TikTok 101 for Small Businesses

Digital marketing is an essential and growing priority for any business. This is especially true for small businesses. For small businesses, online exposure can be the difference between growth and stagnation. TikTok is a relatively new platform that offers excellent opportunities for businesses to gain more exposure. For example, TikTok employs algorithms that allow content to not fade out with time, such as is the case with platforms such as Instagram. There are many success stories around businesses using TikTok to trampoline their brand to the next level. TikTok is an entertainment-first platform that allows users to interact with content that they may not have through other channels. The importance of TikTok to your small business can be broken down into a few key components.


The Importance of Tiktok to Your Business

The benefits of advertising on TikTok for your business cannot be overstated. TikTok is a unique platform in comparison to other platforms for a few reasons. Primarily, TikTok is a relatively new platform. Therefore, the room for growth of TikTok as a platform is larger than other alternatives. In turn, as TikTok becomes increasingly larger, so can your business’ exposure on the platform. The sooner your business begins to utilize TikTok as a marketing channel, the more established your brand can become. You wouldn’t want to be on the back end of the “TikTok boom”, and fall behind competitors!

Another reason TikTok is important to your business stems from the advanced analytics and algorithms of the platform. TikTok also offers advanced analytics to business owners. These analytics allow small business owners to track their daily viewership, interactions, and potential income on the platform. Generally, algorithms on TikTok create a “echo chamber” that show consumers content related to what they already like to watch. Therefore, analytics function in two ways. First, these analytics locate and target people that may be interested in your product, service, or brand based on their viewership! In doing so, TikTok also allows you to track these viewers on your page.


Steps for Small Business Success on TikTok

Content Standards

The content standards for TikTok differ greatly from other platforms. When creating content for your TikTok page businesses should aim to grab the attention of viewers in the first one or two seconds. People often spend hours on TikTok, but will scroll past videos that do not capture their attention within seconds. For that reason, your TikTok videos should be structured in a manner that truly stands apart from other posts. When creating a TikTok video the emphasis should be on what the video is about, as opposed to how it is shot, etc. Business owners should focus on capturing the attention of their viewers with the content of their videos, not the quality.

Business owners should not be overly-critical of the quality of their TikTok videos. TikTok is a platform in which content is more raw, and less polished. The rugged style of TikTok videos make them not only feel more realistic, but also more personable. For this reason you can create a TikTok on any equipment, from a 4k camera to your cell phone camera. However, a point of emphasis should be made around keeping your TikTok videos vertically-oriented. This is important for many reasons. Primarily, videos that are not vertically-oriented often are cropped on TikTok. In turn, horizontally-oriented videos on TikTok appear unnatural, and often deter potential viewers. Remember, TikTok accounts often only have a few seconds to capture attention!


TikTok is a platform on which businesses should post lots of content. Other platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, require more minimal posting-frequency. However, due to the nature of TikTok and its’ algorithms, businesses should aim to keep pumping fresher content onto the platform. Therefore, users should look to post numerous times per week at least. If possible, some businesses attempt to post everyday. There is no exact rule on how often a business should post on TikTok. Some businesses find success with posting daily, whereas others believe that a few times per week is perfect. Careful analysis of how well certain posts do are essential to find the perfect frequency. You should evaluate what works best for your business and act accordingly. However, a generally effective rule of thumb is that a business should post on TikTok three to five times per week.


TikTok is a platform that emphasizes musical, cinema-graphic, and popular-culture trends. Business that stay on top of these trends tend to have more success than other businesses. Furthermore, businesses that are able to noticeable utilize create more original, organic, and personable content.

Competitors’ Accounts

There are many resources of a competitors’ TikTok that prove very valuable for a small business owner. Competition leads to innovation and creativity. Therefore, it is important to see what competitors within your industry are present on TikTok, and what kind of content they are creating. In doing so, your business can stay up to date on key industry trends.


Remember, starting to use a new social media platform can be daunting, but there are consultants at the SBDC to assist. Sign up for consulting to learn more.


Written by Brian Kennerly, Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office Marketing Team

Brian Kennerly is currently a Graduate Assistant at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania while pursuing his Master’s in Business Administration. His hometown is Upper Darby, PA, and he attended the University of Virginia for his undergraduate career.