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How to TikTok: 4 Key Steps as Told by a Brand

With over 800 million active users worldwide, TikTok has become a force to be reckoned with.

It’s offered in 154 countries, has the highest social media engagement rates per post, and 9/10 TikTokers use the app multiple times a day. A major perk is that it’s still in its early stages, so building an audience on the platform is easier than on anywhere else online.

If you’re thinking TikTok is for teens—think again. Users of all ages, celebrities, influencers, publishers, and businesses are joining the TikTok phenomenon.

At Printful, we’ve recently started experimenting with TikTok ads, and have discovered never-before-seen social media engagement rates on the app­– if it’s possible for us, it’s possible for you too! Here’s what we think are 4 main steps on your way to TikTok success.

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Find Your Niche and Become a Part of It

When a user opens TikTok, the first thing they see is the platform’s For You page. This page is an endless scroll of videos personalized to each user’s taste.

The app’s complex algorithm relies on song choices, hashtags, and content types to dictate which videos show up for which users.

But beyond simple views, you want people to watch your entire video, like, save, share, and comment on it to get better visibility. To do that, you need a defined niche. That’ll lead to your account getting discovered by the right people, increased engagement, and a boosted following.

To define your niche during how to TikTok, ask yourself:

  • What are my interests and passions?
  • What problems can I solve?
  • How can I differentiate myself from my competitors?
  • Is this niche active and profitable? 
  • From there, experiment with content types that seem to be working well in your niche.
What’s interesting about TikTok is, it’s not about standing out per se, it’s about blending in.

It doesn’t mean you can’t be original: originality is what TikTok thrives off. However, it means you have to be aware of the platform’s content formats and figure out how to stay within the genre while bending it to the needs of your brand and audience.

Here’s a sample of the most popular content formats to explore:

  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Dance videos
  • How-to content
  • Lifehacks
  • Unboxing videos
  • Educational content
  • Oddly satisfying videos (think ASMR)

Be careful not to take on too many different content types at once—TikTok users love consistency and knowing what to expect from a creator.

For example, when a TikTok user follows a brand they expect to view content related to that brand– content they can predict.

As a business, it is important to maintain a consistent visual style, use the same spokesperson, apply on-trend transitions, and engage with curious customers in the comments section.

It may take time to figure out your niche and what works for your brand, so keep experimenting!

Read Also: Grata Is The First Social Media App To Connect Service-Sector Employees, Customers And Employers

Remember that TikTok is a UGC (user-generated content) powerhouse. The good news is that brands can both create their own UGC-style videos and repurpose the content created by their followers. It’s something Printful is looking into as well.

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Use Hashtags With Purpose 

TikTok Hashtags are one of the best ways for a new creator to get discovered. They work similarly to Instagram hashtags—they help organize content by type and allow users to search for content.

You can add multiple hashtags to a video, but it’s recommended to use 5 hashtags maximum, so be strategic about which ones you use—ultimately, you’ll want to use a combination of trending hashtags, niche hashtags, and awareness hashtags. 

To find out the trending ones, head to TikTok’s Discover tab, which is organized by popular hashtags and songs.


TikTok’s Discover tab

There, you can check out the top videos under each hashtag, which will give you an idea of what content has already been created. It’ll also help you understand how you can differentiate yourself from others who have already used the hashtag.

Be sure to include a few no-fuss hashtags to increase your brand awareness and access new audiences like:

  • #foryoupage
  • #fyp
  • #foryou
  • #viral
  • #trendingsong
  • #viraltiktok
  • #trendingtiktok
  • #like4like

You can even create a hashtag to organize and promote UGC for your brand. The more deliberate you are with your hashtags, the bigger your chances are to get discovered by users who are interested in what your niche.

Participate in Challenges and Other Trends 

The good news with TikTok is, you don’t have to spend much time coming up with your own ideas because you can join trending challenges, songs, and effects.

Take some time to explore the trending challenges, songs, and effects. Once you’re in the know about what’s going on and where you should be, you’re all set to start participating.

As far as song challenges go, note that if you’re a verified business, you won’t be able to access many of the trending songs since you’ll be restricted to a royalty-free library but you can still use original audio.

Using the right effects on TikTok can also increase your chances of being discovered and boost your engagement so check out which effects are trending by creating a video and clicking on the Trending tab under effects. Be sure to hashtag your video with which effect you’ve used as well!

Trending effects on TikTok
Trending effects on TikTok

Experiment with TikTok Ads

Our team found the TikTok Ads Manager is very easy to use and we like how easy it was to set up the tracking pixel and use their built-in tool to mark the conversion events that are important for us (add-to-carts, registrations, page-views etc.).

Their advertising platform is very similar to Facebook Ads Manager, so everyone who’s familiar with it can easily get around TikTok ads straight away.

Compared to our budget using Facebook and Instagram ads, the CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) on TikTok are almost eight times lower. So TikTok ads are a paid tool that’s well worth exploring for boosting brand awareness and generating traffic for your online store.

Speaking of TikTok advertising content, unsurprisingly, USG is king—so see how your ads compare to the rest of the organic content on the platform.

Ad freshness also is a key factor. TikTok recommends doing a lot of testing and changing the campaign ad creatives every other week, because old creatives tend to perform worse over time.

So far TikTok has been a positive experience for our customers and we suggest you look into researching and experimenting with it. These days, it’s the only way you can reach potential customers!

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