From viral dances that made you scroll your time away to sponsored ads, TikTok is making users 1.5x more likely to buy from a brand or product. And it’s setting the stage to become a powerful tool that businesses can’t ignore anymore.
But as a small business on TikTok, how do you know where to start? And how will you compete with larger brands that have not-at-all-modest budgets?
In this article, we’ll share examples of small businesses that found success on TikTok and what you can learn from them. Plus, we’ll break down strategies and tips to help you get started.
Why TikTok is a go-to platform for small businesses
As a small business, you likely have a limited budget. Meaning paid advertising isn’t your first option for getting your audience’s attention. But with social media being more cost-effective, you can reach a wider audience and connect with your future customers.
The fact that TikTok has a user base of over 1 billion users means there’s a good chance your future customers are already there. And they’re ready to consume your content. This makes TikTok a great tool to help small businesses build their presence and connect with their audience in several ways that don’t need high-production value.
Brands on TikTok can aim to build their TikTok presence with:
You can engage with your audience, foster connections and build a relationship with your specific niche by connecting with them in the comment section or answering their questions.
As a small business, it’s easier for you to be involved with your audience because you don’t have a huge stream of comments.
Also, you can use relevant hashtags in established TikTok communities like #BookTok, #FoodTok, #CleanTok or #MessyTok.
Having original ideas may feel impossible nowadays. If there was something to talk about, someone has already said it hundreds of times, right?
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are still ways to be creative without making a life-changing finding. To its core, TikTok is a platform that lives off entertainment. So you can get engagement by posting about any situation that’s relatable to your audience, new information about your business or even teaching your audience something new.
For You feed
Thanks to the For You feed, users get a stream of curated videos tailored to their interests.
But how does this help your business on TikTok?
The more you differentiate your brand or product and create videos tailored to your audience, the better your chances of appearing on the For You feed and being found by more customers.
Picture this: You create a sound that becomes trending or even viral on TikTok. A bunch of other TikTok creators then use it for their own content. This is free advertising for you, as the audiences of these creators will want to find the origin of the sound. They’ll find you and your brand awareness will grow.
This one is easy.
By posting videos following popular trends, you give yourself a potential boost of engagement and exposure to a new audience. Popular trends give you the chance to be up-to-date with what interests your audience, like the #TikTokMadeMeBuyItTrend.
It’s a trend, because many people find it relevant. So doing it for your specific niche gives you the chance to be remembered.
How building a presence on TikTok can support your small business’s goals
As with every other marketing channel, it’s important to measure the effectiveness of your TikTok marketing. While posting videos, gaining followers and getting likes can look great, you’ll need to measure ROI to see if you should keep posting content or drop it.
Here are some key ways TikTok can help your brand achieve business goals:
- Engagement: An engaged audience likes, comments and shares your TikTok videos. You can see all these metrics by simply opening your video in your profile. But if you want even more details, you can go to TikTok analytics.
- Traffic: TikTok allows you to include a link to your website on your profile. Followers that are interested enough will land on your website and explore it, giving you more traffic.
- Higher reach: With TikTok’s Promote feature, you can advertise with videos to reach your custom audience and get more engagement. The hashtags you use in the captions of your videos also affect your reach, so use them wisely.
- Conversions: Any action that your target audience performs and is valuable to you can be a conversion. For example, if they click on the “learn more” or “shop” buttons of sponsored ads on TikTok, then they’ve directly interacted with you and completed a conversion.
5 of the best small businesses on TikTok
These are some of the best small businesses on TikTok that are effectively engaging with their audiences and have achieved success in the world of social media.
1. Hello Black Child LLC
Hello Black Child LLC is a small business on TikTok that sells women’s clothing and accessories that embrace Black culture and urban fashion with confidence.
Founder, Gabrielle, wants to help girls of color feel confident about their beauty. And spread the message that clothes categorized as “ghetto” or “tacky” are unique and contribute to the diversity of the Black community.
One of the most popular videos on this account has 2.3M likes, 28.7K comments and 47.9K shares. In this video, Gabrielle shows how people outside the Black community can support black-owned businesses by liking or commenting to boost this video’s reach.
Takeaway: If you support a movement or are in a defined sub-niche, people within that sub-niche or that share the same values as you will support you.
Pwuffy is a small business on TikTok that sells original plushies, ita bags and cute accessories. The creator of Pwuffy, Joyce, actively engages with her audience by liking and answering comments on her TikTok videos.
Joyce also posts TikTok videos showing off the quality of her waterproof bags. Or the ease of cleaning plushies when paint is spilled over them. Joyce said her priority is to have the best customer service by selling perfect products. And these video proofs are a great way to build trust with their customer base as Pwuffy currently has 860.6K followers and 22.4M likes.
Takeaway: You can build trust within your customer base by showing off product features you’re proud of in your videos. This, in return, will boost your engagement and your chances of reaching a wider audience.
3. XXL SCRUNCHIE & CO
XXL Scrunchie & CO is a small business in Canada that sells handmade scrunchies to protect your hair. This is one of the small businesses that went viral on TikTok because someone else posted about them.
Tina, the founder of XXL Scrunchie & CO, tells the story of how she didn’t want to join TikTok because she didn’t think she had the bandwidth. Then, a girl from her hometown posted a TikTok video making scrunchies based on Tina’s XXL scrunchies. This video went viral with 793.4K likes and 7,262 comments, bringing a lot of attention to Tina’s brand, and making her realize the value and potential of posting a simple video on TikTok.
Takeaway: You shouldn’t give up on using TikTok just because you don’t see results at the very beginning. Building your presence on social media requires time, but eventually, it pays off.
4. Down to Earth Beauty (dte beauty)
One of the best small businesses on TikTok is Down to Earth Beauty. A body and skincare products seller that is cruelty-free and owned by women of color.
This TikTok account answers questions from followers with videos and interacts with users in the comments section. They also recommend products tailored to the needs of their customers by categorizing them on playlists for body acne scars, facial acne products and body acne products.
They even have a playlist for packaging orders and an ASMR playlist for followers that find the product piping process satisfying to hear.
This variety of content has helped dte Beauty get 361.5K followers and 14.5M likes.
Takeaway: Your content should be of interest to your audience, something they’ll be likely to engage with. You can test different types of content to see which one gives you the best results and the ones your audience doesn’t care about.
5. Local Laundry
Local Laundry is a small business that sells made-to-last and low-environmental-footprint clothes in Canada. This business believes that clothes should be made to last for years and that it’s important to give back to local charities.
To amplify their brand mission, they post about events for small businesses, donations to local charities and funny videos about their day-to-day business activities.
This strategy of showing their brand values helps them resonate with their audience. And it has brought them 4,065 followers and 29.9K likes.
Takeaway: Nowadays, customers have a lot of options when buying. But they’re more likely to buy from a brand that has the same values. Make sure you communicate to your audience what you stand for and what moves your business forward.
Tips for small businesses on TikTok to build a thriving strategy
Now that you’ve seen proof of how there’s plenty of opportunity for small businesses on TikTok, and the different ways you can go about it, there’s just one last matter to get your hands into:
How do you create a TikTok strategy that works for your small business?
Here are some tips to get you started.
Set your goals
Setting your social media goals gives you focus on what you need to do. Knowing what success looks like makes it easier for you to identify the specific steps you need to follow to achieve it.
But goals shouldn’t be arbitrary. They should be SMART.
SMART goals are:
- Specific: What do you want to accomplish?
- Measurable: How do you indicate your progress toward this goal?
- Achievable: Is it possible to achieve?
- Realistic: Can you achieve this goal with the resources you have?
- Timely: What’s the deadline for the completion of this goal?
A good example of a SMART goal is: Increasing engagement by 20% in the next three months.
Define your target audience
Who are you going to create content for? If you don’t have a clear picture of your ideal customer, then your content will be generic at best and it’ll be difficult to stand out from competitors.
When you define your target audience, you can create content that addresses their specific needs, challenges or problems in their daily lives. It can even give you a clue about how to approach them with your product as the solution or how to build trust based on shared values.
To define your audience, consider:
- Line of work
- Purchasing power or salary
- Habits of consumption
All this information will be useful when you advertise or create content for your specific audience.
Allocate your resources
There are a million things you can do to build a strategy on TikTok for your small business. But you may have limited resources and a tight budget.
It’s important to plan your social media budget and allocate your resources so you get a cost-effective strategy. You don’t want to run out of money before seeing any results.
Things to have in mind when allocating your time and money are:
- Goals: The time you invest in creating a strategy to achieve your goals and the tactical support you’ll need to make it a reality.
- Employees: Determining who’ll lead the strategy, creation and handle the day-to-day activities.
- Content creation: The cost of producing a TikTok video, which includes the planning, creation, editing and audio.
- Software: If you use a solution like Sprout Social or other TikTok tools for your video strategy.
- Paid advertising: When and how often you’ll use ads on TikTok or partner with influencers.
Create lo-fi videos
Special effects and CGI may have their place in TV shows and movies. But on TikTok, you can grow your presence and even go viral without them. You don’t need fancy video equipment, just a smartphone.
TikTok is packed with low-fidelity videos people love watching, not because of their pixel quality. But because they can relate to the real and unique content that’s within it.
Use a social media calendar
Consistency, an overview of the topics you’re going to talk about and planning of posts for each day of the month, are some advantages of having a social media calendar .
It’s recommended that you post 1 to 4 times a day to test your content and start building your presence on TikTok.
And according to our research, the best times to post on TikTok are:
- Tuesdays 2–3 p.m.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays 1–3 p.m
But from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays is when you’ll notice the highest engagement on TikTok.
Armed with this knowledge, you can start scheduling content on TikTok when it works best for your audience.
Measure your results and improve
After setting up your goals and executing a TikTok strategy for your small business, there’s always going to be a step left… to improve.
You can measure the performance of your TikTok account alongside all your other accounts with Sprout Social. While TikTok only allows you to compare data from the past 60 days, Sprout Social lets you look into all your historical data.
Get started on TikTok
Even when you feel posting on TikTok is just another thing you have to do from an already long list, you shouldn’t leave it aside. As you already saw from other small businesses’ examples on TikTok, building your presence is something that will help you in the long run by connecting with your audience where they are already engaging.
If you’re wondering how to get some inspiration for new videos and how to keep it going for the rest of the year, check out some of the TikTok trends we expect to see this year and beyond.
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