TikTok for Brands

August 17, 2022

Last update


04 MIN.

TikTok for Business: How Does it Work?

TikTok is one of the most used apps, but it can be quite tricky to get the hang of it when you're a SMM, an agency or an international brand.

Rhonda Martinez

Rhonda Martinez

TikTok for Business: How Does it Work?

If you feel somewhat confused by TikTok, you’re not alone. Many marketers might not know what a lip-syncing app for teenagers has to do with business, but the truth is that this platform isn’t that simple, and TikTok for Business has become a buzzword for a good reason.

TikTok has 500 million active monthly users, so it gives businesses an opportunity to introduce their products and services to a huge audience. This platform, which used to be called Musical.ly, became a perfect replacement for Vine, which disappeared in 2017. Since then, TikTok has quickly gained popularity, especially among young social media users. 40% of TikTok users are 10 to 19 years old, and this platform is a perfect choice if you want to reach Gen Zers and Millennials. Gen Z is a notoriously difficult audience for marketers, however the purchasing power of this generation is continuing to grow.

Another thing that makes TikTok so attractive for businesses is that this platform is less explored by marketers than other social media. It’s relatively new, it has just introduced paid advertising, and even though its reputation is a bit controversial, the pool of top influencers is still developing and growing at a rapid pace.

In other words, the sooner you start to use TikTok as a part of your marketing strategy, the better. Brands are only just beginning to realize the value of TikTok, so if you hop on the train early, you’ll be able to take advantage of relatively weak competition.

How Does It Work?

“TikTok is quite similar to other social media platforms in the sense that you will only be able to succeed here if you follow the rules. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might quickly get shadowbanned, so don’t try to use shady marketing tactics,” explains Joe Greer, social media expert who specializes on Reddit and contributes to LegitWritingServices review site.

Besides that, you should keep in mind that the younger audiences on this platform don’t like ads. Perhaps that’s the reason why TikTok even has a slogan: “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.” Your marketing strategy won’t be effective if you don’t put some effort into creating engaging content.

If you want to be successful on TikTok, you should be active and authentic. You should be able to create trendy content that corresponds to your brand image and fits your marketing goals, at the same time. This way, the content alone will take you far. However, TikTok has also created many other opportunities for marketers.

This platform supports several types of ads, including Brand Takeovers, Brand Lenses, and Hashtag Challenges. We will consider all these features in more detail later. There is also in-feed native content. It works like Instagram Story ads, being displayed in full screen. It’s skippable, and it should be 9-15 seconds long, just like regular TikTok videos.

Perhaps one of the best marketing features of TikTok is an opportunity to use Hashtag Challenges. You can create your own branded hashtag and encourage users to create relevant content so that they can win a prize. A great example of how successful this tactic can be was Dreamwork Pictures’ hashtag challenge. The studio promoted its new show on Netflix by inviting TikTok users to share videos of themselves dancing to the theme song. All such posts had a hashtag #SpiritRidingFree.

How Does It Work?

This campaign got more than 2.6 million engagements and 34.4 million views. This hashtag challenge perfectly illustrated the value of TikTok for marketers. Spirit Riding Free is a kids’ show, and Dreamwork Pictures quickly realized that they can benefit from TikTok’s younger user base. The company chose a perfect type of campaign for this platform.

Content is crucial when it comes to social media marketing, and TikTok is no exception. You need to create content that will be appreciated by TikTok’s audience, so you must be familiar with the content users post. First of all, you should keep in mind that TikTok is quite different from Instagram because it doesn’t favor polished content. TikTok is a casual platform where everyone can express themselves in any possible way. Therefore, creativity and authenticity are much more important than video quality.”

We recommend that you make creating engaging content your top priority. Commercial-style videos won’t be appreciated by the TikTok audience because they have nothing to do with the nature of this platform. Instead, make your videos fun and authentic. Think of what makes your brand or your products fun, and build your TikTok content around it. Don’t be too formal and don’t be afraid to experiment because, when it comes to TikTok, you can never know what content will go viral.

TikTok For Business

This summer, TikTok finally let advertisers know that it’s open for business. The company officially introduced its new platform and brand “TikTok For Business,” and ever since, this platform has been focusing on marketing solutions for brands. TikTok For Business gives brands access to different formats of TikTok ads.

TikTok For Business

For instance, it includes TopView — an ad that appears when somebody launches the app for the first time. There are also such advertising products as Hashtag Challenges, Brand Takeovers, Branded Effects, and In-Feed Videos.

  • In-Feed Videos can be up to a minute long, and such videos are played with the sound on.
  • Brand Takeovers include videos, GIFs, and images. Such videos are 3-5 seconds long. You can use Brand Takeovers to include links to your landing pages or to promote Hashtag Challenges. Impressions, video views, and click-through rates will help you measure the effectiveness of your campaign.
  • Brands can also use Hashtag Challenges, which enable businesses to invite users to generate content based on a certain hashtag. There is also the Hashtag Plus option, which adds shopping functionality to this experience.
  • Branded Effects enable businesses to get more involved in the content creation process. This way, users can add a product or brand in the background or foreground of their videos in 2D, 3D, and even AR format. Brands can also combine this feature with Hashtag Challenges to increase engagement.
  • The platform also features Brand Scan — a new AR effect that enables TikTok to compete with Snapchat’s Sponsored Lens and Word Lens.

Most of these features, except the AR effects, have already been offered previously. However, the new platform unites them and presents a place where brands can introduce their new products as soon as they appear. TikTok has launched an e-learning center, where businesses can learn more about the platform and its ad offerings. On the TikTok Business Learning Center, you can find various guides and educational resources that will help you create effective campaigns and learn about partner programs.

Although TikTok doesn’t disclose all the details of its pricing scheme, the company claims that the prices for marketing solutions depend on a brand’s specific objectives and the scope of its campaign. At the same time, TikTok outlines some of the general budget requirements. For instance, companies should have at least $50 on their total budgets and daily campaign budgets.

TikTok is also testing Creator Marketplace, another new platform, where brands can discover content creators related to their niches and partner with them to run paid brand campaigns. YouTube also has the same feature that is called BrandConnect.

Now let’s take a look at some tips that will help you use TikTok for business effectively.

How To Use TikTok Effectively

Study the Platform

No matter what social media platform you’re dealing with, you will only be able to succeed if you know exactly what you’re doing. You need to have a clear plan and clear objectives. Otherwise, you may end up unnoticed or even ridiculed by users. You need to study what types of content perform best, what types of interactions are appreciated by the users, and what’s trending in your niche now.

Successful TikTok content is visually appealing and entertaining. If you check out the trending page, you will notice that there are hundreds of silly videos that went viral for some reason. Perhaps, they were simply fun to watch. On TikTok, nobody will appreciate seriousness so we recommend that you entertain your viewers, no matter how serious your product or your brand image is. Of course, you should stay authentic, but TikTok is a place where you can get as silly and funny as your brand image allows.

Focus on Fun Content

If you’ve promoted your products on Instagram, you might focus on planning your budget because you know that high-quality content means more engagement. This isn’t the case with TikTok because this platform is completely user-oriented. There’s no need to buy expensive equipment or to hire professionals to polish your videos. Quite the opposite, people will like your videos if you simply film them on your phone and use some basic filters.

TikTok is different from many other social media platforms. However, even though wacky videos are extremely popular here, we recommend that you don’t try to create the next huge meme if it doesn’t fit your brand image. Don’t be afraid to be funny, but don’t be a clown. For example, you can simply show your products in short videos with trending music. The harder you try to create something viral, the more likely you’ll fail.

Use Hashtag Challenges

We’ve already mentioned that hashtag challenges are one of the best marketing features on TikTok. The thing is that such challenges enable you to put your branded hashtag on lots of content that users will create and recreate to get a reward. Given that TikTok users don’t care about the quality of videos, this platform enables users to create tons of content, all the time.

For example, when Chipotle launched its #GuacDance hashtag challenge, this campaign quickly became the best-performing branded challenge in America. Thanks to the success of this campaign, Chipotle had the biggest guacamole day celebration ever and served more than 800,000 portions of the product.

Collaborate with Influencers

TikTok influencers can become extremely popular overnight, and they can help you get an incredible reach on this platform. Keep in mind that, while Millennials simply don’t like ads, Generation Z doesn’t accept traditional advertising at all, and collaborating with influencers enables you to adopt a more effective approach because influencers are trusted.

However, we recommend that you choose influencers carefully, making sure that their specific audience corresponds to your target audience. To choose the right influencers, look for mentions of other companies from your niche. You can also use various tools that enable users to search for TikTok bios.

Use TikTok Advertising

Thanks to TikTok For Business, you can also take advantage of all kinds of advertisements that will make your brand more visible for TikTok users. We’ve already mentioned the key types of ads available for businesses on TikTok, and we recommend that you don’t hesitate to combine different kinds of ads. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you want to succeed, you should find an approach that meets your objectives and corresponds to the specifics of your business.

For instance, Brand Takeovers enable you to take over the platform for a whole day. You can use videos, images, and GIFs, and promote as many links as you want. You can also include links to hashtag challenges in your posts. Besides, there’s no need to wait for your hashtag challenge to go viral by itself because you can boost engagement by using promoted hashtags.

Wrapping Up

If you’re not using TikTok for marketing purposes yet, you definitely should take a closer look at this platform. Not only does it enable you to market your products and services to younger segments of your target audience, but it also has numerous advertising options that will be appreciated by marketers from different niches.

TikTok has already outgrown its initial purposes and functionality. It’s no longer just a place where teenagers share their silly videos. It’s one of the biggest social media platforms that can work as a full-fledged marketing tool. We hope that our simple tips will help you get started and understand what types of content you should focus on.

the writer
Rhonda Martinez

Rhonda Martinez

Contributor @Iconosquare

Rhonda Martinez is a digital marketer, educator and social media expert. She has authored a number of insightful articles on how to promote a business on Reddit on a tight budget.


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