For small business owners, TikTok might not seem like a strategic place to concentrate marketing efforts, but the micro-video platform has introduced new initiatives to help small businesses grow. In addition to a recent collaboration with Shopify, which allows businesses to sell products directly on the platform, TikTok has focused on highlighting the ways it can support SMBs. These initiatives include:
Free TikTok ad credits for SMBs
In July, 2020, TikTok announced the launch of the “Back-to-Business” ad credit program. This program was “designed to support the small business community as they begin to rebuild for the future” in response to the global economic downturn the pandemic created. Small businesses around the world could apply to receive part of the $100 million in ad credits that TikTok made available.
This program was launched alongside a few other tools, like business-specific accounts, creative tools for advertising, and a self-service Ads Manager platform. Though the Back-to-Business program is no longer active, these initiatives marked a notable shift toward TikTok becoming a substantial opportunity for businesses to reach new audiences in a meaningful way.
Small Biz Block Party workshops
This summer, TikTok announced it would further support small businesses by offering free, live workshops called Small Biz Block Parties in collaboration with Main Street America. These workshops are designed to teach US-based small business owners and their staff what makes TikTok a useful tool, how to create engaging content on a budget, and how to find the right TikTok community.
This is a unique opportunity for TikTok newcomers to hear first-hand experiences from small business owners who have seen success on the platform, as well as official representatives who can provide instruction and answer questions.
The last session is scheduled for Thursday, November 18, 2021, and prospective attendees can register until the event begins. Before the event, attendees are advised to create a TikTok account and familiarize themselves with the platform. After the event, TikTok says Block Party attendees will receive invitations to future special events, including training series and 1:1 strategic consultations.
User-generated Small Wins campaign
Most recently, TikTok launched its new “Small Wins” campaign, which highlights the growth and successes that small businesses have experienced using the platform. For example, the “Views Lead to Visits” video showcases a restaurant owner named Don, who saw a huge influx in foot traffic to his restaurant because of his TikTok content:
Because TikTok is so focused on video content—unlike Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which have historically approached video as an afterthought—it’s strange that the Small Wins series is hosted on YouTube rather than its own platform. However, the TikTok for Business account is full of tips and insights that will help small businesses maximize their TikTok success:
Should small businesses use TikTok?
On the surface, TikTok might seem like an app for pre-teens or an threat to privacy, but the reality is that the platform has become a game changer in the social media marketing space. Small businesses that aren’t using TikTok are likely missing out on an opportunity to engage with and expand their audiences. So, the question isn’t really whether small businesses should use TikTok, but rather how quickly they can start leveraging TikTok’s impact to grow their business.
Thankfully, TikTok’s Small Business Resource Center is full of guidance and free tools that small business owners and marketers can use to hit the ground running. In addition to video templates, step-by-step guides, and global insight reports, the Resource Center also provides data-backed success stories, trends analysis, and information about upcoming events.
Read next: Video Marketing: A Case for Small Businesses