How to leverage TikTok for business

If we had to pick the winners that have come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be streaming services such as; Netflix, video conferencing platforms like Zoom, and (coming in a close third) the social media app TikTok.

In q1 2020, more than 300 million new users flocked to the social media channel during the peak of isolation to connect with others, and find some entertainment and laughs amidst all the negative news online.

Now, with 2 billion tiktok downloads globally, brands are sitting up and taking notice, seeing vast potential in the platform to connect with their target audience, grow brand awareness, and drive conversions through the power of storytelling and brand authenticity.

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If you’re not too familiar with the app, it has been around since 2016 and is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with an estimated 800 million monthly users. Yep, this is more than Linkedin, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest.

The app is owned by a Chinese tech company; Bytedance. The app enables users to upload or create 15 – 60 second vertical short-form videos that can be accompanied by sound/music and some clever special effects.

One of the most appealing aspects of the app is it’s ‘for you’ page where its algorithm finds a stream of videos it thinks users will like determined by the type of content they’re already engaging with. This means it’s easy for brands and individuals to go viral within hours.

The app’s key demographic is Gen Z, but in the last 12 months, it’s becoming more and more popular with older generations.

Business TikTok

If you’ve been thinking about using TikTok for business, you’re not alone! In mid-June, the app launched TikTok for business to fuel the rising need for business marketing support on the platform across organic and paid content. In a statement, TikTok said its new business solutions were designed to give brands and marketers the tools they need to be creative storytellers and meaningfully engage with the TikTok community.

“over the past year, brands have found success resonating with the tiktok community not because they had the glossiest ad or the biggest names in their campaign, but because of their ability to creatively engage and connect with users through feelings, actions and sounds,” the company stated.

Tiktok will now be testing a creator marketplace in select regions whereby brands can partner with influencers on paid brand campaigns. The app has also launched an a branded effect tool called ‘branded scan’, which enables an augmented reality experience.

In June, the global company also announced it had launched an Australian office in Sydney led by former google and youtube Executive, Lee Hunter and former google executive Brett Armstrong. Mr Armstrong said Australian brands such as Optus, Suncorp and milo have already seen success in engaging with audiences on TikTok, and he looked forward to continuing to work with Australian businesses and partners.

“we’ve got some fantastic campaigns underway, with results exceeding expectations already, so I’m really looking forward to growing our business offering from strength to strength locally,” Mr Armstrong said.

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Defining your TikTok Strategy

If you’ve decided to include TikTok into your marketing plan for 2022, having a considered strategy in place is essential before you get started. TikTok’s point of difference is how well it celebrates authenticity, rewarding users for simply ‘being themselves’.

As a business, your focus should be thinking ‘outside the box’, steering away from the traditional corporate-style marketing and more towards entertaining videos and sounds that encourage conversation and user-generated content to follow. The company’s new catchphrase for its business platform, after all, is ‘don’t make ads. Make TikToks’.

Your goal is to create videos that instantly capture viewers’ attention and get people interacting with your content in a real way, whether that’s using your sound on their video as a voiceover or dance, liking and sharing your post, replying to your video in duet form, and much more.

Before creating content, you need to define:

  1. Who are you talking to – think about the demographics you’re trying to reach and target your videos to appeal to this audience. The more targeted and authentic, the better your content will do in the ‘for you’ section.
  2. Why are you creating this? –  make sure you come up with a solid idea and purpose for your content. Think about the sound you’re using or #hashtagchallenge so this can be repurposed by other users.
  3. How can others connect with this content? – you want to find a way of establishing an emotional connection with viewers and using the correct hashtags to get in front of the right people.
  4. How can you help solve their problem? – while videos need to be entertaining, they still need to link back to your brand and show how you can solve people’s problems. It’s best to be indirect here so it’s not coming across as direct selling.

Organic vs. Paid content

On TikTok, brands can access TikTok ads manager where they can coordinate 9-15 second native ads that appear between user content (these can be skipped); brand takeovers; and sponsored hashtag challenges. If you have questions on what method is best for your brand, get in touch.

Pay attention to trends (or better yet start them)! – don’t be afraid to put your brand’s spin on some of the TikTok trends (if relevant). There are hundreds of hashtag challenges, TikTok dances and video ideas out there for you to experiment with.

“we’ve got some fantastic campaigns underway, with results exceeding expectations already, so I’m really looking forward to growing our business offering from strength to strength locally,” Mr Armstrong said.

MadeGreat direction, Kate Ware has jumped on board TikTok too.

Follow us: ‘Brandsmadegreat’

Staying Authentic 

The main goal is to remain authentic. Instagram and Facebook can be your place for polished content. On TikTok, the best content is when your brand’s authenticity shines!

Looking for some inspiration for your TikTok business? Check out the following brands making moves on the platform, while staying true to their unique brand voice.


This Australian reptile park became TikTok famous overnight when it posted a video of one of their staff milking a snake: 3 million views in a day and now more than 13.1 million views on the video! The park said the most popular videos it had shared were entertaining and educational, keeping on-brand with their park and customer experience.

2. @deakinuni

This online university has also taken to the app, featuring entertaining user-generated videos from students. The university is still building its presence, but we know it’s onto a good thing with its authentic, relatable content targeted at young students.

3. @stickyaustralia

1.7 million followers and counting! This candy store in Sydney has well and truly gone viral. They share visually pleasing videos of their rock candies being made. We’re sure this has driven more people over to its online store!

4. @bebangles

This Australian bangle brand has used TikTok to spread the word about Australia’s bushfires and asked users what inspiration sayings to put on their bangles. In turn, they raised over $56,000 in 6 days for the bushfire appeal.

5. @brandsmadegreat

While we may only be relatively new on the TikTok scene, it is a bit of fun and an exciting place to create new + unique content.

We’d love to see you there!

Need help with creating your TikTok strategy?

At MadeGreat, we can help you and your brand get in front of the right people.

Contact us for more information.

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