TikTok is one of the new kids on the block in the social media sphere. Facebook has been around a whopping 17 years, Twitter an impressive 15 years, Instagram 11 years, and Snapchat 10 years, whereas TikTok has been around for just five. Despite being relatively late to the game, TikTok has done plenty of catching up – so much so that it became the most downloaded app globally in 2020. That’s out of every app ever, not just social media apps.
This means that TikTok marketing has become just as important as marketing on the big dogs like Facebook and Instagram. Yet, many companies are lagging behind due to underestimating TikTok’s potential for their business, lack of forward thinking strategy or assumptions that TikTok’s user base is too narrow (read: young). In fact, only 50% of TikTok users are under 34. So even if your target audience isn’t Gen Z, TikTok still has marketing potential for your business.
How To Grow TikTok Followers for Business in 10 Easy Steps
1. Understand TikTok
This may sound simple, but we don’t just mean getting to know TikTok as a video sharing platform. We mean really try to understand the nitty gritty – including demographics, trends, the algorithm, and more.
A good place to start is with TikTok algorithm insights from TikTok itself. The platform released this blog post in 2020 detailing the factors that determine what content appears on a user’s For You page. A number of factors including user interactions (e.g. the videos you engage with, accounts you follow, content you create), video information (e.g. captions, sounds, and hashtags) and device and account settings are listed (e.g. language preference). Knowing all of this information helps you know what content to produce with the most chances of reaching your target audience’s For You page.
It’s a common misconception that TikTok is only for Gen Z. Often, brands dismiss the idea of TikTok marketing because of this, when in fact TikTok could offer huge potential for them. It may be true that TikTok found popularity among Gen Z first, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of content that appeals to an older audience.
In fact, 22% of US adults aged between 30-49, 14% of US adults aged between 50-64 and 4% of US adults over 65 say they have used TikTok. We bet you didn’t see those stats coming.
What’s more, TikTok content that is filmed on mobile phones and is clearly dedicated TikTok content performs better than overly-polished, professionally filmed videos.
2. Understand your Target Audience
Understanding the general demographic of TikTok isn’t where your research should end. Understanding your own target audience and what content will resonate best with them is essential too. That way, you’ll know which influencers to work with, which trends and challenges to take part in, which hashtags to use to reach them, what content they will engage with, etc. Different types of influencers will make great partners to help you grow your following, their size and audience demographic will play a key role in determining which ones are best for your business.
Also, you can see what content your target audience enjoys and engages with depending on what content the TikTok influencers they follow are creating. You can strategize accordingly. Or, the hashtags being used alongside this content can be good indicators for what hashtags your business should use to reach the same audience.
3. Be Creative with Content
Content is key to success on TikTok. No matter how much effort you put into all of the other steps, you won’t get anywhere if your content is lacking. Amazing content will go down better with your audience, bring increased engagement (shares are the most valuable here) and enter you into a self fulfilling growth cycle whereby your content is pushed out to even more people who will likely then become your followers.
You may be wondering how to create great TikTok content. Here are some ideas:
TikTok thrives on trends. Videos most often go viral when they are part of, or spark, a trend. TikTok trends range from dancing to the latest hits (e.g. Blinded by The Light) to freezing honey. They have the power to control what millions of people are listening to or eating in the real world, and the power to make it to millions of For You pages in the TikTok world. Feta cheese was flying off the shelves when it was a TikTok trend to bake it in pasta, as was penne pasta when it was a TikTok trend to bake it into chips. Both were constantly appearing on For You pages. You get the idea.
Challenges perform particularly well on TikTok. You can create your own brand challenge to generate brand awareness, or you can take part in a pre-existing challenge that is generating a lot of traction. It could be a dance challenge, a cooking challenge, or something else entirely unique to your business. The more it gets people talking, engaging, and creating, the better. You must make sure to have a correlated hashtag so that people know exactly where the challenge is coming from and the brand behind it.
While staying on top of TikTok trends is one way to stay relevant, emphasis also needs to be put on relevance within your specific niche. Followers who are most active in your niche are the most valuable followers you can have, and the best way to help them find your brand is by producing relevant content they will find value in.
TikTok content must be both relevant and high-quality. You can produce content that’s “trendy”, you can produce content that has valuable information in it for your target audience, but if it’s super low quality its performance will be hindered.
4. Interaction/ Engagement
Interacting with your audience is necessary on all social media platforms, and TikTok is no different. Comments are a huge part of TikTok culture. Users can leave comments on your videos, and you can reply to them there. This engagement is looked upon favorably by the TikTok algorithm when determining how much to push your video. The more engagement your video has, the more likely it is to make it onto people’s For You pages, which is the ultimate organic growth tool.
5. Consistency, Frequency & Timing
Ultimately, to bring in new followers, you must be posting often, consistently and at the right time for your target audience. Each brand will take a different approach, but between three and five social media posts per week is a good benchmark. Keep this up every week so that the algorithm knows to push out your content.
If your target customers are in the East Coast of the US, you need to post on their time zone (no matter where you are posting from) and at times that have the most proven success – e.g. during commuting times or post-work hours. If you post your content when your users are asleep or working, it will fall on deaf ears and go unnoticed. Not only will it struggle to generate new followers, the lack of engagement will tell the algorithm that your content is not important enough to be pushed out further. Posting at times when your content will get the most views will lead to more TikTok followers.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to guess when your audience is online. Sure, commuting times are generally the most popular times across the board, but this might not be the case for your specific audience. You can use analytics to your advantage here. The Followers tab in your TikTok Analytics allows you to track your follower growth and followers’ activities among other things. From the Follower Activity tab you can see what times and days they’re the most active. However, remember that you can only access data from the previous 28 days.
Influencer marketing is something you can’t ignore these days. Influencers can help increase your brand awareness, bring your business new app users or customers, improve your app retention rate and more. The question “what is influencer marketing” is broad, because influencer marketing can be part of a brand awareness campaign, an app launch campaign, a downloads campaign, etc.
Different types of influencers are beneficial for different businesses and different campaign types. In terms of building the right influencer marketing campaign for TikTok, it’s better to find influencers who are actively engaging with their audience and producing consistent content on TikTok itself, as opposed to influencers who have built up a following on another platform such as Instagram and have a lot of TikTok followers just due to their Instagram fame.
Influencers you choose for your business must be relevant to your target audience. If your target audience is adult males above forty, a female, teenage TikTok star isn’t going to bring you the most value no matter how many followers they have.
TikTok is known for its hashtag challenges. Choosing which hashtags to use is an important part of your TikTok marketing strategy. There will be many immensely popular hashtags that are not relevant for your brand, in which case you should avoid them. Stick to only those that are relevant. What’s more, it’s not always the most popular hashtags that will generate the most value for your business. Often, more niche hashtags have a more engaged community that will bring you high-quality followers.
TikTok often makes deals with brands for campaigns centered around a particular hashtag. Content using that hashtag has more chance of being displayed on people’s For You page.
The way to find trending hashtags is by using the in-app hashtag suggestion tool which appears when you’re editing the caption of your video. Whenever you type # at this stage, TikTok’s hashtag suggestions will appear.
One of the big benefits of producing TikTok content is that it’s so easily shareable across other platforms. Have you ever scrolled down your Instagram feed only to notice a Reel-style video with the TikTok logo in the corner? TikTok is favored by many creators for producing short-form video content, but this doesn’t stop them posting it across other social media platforms too.
Or, have you ever been sent a TikTok link in your WhatsApp group chats? It’s another way that TikTok content is easily passed between groups of people. Then, people on all platforms can become marketing potential for your business too – and will see the same CTAs in the video.
9. Leverage User-Generated Content
We mentioned above that you could create a brand challenge to grow your followers on TikTok. The best type of brand challenges encourage TikTok users to create their own content surrounding your brand in some way. That way, you can use their content on your own feed or simply to rely on increased brand exposure to bring you new followers.
User-generated content has the benefit of authenticity that brand-created content can often lack. This authenticity is what drives conversions from social media in an era where more and more people favor non-traditional and more organic marketing methods. Finding a way to encourage user-generated content surrounding your brand, and linking it back to your business’s TikTok page, is a creative, organic marketing method.
10. Use Recommended and Trending Music
Unless you’re working with an original audio or you’ve created a video around a specific audio, then you should always create your TikTok content using recommended and trending music. This is because TikTok prioritizes content that uses trending songs. So much so that often the top music charts are dictated by songs that are trending on TikTok.
What’s more, TikTok creates deals with record labels to promote artists’ songs on the platform. That way they’re obliged to push out content using those songs, and yours could be one of them!
How do you find trending songs on TikTok? They’re the songs that appear as recommended by TikTok when you create your video.
TikTok is a social media platform revolving around short-form video content that became the most downloaded app globally in 2020. It’s owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, and in China the platform is known as Douyin. TikTok videos can range from fifteen seconds to three minutes long, and cover anything from dance to cooking.
TikTok marketing is the process of marketing on TikTok, which can include TikTok influencer marketing, TikTok ads, TikTok brand awareness campaign, TikTok challenges and more. TikTok has the potential to generate many conversions and lead to significant brand growth. It’s the social media platform with the highest engagement levels and where users spend the most time, hence why TikTok marketing is becoming increasingly popular among digital marketers.
We suggest ten ways to grow TikTok followers for your business above. These include knowing your target audience, getting creative with content, being consistent, focusing on engagement, using trending music and more.
You can create any content that’s relevant to your business, encourage user-generated content related to your business by starting brand hashtags or challenges, engage with your target audience who are already active on the platform, generate brand awareness, and so much more. It’s a platform where creativity and fun is valued highly, so there’s a multitude of different ways you can master TikTok for your business. The path you take depends on your KPIs, like with any other marketing strategy.