After working for a security organization, I normally would consider using the platform to be a real threat with the knowledge that a Chinese-owned company may have access to so much of our personal data, but the public has been assured the data is protected in the U.S. I’ll leave the privacy issues to you to research and make decisions on, but I want to talk briefly about the business opportunities.

If we can survive the threat of Trump banning the amazing social channel TikTok, that has surpassed Facebook, Instagram ,and Snapchat for downloads of its app, then businesses have another great opportunity to get in front of millions of people, many of who are in the younger generations. TikTok also needs to keep an eye on innovation and relevance in the wake of the brand-new launch of Instagram’s new Reels, basically a copycat of the TikTok platform. Instagram went all out trying to lure TikTok influencers in, and because it has a strong base—which is somewhat different from TikTok’s—it has a chance to undermine the new giant.

One reason it’s become so popular—even among older Millennials and Gen Xers—is that it is perceived as more authentic and real than Instagram and Facebook. Not so picture perfect when you’re dancing around and being video bombed by Dad, which makes it addictive to watch. And it’s a nice platform for younger people who are feeling the pressures of social media and being perfect.

Most professionals know that content is king—having that relevant, funny, practical post is a must. But these social sites have algorithms that are more complicated—you’ve got to know how to migrate them and stay up to date or you’ll be lost in cyber space with an audience of family and friends.

So how to do it?

Hashtags

Hashtags are the way to be seen, found, and searched for—they’re the key to find trending topics and going viral. You can start hashtag challenges on your own and then seed them through creators and influencers.

One more expensive way to trend is have TikTok promote the hashtag. To get your own to go viral, the key is speed and size. You need a lot of people creating videos using that hashtag within the first 30-60 minutes. This tells the TikTok algorithm that the hashtag is popular, so therefore they show videos using it to more people on the platform.

Content

With all social media channels, it’s important to have the right tone and type of content for that audience. For TikTok, successful content can be categorized into comedy and inspirational.

TikTok challenge

The platform started as a musical platform and many of the posts still use music, which helps to make it more interesting and fun to watch.

Ready to start?

You need to create a profile—called an artist’s profile. This is where you can upload videos and where fans can have direct access to your profile page and content.

Content can be curated and used in a number of ways.

  • Repurposed—do you have a library of videos or some raw material you can grab quick bites from? Try pulling 20-40 seconds of your best and get started with that.
  • Approach an influencer to create content for you. They have mastered the platform and can expand your reach and direct people to your profile.
  • Whether you are using repurposed content or can create a new video with trending hashtags, start populating your profile with ones that make sense to your business. If you are in the security field, you may want to try using something like #firstresponders. If you’re selling products for cat lovers use #catsoftiktok.
  • You can start from scratch and purchase sponsored ads that include shop now buttons that run in the feeds. Remember, it’s important to make the videos creative and fun.

Visit the business learning center on TikTok to get details on formats, testing, reporting, and best practices. They have sessions that take you through the process and help you succeed.

Tip—go ahead and post your short videos on Reels as well if you already have an Instagram account. Those are limited to 15 seconds while TikTok’s can be longer—test them both if you have limited resources and repurpose your videos for multiple channels and sites (like those YouTube and Facebook videos you already have). Keep in mind that Reels is still new, and TikTok’s algorithm helps users see what would be interesting for them. It also keeps a level playing field allowing new users the same opportunities of being seen as big influencers—so don’t hesitate to try the platform and gain a new audience for your brand!

Go explore and then let me know what hashtags you like and what you think TikTok can do for your business.

Here are some fun hashtags you may be interested in (well I like them, so….).

#newteacher—prank for you home schooling parents who need/want to mess with your kids.

#tiktoktips—anyone from Rachel Ray or mask-making friends at home can post and help others.

#dogsoftiktok—They’re dogs. And they are cute. What can I say?

#therealindiandad—stumbled on this and can’t stop laughing with this family.