Electric Sheep

10 Top Tips for Small Businesses to Hack the TikTok Algorithm

TikTok. Massively successful with Gen Z. Remarkably triumphant app of 2021. Launched by ByteDance in 2018 as a platform to create and share videos (extending from 15 to 60 seconds to 3 then potentially 10 minutes) its popularity has grown monumentally. Particularly amongst kids coming of age in this ultra-dynamic fast paced world.

So how can small businesses embrace TikTok? The answer lies within the stats. Interrogate the numbers, understand the algorithm and then exploit the potential.

Mindblowing stats. Short form interactive video content uploaded quickly and easily. Simple to post. Entertaining to watch. If you think TikTok is only for Gen Z’s you’re missing a trick – a colossal, monumental one. But back to the stats:

Statista Electric Sheep

A pretty diverse age range there. All available and accessible.

So what is the platform’s potential as a marketing tool? Time to think like a TikToker:

With global audiences, hugely relevant influencers and celebrity users wanting to stay connected particularly during the post pandemic landscape, TikTokers offer global brands vast creative potential to promote their product and target younger consumers. The rise of TikTok influencers who quickly recognised the unique style created on this platform all present exciting opportunities to exploit new commercial possibilities. And unlike Instagram and YouTube it’s entirely credible to engage with a new audience, even with zero followers! Huge budgets are not necessary but a carefully planned and orchestrated campaign is if you want to achieve high engagement through an exciting growing social media platform.  

So how to start?

TikTok is uniquely placed to connect with Gen Z consumers. Instantly and globally. That’s why understanding the TikTok algorithm and how it can work for your business is key.

Digging deeper, the TikTok algorithm uses a recommendation system; intrinsically each feed offers an individual personalised experience based on information including:

TikTok gives you a huge digital analytical filter created just for you and making every feed unique. Really smart stuff.

Therefore, the more interactions you have, the greater the opportunity to showcase engaging, entertaining, joyful, fun personalised content able to improve and inspire with every click of your ‘For You’ feed. So complex yet so beautifully simple.

Begin by getting on TikTok and checking out the business pages.  Prepare to embrace this exciting social media platform offering video sharing clips. A distinctive, contrasting yet complementary platform to familiar apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. TikTok is hugely relevant, growing rapidly and immensely influential in exploiting businesses digital marketing potential. Create content designed for maximum business exposure in a fun creative relevant style. Monumental exposure also equals growing brand awareness and investment – and the golden egg – the chance to go viral.

So how can small businesses manipulate this knowledge to harness TikTok’s impressively powerful potential?

First, build a deep understanding of your audience: their interests, behaviour and demographics. Only then can you begin to understand the viewable content that will appeal and flourish. Choose topics that reflect both your business brand and customer base. With that in mind, enjoy sharing video pranks, entertainment, diy, travel and information/advice to engage and appeal. But retain brand authenticity.

1: Choose a TikTok Pro Account

To begin download the app and create a business account.

Register by using your phone number or email address. Select manage account then switch to business account. Pick the category that is the best fit for your business then edit your profile.

Importantly, share your brand story in an authentic manner across your profile. Carefully choose photos which are representative, consistent images across all media so there is a constant recognisable brand identity developing. Then compose a short brand description in the bio. One which memorably describes the brand ethos. And it doesn’t need to be lengthy.

2: Create Quality Videos

Now have fun. Know your objectives, your audience, your budget. Use TikTok filters, effects and sounds to create videos and connect to your new exciting creative, collaborative community.

Simply open the app then

  • Tap + sign on the screen
  • Select and upload content from your library or use the TikTok camera
  • Pick any of the camera’s tools then start shooting video!
  • Tap the check mark
  • Edit your creation (more sounds/effects/stickers) then
  • Post

And dancing not essential. Unless you want to.

3: Find and Use Trending Songs

Music is vital. Choose the right music and it will get seen by more people.

TikTok is designed to engage with users so attach trending music to your video to maximise appeal and coverage. Play around with the editing, filters and effects.

4: Use Trending Hashtags

Hashtags are pivotal across social media accounts. Potentially opening doors to new followers, extending commercial reach, flagging up competitors. So, create with care. Choose trending relevant hashtags to increase engagement. Track hashtag reach using TikTok analytical tools which can even spot potential new trends. And keep an eye on the competition-which hashtags are they using and more importantly how effective are they?

5: Use TikTok Influencers

Research, post, track. Your TikTok and your competitors.’ Content is king so have a strategy to appeal to, engage and inform your audience. Which brings us to influencers. Engaging the right influencer to promote your brand has potential to create powerful instant recognition as availability and access to their online communities flood open. Work together creatively in a manner designed to appeal to their followers.

Or to promote a # challenge.

6: Start Your own Hashtag Challenge

Hashtags are critical to TikTok’s success. And the most unlikely brands have created hashtag challenges thereby increasing brand exposure and promoting visibility to a new audience. TikTok oozes fun, engagement and significantly, audience participation. So bite the bullet and create your very own # challenge.

7: Grab Attention Quickly

TikTok moves quickly. The ever-scrolling online community expects and demands speed and instant gratification. Include a hook quickly before those with a short attention span scroll over. TikTok listens and reacts to its users so pay attention to current and up-coming trends. The TikTok algorithm rewards videos watched through to the end. So keep viewers engaged and watching using all the TikTok tools available to enhance the audio-visual experience.  And entertain whilst delivering your message and promoting your brand. Experiment with a range of videos then track your account analytics to gauge success.

8: Create Posts Frequently

Schedule posts to benefit from holidays, special occasions, bank holidays, celebrations and any other days significant to your brand. Then create and post entertaining inspiring content regularly. Interact frequently with followers, influencers, trending hashtags and respond to comments to build and develop on TikTok. More really is more; more likely to engage, more likely to appear on someone’s For You page, more likely to be shared.

And do not delete old content. Once a post appears on a For You page then content (albeit older) supplies content for the user to engage with. Incredibly even videos which are days, weeks or months old can and have gone viral!

9: Choose the Time you Post

Understand the TikTok algorithm and use the account analytics to determine when your followers are active then schedule posts for the optimum exposure. Posting when your community are online ensures more people are reached quickly. As always knowing your customer is key-or use TikTok to reach out to a new, diverse audience so think hard about specific content designed to appeal. Does it entertain? Inform? Engage?

10: Engage with Other Users

So, work with TikTok influencers to promote visibility. The more influencers you work with the greater the exposure. Then listen to your followers. Engage with others- always respond to questions and comments. Try live streams once you’re a confident TikToker. Share tiktok videos on other social media sites. Keep up with trending hashtags, music, sounds and media.

Finally consider TikTok paid ads. Clearly this involves financial investment and so should be considered as part of a holistic strategy and requires realistic targets and goal setting to achieve a healthy ROI.

Checkout TikTok for Business for tips, inspiration, support and solutions.

Embrace the power and force that is TikTok.


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