Have you heard about the TikTok on the internetz? Kidding but really, I feel both very ancient and very cool using this site. Here’s how I see businesses using it to sell, educate, and entertain their potential customers and how to decide if it’s right for you.

Ask Nicole: An Elder Millenial’s First Month on TikTok

Are you on the TikTok? I joined about a month ago and if you’ve been curious about what it is and some potential business uses of it, this is your video!
I am not trying to gloss over the security and other concerns about TikTok but you can read about them online (articles like this one: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/09/tech/tiktok-security-threat/index.html) and make your own decision about using the platform.
First of all, like any other social media platform, you can make an account and follow people (and have them follow you). Note: Like Twitter, you can only private message people if you both follow each other.
In terms of the kind of content you can share on TikTok, it’s all video. The two templates you get are 15 seconds or 60 seconds. Obviously you can make things shorter if you want but the max length of any video is 60 seconds.
Many people use an editing program on their phone (https://inshot.com/) but also you can do some editing within TikTok too.
Now besides watching a series of short videos to me is a lot like attending an online pecha kucha event. (Short form talks of which there are a series.) There are things I will watch a 60 second video about that I would never seek out and the randomness of some of the videos shown to me makes things interesting. When I log in, there is a ‘for you’ tab (with a mix of people I follow and random suggestions) and there is a ‘following’ tab of just people I follow.
So what makes TikTok unique (versus, say, Instagram Reels?)
– Duet feature: lets you react to a video in a split screen.
– Stitch feature: lets you take a snippet of a video and add on to it. (With both Duets and Stitches, the account whose video you use is notified you did this).
– Sounds: You can use trending music or sounds in your videos, and easily see other videos using the same sound. Note you don’t have to sing, dance, or be a musician to use these features.
In terms of cool business use cases I’ve seen, here are some:
– Going viral for being funny/interesting and having your business do well (ex: the Montreal icicle lady who is a musician. After her video went viral she how gets played on Spotify much more.) https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/all-i-want-to-watch-is-this-tiktok-about-montreals-dangerous-icicles
– Small business tours and process videos. (Lots of small boutiques and artists have this but this account by an online thrift store owner is a lovely representation of this: https://www.ticktik.com/@hannah_deals27)
– Small business education (I have a few how to do internet-y things on TikTok, this one being the most popular about Google Reviews: https://www.tiktok.com/@nicoleaouellette/video/6899109826777894149?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v2)
– Small business story videos (Ex this guy who quit a job making nuclear weapons to start a 3D printing business: https://www.tiktok.com/@socal3d/video/6929693966644366598?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v2)
The short format does make you be more clever and it’s really neat to see what people are up to… and I’ve learned randomly useful stuff on the platform for sure.
In short, if you want to engage with a community of people in a conversation about your small business and build relationships with customers, TikTok is a good spot.
If you want to follow me there (note this is a personal account, meaning it’s all about Nicole there versus this marketing company): https://www.tiktok.com/@nicoleaouellette?lang=en
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