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Effective strategies for promoting your startup on TikTok
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Updated 29 January 2024

Effective strategies for promoting your startup on TikTok

The explosion in popularity that TikTok has had in recent years is there for all to see, but perhaps not many people are aware that this social network, popular with the young and the very young, can be used to great effect by companies to promote the brand and products or services.

If you too want to make the most of this platform for the growth of your startup, you really can’t miss this guide dedicated to TikTok for businesses.


Can you do marketing on TikTok?

You can probably guess the answer to this question by now: yes, you can do marketing on TikTok. When talking about TikTok for businesses, however, it is worth clarifying that, at least in the early days, this social network was somewhat limiting for businesses: for example, you could not put a link in your bio and you could not start an advertising campaign within the platform. Thus, at the time, TikTok could only be used for branding and increasing one’s brand awareness.

So much, however, has changed since then, and now on TikTok you can include your startup’s link in your bio, you can start an advertising campaign, and you can put in place many other effective strategies also aimed at acquiring new customers. Some specific features have already been implemented in some countries but not (for the moment) in Italy: this is the case, for example, of TikTok Shop, a e-commerce solution that allows you to sell products directly on TikTok through videos, live streams or the Showcase tab.


Why TikTok is critical for startups

What makes TikTok crucial for startups and companies are, first and foremost, its numbers, both globally and in the Italian sphere.

You should know that, as revealed by WeAreSocial’s Digital 2023 report, globally people spend an average of 6 hours and 37 minutes per day online. This is a declining figure but it should be noted that, in contrast, the time spent by users on social networks is, on the other hand, increasing.

Globally, TikTok recorded the highest average monthly usage per user in 2022 among the world’s most used social media apps. In Italy, among the most used social networks (excluding messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Fb Messenger, and Telegram), TikTok is behind only Facebook and Instagram: 38% of people aged 18-64 say they use it (Facebook is at 77.5% and Instagram is at 72.9%).

The Digital 2023 report also found that people globally today are more willing to use e-commerce than at pre-Covid levels, especially when purchasing consumer goods. In this, social networks play a decisive role, not least in inspiring users, and TikTok is certainly no exception: as disclosed by TikTok itself, 61 percent of users have purchased something either directly on the platform or after seeing it there, and 58 percent of users discover new brands and products precisely by browsing within the platform.


Differences between TikTok and other social platforms

There are a few aspects in particular that make TikTok particularly attractive to startups and companies compared to other social: first of all, the high engagement of its content and the shorter conversion process. Not only that: for your Social Media Marketing strategy you must also consider that its target audience consists of young people between the ages of 16 and 24, i.e., those who, in the coming decades, will have the greatest purchasing power.


Create a TikTok profile for companies

You only need a few clicks to open a TikTok profile for businesses: if you do not have a personal account, you can create one by associating a phone number or e-mail address, but also by logging in with the profile you use on other platforms (such as, for example, Facebook).

If you already have a personal TikTok account, simply go to the “Manage Account” tab by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner and select the “Switch to Business Account” option. Then you need to indicate the category that best describes your brand (from those on TikTok), click “Next,” and add a website and e-mail address.


TikTok business: how does it work?

TikTok Business, also known as TikTok for Business, is the solution designed for brands, retailers, organizations and service providers who want to promote themselves on the social network. By activating a TikTok Business profile you can enter your business information and advertise on TikTok by promoting your content for promotional purposes. Not only that, you also have access to a lot of useful information, such as platform insights data and your audience’s interests.


Customize the profile to reflect your startup

Optimizing the company profile is very important for the purposes of TikTok Marketing. Here are some useful tips for you in this regard:

  • use your brand logo as your profile image;
  • write a short but attractive bio to introduce your startup and (if provided) include your brand‘s hashtag within it;
  • include the link to your startup’s website;
  • add links to your company’s other social channels to invite users to follow your startup on other platforms as well.


Content strategies to emerge

Before we delve into “how to advertise on TikTok” on a more practical level, you should know that, as stated by Gary Vaynerchuk,

“TikTok has transformed creativity into a universal language, demonstrating the power of authentic and spontaneous expression.”

It may be useful for you to know some of the types of content that particularly work on this platform. Having this kind of information, in fact, allows you to more knowledgeably build your editorial plan on TikTok and refine your marketing strategy on this platform.


Winning content types on TikTok

You should know that the classic corporate videos that you are probably using or have decided to use on other social networks are unlikely to work on TikTok. In fact, more creative and entertaining content performs much better on this platform, also considering TikTok’s target audience, which is younger than on other social channels.

One possible solution is to show (in a light-hearted but professional way) the behind-the-scenes and key players of your startup, Alternatively, you could create short video tutorials that show in a practical and quick way how to use your products correctly.


Engaging the audience: storytelling and interaction

TikTok has built its success around User Generated Content and, therefore, you need to engage your audience and make them part of your story. Among the winning content on TikTok, we have not previously mentioned so-called “challenges”: these are a fun and engaging way to “challenge” your users (e.g., to use your products in a “creative” way).


Advertising and sponsorship on TikTok

Advertising on TikTok allows you to share your products within one of the largest and most vibrant communities on the web today and intercept your target audience in a short time. In the next few lines we will find out how this is possible.


How advertising works on TikTok

The setup process of TikTok Ads Manager is quick and easy, and the interface looks familiar. With this tool you can reach your customers with custom or similar audiences, install the Pixel on your site, and monitor performance in real time through the data control panel.

Not only that, you can create native-style ads that will appear organically in your audience’s “For You” feed and take advantage of the platform’s many capabilities for your ads, from augmented reality effects to transitions to filters.

Keep in mind, too, that on TikTok Ads Manager you have total control over the amounts you invest.


Tips for sponsoring your videos effectively

We have already pointed this out: TikTok has built its success around User Generated Content. It is no coincidence that the platform itself advises its advertisers to “create content the same way any user would.” Fundamental, then, is knowing your audience and studying videos that have already gone viral in the past in order to understand what works in your market and industry.

One of TikTok’s strengths is Content Creators: TikTok provides an ad hoc platform, called the TikTok Creator Marketplace, where you can search for the most suitable content creators to sponsor your products or services on TikTok.

The use of hashtags is also recommended: if you use the right ones you can attract the attention of your target and make your content go viral as well.


Use TikTok analytics

TikTok has many special features that make it different from other social networks, but at least on one point it does not differ from other platforms: monitoring and analyzing analytics data is also essential on TikTok.


Adjust strategy based on audience feedback

Relying on TikTok analytics numbers is the only way to understand whether the strategy you have put in place is performing as expected. Based on the results you get, you can figure out where you need to take action to correct any mistakes and, conversely, where it is more useful to continue investing. So on this social network, too, you need to adjust your strategy based on feedback from your audience.


Is TikTok the right social for your business?


Having reached this point, it will be clear to you by now that TikTok can be very useful for businesses. The question you need to ask yourself, however, is a different one: is it the right social network for your startup? It is important to reiterate: you can only find the answer to this question if you really know your audience and their online behavior. If you frequent this social network, now that you know all the “secrets” of TikTok for businesses, you have the best chance to intercept them.

Nicola Zanetti

Founder B-PlanNow® | Startup mentor | Startup consulting & marketing strategist | Leading startup to scaleup | Private angel investor | Ecommerce Manager | Professional trainer | Book writer

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