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Is TikTok marketing right for your small business?

Small business owners take notice: TikTok’s popularity is exploding. The emerging social media giant has also recently launched a Back-to-Business Program – an initiative aimed at helping companies impacted by the current economic crisis. 

They’ve dedicated $100 million in ad credit for small companies. Yours may be able to claim a share of $300 that can be used until December 31, 2020. TikTok will also match additional ad spending 1-to-1 up to $2,000 per business.

If you’re not yet familiar with TikTok, you may be surprised when you open the app. You’ll be greeted with an endless stream of entertaining – and sometimes ridiculous – videos. You may not see any connection with the service your company offers.

Still, don’t be too quick to rule out this new social media platform. At the time of this writing, 85 million people use the platform across the US – a number that increases each month. In the first three months of 2020, this application set a new record for the most downloads. Chances are that it will be just as popular as Facebook and Instagram.

From all of us at Invoice2go, a Bill.com company, we hope you and your business are staying strong during this time of uncertainty. As local economies ground to a halt to comply with public health regulations, we know that many are facing unprecedented struggles. We want you to know there are tips and relief options available.

We also want to make sure you know now is the time to ramp up your marketing efforts. During an economic downturn, you want to make sure you continue to stand out from the crowd and let prospects know that you’re out here delivering high-quality services.

That’s where TikTok comes in. While it may not be right for every small business, it’s worth considering because of its low cost and growing popularity. Also, it’s not just for Gen Z or creatives. Freelancerssmall business owners, and construction professionals all use the platform.

Even if you’ve never done social marketing, this guide will help you get started quickly and easily. We’ll share some general background about TikTok and social media marketing for small businesses. Then we’ll show you how to set up a business TikTok, get your $300 in ad credit, and start making great content for your prospects. Let’s dive in:

What is social media marketing, and how can it benefit my small business?

Social media has changed the game for many business owners. It’s a fantastic way to foster connection, build customer relationships, and ultimately drive sales. 

It far surpasses the reach of traditional ads and allows you to target demographics that will likely be interested in your service. You can also easily monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns and measure your return on investment.

No matter what platform you use, social media provides one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new customers. We strongly recommend that you give it a shot. In general, it’s recommended that small businesses spend 2-5% of revenue on advertising and marketing. When done right, you will likely get a return on that investment, even when the economy is in flux.

Let’s zoom in on TikTok and how it stands out from other platforms.

What small businesses need to know about TikTok

TikTok now has 800 million active users worldwide. It can be addictive: the average user spends a whopping 52 minutes on the app each day.

Many people believe TikTok’s massive growth is because it focuses on entertainment rather than lifestyle. Additionally, it’s so easy to use that practically anyone can quickly create great content and potentially go viral. 

While people of all ages use TikTok, the platform leans towards a younger audience. 41% of users are between 16-24, a notoriously hard age group for marketers to target. 

However, TikTok is not just for kids or people in their 20s and early 30s. About 20% of users are 40-50+, and more people are signing up each day. No matter what service you provide, there are customers on the platform who will love – and pay – for your work.

When it comes to paid ads, TikTok considerably cheaper than Facebook and Instagram. It’s easy to make ads look native in the application, which leads to better engagement since ads can seem less corporate.

With TikTok, you can target ads by age, location, and interest. You can also do split tests to better gauge what kind of ad type works most effectively.

How to set up a TikTok account for your business

Are you ready to get started? Great! Since it’s free to get started and there is ad credit available, there’s nothing to lose and lots to gain. We’re going to walk you through the process of setting up an account step-by-step:

Creating your account

First, it’s essential to know that at this time, it’s only possible to create an account from the app. Download TikTok from the Apple Store or Google Play Store

Then, open it up and select Sign Up with Phone or Email. It’s also possible to set up an account through other social media channels if you already have them.

On the next screen, you’ll be asked to enter your birthday. Be sure to input a real birthday. If you enter an age under 18, your account may have some restrictions. Once you’ve entered that information correctly, tap Next.

Now it’s time to enter your email address and set up a username and password. It’s best to use your business email account if possibleHowever, if you don’t have one yet, you can always get started with a personal email address and come back later.

Your username is super important. Make sure it clearly states your business name and is the same as the handles you use on other social media platforms. 

Finally, once you’ve entered all that information, complete the captcha to prove you’re not a robot, tap Next, and – boom – your account is live.

Setting up your profile

Now that your account is set up, you’ll be taken to the main feed and shown your first video. Feel free to take some time to check out the content if you’re not familiar with it yet. The style is quite different from what may be used to.

You can browse videos using hashtags or use the Discovery page to find new content. Once you finish watching a video, another will immediately begin. Like Facebook and Instagram, TikTok uses an algorithm to show your videos that you will likely be most interested in.

After you’ve had a look around and are ready to set up your business profile, tap the Profile icon. Customize your profile picture and display name by tapping Edit Profile. If you have a company logo, we strongly recommend using that here. You can also use a clear, professional photo of yourself. You just want to make sure it’s easy for customers to recognize your business.

Next, add a business bio of up to 80 characters. Make sure to use keywords that relate to your business. You can also include a link to your website.

Finally, switch your account to Pro to gain access to analytics and other business features. Tap the three dots on the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Then, tap Manage my account.

On the next screen, scroll down until you see red text that says Switch to Pro Account. Tap that link and verify your email address to confirm the change. You’ll now get additional information that will be useful to your business down the road.

Connect your other social media accounts

If you use YouTube or Instagram, link them to your TikTok account. To do so, tap Edit Profile. At the bottom of the next page, you’ll see a space to enter links to those accounts. People will now be able to see your other social accounts when they visit your profile.

How to create great free and paid TikTok content

Now that your profile looks great, you’re ready to create your own content. Keep in mind: just like on other social media platforms, TikTok allows you to create free organic posts.

To make a TikTok, start by recording a video, editing it, and adding music, filters, and other effects. The platform makes it extremely easy for anyone to produce quality content. When you’re satisfied, upload your video to share it with the world.

While it can be a good idea to post content consistently, your organic posts won’t specifically target an audience. If you want to get more eyeballs on your brand, you’ll want to check out paid ads.

To use TikTok ads, you need an advertising account. Once you this up, you can learn how to create an ad through TikTok’s Business Learning CenterDon’t forget to apply for your one-time ad credit worth $300 to be used by December 31, 2020. Keep in mind that additional spending over that amount will be equally matched up to $2,000.

The different types of paid TikTok ads

TikTok gives small businesses a variety of ways to promote their businesses. Your ad will appear as a TikTok style video that will seamlessly enter the streams of the users you’re targeting. The main options are:

  • Native In-Feed Ads: These videos play between user content with a pop-up call to action button, and can run up to 60 seconds long.
  • Brand takeovers: These 3-5 second ads appear in the user’s feed before seeing any other user content. They’re linkable to the advertiser’s landing page and are exclusive to different categories.
  • Sponsored hashtag challenges: Your business can pay to sponsor a hashtag challenge and obtain a custom banner across the Discover page. When users tap it, they’re taken to videos that your team creates explaining and demonstrating the challenge while promoting your brand.
  • TopView Ads: These are 60-second videos that run immediately after opening up the TikTok app. The strategic placement guarantees users will see your ad in this space.

These are the basics. However, experience will be an excellent teacher. The best way to become adept at TikTok ads is by trying the platform for yourself. Here are just a few essential things to keep in mind:

Tips and best practices for TikTok ads

TikTok has an enormous trend culture, so the best performing content is often a spin-off of an existing trend. Ads should feel native to the platform, so the most engaging ones are funny, in-style, and eye-catching.

Here are a few ideas to help you get your gears turning:

  • Show yourself in action and demonstrate what you do best. Consider talking to the camera and engaging viewers with exciting and entertaining dialogue.
  • Participate in a viral challenge and integrate your service into the video.
  • Show a behind the scenes of your business so viewers can have a sticky beak and take a glimpse of your skills and expertise.
  • Share a funny or useful life hack or how-to guide that’s related to your service.

We hope this guide helped you wrap your head around the world of TikTok. It’s our mission to empower your small business with an incredible app and inspiring content that helps facilitate your success. While TikTok may not be for everyone, we think it can be helpful for many companies, especially due to its low cost and free ad credit. 

2020 is passing quickly, so don’t wait to claim your credit and get started. Also, if you’re interested in learning more useful tips for your small business, join our Facebook community for high-quality content each week.


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