TikTok For Businesses: An Overview & How To Leverage It For Business

February 28, 2020
TikTok For Businesses

In this post I am going to tell about An Overview of the TikTok App, TikTok For Businesses and How To Leverage It For Business, so let’s start.

Videos are way more interesting than text and images combined. It is no wonder that the use of videos as a part of a marketing strategy brings about an improved reach. Videos on social media generate 1,200 more shares than text and images combined. Shoppers who view videos related to a product are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than those who did not view videos about the same product.

Video content is becoming so vital that experts predict it will account for 82% of consumer web traffic by 2020. Also, popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are beginning to prioritize relevant video content ahead of text and images. 

On average, people spend 2.6 times more time on pages with video content than on those without any video. A recent survey revealed that videos that lasted less than 90 seconds had an average retention rate of about 59 seconds. 

Here is where TikTok comes in—a video-sharing app that allows its users to share fun videos that last up to 60 seconds. According to statistics, the TikTok app outstripped Instagram by more than 238 million video downloads in 2019.

An Overview 

What Is TikTok?

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing app, amassing over one billion users in the process and unseating Instagram as the top free app on the iOS App Store. It is a short-form video-sharing app that allows users to create, edit, and share videos. 

Most of its videos are music-related with a lot of editing features. The app is available for both iOS and Android, and two-third of its users are under the age of 30.

A Brief History of TikTok

ByteDance, a Chinese tech company, owns TikTok. Before it got its name, the app was known as Douyin in China. The name TikTok was adopted to accommodate its users from around the world, especially the United States.

It contains features that both Douyin and Musical.ly have. Musical.ly is another popular short-form video-sharing app similar to TikTok, with over 100 million users up until August 2018, when it was fully taken over by the ByteDance company.

This acquisition meant that its features, properties, and users were automatically moved to the TikTok app. ByteDance paid $1 billion to do so.

How TikTok Managed to Rise in Popularity

How TikTok Managed to Rise in Popularity

Currently, there are over 500 million active monthly users of the TikTok app, thanks to its engaging video content from users around the globe.

Below are some of the key reasons that helped the app skyrocket in popularity.

  • Celebrity Endorsements

Yes, you heard it right, celebrity endorsements. In the early days of TikTok, there were signed partnerships with celebrities from different countries to help drive traffic and increase its popularity. 

An excellent example of such a partnership was between the app and TV host Jimmy Fallon

In November 2018, Jimmy Fallon after a paid partnership with TikTok created a hashtag challenge called “tumbleweed challenge” on his show and urged his TikTok followers to take on the challenge by posting videos of themselves rolling like a tumbleweed. 

The #tumbleweedchallenge, which went viral, brought in a total of 8,000 new entries, and over 10 million engagements from TikTok users within a week.

The same strategy was utilized across various regions with several celebrity partnerships signed. Apart from promoting content on TikTok, these celebrities also have to promote the app across other social media channels.

  • Creation of Localized Content

A locally focused marketing strategy is one of the key driving factors of the TikTok brand. It is no wonder that in every region where the app is popular, you will always find at least one celebrity there. 

The brand uses the art of personalization in marketing to create challenges and contests for its users. By researching local trends, users take on a challenge using localized hashtags that can quickly go viral.

One such localized challenge that went viral in China was the “seaweed dance challenge.” The seaweed dance is a funny video that requires users to record and share a short video of themselves dancing. Tens of thousands of Chinese participated in this challenge, spiking the popularity of the app in that region even more. 

Also, the TikTok company has its contest called the “1 million audition contest”, which is run separately across various countries. For every region where the 1 million audition contest is held, participants are handed themes for creating localized videos, and a top-rated video gets to go home with a prize.

This challenge helps TikTok generate thousands of localized videos that can be used to entertain its users while also increasing the popularity of the app in that country.

  • Ease of Use


Unlike Instagram and other video sharing apps that are interested in the quality of videos posted, the TikTok app encourages users to record and post almost anything. Also, users do not have to bother looking for videos as they have access to a large number of videos when they start using the app. These videos are fun, entertaining, and also educational.

How TikTok Works?

How TikTok Works?

TikTok works just like every other app where you first have to create a profile, follow other users, and upload your videos.

After creating your profile, you are taken to the “For You Page (FYP)” where you have access to some trending videos and TikTok influencers. As you start to follow more people, you get access to the “following” tab, where you can view videos created by other TikTokers that you already follow.

A unique feature of TikTok is that you do not need to follow anyone before gaining access to thousands of videos. Also, users have to be at least 13 years old. 

How to Use TikTok for Your Business

Although TikTok for businesses is not fully developed yet, the app still allows for some types of advertisement.

Below are some of the ad formats currently available on TikTok that you can use to grow your business:

  • Hashtag Challenge

The hashtag challenge on TikTok is by far the most popular form of advertising. It involves the use of promoted hashtags to drive traffic to the main challenge page.

Users who click on a sponsored post containing the said challenge will be directed to the main challenge page where they can receive further instructions. The success of a hashtag challenge can be measured by video engagement such as clicks, views, reactions, etc.

  • Brand Takeovers

The brand takeover kind of advertising on TikTok allows a brand to dominate TikTok for 24 hours. That means that users will get to see ads from one particular brand all day long.

In this type of ad, videos and images can be used to embed the links to your website or a landing page or even hashtags within the TikTok platform. This can only run for a day and is an excellent way to drive traffic and improve your site impressions.

  • In-Feed Native Advertising

This type of ad is similar to those found on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. It involves the display of a short video lasting about 3–15 seconds on a user’s feed. You can always skip this type of ad video. 

You can always measure the success of this type of ad by checking the total video views, the click-through rate, and the average duration of time spent watching the ad.

Aside from TikTok advertising, you can also apply the following methods to advertise your business on TikTok.

  • The Use of TikTok Influencers

Just like every other social media platform, influencer marketing works on TikTok. You only need to find an influencer whose followers match your target audience and have them advertise your product or services. 

That can lead to increased brand popularity and a higher conversion rate because you are not just running ads for random TikTokers, but for those who might already be interested in your services. 

A hashtag campaign was carried out by the company Chipotle by partnering with TikTok influencer David Dobrik and generating over 230 million views and 100,000 submissions. 

  • Creation of Fun Content

Yes, you got that right—create fun content all the time. It could be a display of your product, or just you dancing for fun. The idea is to create a unique perspective that attracts users to view their videos. 

With the TikTok app, you do not have to stress about filming and editing a video before uploading. If your video is funny, unique, or challenging, you will get more engagement.

Final Take

TikTok is on its way to overtake other video-sharing apps like Snapchat and Instagram in terms of the total number of downloads. Although it was already popular in China and all over the world, TikTok’s rise to prominence did not kick off until it acquired Musical.ly, another video-sharing app with millions of users. The use of influencers and localized content was crucial for its popularity. 

Although its owners have not fully implemented business features in the TikTok app, some form of advertising is still allowed. Also, other organic means of utilizing TikTok for increased brand reach are still possible.

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