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How To Leverage TikTok For Business

According to Jessica’s college-aged sister, we are two years behind on TikTok. However, unless you’re a Gen Z app user, we’re sure that you, too, only just decided to give this app a go. Not sure why quarantine is bringing the TikTok out in people, but the app is having a serious moment – and not just for social use, but for business too.

Before you start to freak out about adding yet another platform to your strategy (a few weeks ago we talked about prioritizing LinkedIn), remember, if you have a solid brand in place, you can easily flow between platforms as you see relative to your campaigns. Today, we are breaking down everything you need to know about how to leverage the app into your business strategy. Starting with the basics.

(PS – In researching this piece, we discovered that the Washington Post has hired its own TikTok expert. Which shows how important the app is becoming. It was extremely validating.)

TikTok – destination of short-form mobile videos; similar to what Vine was, a bite-size version of YouTube (as told by TikTok itself)

The app reports currently having 30 million active users in the US, 60% which are Gen Z — and that will only continue to grow. 80% of users are between the ages of 16-34 i.e. Gen Z plus Millenials, and 60% of all users are female. If any of those demographics fit your business, then you’ll have a good chance of finding an audience on the app.

TikTok gives cleverness, authenticity, and creativity a space to play. The key is adding your own spin — don’t overthink it (easy when you have a clear vision for your brand and your goals).

Hashtag Challenges

As of now, the best way to leverage TikTok is through their branded, hashtag challenges. You can create one for your business, following the likes of Pepsi. We’ve seen a ton of dance and workout challenges, which leads us to quickly address the Fit Pros we work with: this is an easy add-on to your current marketing plan. Let’s talk. And back to the general public: 16% of all videos posted are of these challenges. They’re fun, they bring people together and right now, who doesn’t value additional ways to connect?


If you’re selling product, you can buy TikTok’s shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus option. Users are taken to your challenge page that has a unique discover tag which hosts direct shopping. Shoppable ads are in the pipeline for 2020, so stay tuned on how beta testing turns out.


Like any other platform, businesses can purchase (extremely expensive) ad space — 20-200k for a Takeover ad, 100k for a 6-Day sponsored branded hashtag challenge — and not conducive to small business budgets or to the TikTok culture (users can easily skip over ads). That isn’t to say they don’t work – we’re just recommending a different approach: organic content creation builds a more lasting presence and costs significantly less. But if you do have an interest in ads, you’ve got a few options: in feed ads, brand takeover ads and top-view ads.

  1. In feed ads: These 5-15 second-long ads are essentially promoted TikTok videos. They appear in the “For You” feed and can drive clicks to an internal or external page.
  2. Brand takeover ads: A brand takeover ad pops up when someone opens TikTok. TikTok only allows one advertiser for this format per day, and guarantees five million daily impressions.
  3. Top-view ads: TikTok’s top-view ads combine takeover and in-feed video ads. They start with a takeover, and transition to an in-feed video, lasting a total of 15 seconds.


The best ways brands can grow on TikTok is through traditional social media tactics, such as influencer partnerships, community engagement and leaning on good, old fashioned brand jingles. Both OREO and Home Depot created viral campaigns based on their jingles, utilizing TikTok’s ‘sounds’ feature.

And taking it back to digital grassroots marketing, sometimes all you need to do is just be there. Small Connecticut-based business, Dudley Stevens has joined and shares her TikTok’s to Instagram to widen her net, and that’s a great strategy if you’re curious to learn the app and find out if there are creative corners hiding there for you.

A great example of small business on TikTok is @itsbbart. Bianca stays true to her brand as a mixed media commercial artist, by showing time-lapse videos of her artistic process, work in the wild and more. Another is @themillenialbroker, who literally rented a NYC co-op through posting a TikTok video. Real estate is still growing on social media, and Steve’s marketing ahead of the curve here, by taking current viral trends and repositioning them to match his brand’s values.

So if you haven’t checked TikTok out yet, we encourage you to sign up – it’s free! And of course, feel free to follow us @relevebranding, and also @xtaylorxmariex for some non-work-related enjoyment. And in the meantime, if we just freaked you out, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re working around the clock to learn this app for your use, and we’re happy to strategize with you!

xo, Jessica and Taylor


  1. […] TikTok is video-based, and we’ve already discussed how video content is topping all marketing plans for 2021. They will be rolling out and refining an e-commerce channel to their platform. And just like with Pinterest, if you prioritize product sales, you want to be ready to jump on this as soon as it’s possible. […]