and fun edits.
  • Use a vertical orientation. While reports indicate that TikTok is experimenting with horizontal format content, there is no doubt that most users still view content in the vertical format of 9:16.
  • Keep your videos short. You can create TikTok videos as long as ten minutes. However, the video completion rate is an important factor that the algorithm considers. To increase the completion rate, keep your videos short.
  • Use the editing feature. TikTok has some great built-in features that can enhance the quality of your videos. These include filters and VR effects that help make your content feel native to the app. Ultimately, this can result in your content getting featured in the For You section.
  • Set to play with sound on. One setting you should not forget is to set your video to play with sound on. Since 93% of TikTok users use the app with sound on, and audio is a key feature in the TikTok culture, you should not forget to set videos to play with sound on.

Choose the Right Posting Time

One of the key elements that the TikTok algorithm considers is the engagement level of your content. One way to drive engagement is by posting when your audience is mostly online. You can find this out by:

  • TikTok analytics. Tap the three dots at the corner of your profile. Then tap on Creator Tools and then Analytics.
  • Third-party tools. You can also use tools such as Sprout Social and HootSuite to determine when your audience is mostly online.

Network with Other TikTokers

Engaging with others in your niche can build engagement and show the algorithm that your videos are worth recommending. To ensure maximum engagement, respond to questions, react to people's comments, and remix other creators' ideas. If trending content is available, react to it and participate in challenges related to your niche.

TikTok has many features to drive engagement, such as Stitch, Duets, and video replies. With Stitch, you can clip and integrate parts of other people’s videos into your own. With Duet, you can record a Duet with another user by simply commenting on their original video. Video replies mean you create other videos based on people's comments.

Use the Right Hashtags

Hashtags play a key role in TikTok content performance. When checking the trending hashtags, pay special attention to those related to challenges. These can provide you with ideas for your next content. Participating in challenges will also help the algorithm notice your content. Find out the top hashtags that your audience interacts with.

Use Trending Sound and Music

Trends are big on TikTok, and you should not be left behind. As noted earlier, this is key to helping you promote your TikTok videos and make them appear on the For You page. Similarly, sounds have a major role in TikTok culture. According to one study, 67% of users preferred brands that used trending music or sounds. Therefore, trending sound and music are great ways to drive engagement on TikTok.

Check the For You page or the TikTok Creative Center for trending sounds. However, the latter will only show you trending songs and not other original sounds created by the user.

Adopt New Features

A great way to make your content stand out is to be among the early adopters of new features that TikTok introduces. A good example of such a feature is the TikTok Shop, which was introduced recently and allows you to promote your brand and sell products directly on the app. 

Another one that you can use to launch your TikTok shop is the live feature. In fact, one in four TikTokers are interested in buying this way. In 2023, TikTok also introduced text posts, which you can experiment with. With the platform filled with videos, it could be the test posts that will set your brand apart.


According to a study by Kantar in collaboration with TikTok, at least 30% of Gen Zs confess to purchasing a product they saw advertised on TikTok. Since TikTok is relatively new, it's not as saturated by businesses as Facebook or Instagram. That means there is an immense opportunity for small businesses to market their producers on TikTok. By using our guide, you can achieve success with TikTok for small business marketing. We recommend you also read our TikTok guide on live streaming.