Let’s be real; raising your brand awareness on TikTok is hard

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A guide to creating content on TikTok – tips by a small business owner

The past couple of weeks I have been researching and compiling some tips and tricks that I have found in order to raise my brand awareness on TikTok. If you read my first article (click here) I talked about how I own a small Australian retail business called Freckled Clothing Co. I am focusing on building my exposure on TikTok in order to have more awareness on my brand which will have a large impact on the future of my business for the long term.

BUT, I want to make this post a little different. Trying to sell your online business is hard. VERY hard, especially if you are low on funds, just starting out or you’re just struggling hard to reach your audience on TikTok. TikTok is a strange place. When I first started out I did pretty well on the platform with my most viewed video sitting on 613,100 views. This was before I owned a business, and my biggest regret was not monetising on that opportunity sooner. After starting a business – I was lucky to get 1000 views per video!

I still recommend using this article as a guide, but I also want to be honest and share my experiences with you on the platform so that you learn from what I didn’t do and try out the things that I wish I did sooner. Let’s get into it!

I first jumped on Instagram to ask other businesses that followed me what type on content works best for them and their business on TikTok. @brisc_wear responded with “using models/trying to connect with viewers on why THEY would benefit from products.” I took this into consideration when creating the right content for my business.

I found 6 ways to raise brand awareness on the app and took them all into consideration when creating my own content which you can find here for reference: @freckled.clothingco

1. Keep your content light, short and fun

One of the biggest tips I found online was to keep your content bright and happy, showing an entertaining side to your brand. I followed the 4-1-1 rule. “This rule says that for every six posts you create on your social media channels, four posts should entertain or educate, one post should be a ‘soft sell’ and one post should be a ‘hard sell’ (ARI, 2020).” I made sure to include 2 posts (out of the 4) which were short, simple and funny to keep content light.

In all honesty, I found this content hard to make. How can I make my SERIOUS business light and fun? I took a lot of inspiration from vine-type videos and incorporated trends to create content that wouldn’t bore my audience. I can admit the majority of my content isn’t like this, and I think that this is where a failed the most. But what I did notice is that the videos I DID make like this had more likes then any other videos I highly recommend creating at least 2 fun videos like this a week, it doesn’t harm anyone and it shows that you have personality!

2. Use music

Music makes content incredibly engaging. Unlike some other platforms such as YouTube, music is available to use on the platform legally because royalties are being paid. Unfortunately, TikTok has recently changed the law so that business pages are not legally allowed to use copyrighted music. My brand is not currently a business page so I still do not have the business option turned on, but as my engagement increases I intend to turn it on to understand performance metrics and look at Instagram insights.

On a standard profile music can strategically be used and should be used to encourage emotional responses and create interesting content. It also is important for trends, which I talk about in the next tip.

3. Follow trends

Curating and creating trending content is vital to raise your brand awareness on the TikTok platform. TikTok has publicly stated that your content has a shelf life of 90 days. You can have videos on the For You page (the main feed on TikTok) that are months old and still get comments, engagement, and followers from them (Social Media Examiner, 2021). This shows your audience that you are fun, relevant and have an entertaining personality for viewers to continue watching. You can also use this for behind the scenes content and showing where/how you create your work. The popularity of trends can get old rather quickly (7 days max) so make sure you are regularly making content that is relevant to when you post it.

An amazing tip to keeping up with trends is to create a second TikTok that you do not engage with to see what the most popular videos are that aren’t connected to your niche. This is so you can see different content that you would not see on your main account as what you post/engage with is what you tend to see on your fyp! Also remember, following trends doesn’t always mean dance videos! With reference to tip 1, you can always copy a fun vine-like video format that is trending and relate it back to your business!

4. Influencers are key!

This is the best way to boost engagement and raise brand awareness, driving customers to your store fast! I know this might be hard for small businesses to give away stock just for engagement but this is definitely an investment you want to think about! I am still in the process of messaging influencers, so I don’t have a lot of content yet relevant to this tip. However, in a poll I created on my Instagram I asked my followers on what platforms do they discover new brands at. This was their results;

Especially if their engagement rate is higher then yours, it helps your brand become established in the community that you want and that it incredibly important when it comes to raising your brand awareness.

5. Be subtle when you sell

Something that I found difficult with was drawing the line between creating an ad to promote my products and not making it obvious at the same time. Avoid making hard-sell ads. You want people to buy from you because it created an emotional response within them to buy. The most successful way I found to soft-sell your products was to introduce yourself and what you do. Don’t make it about the product itself, but about you and what your brand is about.

Let’s take @lulunadesign for example. She was struggling with gaining traction in her videos, gaining around 200-400 views per videos. This was, until she posted an introductory video to herself and her brand with a clear message and the process. This video reached 26,000 views!

6. Find where you fit!

What is your niche? What makes you stand out from the rest? What do you know more then anyone and what will make people want to follow you? This is such an important step when it comes to promoting brand awareness on TikTok. There are billions of people on this platform, so what are you going to do to make sure your content is being shared to the right people.

Let’s refer back to the 4-1-1 rule. Your branding must be consistent, but their should be a circle of content that you create to reach the audiences that you want. TikTok is for entertainment. You need to make sure there is light-hearted content, but also content that is educational and inspiring. This is something that I am still learning to do, and despite the views I get, I do think that I am getting better (or at least smarter) with the content I post. Understand who your competitors are and study what they do, and constantly analyse your feedback!

For my business (fashion retail), a couple of videos that I found to be the most liked on TikTok was try on hauls, styling videos and sharing your closet (or the clothes you sell) with your audience. Pairing this with trending music and following trends is vital to being successful on the platform.

Conclusion; What this means for the future of your brand!

TikTok is still growing. It has over 1 billion users and is available in more than 150 countries. It connects you with people based on the type of content you post, which differs from other user platforms such as Instagram and Youtube. However, we have to stop looking at it as a place that will give you instant success. You might have 1 video that blows up overnight, but how are you monetising this ‘overnight success’ and what content are you posting to maintain it. The only thing that will help your business succeed is YOU.

To influence your own future and the future of your brand is to;

  • Post regularly
  • Sell, but softly
  • Keep your eye out on future trends
  • Follow in the footsteps of your competitors
  • Stay relevant – what is the next best thing – is TikTok the future or just the now?

TikTok can be the reason your business blows up overnight. But my main piece of advice is just to stay ahead, and keep working now so that your future is big and bright! Thank you for reading!

Instagram: @freckled.clothingco

TikTok: @freckled.clothingco

References:

ARI. 2020. The 4-1-1 Rule: A Guide for Social Posting. [ONLINE] Available at: https://arinet.com/resources/blog-posts/4-1-1-rule-guide-social-posting/#:~:text=This%20rule%20says%20that%20for,4%2D1%2D1%20rule.. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Foot Wear News. 2021. The Great Debate: Instagram vs. TikTok & the Future of Social Media Marketing. [ONLINE] Available at: https://footwearnews.com/2021/business/marketing/instagram-vs-tiktok-social-media-marketing-1203126936/. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Forbes. 2020. Using TikTok To Build Your Business. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/marciaturner/2020/03/31/using-tiktok-to-build-your-business/?sh=25dc03358462. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Iconosquare. 2020. 10 TikTok Branding Strategies to Grow Your Business. [ONLINE] Available at: https://blog.iconosquare.com/10-tiktok-branding-strategies-to-grow-your-business/. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

Social Media Examiner. 2021. TikTok Trends: How to Leverage Trending Content for Business. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tiktok-trends-how-to-leverage-trending-content-for-business/. [Accessed 18 May 2021].

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