TikTok Ideas for Businesses
TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform with over a billion users globally. Companies are rapidly discovering that they can use this popularity to increase their brand visibility and reach out to their communities in unprecedented ways.
Let's talk about:
Discover the future of data and analytics in social media
- What TikTok is and where it comes from
- Who is already using TikTok with great success
- What sets TikTok apart from other social media networks
- And how to get started
We'll also give examples of successful content and what type of content you could use on TikTok.
Before TikTok, there was ByteDance. ByteDance created the world's most popular social media platform for short videos. TikTok is especially popular among Gen Z and Millennials where users can find, watch, share, and talk about short-form videos. Users can use the app's vast library of music, sound, and visual effects to make and edit their own videos. TikTok can be used on both mobile devices and desktop computers.
A quick overview of TikTok's history
TikTok was established in 2016 and would go on to explode over the coming few years. In 2018, ByteDance acquired musical.ly, an app with around 60 million monthly users at the time. ByteDance merged musical.ly's user base and technology with TikTok, raising TikTok's monthly active users to 100 million. Since then, TikTok has grown to 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and by 2023, it became the most installed smartphone app worldwide.
Who is using TikTok?
Businesses should be present where their target audiences are.
It is a fact that Generation Z is addicted to TikTok. However, many of those first teens to adopt the app are now in their 20s, and the fastest-growing demographic consists of individuals over 30. These powerful, enormous generations are currently influencing consumer behavior in a way never before seen.
Accordingly, TikTok's content has shifted to cater to a younger and diverse audience. As a result, the platform has been exploring new niche topics creatively to keep up with its growing user base. One such example is STEM videos (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), which garnered over 110 billion views last year.
Here are a few examples - some are more serious than others (less dancing and more informative), but overall, you can see that there is a growing trend towards new formats.
Businesses killing it on TikTok:
Pharmacy: DM Deutschland
Baked Goods: Dunkin Donuts
Delivery services: Wolt Deutschland
Non Profits: WWF Deutschland
What makes TikTok different from other platforms?
TikTok's popularity is due to its ability to attract a broad audience and accommodate different content formats.
TikTok has become one of the most user-friendly social media platforms and is largely responsible for the change to vertical video as the primary form of social media video consumption. Furthermore, it requires no customization, making it accessible to anyone with a phone. Many automated tools can transform a basic video into a stunning work of art that is readily available to users without any prior video editing experience.
It's a good idea for companies to try out TikTok, even if just to test the waters. Short videos are everywhere these days, not only on TikTok, but this social media platform allows marketing teams to get a quick sense of the format. This presents an excellent chance to learn more about it, improve skills, and evolve processes.
Another great community
Of course, TikTok will come with ultra-advanced users who bring an entire production team, and of course, the videos are great and well-received. Fortunately, not everyone must be the next Stanley Kubrick to succeed on the platform.
Production value, public discourse, and exposure are negotiable if you're funny and bold. Perfection is not needed; imperfection is celebrated by the community. So, you can venture onto the platform with a less polished but authentic self. For companies, this means thinking again carefully about which person(s) best represents the company with all its (lovable) imperfections.
With the ability to link videos, important relationships can be made quickly. Talent and humility are also appreciated here. Admiring reaction videos or self-deprecating copycat videos are particularly popular.
The lively, creative community motivates and helps each other to become familiar with the various functions and editing hacks. This way, great results can be achieved even with a cell phone.
Features of TikTok
TikTok has a range of video lengths available, from short 3-second clips (similar to Vine from the past) to longer 10-minute videos. Recent trends suggest that even shorter videos may become increasingly popular. Many types of videos, like in movies, range from different genres to various production levels. A basic video can be just one picture accompanied by music or a soundbite from your music library.
TikTok's tools inspire teamwork and prize creators for cultivating communities based on shared interests. For instance, users can blend their own content with audio or video from other users, also called 'stitching'. The tech allows users to participate in existing content by adding words, comments, music, dance, and more.
New users can gain attention and gain many followers if they keep posting consistent content that encourages binge-watching. User profiles show the number of followers as well as the total number of likes accumulated over time, which motivates experimentation instead of focusing on followers.
Creator Accounts vs. Business (pro) Accounts - What is the difference?
TikTok's Pro Account for businesses provides various tools and features to connect and interact with your audience on the platform. You can quickly change an existing personal TikTok account to a business account in the settings. This is free, and it can be changed back whenever you want.
Additionally, the Business Accounts music library has a choice of songs that can be used for commercial purposes.
Content creation tools: Pro accounts can access extra content creation tools, like adding a call-to-action button to their videos and scheduling content. These can help businesses make interesting and successful content on the platform.
Analytics and Insights: One important distinction is that a TikTok Business Account gives access to Analytics and Insights. This helps businesses follow their content's performance, track their followers' growth, and understand their audience's demographics. Such data benefits businesses looking to improve their TikTok approach and customize their content for their audience.
Moreover, businesses with a TikTok Business account can develop and execute ads on the platform, which is a crucial feature. This includes ads during the videos, brand-specific challenges using hashtags, and brand takeovers. This gives businesses a strong advertising method to connect with and interest their intended audience on TikTok.
Contact Options: TikTok business accounts also offer extra ways to get in touch. For instance, you can include a link to a website or a contact button for email or phone inquiries on your profile. This simplifies contacting the company and discovering their offerings for interested customers.
What content should companies share on TikTok?
On social media, people follow, not companies. Statistically, videos with faces (wide to close-up) and a human voice in the first 3 seconds are the most likely to go viral. These faces and voices should be directed at the audience, not at another person. This is also referred to as a 'talking head'.
It should not seem rehearsed when someone speaks on camera; it should be more like a casual conversation. Looseness in front of the camera needs to be practiced. Newbies can combine 'talking head' and pictures/videos with accompanying commentary. Fast cuts are also in vogue, where you cut off the video after one or two sentences, giving the person a chance to say the next sentence confidently and thus avoid long pauses.
Here, you will find a talking head example of how grandma prepares for her shopping at Aldi South.
There are alternative options for everyone else who feels uncomfortable filming their face or lending their voice. For example, other colleagues, friends, agencies, or even the technical possibility of using an avatar.
TikTok ideas - different approaches for different people
Some industries fit very well into the TikTok ecosystem. It would be relatively easy for a dance school to produce videos that appeal to a large TikTok audience continuously. But of course, there are topics that can be applied to a wide range of industries. Here, we've segmented some industries and listed ideas you can adopt.
Creatives and artists
If you're a musician, artist, photographer, director, designer, or creative production company, TikTok is the place to show off what you've got.
Typical content includes:
- Finished works or performances
- Processes or step-by-step instructions
- Invitations for collaboration, esp. for musicians with duet feature.
- And how to get started
- Creator, photographer, videographer
Advisors, consultants, and teachers
If you offer a service based on consulting and education, you can easily share knowledge and position yourself as an opinion leader. Not an entertainer? Don't worry - if you can explain something that takes others six times longer to explain, you already have potentially profitable content. You don't need to have particularly high production value or be incredibly charismatic. (There are many language accounts by non-educators that are more about the gag than the learning content.... maybe you can get some ideas for casual teaching there).
Popular formats for higher education and more complex academic topics may include the "explain it to me like a 5-year-old" format, which can be entertaining and informative. In general, teachers have the advantage that their content encourages imitation, for which TikTok's stitching feature is ideal. Participation is especially appealing because it allows students to show off their skills and abilities and be celebrated by their peers.
Typical content includes:
- Fun facts
- How-to's or instructions
- Did you know?
- Tips & tricks
- Encouragement to imitate (especially for teachers!)
Physical products are best shown in action. This can sometimes be done subtly as part of an overall production, e.g., "Show and tell: Check out my new renovation/kitchen and all the products in it." Products can also be mentioned more aggressively when the product itself is the star, e.g., EnChroma, eyeglasses for people with color vision deficiencies.
The videos are simple but often go viral: the glasses are given to someone, and the person tries them out. The video is a feedback video and an evaluation video in one, so to speak. From the reaction, one can conclude that the product works very well and brings added value. Finally, seeing the world in its true colors.
Here's an example from @AldiSuedde. This channel regularly features videos of a grandson and grandma interacting. In this case, the products are shown in action and contextually integrated into the narrative. The success of these videos lies in their authentic delivery. The relationship feels genuine rather than rehearsed. The overall concept of this duo implicitly shows how people of different generations can be brought together through time spent together. What makes TikTok special is its authenticity. By authenticity, we mean the inclusion of human, lovable imperfections. The emphasis here is on "lovable".
TikTok ideas for work-related content
These ideas for work-related content are not mandatory but have proven effective in other organizations. Below are some examples that are suitable for beginners.
- Company history
- Office management
- Products and services
- Event announcements
- Paid projects
- Fun projects
- How To's / Instructions/ Show and tell
- Employee introductions and biographies. Day-to-day life.
- Employee benefits
Example office management
As mentioned earlier, people follow other people on social networks. An office tour can be done through the eyes of Karl, the designer, or Sarah, the accountant. The reason Karl walks through the office might be different from the reason Sarah walks through the office. This could even be spun into a story that could span many more videos, forming a series of sorts.
In the case of Dunkin' Donuts, an unknown employee (possibly the social media manager) rode through the office on a bicycle while the text fades in, "I didn't want to work today, so I rode my bike through the Dunkin' office and did a TikTok." The caption reads, "Please buy our coffee so this counts as work for me."
Example event notice
The University of Basel invites you to an information evening. The video shows a student on a tour of the campus. She gives three reasons why she recommends the university.
Example of everyday activities
Dortmund University Hospital understands fun. TikTok content is mostly about colleagues and what they do at the hospital. Here's an example of a simple transition from civilian clothes to uniform.
As you can see, it doesn't have to be fancy, professional choreography.
There are many video ideas on the account that can be applied to other branches.
TikTok offers a promising opportunity for businesses to increase their reach, appeal to a broader audience, and build a community over the long term. The app and its capabilities are evolving rapidly, and it's safe to assume that the potential audience will continue to grow. Of course, not all lids fit all pots. Some companies need a mix of content and formats, while others can succeed with just one. To find out, companies need to try different formats and find their authentic voice to develop a customized strategy.
If you need more ideas & inspiration, check out our webinar "Learning from the Best: How Top Brands Dominate TikTok". Want to learn more about short-form video in general? Then get our guide to short-form social media right here.