When it comes to small business marketing, it pays to stick with what works, and it pays to try something new. Yes, you should do both as a small business marketer! If you have marketing tactics that are working well for you, returning a solid ROI, it makes sense to keep doing what you’re doing, but if you have other tactics that have gone stale or no longer provide a good return for money and efforts spent, it’ll benefit you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. For many small business marketers, that’s TikTok. Here is how to read TikTok analytics to see if you are getting the results you want.

What is TikTok?

TikTokTikTok is an app for making and sharing videos. It is the newest trend in social media with more than 1.5 billion downloads on the App Store and Google Play and more than 500 million active monthly users. The platform consists of 15- and 60-second user-recorded videos that allow for in-app editing and integration with the other major social players. The platform is catching the attention of marketers, big and small. Once known as the lip-syncing app, it’s grown to be so much more. While it is true that TikTok is home to some standard lip-syncing, it is better known for its act-out memes backed by music and other sound clips, which get endlessly reproduced and remixed among its young users. When it was first starting out, the demographic was much younger, but now it is becoming more mainstream as you find videos from police officers, nurses, and other professionals trying their hand at the social platform.

Should your small business be on TikTok?

questionWe get asked this occasionally, and the answer is “maybe.” Here is the deal:  as with any social platform, the question to ask is, “is your target audience on that platform?” If the answer is yes, then it might be worth investing time. Is your target audience on TikTok? The largest demographic of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24. However, since its inception in 2018, TikTok has evolved from a video-creation app solely meant for users to express their creativity to a marketing and advertising haven. With that evolution came the (slight) aging of the audience as well.  On TikTok, you can find everyone from influencers and celebrities to politicians as well as average people. If your target audience skews a bit younger, it most certainly makes sense to investigate it.

How businesses can use TikTok

Social Media Examiner wrote a great article on TikTok and how to use it as a business marketer. Here are a few of their takeaway tips:

  • Be authentic – do not be silly or goofy if that is not the nature of your brand. You will not do well.
  • If you can leverage kids or pets, you will have a better chance of success. At least right now, those are the videos that tend to gain traction.
  • Be original and be yourself

Here are a few more tips from Entrepreneur:

  • Be original
  • Create fun content
  • Launch a hashtag challenge
  • Work with TikTok influencers to get traction

You might also want to consider advertising on TikTok. TikTok offers four different types of ads:

  • Infeed Native Content: This type of advertisement is like Snapchat or Instagram story ads and supports multiple features like website clicks or app downloads.
  • Brand Takeovers: This lets brands take over TikTok for the day. They can create images, GIFs, and videos with embedded links to landing pages or hashtag challenges.
  • Hashtag Challenges: Instead of trying to make a hashtag challenge go viral on your own, you can use promoted hashtags to get more engagement.
  • Branded Lenses: Branded lenses are like the Snapchat 2D and 3D lenses for faces and photos.

If you do try TikTok, be sure to create a Pro account for the analytics, which we will cover next.

Now that you are on TikTok, how can you tell if it is working?

The only way to adequately measure whether your marketing efforts on TikTok are working is through a Pro account. TikTok Pro accounts allow creators to measure audience and performance insights. From the TikTok analytics dashboard, Pro account holders can learn about their followers, monitor views and engagement, and more. If you have a regular account and are using TikTok for business, be sure to switch to a Pro account as soon as possible, which you can find under “Manage my account” and then choose “Switch to Pro account.” Answer a few questions about your company and audience, and you are all set.

Now for the analytics. The platform gives you performance metrics, including likes, comments, and shares for the three top posts each week. In addition to the numerical metrics, you also can see captions and TikTok hashtags used by these top videos. This is a great way to see what’s trending and maybe give you some new content ideas.

When you first go to the Analytics tab of your account, you will find followers as the first set of data provided. You can look at seven day and 28-day views. You will want to dig deeper into your followers’ analytics, so click the “Followers” tab to do so. That is where you will find information on gender and location demographics as well as follower activity, videos your followers watched, and songs your followers listened to.

To drill down to video data, you will again find the overview data on the overview tab. For more specific info, go to the Content tab, where you will see recent and trending posts, total likes, comments, shares, play time, traffic source, audience demographics, and more.

In summary, here are the data points you can see in TikTok analytics:

  • Video views
  • Profile views
  • Followers
  • Likes

Most of these categories can be drilled down into a bit further so you can get a solid handle on demographics, similar content viewed/engaged by those engaging with your channel. It is not terribly dissimilar to what you can see on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. If you are familiar with looking at those analytics, you will easily understand what you are looking at in TikTok. Be sure to check out the hashtag portion of the analytics so you can see what’s trending and how you might use that for your own content.

Using the data

Besides a good number of likes, follows, views, and other engagement, the big question to ask is: did you reach the audience you wanted to reach? Does that audience have the potential to either buy from your company or refer/influence others to buy from your company? While a new platform is fun and exciting, and high engagement is always thrilling, take an objective look at the data and demographics and determine if the time and money you spent will give you the ROI you want. Engage with a marketing professional to help you connect the dots from marketing efforts to sales if you’re not sure how.

If you have ventured into a new area of marketing to freshen up your efforts, congratulations! Just be sure to use TikTok analytics to determine your success.

Patty Hughes
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