Small Business Check: 5 tips for winning customers with TikTok


Small Business Check: 5 tips for winning customers with TikTok

March 5, 2021

TikTok For Business, Editorial Team

Small BusinessBest Practices

With high levels of engagement and a playful creative format, TikTok is a great place for small businesses to grow their brands and reach customers. You can use it to raise awareness of your brand, increase traffic to your sites, and most of all: drive sales and maximize ROI. Target your audience at a granular level and track your campaign’s performance with real-time metrics.

But first, you’ll need creative that gets results. TikTok is all about creativity, authenticity, and having fun. The TikTok community inspires people to express themselves and to celebrate the things that they love. To connect with the TikTok community, you’ll want to unleash your brand’s creative side too. Be bold. Bring joy. Start a conversation and maybe even spark a new trend.

5 tips for winning customers with TikTok Ads Manager

Ready to reach a whole new audience? Read on to discover how independent businesses are boosting their online sales with TikTok campaigns.  

1. Tell a true story

Storytelling isn’t just at the heart of great marketing campaigns, it’s at the heart of what it means to be human. Stories are how we make sense of the world. By bringing your audience into your brand’s story as participants, you’ll tap into the powerful emotions that motivate behavior—and drive up sales.

Be genuine. The best ads don’t feel like ads. TikTok’s community rewards authenticity, so ditch the sales-pitch style and give your video an organic, spontaneous feeling instead. One way to do this is by utilizing actual user-generated content (UGC) in your ads, likeRoyal Essencedid. The Australian company used videos made by customers holding their candles and bath products up to their cameras and talking about what they loved about them - a popular format for TikTok users to share products that they love. In addition to being cost-effective, the campaign generated 50,000 unique clicks with a 2.22% clickthrough rate.

Partner with TikTok creators. They can bring your products to life through engaging stories and striking videos, and their reach stretches far beyond your existing follower base.Moss Ball Petsused this strategy, opting for a paid influencer campaign to promote its quirky algae spheres (and raking in 4.6 million views). In the TikTok Creator Marketplace, you can find TikTok creators with a genuine connection to your product, who can incorporate it into their lifestyles in a natural way. This realness is what users want to see; it makes your brand’s message more meaningful. And with anengagement rate 5x higherthan other platforms, creators can also help your product go viral.


Sweeten the deal. If you want to inspire more organic UGC, give your fans an incentive for posting about or engaging with your brand. Offer rewards like a discount on their next order or points in a loyalty program. Share their posts, comment on their videos, and treat them like they’re your #1 fans (because they are).

TikTok customers
TikTok customers
TikTok customers

2. Think purpose over product

Modern audiences don’t just want the product; they want to identify with the vision behind it. You can make that connection by focusing on your brand’s purpose first. Consider the case of Lion Wild, a company that makes jewelry "for the lion hearted and wild spirited.” Their TikTok ads evoked a carefree yet elegant vibe that resonated with users, and the campaign achieved a massive 19.36% conversion rate.


For lifestyle brand Nolan Bros, their purpose is to empower those who aren’t afraid to live outside society’s standards—and they also sell cool sunglasses in "Dreams Don't Die" custom packaging. Any pair of sunglasses can shade your eyes from the sun, but how many can remind you to live up to your true potential? In a crowded marketplace, prioritizing your purpose in your messaging can set you apart from the rest.

3. Surprise your customers

Today’s consumers are all about surprise and delight, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Work a surprise into your ad, or better yet—your product—to give your audience that “aha” moment they crave. Royal Essence can vouch for this: they hide pieces of sterling silver jewelry in their candles and bath bombs for customers to discover, some of which are worth thousands of dollars. Another brand nailing this approach is My Jolie Candle, which conceals bespoke Parisian jewelry made with Swarovski crystals (and sometimes even gold or diamonds).

Even if you can’t hide gemstones in your product, you can still create a feeling of surprise by providing unexpected rewards like gift cards or free upgrades.

4. Offer discount codes

Everybody loves getting a deal, and everybody loves feeling like a VIP. Discount codes do both, and that’s why they’re so effective. Customers save money while savoring a sense of exclusivity. Codes are also ideal for tracking and attribution, so you can easily measure the impact of your ad campaign on your bottom line.

Fashion retailer Princess Polly used this strategy to drive traffic to their e-commerce site. Discount codes allowed them to determine exactly which new sales could be attributed to their TikTok ads. In addition to nine million impressions, the campaign generated a massive 15X return on ad spend.

5. Provide free delivery

Free delivery is a huge purchase motivator (and paying shipping and handling is a total bummer). Consumers increasingly expect free shipping, even on small orders—and of course, they want it as quickly as possible. Free shipping gives them what they want, and it gives you a new customer. All of this is particularly true on TikTok, where 56% of users say that free delivery would motivate them to make a purchase online.1

Get creative and connect with customers

Whether your business makes handcrafted pet shoes or puzzle apps, TikTok can help you create authentic connections with a global community. We’re here to help you make the most of your marketing campaigns with the support you need, from insightful strategy tips to powerful tools like the TikTok Creator Marketplace. Ultimately, we hope that you’ll be inspired to get creative and bring a little joy into the world—because at TikTok, that’s what we’re all about.

1. Source: GWI, Q4 2020, Base: Social Media Users (defined by visitors to TikTok, Twitter, FB, Instagram, Snapchat) aged 16-64 (excl. China), Question: "When shopping online, which of these features would most increase your likelihood of buying a product?”

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