Six simple tricks for advertising your small business on TikTok
Why should you take my advice?
I am currently studying BA(Hons) Creative Advertising at Leeds Arts University, and I also have experience in graphic design and copywriting with a special interest in social media advertising. I have listened to hours upon hours of podcasts on TikTok and Instagram ‘algorithm hacks’ and various other tips, and I will share the best of what I’ve learned in this post. This is my hot take, people may have other experiences than me, and that’s fine! I’m still learning too!
On my university course, we have been given a ‘passion project’ where we can do anything creative we like. Yep, ANYTHING! So for this project I’m documenting my journey to set up a polymer-clay jewellery store on Etsy, while advertising my business on TikTok and Instagram.
Firstly, I thought that making the products would be the most difficult part, but it’s not! I created a full valentines collection of earrings in a week, but then I looked at my products and thought, what now? How do I get people interested?
Well, look at the products you created. Who do you see using/wearing them? Find this out and write down your target audience. How old are they? How much money do they have to spend? How do the colours and designs you use match their aesthetic?
You want a name and a logo for your brand. My personal graphic design style didn’t match the “alt/tattoo” aesthetic I’m going for with my branding, so I asked a friend to commission me a logo and some small illustrations I can use for packaging, stickers etc.
How are you going to package your items? You can print your logo onto tracing paper to create personal branded tissue paper for your packaging. Hand written thank you notes to your customer make them feel connected to your brand. Make the opening experience exciting for t
Another 'hack' is to find a shirt in a colour/pattern you like, and use it as a backdrop for your photography. Either take your photos in natural daylight or a ring light. Below are some photos I took with my iPhone 11, a ring light and a satin shirt as a background.
My top tips for TikTok:
With TikTok, the platform is still in its early days, and the algorithm isn’t too complex so it’s easy to build a following... for now.
I made my brands TikTok 10 days ago, I have 250 followers, 1,165 likes, and 7,881 views. On TikTok, that may not be a lot, but as they say, “Imagine if all those people came into your shop or studio to look at your work. You would be amazed!”. My small business TikTok is still young, but on my other/personal accounts I have continuously gained between 15k-300k views on my videos.
Tip One: You MUST have a fresh account for your brand. As soon as you have created your account, go and interact with other videos in your ‘niche’. If you are a polymer-clay jewellery brand like me, go and watch/interact with other polymer-clay brands and their videos. This will show TikTok that you are interested in this type of content, and when you post videos, it will show your videos to people within that community. This works for whatever community or niche your brand will be a part of.
Tip Two: Always use relevant hashtags!!! When you post on TikTok, it takes a while for views to appear. Don’t be disheartened by that, it’s just because TikTok’s little robots are scanning your video to figure out the content and who to show it to. Using relevant hashtags will help TikTok do this, and help others discover you. Try and use the same hashtags over and over on different videos too.
Tip Three: Always use trending sounds! This will drive traffic to your account, you can always set the original audio to 100% and the added sound to 5 or even 0%. Just use it, it works.
Tip Four: Once you’ve posted a couple videos showing off your crafts, go and find other accounts that make similar products to you, look at who’s commenting on their posts. The people commenting on their posts love their work, and they aren’t afraid to comment on other peoples videos (this boosts your video to more people, btw) these are the people you want following you! So go and follow them, interact with them, like they are your best friend. Ultimately, they are your target audience and most likely a future customer if they truly like your work. This is the most important part if any! Keep doing this, no matter how much you grow. This is how I gain most of my followers.
Tip Five: Your videos want to ideally be less than 30 seconds, unless you have an engaging story to tell. You want people to watch until the end of your video. Getting shares will boost you LOADS! To get shares you need to make your videos shareable (duh). How do you do that? Well, either tell a funny/captivating story, give some advice that other creators could use, or maybe even provide tutorials for others to try and follow. Ultimately, if your content isn’t captivating, it won’t make it big. I also recommend posting two videos a day, you can’t really ‘over-post’ on TikTok, the more the merrier! As long as they’re of good quality. (This is where I forget to take my own advice, I could have many more followers by now but I don’t have the time to post that often).
Tip Six: Your products aren’t the only thing you’re selling. Your products could be beautiful, but in this day and age people buy things for the experience, packaging, branding, and most of all, they love them because you made them! Don’t be afraid to show your personality and face in your TikTok videos. TikTok is a lovely place where even I have gone viral with no makeup on. Just show yourself and make people fall in love with you, and they will want to buy from your brand, and will share your brand too!
I hope this helps with anyone starting their own brand and wanting to market on TikTok, if you liked this post I would be happy to make one about using Instagram in the future!