TikTok for Business: Is it Worth the Hype?

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 26, 2024
TikTok presents vast opportunities for businesses to engage with a massive audience, but navigating its dynamic trends and privacy concerns requires strategic adaptation and creativity.
A person's hands holding a smartphone with the TikTok application open, ready to scroll through content.

Considering diving into TikTok for your business? Here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:

  • TikTok’s Massive Audience: Over 1.5 billion monthly users, offering vast exposure, particularly to younger demographics.
  • Engagement: Users are highly active, spending around 95 minutes daily on the platform.
  • Content Creativity: The platform thrives on short, engaging videos, requiring creativity and trend awareness.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Teaming up with TikTok stars can amplify your reach.
  • Ad Tools: TikTok provides robust tools for targeted advertising and analytics.

However, there are challenges:

  • Ever-changing Trends: Keeping up with rapid trend shifts is critical but challenging.
  • Data Privacy Concerns: Ongoing debates over user data handling.
  • Content Creation Demands: Constantly producing engaging content can be resource-intensive.
  • Uncertain ROI: Linking TikTok activities to direct sales or long-term business growth can be elusive.

In essence, while TikTok presents a unique opportunity to connect with a massive, engaged audience, it demands creativity, flexibility, and a strategic approach. Businesses should weigh these factors carefully against their goals and capacities.

TikTok’s Global Reach

TikTok is now the third-largest social network, only behind Facebook and Instagram, it’s used by over 1 billion people across more than 150 countries, and it’s super popular with the younger crowd, like Gen Z, older folks are starting to get into it too.

Something cool about TikTok is that It’s big in Asia but is also making waves in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

High Engagement Rates

People spend about 95 minutes a day on TikTok, adding that it’s more engaging than Facebook and Instagram. The way TikTok shows videos to people means your stuff is more likely to be seen.

If businesses make fun and creative videos that fit with what’s popular or trending, they can get a lot of attention without trying too hard. TikTok’s setup makes it easy for videos to get seen by lots of people, which is great for catching eyes.

The Problem: Skepticism Around Using TikTok for Businesses 

Two people seated at a wooden table viewing a smartphone propped up on a stand.

Many businesses are unsure about using TikTok for marketing. Here are some common worries:

Unpredictability of the Platform

TikTok’s popular trends change super fast, which can be hard to keep up with, corroborating that what’s popular today might not be tomorrow.

This means having a steady plan for TikTok can be tricky. Brands need to be quick to change their videos to match what’s currently popular.

Privacy and Security Issues

There have been worries about how TikTok handles user data, and companies might be nervous about using a platform with these concerns.

The fact that some places have banned TikTok on work phones shows that these worries are still there.

Even though TikTok is trying to get better at protecting user data, some companies are still cautious. They have to think about whether they’re okay with these risks.

The Challenge of Creating Engaging Content

TikTok is all about short, fun videos, making these kinds of videos can take a lot of work and creativity, adding that it’s not easy to make TikTok videos that people like.

You can’t just use the same videos you put on other social media. Making great TikTok videos means thinking outside the box. This can be tough.

Concerns Around Long-Term Business Impact

It’s hard to tell if using TikTok for business is effective in the long run since videos don’t stay popular for long, so it’s hard to keep getting benefits from them. Some people wonder if doing well on TikTok leads to more sales.

With any new social media, figuring out if it’s truly helping your business takes time. Companies want to know that their effort on TikTok will pay off, not just get them a moment of fame. Keeping track of how things are going is key.

Even with these challenges, TikTok might still be worth a try for many companies. But starting means being ready for ups and downs, putting in the right resources, and being ready for things to change quickly. 

The companies that do well on TikTok are those that get into what makes it special, while also keeping an eye on how it’s helping their business.

The Solution: Leveraging TikTok’s Advantages for Businesses

Pros of Using TikTok for Business

TikTok is great for businesses that want to reach more people, especially young folks like Gen Z and Gen Alpha. The huge possibility of people reaching increases when you understand that TikTok has over 1 billion active users every month. That’s a lot of potential customers, mainly younger ones.

Try out fun video ideas, since TikTok is all about short, entertaining videos, you can play around with different types of content to see what people like. Make sure to work with popular TikTokers and get access to good tools for ads and see what works.

Cons of Using TikTok for Business

Trends change fast, so what’s popular on TikTok can change extremely quickly, so you have to keep up.  Views can go up and down since sometimes lots of people will see your videos, and other times not so many.

You need to have some worry about data safety, there are still some concerns about how TikTok handles user information.

Strategic Recommendations
Creating Engaging Content

When you’re making videos in TikTok for businesses, aim for clips that look good, are easy to watch, and fit in with what’s currently popular. 

  • Pick trending songs or sounds for your videos. This can help more people find them.
  • Shoot your videos up and down, and make sure they’re bright and clear.
  • Keep your videos short, between 15-60 seconds, to keep people’s attention.
  • Use hashtags that match your video topic. Look for hashtags that a lot of people are using.
  • Try different kinds of videos, like tips, behind-the-scenes, or product showcases.
  • Show your products being used and talk about what makes them special.
  • Ask your viewers to get involved by answering questions or sharing their thoughts.
Understanding the Algorithm

TikTok decides what videos to show people based on its algorithm. 

  • Post videos regularly, about 1-3 times a day, so TikTok keeps showing your content.
  • Look at your video stats to see which ones do well. Try to find what they have in common.
  • Keep an eye on likes, comments, and shares. These show that people are enjoying your videos.
  • Talk to your viewers by replying to their comments.
  • Use the right captions, hashtags, and sounds so TikTok knows who might like your videos.
Collaborating with Influencers

Working with TikTok stars can help you reach more people and come up with new video ideas.

  • Look for creators who talk about things related to your business and have fans who listen to them.
  • Think about working together on videos. You can send them your products to try out.
  • Learn from their experience in making videos that a lot of people want to watch.
  • Share videos that your customers have made about your products.
  • Start challenges and invite creators to join in.
  • Use TikTok’s ad tools to share the best creator videos with even more people.

Real-World Success Stories

Close-up of a person holding a smartphone with various app icons on the screen, over a wooden table.

TikTok has shown it can be a powerful tool for many types of businesses. Here are examples of how different brands have used TikTok to their advantage and what worked for them.

Fashion & Beauty Brands

Fashion and beauty brands shine on TikTok. They use popular music, trends, and team up with well-known TikTokers to show off their products.

As an example, e.l.f. Cosmetics (@elfyeah) makes their videos fun, using cool transitions and effects. They work closely with some top TikTokers.

Food & Beverage Companies

TikTok is great for food and drink brands. They can show off their products in interesting ways. Chipotle (@chipotle) shares what goes on behind the scenes at their restaurants and takes part in food challenges.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while TikTok offers immense potential for businesses to reach a vast, engaged audience, it also presents challenges such as staying abreast of ever-evolving trends, addressing privacy concerns, meeting the demands of content creation, and determining long-term ROI. 

Success on TikTok hinges on embracing its unique attributes, leveraging influencer partnerships, utilizing ad tools effectively, and maintaining agility in content creation. Businesses willing to adapt to TikTok’s dynamic landscape stand to gain visibility and engagement but must approach it strategically, mindful of both its opportunities and obstacles.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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