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How to Use TikTok to Drive Interest for Your Business

20 min read

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on the Moon, we bet you’ve heard of TikTok! It’s one of the most popular social media platforms around today. Love it or hate it, with over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok can be an excellent way to grow your reach as a small business owner.

TikTok is all about short videos which are used in creative ways. Why not harness your creative potential for your brand? This blog post will share some best practices for using TikTok to reach new audiences while engaging with current customers.

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Why Is TikTok So Popular?

TikTok is a social media platform for creating and sharing short videos (up to a three minute limit). Because of its large user base, TikTok offers many opportunities to get involved with your audience, including hashtags, contests, co-creation with other TikTok accounts, and other features. So if you’re looking at ways to grow interest in your brand, this app might be just the ticket.

It is a common misconception it’s only kids and teens that use TikTok. 10-19-year old users account for just 25% of the app’s audience. By comparison, 40-49-year old users account for 20% of the audience.

Distribution of TikTok users in the US as of March 2021, by age group (Source: Statista)

Other popular social media platforms have since copied TikTok video-sharing format and adapted it to their apps. For example, you might have seen Instagram’s Reels or YouTube Shorts popping up recently. Now, why would they do that? Because TikTok stumbled upon an interesting phenomenon: people love short videos that explain, entertain, and promote creativity among users! You can make this style of video work for your brand too.

It’s easy to react to, share, comment, stitch, and duet videos on TikTok—this promotes co-creation and increases engagement. It’s also a whole new level of user-generated content that you can reuse for your account.

Another great thing about the platform is that there are tons of communities: from #sewingtok and #parenttok to #witchtok and #alttok. On TikTok, you can find doctors that debunk health myths, grandmothers that make comedy videos, and beauty gurus that do quantum physics. Everyone has their own angle! So, what does this mean for you? It means that if you can make a video about your product or service, you can find people on TikTok that will be interested in it.

TikTok has turned into an excellent platform for small business owners to get their products in front of customers. However, if you’re not a social media expert, you might be feeling overwhelmed with various tools and content types available. Need a shortcut? Check out some different types of videos you can create for your TikTok account to spark interest in your products.

Show How You Make Your Product

If you sell a product you make yourself, there are a ton of options for creative TikTok videos that show off your products and process. Start with a video that shows how your product is made: the prep work that goes into it, the construction process, and the result. Try using a trending song or sound in the background—if you can find one that fits the tone and style of your video, of course.

Check out the video by Bread By Elice, an account of a baker and recipe developer. It’s a short video with chilled out music that shows the step-by-step process of making focaccia:

Or, you can make a longer video commenting on your construction process and explaining how you created your product in detail. Take inspiration from the owner of Soulstice Ceramics, who has a video all about how she makes one of their most popular products! Notice how she starts and ends the video with a snapshot of the final product to generate interest:

Create ASMR Videos with Your Product

If you don’t keep up with current trends, you might not know that ASMR describes the tingling sensation some people get when hearing soft sounds (such as whispered voices) or crisp sounds (for example, fingernails tapping on a metallic surface). In recent years, ASMR videos have entered the mainstream and are now popular on TikTok, where they can generate millions of views.

You can harness the popularity of ASMR videos to highlight your product. Make a video that shows the process of creating or using your product but focuses on the soothing sounds associated with it.

For example, MorrisonMade Leather made a video with close-up clips of creating leather goods. The video is focused not on the final product but the process. There is no music to accompany the video, so viewers can focus on the sounds of cutting, pressing, and gluing leather pieces.

Some MorrisonMade Leather videos have hundreds of thousands of views. But their ASMR video has over seven million views! Imagine the new audiences they reached with a single TikTok video. Talk about a revenue boost!

Tap into Popular Topics Unrelated to Your Product

Maybe it sounds counterintuitive to make a video on a somewhat unrelated topic. But trust us! People download TikTok to be entertained, not to watch promotional videos. So you want to ensure you reach a large audience, but without being salesy or making your product an eyesore.

The solution? Make videos that aren’t about your product. Bring in some other topics you and thousands of other people are passionate about.

Make a video that combines different types of content, topics, and visuals. For example: some makeup artists make videos of applying makeup while reading viral stories from Reddit or commenting on recent news.

A great example of mixing in an unrelated but popular topic is Bakersmann Cookies. There are dozens of great product videos that get thousands of views on their account. But their most popular tiktoks are a “Cookies and Crime” series that generates millions of views!

The video’s visuals are what you’d expect from a baker’s profile—it shows off how the folks at Bakersmann decorate a cookie. But the audio features a narrator telling tales of serial killers and other true crime stories:

You may have noticed that true crime podcasts are popular these days. This creator did, and reached out to a new audience by adding a creative spin to run-of-the-mill cookie decoration videos. Cookies and Crime will almost certainly draw in a whole new audience of true crime lovers, who then might think of Bakersmann next time they have a hankering for cookies.

Show off the Results of Using Your Product

Nothing proves your product is worth buying like a video that shows the desired results from its use.

Post such videos yourself, or ask your customers to shoot and post short clips of them using the product! Sending samples to influencers for a video review is another tried and true method that shows your product in action.

You can use social media monitoring tools (like Hootsuite, Talkwalker, or Mentionlytics) to track mentions of your brand on social media and find user-generated videos you can repost to your TikTok account.

For example, this video features a Peter Thomas Roth skincare product. The tiktok is very simple, with no music, effects, or creative presentation. But it demonstrates the immediate product result that potential customers are looking for. No wonder the video has more than 27 million views!

After the video went viral, the skincare company reposted the video, along with several other tiktoks of skincare experts and influencers dueting with the original. Not only did they get free video promotion, but they also landed themselves a ton of user-generated content they could re-purpose to promote their own account.

Solve a Common Problem to Prove Your Expertise

One of the best ways to get attention to your product or service is to prove your expertise in your niche. When potential customers understand that you know what you’re talking about, they’re more likely to buy from you.

To prove your expertise, share valuable tips that help to solve a problem that plagues your target audience.

For instance, Cliff Tan, an architect and interior designer, shares tips and solutions for common interior design problems in his TikTok account. This allows him to demonstrate his expertise in the field and proves that his services are high-quality.

In this video, Cliff Tan shares a tip to style a room to avoid it looking cluttered. Notice how he uses cutout pieces of furniture to illustrate his advice. This tiktok alone has almost 1.5 million views:

Now, we’ve already talked a little bit about co-creation: stitching and dueting videos. Cliff Tan frequently uses this popular TikTok feature, to great success! He stitches his videos together with tiktoks from other users to offer his solutions to their problems. One such video of his has 10.7 million views:

Adapt TikTok Trends to Your Product or Service

If you spend some time on TikTok, you’ll notice that some videos follow a similar pattern. They either use the same audio or filter, start with the exact phrase, or re-imagine a popular joke in their own way. These are called “TikTok trends,” and you can use them to promote your product or service by putting your own spin on a tried and true model.

For example, there is a TikTok trend that reveals how a person changes after doing some activity or living somewhere. Here’s the version of the trend by Encore French Lessons:

That TikTok account promotes the services of a native French teacher. Making a joke about French colloquial expressions helps make the content relatable to students and introduces phrases they might be unaware of. Learning while having fun? Definitely a reason to follow. Think of ways you can use this platform to be both amusing and educational, and your follower count will surely thank you!

Share Tips from Other Creators

TikTok is home to thousands of creators, all from different niches. If you found an awesome lifehack that could help your target audience, don’t fret that you weren’t the first one to share it. Make your own version of you testing out the tip and post it in your profile. Make another one sharing the result, or recommending how you’d make it work even better next time.

To give credit to other creators, mention their profile in the description of the video. Or, stitch or duet their clips so that viewers can check out the original.

For instance, NikkieTutorials shares a winged liner hack by Katie Jane Hughes and demonstrates how it works for her in her video:

Post Your Customers’ Reactions

Okay, be honest: you probably shared a surprising or adorable video with one of your friends just in the past few days. We all do it! Why? Because videos that spark emotions are more likely to be enjoyed, and shared. That means more people are going to see them.

Another reason to make an emotional video is that when we buy something, we often strive for a certain aspirational emotion. We want to make our loved ones happy when we buy them a birthday present, and we want to feel comfy and secure when we buy a new mattress. Why not show your potential customer what they’ll feel with your product in hand?

Check out this video from thejonnycakes, a baker that makes hyper-realistic cakes. The reaction to his baked goods are just as enticing as the cakes themselves:

Shoot How You Pack Orders (and Make It Personal)

Showing the behind-the-scenes of your business is a common way to tell potential customers more about your brand. Showing off the process of packing an order can also contribute to building a trusting relationship with your audience.

One of the things that set small businesses apart from big retailers is this personal approach. Can you imagine Jeff Bezos packing your Amazon order?

Seeing that a small business owner has just packed an order themselves and spent time shooting and editing a video about it is more memorable than just receiving an order confirmation email.

Pearlury, a hair accessories store, regularly posts the process of packing orders, always thanking the customer in the description. Seeing how carefully and beautifully the order is packed would make anyone want to receive one of their packages.

Another way to engage with customers is to shoot videos in response to their comments. Jaime Ibanez, an exotic snacks and drinks seller, made a video for a customer who asked to record the process of packing their order:

Not only does he strengthen relationships with customers by replying to them with a video, but he also highlights his product range for new potential customers. Talk about a win-win!

Duet Your Customers’ Videos

By now, it might be clear to you that a big part of running a successful TikTok account is interacting with other users, including your customers. We’ve also discussed making emotional videos that show off a customer’s reaction to your product. So now, why not switch places?

You can duet your customers’ videos to answer their questions, give advice on the best way to store or use your products, or just show your appreciation for them for buying from you.

For example, Jess L. M. Anderson, an author, dueted a video of a customer unboxing her novel and recorded her reaction to it.

Make Videos That Spotlights Your Brand Values

If you’re a vegan, you’d choose a shop selling plant-based products over a local famer’s butcher shop, even if it’s the best in town. If you’re trying to reduce your waste, you’re more likely to shop in a thrift store rather than at a big box store.

Customers tend to choose brands that have the same values as they do. Make sure your brand values are highlighted in your videos so that your target audience can spot them in an overflowing content feed.

Take notes from La La Land Kind Cafe. It is a cafe with the purpose of hiring foster youth and a mission “to normalize kindness.” That is precisely what they do with their “Drive-By Kindness” TikTok series, which generates millions of views: they say nice things to people on the street as they drive by. A simple concept that perfectly fits their mission.

Share Your Glow Up Story

Glow-up videos are another popular TikTok trend. They demonstrate the transformation of everyday life. Why not make one about you as a business owner? Not only will that resonate with fellow entrepreneurs, but it might make people interested in you as the head of a business, and by extension, what you have to offer.

Nicole McLaughlin made a video about her journey as a designer. The description says it all: “From making shoes on my living room floor to having my own studio & footwear collab.”

Last But Not Least: Have Fun

TikTok is about creativity and showing off your content creation talents. But even more than that, it’s about building community and having fun. Don’t be afraid to crack a joke that your audience can relate to! From participating in funny trends to reimagining a popular audio clip, there are tons of opportunities to be found on TikTok.

Follow the example of DePauw University: they made a fun video with one of its professors. Notice that while most videos in their account get thousands of views, this one has close to a million:

How to Use TikTok to Drive Interest for Your Business (12)


Start Making TikTok Videos

It can be tough to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. But TikTok is an excellent platform for driving interest and engagement with your product or service, especially with the right content strategy in place. Whether you’re trying to get the word out about your new product, promote your service, or offer some valuable insights into how your products work—there are a ton of ways that TikTok can help.

We’ve broken down different types of videos that help get people interested in what you do or sell. Which one sounds like it would work best with your store? Share your opinion in the comments, and let’s brainstorm together.

We would also love to hear what type of TikTok strategy has worked best for your brand, so feel free to leave a comment on your successes below!

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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