Learning how to use TikTok to grow your business shouldn’t be that hard. But it isn’t as well-publicized as using Instagram or Facebook.
When we started using video as the basis for our content marketing, we knew we’d want to use TikTok. So we made sure every video had at least one segment that was optimized for TikTok, and as of January 11, 2022, that led us to these benchmarks:
As you can see from these metrics, we haven’t really focused on TikTok as a channel.
But we’ve heard of people who’ve grown fast, and not just traffic, either. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who are using TikTok as their main stream of traffic, and, by extension, income.
Since we’re already comfortable on video (Kathleen is, more than Emma, but that’s splitting hairs), all we need is a strategy to use TikTok to grow our newsletter.
And in the spirit of showing our work, I thought it could be fun to document our progress.
If it works, feel free to use it as a blueprint.
If it doesn’t, it’s still a worthwhile blueprint of what not to do.
Step 1 in using TikTok to grow our business: Get a business account
I didn’t realize we were using a non-business account until I Googled “how to add your link in your bio TikTok” and found an easy answer.
So I added our link, and attempted to give a good reason to sign up:
This alone won’t help convert people on TikTok, but it might explain why we haven’t gotten any traffic from the platform up until this point.
Step 2 in using TikTok to grow our business: find out what TikTok recommends
Since I’m new to the business end of TikTok (that came out wrong…), I’m finding things that either weren’t in my account before or things that I hadn’t noticed before.
First thing: ads.
Okay no, I am not ready for ads. Let me figure out how to get a couple of videos up before I start paying for views.
After I clicked away from ads, I noticed the Creative Hub.
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Then, there’s this:
I’m not sure I’m all that inspired by what the big brands are doing to get tens of millions of views, and I don’t understand why some of the community posts are viral, so instead of giving up, I’ll see what inspiration comes from the TikTok guides.
Find keywords and hashtags related to our content.
That’s a good place to start. #marketing #entrepreneurship are the first hashtags that come to mind, but I could go deeper and look at our overall content strategy.
Follow content related to our account.
Again, a great idea, not just for the hope that someone similar follows us back, but for more inspiration. If someone else talks about copy, it might spark an idea for me to talk about copy.
Ideal video duration: 12-15 seconds.
Yikes. I’m going to have to learn from the Micro Machines guy, script out exactly what I want to say (which doesn’t work for me), or decide to hit record outside the TikTok app so I can edit and edit and edit myself down. I’m not succinct, which you can probably tell just based on the length of this piece. But I’m up for a challenge!
Use your company logo as your avatar.
Okay. I can do that. I think it needs to be updated anyway, from a megaphone to a playbook type-a thing. While I’m at it, I’ll update the avatar on Instagram, too. Putting “get professional pictures taken the next time we’re in the same place” on my 2022 list.
Step 3 in using TikTok to grow our business: Understand that TikTok is simply a channel
After that quick swap, I admit, I was stuck. What on earth do I say that would encourage people to sign up for our newsletter?
Then I realized… TikTok is a channel. And channels are for distribution.
Pulling back a bit, I realized that people won’t start subscribing to our newsletter until we… start posting content about our newsletter!
The most obvious a-ha moment, right?
But it saved me a lot of time in searching for someone else to tell me what was right under my nose the whole time.
There are a lot of “quick tips” type of content that between Emma and I, we can do really well.
Here’s my first one:
OK, yes, I’m not sure how I ended up looking like a ghost, and my voiceover needs some work, but I’m glad I’m pushing myself to create.
In the not-too-far future, I’m going to sit down and do a comprehensive micro content strategy so I’m not stuck hoping for inspiration to strike, since, after the ConvertKit trick, I feel I might run out of ideas pretty quickly.
Step 4 in using TikTok to grow our business: enlist help
“Focusing on TikTok” has been on my to-do list for a long time. But after the holiday break, it was time to double down.
One creator I follow who has made her living on TikTok (what a time we live in, right?), chooseyoursocial, said that the best way to see what was working for your business was to create three videos per day for 30 days.
It was time to call for reinforcements.
I know I’m not the only one who does this… spends an hour scrolling for ideas on what to create, only to find myself sitting in the same spot an hour later with fewer ideas than I had when I started!
I realized that my problem wasn’t with creating videos… My problem was trying to figure out how to make the most out of those videos after they were created.
See, my company is built on the foundation of repurposing content, so I had a really hard time figuring out how, by myself, I could:
- Add covers
- Research and use appropriate hashtags
And whatever else goes into creating a cohesive social media strategy, and still figure out how to use that same video (WITHOUT THE WATERMARK!) to:
- YouTube shorts
- Pinterest idea pins
My basic problem was that I was trying to do it all myself. I didn’t want to spend an hour on a 15-second video that didn’t go anywhere, because I knew with that kind of attitude, I’d have a really hard time doing three a day for 30 days, let alone figuring out a good cadence for the rest of the year.
Enter Jessie, our project manager/operations manager/systems person, who said, “Create three videos, then tell me when they’ve been uploaded, and I’ll take it from there.”
Sweeter words have never been spoken to me.
So, since hardly anything motivates me like the one being the bottleneck, an hour after our meeting, I’d done it.
Now, I’m going on the assumption that I will improve my videos over time, but the point right now is to get me into the habit of creating micro-content.
We had our meeting last week, and the charts say that this was an excellent idea:
My videos are not 12-15 seconds yet. I have a lot of work to do on that front. Get to the point, Celmins!
It’s funny that as of this writing, it’s a lot easier for me to write 1500 words than it is to figure out what to say for these little videos.
Step 5 in using TikTok to grow our business: use my notebooks for content ideas
I keep a blank notebook and a pen on my desk at all times. Sometimes I do morning pages, sometimes I take notes during client calls, sometimes I write down phrases that I find online that inspire me.
I turned to the beginning of my current journal, and found these few lines:
- Content is the foundation of culture
- Lots of people overcomplicate content
- Content is an investment
- Occasionally audit your content
- For every piece of content, ask if it should be:
- There’s power in deleting irrelevant, underperforming content
Now that I’m looking at things with an eye toward micro-content, these come through as ideas for upcoming videos.
How to use TikTok to grow your business
Are you ready to get started using TikTok to grow your own business? Take what I’ve learned and apply it to your account.
- Turn your account into a business account
- Update your avatar and bio to be about your business
- Find keywords and hashtags related to your business
- Follow content creators who are creating content in your niche
- Create content!
I’ll update our progress when it comes to TikTok and how it relates to our overarching content and social media strategy.
But I’m really happy with where we are now.
Will we be able to use TikTok to grow our business?
Only one way to find out!