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Should your Business be on TikTok? Know the Risks and Rewards

by Keylen Villagrana | May 24, 2021 2:18:29 PM

TikTok grabbed the attention of social media users almost immediately upon its introduction in 2016. The app started as a platform for hosting lip-sync and dance videos, but in the five years since its arrival, more businesses are realizing its potential for reaching customers.

TikTok allows business owners to creatively demonstrate their industry knowledge, be transparent in their business practices, and build loyal fans. Dermatologists answer questions about skin concerns, groomers explain behind-the-scenes techniques, and makeup brands perform step-by-step tutorials for using their products.

The app shows that versatile content is a powerful tool. And once it’s created, TikTok’s algorithm makes it easy for that content to go mainstream. Regardless of its size or industry, any business has the potential to go viral.

Waleed Hamideh, co-owner of Mile High Customs, a three-year-old BBB Accredited Business based in Denver, has garnered more than 679,000 followers in less than two years. After averaging 3,000 views when they first opened their account, Hamideh’s car customization business now receives hundreds of thousands of views per video. Some videos have seen audiences reach into the millions.

“It really only takes one video to put you on the map,” says Hamideh. “In the span of a little over a day, we went from 50,0000 to 100,000 followers.”

TikTok appears to be a clear solution for businesses looking to keep their marketing tactics fresh. But what risks should be considered?

The Risks that Come with TikTok

Technology companies often collect personal information and use it to target their content. TikTok is no exception. Data collected through TikTok, as explained in their privacy policy, includes users’ IP addresses, name, type of operating system, cookies, server logs, biometric data, and more.

The data is used to customize content, send promotional materials, measure effectiveness, make suggestions, and much more. What has not been determined is how long TikTok holds onto the information it collects.

Rumors regarding TikTok’s connection to China, and its selling of personal information to the country’s companies and government, have spread fear regarding the use of the app. However, TikTok has made public statements defending itself against these rumors.

So far, it appears that data collected by TikTok has not been misused. It poses risks similar to every other social media platform.

Points to Consider When Creating a TikTok for Business Account

What else should be considered prior to create a TikTok for Business account?

  • Target Audience: According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 41% of users are between the ages of 16 to 24, and 50% of the global audience is under 34 years old. Therefore, it is important to understand your target audience and how they use the app.
  • TikTok vs. TikTok for Business: Depending on your marketing needs and budget, you may prefer to open a TikTok for Business account rather than an individual TikTok account. TikTok for Business allows you to create a campaign, view engagement metrics, set budgets, and measure the effectiveness of your advertisements. Influencer Marketing Hub goes into detail regarding the additional steps to create a TikTok for Business account.
  • True Definition of Content Marketing: The app’s simplicity, and users’ preference for authentic, informal videos, completely changes the way sales pitches are presented. Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok videos that include direct sales pitches get little to no user engagement because the app’s focus is on humor, creativity, and genuineness. For example, rather than a dermatologist pitching her services and then asking viewers to book an appointment, she may instead answer questions on her page in a way that demonstrates her knowledge. It establishes credibility and ultimately influences viewers.

Mile High Customs uses its TikTok account to feature behind-the-scenes content, industry best practices, and DIY videos. “It’s about transparency. I always say, no one’s perfect. Even if that means we have to post a video of us making a mistake during installation, explaining why it’s a mistake and having to restart to show people our high-quality standards,” says Hamideh,

@milehighcustomsco

The best mistakes are those that you learn from!

♬ original sound - Mile High Customs

 

When asked what tips he has for other business owners he said to not be afraid to show your face and record yourself when creating videos. He emphasized that it wasn’t until he started to appear in his videos that it really took off for him.

TikTok is still new and under close observation but could be a strong fit for businesses wanting to target younger audiences in a fun, cutting-edge way. Like any new social media platform, it comes with its own set of speculations and risks – though the risks themselves may not be very new.

Is your business using TikTok to connect with customers? We want to know how you’re using the app to promote your products and services. Share your insight by leaving us a comment.

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