Two businesses that are experienced in the business side of TikTok are OnlyCurls and DIY With Emma. They joined us and TikTok business expert Katey McElroy at Ideas Fest to discuss their business’ journey with TikTok, how to get started, and their top tips and tricks for success on the app.

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TikTok has taken the world by storm over the last few years, with a huge acceleration in downloads through the first covid lockdown - and what started out as a place for dancing teenagers, is now one of the best marketing tools for businesses. 

TikTok is available in over 150 countries, has over 1 billion users, and has been downloaded over 200 million times in the United States alone. If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the ages of 13 and 60, TikTok is where you need to be right now.

TikTok is the most engaging of all social media apps, with an average user session of 10.85 minutes! - so it’s no wonder many businesses are taking advantage of this to generate excitement and growth through ads, and TikTok trends. 

Two businesses that are experienced in the business side of TikTok are OnlyCurls and DIY With Emma. They joined us and TikTok business expert Katey Mcelroy at Ideas Fest to discuss their business journey with TikTok, how to get started, and their top tips and tricks for success on the app. 

Discussing how she took the plunge to start a TikTok account for her business, Lizzie Carter, Founder of OnlyCurls said:  “I was really sceptical to get started on TikTok at first, which is weird because OnlyCurls actually started on social media, with the use influencers on Instagram. As a busy entrepreneur, I brushed off TikTok for ages because I thought I didn’t have the time to get to know an entirely new platform and learn how to reach my audience on it-  it was only when I took that time to look into TikTok, that I truly realised the potential that it had and would have for my business.”

“We now use it mostly to show product tutorials and behind-the-scenes content, which people love to see! Being real and showing your personality is key. It’s essentially used as a customer service platform for us and it makes interaction with our customers really personal - which is what your customers and potential customers want.” 

Lizzie explained how they will generate content from the questions customers ask them - this way they know it’s what their customers want to see, it makes responding to queries more fun, and it means they’re able to make quick content without having to think of loads of new innovate ideas each time. The OnlyCurls TikTok account now has 94k followers and has received over 1 million likes on their videos. 

Emma Downer, founder of DIY With Emma, whose account has almost 325k followers, and over 5 million likes, explained that she too had the same reservations about starting TikTok. “I was originally using Instagram to share my content and wasn’t getting much attention from the content that I was putting so much effort into. Then when I found TikTok I already had at least 2 years’ worth of videos that I could use, so I decided to share them on TikTok - and instantly they were really well received - I had finally found the right platform for my content.” 

Both Emma and Lizzie have seen huge success on TikTok, and it has helped take their businesses to new levels, helping them reach a wider audience than ever before, and being able to show a more personal side of their business - which is what people want to see from their favourite businesses. 

So, as well as showing personality, what’s the key to success to growing your business TikTok? 

Lizzie explained that TikTok is really trend-driven, “See what others are doing and take note of the trending videos and songs - using trending songs can really help push your content to the top of the algorithm. The key is creating things that are native to the current feed. Our secret is to have videos that look like they’ve been filmed low budget in your room at home - this is what people want to see, TikTok isn’t the place for the fancy videos and photoshoots - people want to see real things.” 

Emma agreed that keeping it real is what really makes a successful video, “It’s never the videos that you take 6 hours to make that go viral. My first viral video was a quick easy at home DIY that I quickly posted late at night, and it went viral! So my advice would be, don’t overthink the content too much, you can’t anticipate what people will be interested in.”

Entrepreneurs are extremely busy, and you may be reading this thinking ‘I don’t have the time to even sit and look through TikTok’, or you prefer taking a backseat when it comes to publicity, so you don’t want your face on your social media.  TikTok is a creative space that allows you to do just that. Emma explains how she gets huge creative inspiration from DuoLingo on TikTok. DuoLingo is the online language learning tool, that has gone viral on TikTok for doing exactly that - they use a mascot to film all of their content, so the team are really ever seen. As well as allowing the founders to stay away from TikTok, it increased the likeability and interest in the business. 

“You don’t always have to be the face of your business, DuoLingo is a perfect example of how you can use TikTok creatively and effectively without having to be in videos all of the time,” said Emma. 

Going on to discuss what they’re personally focusing on when it comes to TikTok, host and TikTok expert Katey McElroy asked Lizzie and Emma how they are growing their business through TikTok - besides the videos they put out. 

Emma said, “Having my page be audience and community focused is really helpful. Understanding why people want to see what they want to see is a great way of knowing what content to put out. I’ve also learnt how crucial the first three seconds are when it comes to content. So I’m really focusing on creating eye-catching, thumb-stopping content.” 

Lizzie, being from a different industry than Emma agreed that even though they will have different audiences, the content needs to have the same effect, and interest people straight away. “We’ve learnt that, as we have a product for something specific our showstoppers are the before and after shots - they show how good our product is in an authentic way, so that’s what we’re focusing on at the moment. 

“I also love using TikTok because you can have way more fun than you can on other platforms. On TikTok you’re allowed to make little mistakes, like a spelling mistake for example - TikTok is all about interaction, and little things like this will get people commenting and sharing your videos,” she added. 

TikTok Business offers so many resources that can help businesses grow, including their Spark Ads, which allows you to make TikToks by other creators your ads.

“Compared to other platforms you will get so much support when it comes to ads than any other social platforms I have used before,” 

“We use Spark Ads to give our posts a little boost. You can do this with people who are posting about your products as well, which is great because it’s far more authentic. For example, you can boost their post where they are talking about your product, then when people click on it it will take them directly to your page,” said Emma. 

You heard it from the experts, TikTok can be simple, it can be fun, and it’s a great way of expanding your business in a more personal way. TikTok has over one billion active users, and your content has no limitations on who you can reach once you’re posting - so get on TikTok today, make your first video, and see where it could take your business. 

Find out more about how TikTok can help you skyrocket your business here.

Want to hear more valuable talks from experts? Ideas Fest is the place to be - book your tickets for next year here.