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How to Sell and Advertise on TikTok

Ah, TikTok. A popular app that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Actually, it’s getting so much attention that it recently hit one billion worldwide users! People are flocking to TikTok for music, dance videos, funny pet videos, and basically anything else you can think of. That’s the power of a highly personalized video feed.

Besides being the world’s fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok is an excellent way to engage with your audience and reach out to new potential customers in an organic way that feels easy-going. From effectively targeted ads to built-in shopping, TikTok can do so much for your business. Read on to learn all about the most beneficial TikTok tools for small business owners.

Why Should You Use TikTok for Your Business?

Let’s start with the most obvious question: should you use TikTok for your business? Or, actually, why is TikTok even a thing for businesses?

To answer those questions, let’s point out the main differentiating features of the platform from the other social media channels out there:

TikTok Has a Huge Audience and Is Growing Fast

Besides the one billion users mentioned above, TikTok shows explosive growth across the board:

  • TikTok went from 55 million global users in 2018 to 689 million in 2020.
  • As of the first half of 2021, TikTok is the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app in the world. It reached three billion downloads, becoming the first non-Facebook app to hit that milestone.

Not only is the TikTok audience huge, but it’s also very diverse. It boasts users from a variety of age groups (from 10 to 50+ years) and with truly diverse interests. There are tons of communities on TikTok: #baketok, #synthtok, #parenttok, and so on. That makes the platform a great spot for advertising, no matter what you sell.

TikTok’s Recommendation System Is Off the Charts

TikTok’s recommendation system determines which videos will appear on a user’s For You page (the steady stream of videos they see when they open the app).

As TikTok puts it, the For You page “is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

To curate this unputdownable feed, TikTok considers every little thing about your interactions with videos or accounts. For example, it considers clips you like or share, creators you follow, comments you post, as well as content you make.

Recommendations are also based on video information (captions, sounds, hashtags) and your device type and account settings (language and country).

The magic of the recommendation system allows TikTok to constantly present users with content they like. People open the app and literally get an endless stream of videos they are interested in. Which brings us to our next point:

People Spend a Lot of Time on TikTok

When we say “a lot,” we mean A LOT. On average, people spend 24.5 hours on TikTok per month. In the UK and the US, that’s more time than users spend on YouTube!

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile report, TikTok’s average monthly time spent per user grew faster than nearly every other app analyzed, surpassing Facebook (I know, we can’t believe it either).

As a business owner, you want to reach your potential customers where they already spend time. Not only does TikTok have a super big and engaged audience, but it continues to grow, thanks to the recommendation system that users love. So, when it comes to promoting your brand on social media, TikTok should be at the top of your list of platforms to test out.

Products Can Go Viral on TikTok

Check out #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag—it has 5.6 billion views in the app. You see, on TikTok, products can go viral—just like songs, trends, or filters.

How to Sell on TikTok (and Advertise on TikTok too)

For example, when a feta pasta recipe blew up on TikTok, some social media users complained that cheese aisles in their local stores were running low on feta because of the recipe’s popularity.

There are lots of other products that have become difficult to buy after going viral on TikTok. For example, some CeraVe skincare products, roller skates, the Pink Stuff cleaning paste, Zara jeans, Peter Thomas Roth firming eye cream, Prepdeck kitchen organizer, Cat Crack catnip. The list goes on and on!

TikTok users can duet, stitch, and react to each other’s videos which, besides promoting co-creation, works as social proof when it comes to product testing. When you see dozens of videos on your For You page with different people (not brands) testing the same product, you’ll start to believe that it’s truly worth the hype.

Now let’s explore how exactly you can use the app for growing your brand visibility and sales. There are both free and paid ways to make it work for you:

  • Set up TikTok Shopping to sell products in the app (you don’t have to pay for your TikTok Shopping, just for the ecommerce platform you use)
  • Run paid ads (you get to set the ad budget).

How to Sell Products on TikTok

Sellers in the US and the UK can benefit from TikTok Shopping, a new integration that allows customers to buy your products right on TikTok–without even leaving the app.

Just imagine: you’re browsing your For You page and some cool video catches your eye. And wait, now you need the product you see in the clip! So you tap the bag icon in the video and buy that awesome item. All it takes is a couple of clicks. How cool is that? TikTok Shopping offers your potential customer that exact shopping experience.

How to Sell on TikTok (and Advertise on TikTok too)

You can also add a Shop tab to your TikTok profile that will display products from your catalog. Customers will be able to browse your products in the app, just as easily as they can browse your videos.

How to Sell on TikTok (and Advertise on TikTok too)

After customers tap a bag icon in your video or click on a product in your Shop tab, they can view the product’s name, description, photos, price, and *drum roll, please* a link to buy the product in your store.

TikTok Shopping is available for online sellers that connect their product catalogs to TikTok for Business via their ecommerce platform, including Ecwid.

If you want to integrate your online store with TikTok seamlessly, you need to set up an online store with a platform that supports syncing a store with the app. Then you’ll be able to connect it to TikTok for Business.

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