The Ultimate Guide to TikTok for Businesses

There are now 500 million monthly users on TikTok. Whether you’ve been watching the rise of TikTok with a keen eye or it managed to pass you by, as the number 1 most downloaded app in Apple’s app store, it’s now difficult to ignore.

Although you might think the app is all silly videos and lip syncing, it’s much more than that.

For businesses, it’s a great opportunity. After all, TikTok has an average engagement rate of 29%, that’s well above the average.

With a whopping 41% of users aged between 16-24, if your brand’s audience is millennials and Gen Z, look no further.

In this ultimate guide to TikTok, we’ll offer our top tips and advice to help businesses break into the world of TikTok and reach their all-important target audience.

Ready to see what TikTok can do for your business?

What exactly is TikTok and who uses it?


Let’s start from the beginning. What exactly is TikTok and who uses it?

One of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms globally, TikTok lets users create and share short videos with music, filters and other features. Most TikTok videos are 15 seconds long, although users can create 60 second story type videos.

TikTok was formerly Musical.ly, an app in which users uploaded videos of themselves lip-syncing to music videos. However, after being bought out by TikTok, the variety in types of videos shared diversified massively.

In essence, TikTok gives its users the freedom to get creative.

So, it’s no wonder that its primary audience is young people – millennials and Gen Z. in fact, 60% of TikTok users are Gen Zers. It’s not surprising considering that over 50% of Gen Z consider themselves more creative than older generations, with 56% of this group using social apps to express themselves creatively.

That means that if your brand is in business for these younger audiences, TikTok is the place to find them.

But how exactly should you be using TikTok for business?

The 3 main ways businesses can utilise TikTok


There are 3 main ways that businesses can use TikTok to market their brand, including:

  • Creating their own account from which they can upload relevant, branded video footage
  • Paying to advertise on the app
  • Working with TikTok influencers to get their content to a broad audience

Let’s look at each of these in further detail.

1. Create a TikTok account for your business


The great thing about TikTok is that it’s a real opportunity for businesses to market themselves in a way that doesn’t feel inauthentic or forced.

It’s a chance to create fun, creative content that will really strike a chord with your audience.


The key to creating a killer TikTok presence for your brand is to be authentic.

Don’t create videos that aren’t the right fit for your brand, this will only damage your business. If you are a super serious business, this may not be the platform for you. After all, TikTok is a place young people hang out to have fun and be entertained.

What’s unique about TikTok is that, unlike other social platforms like Instagram, it doesn’t reward high-quality, polished content. Instead, it’s a platform where its users express themselves in a creative way, meaning it leans away from highly commercial videos.

For businesses, this means avoiding that pitch perfect video you shot for your latest marketing campaign, and instead exploring and shooting what’s fun about your brand.

Remember, TikTok is labelled as the social media platform for users to show off their real side, and that’s no exception for businesses.

So, how do you get started?


  • Download the TikTok app: it’s super easy to sign up a new account using either Facebook, Gmail or Twitter, or you can add a username and password.
  • Set up your profile: here, you can add a profile photo or video, username and short bio about yourself. You can also link up to your other social media channels.
  • Find content: head over to your video feed. If you haven’t followed any other accounts yet this will show random videos that are trending at that time. Once you start following and engaging with other users your feed will become personalised to you. Begin by following a few relevant accounts to your business to help you find more relevant content.
  • Engage with other users: when you come across relevant content, tap the heart to ‘like’ it, press the speech bubble to leave a comment, share it or visit the user’s profile to follow them. This is great exposure for your business and account.
  • Find accounts to follow: to discover new accounts to follow, head over to the search bar where you have the choice to either search for accounts or videos, or view videos by trending topics.

And what about posting on TikTok?


Now you’re all set up, it’s time to get posting.

It’s super easy to record your video in the app. Simply click the centre tab to enter camera mode or shoot on your mobile camera and upload the content to TikTok. You’ll have the option to shoot in one shot or record several smaller parts which you can then merge together.

Next, you’ll find the following options:

  • Speed: this allows you to speed up your video or shoot in slow motion
  • Timer: this lets you to set a self-timer to let you film hands free
  • Filters: here you can change the colour filter of the camera
  • Flash: this is handy if you’re filming indoors or in low lights
  • Music: add sound effects or music to your video
  • AR filters: this option let you add special effects

Users have the option to add these effects in before or after filming.

When you’ve got your shot, it’s time to post.

Similar to Instagram, users can add a caption, use relevant hashtags and tag other users.

You will also notice a ‘duet’ feature. If you’ve seen a musical video you love, this feature lets you join in with it. Find the video you wish to duet with, press the Share button, then select the ‘Duet’ option. Your camera screen will now appear next to the video. Now, you can press record and add your part to the music. For businesses, offering the duet option can be a great way to gain more engagement.

Challenge yourself


TikTok Challenges are a unique feature of the app.

A challenge involves brands or users encouraging other users to partake in a challenge. This could be anything, usually something funny and specific, from using everyday objects to mimic travel photos to arranging a funny dance to a particular song.

Back in 2018, Jimmy Fallon was one of the first celebrities to jump on the challenge bandwagon with his #TumbleWeed challange. Since then, tons of brands including the likes of Google have started utilising challenges.

When participating in a challenge, users simply use the specific challenge hashtag to get their video found.

This is a particularly great feature for brands who can create their own brand challenges to increase awareness and bolster engagement.

2. Run TikTok Ads


The next main way that business can use TikTok is by running ads on the platform.

TikTok Ads are a great way for businesses to reach new audiences and connect with potential customers.

Clothing brand Guess increased their followers by 12,000, gained a click-through-rate of 16.5% and overall engagement rate of 14.3% over 6 days when running their #InMyDenim ad last year.

Skincare brand Clean & Clear were able to lift purchase intention by 9% and received a lift in message association by a whopping 100.9%, receiving a massive 1.96 billion video views and 172 million likes, comments and shares when running their ad campaign.

If your audience are on TikTok, then TikTok Ads are a great, effective way to reach them.

So, what types of ads can businesses run?

  • In-feed Ads: in-feed video ads blend into user’s video feeds. They run on either cost-per-click, cost-per-impression or cost-per-view. Brands can target users based on age, gender and location. Or, set up your own customer audience with the chance to exclude certain profiles. Coming in at $10 cost-per-impression with a $6,000 minimum campaign spend, brands will need a healthy budget to set up in-feed Ads.
  • Hashtag challenge Ads: we’ve already touched on TikTok challenges, but they can also be carried out as ads. These types of ads promote branded hashtags to encourage users to post videos participating in the branded challenge. These Ads appear as a banner on user’s discovery page, directing them to a page with instructions on how they can participate.
  • Shoppable Ads: here, brands sponsor hashtags and create a dedicated experience for users to explore video content and products. Think about these kinds of ads as the hashtag challenge ads with a shoppable element to them, adding an extra level to these types of ads. When users arrives on the hashtag challenge page, they’re able to click on either the video tab or explore tab. The video tab shows a range of video content tagged with the hashtag and encourages them to submit their own tagged content. The explore tab takes users to a shopping experience where the brand displays products for users to browse through. The Shop Now link will then take the user to the brand’s website to complete their purchase.
  • Brand Takeover Ads: these types of ads show up as soon as a user opens the app, getting their immediate attention. Brand takeover ads can be bought for a range of categories, from fitness, fashion to food. TikTok offers just one brand to take over a category each day. The aim of these ads is to encourage users to click through to a specific landing page. Bear in mind, these apps come with a hefty fee of $50,000 per day with a guarantee of 5 million impressions.
  • TikTok Stickers: branded TikTok stickers are a great way to get users engaging with branded content. What’s more, this type of ad is far less intrusive than a traditional style ad, involving branded AR stickers that users can feature in their videos.

3. Get involved in TikTok influencer marketing


The third and final way businesses can utilise TikTok is through influencer marketing.

Although TikTok marketing is relatively new to the game, brands have been putting their feet on the gas when it comes to TikTok influencer marketing campaigns nonetheless.

So, you might know how influencer marketing works when it comes to Instagram, but how should you navigate it in the world of TikTok?

Like with any social media platform, it’s crucial to build up a solid strategy to ensure success.

  1. Get to know the platform: if TikTok is new to your business, don’t jump in at the deep end without researching it first. Look at accounts belonging to your target audience, check out the competition and craft a killer plan drafting how you will present your brand on the platform.
  2. Set your goals: like with any successful strategy, the next step is to establish your goals, whether that is to increase brand awareness or drive clicks. Decide what goals you want to achieve from your campaigns, and what key performance indicators you’ll use to measure the campaign’s success.
  3. Find influencers that are the best fit: finding the right influencers to work with will be critical to success. Put in the time and energy to carefully researching TikTok influencers that would be the best fit for your brand. Check that they share the same audience as you, have a proven track record of delivering high quality content, drive positive engagement levels, that their interests and values are in line with yours and that they’re authentic. Don’t just work with an influencer because they have thousands of followers, this will not end well. Instead, look at the metrics listed above to find an influencer that’s a match made in heaven.
  4. Get creative: brands that are new to TikTok might find it tempting to want to take hold of the reigns and control the influencer during the campaign from start to finish. But, when it comes to TikTok influencer marketing, it’s important to let your influencer get creative in their own way. Their unique personality, creativity and authenticity are why they are popular on TikTok in the first place, so let them keep on doing their thing. This will make your influencer campaigns a lot more popular.
  5. Comply with FTC: if you’ve worked with influencers on other social platforms in the past, you will be aware of the FTC guidelines that outline how influencers must use #ad to avoid legal action. There’s no exception when it comes to TikTok, so make sure you read up on the rules.
  6. Analyse the results: everything digital marketer worth their salt will know that measuring campaign results will allow your brand to go on to test and optimise campaigns to continually deliver stronger ones. Look at your initial goals. If your aim was to boost brand awareness, you can measure success by looking at how many views the campaign gained and how much engagement it generated.

Next Steps – ready to ace your businesses’ TikTok marketing strategy in 2020?


As TikTok continues to snowball in popularity, there’s never been a better time for businesses to get in on the action. Using our ultimate guide to TikTok marketing for businesses, every brand can launch a killer campaign that will drive real results. For further help with everything from TikTok, social media management to influencer marketing, get in touch with the Report Central team. We won’t just help you use social media, we’ll propel your accounts into the stratosphere.

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