TikTok is having its time. Is it somewhere your small business should be? There are plenty of reasons this social media platform should get the ‘tick’ for your marketing approach but also a few caveats. The data shows TikTok is a place where you can gain attention and sales. But keeping your brand safe means taking a moment before you dive in.
TikTok's own statistics present a compelling reason to consider this channel as a place to show off your products.
- 67% of TikTok users agree that the platform inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so.
- 74% of TikTok users say that TikTok has inspired them to find out more about a product or brand online.
- 66% of TikTok users agree TikTok has helped them decide what to buy.
These numbers are convincing – if they apply to your target market. And so, like in many business decisions, knowing your niche matters.
Who are TikTok users?
TikTok has almost one billion users in an average month – similar to Instagram. In New Zealand, the monthly figure is 1.3 million. And they spend nearly an hour and a half on TikTok each day. More than Netflix! 
Importantly, about a third of TikTok users in Aotearoa are only on TikTok; you won’t reach them on other social media channels.
Think it’s all dancing tweens? Actually, In New Zealand, 44% of TikTok users are 18-24. Another 22% are 25-34. Analysis of the gender split is varied, but there are slightly more women.
Advertise or go organic and socialise?
TikTok has recently launched advertising options in New Zealand. So far, the demand and return seem to be more rewarding and less competitive than spending on Facebook or Instagram. Astonishingly, analysis suggests TikTok's ad reach in New Zealand was equivalent to 31.5 per cent of the local internet user base at the beginning of the year, regardless of age. 
However, like on other social media channels, the 'social' matters. Sharing content that has intrinsic value will likely give you greater credibility and impact. TikTok's algorithms mean users only see what they want to see, and they are quickly served up more and more of the same types of content they engage with. The benefit is that if you find your ‘Tik Tok’ tribe, you’ll get immense visibility.
TikTok is not without its risks and drawbacks. Security concerns are high because so much personal data is involved. This gets particular attention in the USA because the platform is owned by the Chinese tech giant Bytedance – and relations between the two nations have been tense.
On Tik Tok, like all social channels, you’ll find romance scams, phishing and dodgy crypto offerings. Although young users have some protection, there's a risk of disturbing video material, bullying and grooming.
And then, there's the validity of the content. Academic Research has found 52% of videos about some mental health disorders were misleading. Unqualified people have a huge share of voice, leading to potentially dangerous self-diagnosis.
Where can you start?
If you've considered the fit for your brand and weighed the pros and cons, then three things can help you tip-toe into Tik Tok’s world.
1. Get in and explore
Even if you are planning to palm off your TikTok tasks to an enthusiastic twenty-something, understanding the platform will help you support them and get the best for your business. Set up a personal account and have a look around. You’ll see themes and trends that might work for your business. Could that template with a dog video or a retro soundtrack be just the right fit for your new product?
2. Get a strategy
For a channel such as Tik Tok, a code of conduct may help keep your brand safe. Check out Business Mentor’s blog on Ethical Marketing for inspiration. You should carefully consider which age group you'll include and how you'll maintain brand integrity in your approach. Consider who is the best face and any 'no-go' tone and topics. For example, an equipment hire brand may exclude anything to do with 'funny' disasters. Instead, they want to show they take health and safety seriously.
3. Get help from a Mentor
A Business Mentor can help you figure out where your time is best spent so you and your business can both prosper. Although a TikTok strategy may have the allure of a shiny new thing, your own resilience, energy and well-being must come first. A Business Mentor can help you stand back from your business, consider what matters most and do it in a sustainable, focused way. Business Mentors New Zealand even has Mentors with specific expertise in digital marketing. Find out more here.