I get asked in almost every marketing appointment whether or not small businesses should invest time into TikTok. My answer is well, it depends.
Tiktok can be an incredible tool if it applies to your market, product, and available resources.
The platform saw immense growth in user base throughout the pandemic. What was formerly a dancing app for Gen Z has become a vast layered system with an incredibly accurate algorithm. It isn't something that can be blown off and ignored as an option, but one needs to carefully consider and test the waters before diving all in on TikTok as a miracle marketing strategy.
For small businesses with a strictly local market, breaking through to a valuable following on TikTok might be a challenge as the algorithm intentionally tries to show you clips from creators you have a topical interest. Whereas on Instagram you can follow local hashtags - it's easier to focus on a localized market. Shopping tools available through Meta products also limit the amount users need to leave the platform also cut barriers for users to purchase.
For individual users and influencers, a base of followers can be beneficial regardless of geography and lead to brand collaborations. The app can be particularly profitable in the US because of the TikTok Creator Fund. But it doesn't necessarily generate sales and when it does it can be a wild ride of viral videos, sell-outs, and expensive restocks only to sit on inventory because the algorithm isn't connecting the buyers anymore.
TikTok can be an incredibly valuable tool if you do a little bit of prep work in advance.
Ask yourself some questions like:
Is my audience purchasing products like mine because of TikTok?
Do I have time for this? Can I make time?
What skills do I need?
Am I already using Reels on Instagram? Is there content that I can repurpose?
What are my goals for using TikTok?
Are my products accessible enough to justify the additional work?
How would I prepare or handle a viral video/sell-out situation?
If you do decide that TikTok is where you want to pour some of your marketing strategy check out some additional resources below:
8 Ideas to get your small business started on TikTok
TikTok for Business in Canada
If you have questions about using TikTok (or Social Media in general!) for your small business, don't hesitate to reach out - I'd love to connect about your marketing strategy!