How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners

TikTok is the world’s most downloaded social media app, and it’s no wonder brands are finding ways to put their products in front of the platform’s growing and engaged audience. You can do this too! Read on to find out what the app is, why it’s so popular, and of course, how to make money on TikTok.

What is TikTok?

So, what’s the deal with TikTok, and how is it different from other social media platforms?

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking platform used to create, edit and share up to 60-second videos. Users can apply filters and effects, add music, and edit their videos in the app.

TikTok also creates reaction videos, organizes viral dance challenges, or shares their lives via vlogs.

Another popular format in TikTok is theatrical memes supported by sound clips and music. This type of content is reproduced endlessly, as each user changes and customizes the “template” in their way, creating their version of the same trending video.

TikTok can also make videos with their friends or random users with the duos feature. Using this feature, users can place one video next to another to view two clips simultaneously. Duets are often used to create reaction videos or to encourage challenges.

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners

TikTok spawned many viral trends and made many songs famous, as happened with “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. Thanks to the platform, the song went viral and became one of the greatest songs of 2019, making # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

TikTok audience and statistics

In 2019, TikTok was the third most downloaded non-gaming app globally, with over 1.5 billion downloads. According to SensorTower, TikTok was the world’s most downloaded social media app for January 2020. The platform has around 800 million monthly active users, making it one of the top ten social networks in the world.

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners
TikTok users by age group (based on Android users in the US), Statist

As of April 2020, TikTok ranked first in the world among mobile apps for April revenue. The app has outperformed YouTube, Tinder, and Netflix, which build on existing subscriptions.

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile report, US consumers spent more time on TikTok than other popular video streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video. On average, users spend around 52 minutes on the platform and open their app eight times a day.

Most TikTok users are Gen Zers, teens, and young adults. For example, 60% of the platform’s audience in the United States is between 16 and 24.

While the app demographics are often associated with Gen Z, many brands sell on TikTok even if their target audience is older. You can also find Gen X influencers on the platform. So if your audience isn’t teenagers and young adults, that doesn’t mean the app isn’t for you. Before making your final decision, learn more about the platform and explore different selling products on TikTok.

What you need to know before promoting your business on TikTok

Before you create your TikTok account and start posting your videos, you need to make sure you understand how the platform’s algorithms work. Creating video content takes time, and you want your efforts to pay off. Especially if you’re going to sell on TikTok for the long term, don’t just have fun on the app. Although we understand, it’s so hard to stop scrolling!

When promoting your business on TikTok, the goal is to produce videos that make it through the “For You” section. It works similarly to recommended pages on other social media platforms: algorithms define the type of content a user may be interested in and display it personally.

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners
For you is the first page you see when you open the app

Here’s what you can do to increase the chances of getting your videos on the “For You” page.

Be consistent with your content.

The most popular types of content on TikTok are Talent Videos, Comedy, Music, Dance, DIY, lifehacks, and short vlogs. Whichever format you choose, better to pick one and stick to it. Suppose you come out strong and are consistent with the theme of your profile. This will help the algorithms assign your profile to one of the formats. And potentially recommend your videos to people who like that kind of content.

Pay close attention to the first videos you post – they help TikTok assign your account to one of the significant verticals or types of content. Speaking freely, if a new account starts by posting lip-syncs, the platform will consider them a profile specializing in lip-syncing videos.

After choosing the format and posting the first videos of this type, continue. A profile with many different content types or without a specific theme will not rank well. So if you want to experiment with other videos, you better create separate profiles for it.

Make sure people watch your videos from start to finish.

You’ll want to entice people to watch your videos until the end, not drop. The platform can interpret this as a signal that users don’t find your content worth watching. And therefore, no need to recommend it.

So even though your TikTok videos maybe 60 seconds long, you are better off keeping the videos short (up to 15 seconds).

Also, don’t forget to loop your videos. It prompts users to watch a video multiple times, which can increase the performance of the video.

Another trick is to create videos using common patterns that viewers understand well. For example, people expect a joke at the end of comedy or meme videos; they watch them until the end.

Use trending songs and formats.

One of the critical things about TikTok is creating your versions of trending content. TikTok inspires users to create videos that mimic existing trends, often using popular songs. You can also add your music to your video while editing it by downloading an audio file from your device.

Its TikTok
Viewers can tap the music used in the video and use it in their own videos

Another element of TikTok is co-creation; for example, users pull reactions, duets, copy dances or makeup, participate in challenges.

Copying content and remaking it in a new way is a significant trend on TikTok, and audience interaction is high. So keep an eye out for popular songs and formats and create your versions of them. Also, try collaborating with other users to co-create challenges or pairs.

Follow the rules when showcasing products in your videos.

People come to TikTok for entertainment, so if you want to showcase your products in your videos, be sure to tailor your content to user expectations. Is your video awesomely musical? Is it funny or creative? Showcasing your product and listing its benefits won’t get many views or a ticket to the “For You” section.

When you are selling something, you are likely to have expertise in an area. Use it to share tips or interesting facts in your videos. For example, if you are selling cameras, you can make a TikTok video with poses that make you look great in pictures. People will follow your profile for more tips like this and be inclined to see more of your products.

Livestream to your followers

After you hit 1,000 subscribers on your account, you will be able to stream live video to your subscribers. On TikTok, viewers can purchase Virtual Items like coins and redeem them for gifts. Viewers use giveaways to show appreciation for the content being displayed.

Livestreamers can earn Diamonds based on the freebies they receive from viewers. Diamonds can be removed for real money. The platform calculates compensation based on various factors, including the number of Diamonds earned by a live streamer. Read more on virtual gifts and diamond withdrawal.

You must be at least 16 years old to stream and at least 18 to get virtual gifts. As with any post, be sure to follow TikTok Live Community Guidelines.

Add links to your biography.

You can add links to the bottom section of your bio profile. At first, the feature was only available to select profiles. It was highly anticipated by brands interested in selling on TikTok as it would help drive traffic to websites from the app. Users can now add direct links to their Instagram or YouTube pages.

Adding website links to the biography is still not available for some users. To check if you can do this, go to your Profile tab, tap Edit Profile and find the Website field.

Even though you can’t add a clickable link yet, you can type one in the bio for users to copy and insert into their browsers. And don’t forget that adding clickable Instagram and YouTube links is available to all users.

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners
Users can tap the link to the website highlighted in pink

Types of TikTok ads

Brands can promote their products and services on TikTok through different platform-specific ads. Let’s find out more about each of them.

Brand Hashtag Challenge

Challenges have proven to be an effective way to generate more branded content and increase reach and engagement. TikTok takes challenges one step further and allows brands to sponsor their challenges to place them on the 3-6 Day Discovery page.

You invite users to participate in your challenge, and all videos created for them are grouped on the hashtag challenge page in the Discover section. According to TikTok, the average engagement rate for Branded Hashtag Challenges is 8.5%, thanks to likes, comments, and shares.

Sell ​​on TikTok
Brand Hashtag Challenge Campaign for Guess

Trademark takeover

The Brand Takeover announcement is a full-screen announcement presented to users when they first open TikTok. It can be viewed as a three-second image or a three-second GIF. Five seconds.

Brands can associate this type of ad with a brand’s landing page or a hashtag challenge within the platform. Only one brand can take over in its category every day.

TikTok Ads
Branding Announcement for Too Faced

In-Feed Ads

In-Feed ads are full-screen, autoplay videos up to 60 seconds long, and appear in the “For You” feed. These videos work like regular videos on TikTok, with the same user interaction capabilities. Also, if your ad in the feed has a musical background, viewers can choose the “Use this sound” act as if they were interacting with a native video.

These ads have a CTA section to link to a specific webpage or hashtag challenge.

How to sell on TikTok
In-Feed ad for the Reflectly app


TopView is full screen, up to 60 seconds of videos with autoplay and sound that appears when opening the app. You may have noticed that these ads are similar to the brand takeover, and you are right. The difference is that with TopView, you can use videos like in In-Feed ads as advertising material, where the brand takeover only allows the image or GIF.

TikTok e-commerce
TopView announcement for OPPO

Brand effects

Stickers, filters, and special effects are a lot more fun than regular ads! And TikTok offers these effects as a way to promote your brand. Custom branding effects allow users to interact with the brand using their filter, sticker, or effect. Such content can be used not only for fun but also for product testing – say, if you’re selling hair dye, you can offer to try different colors through Branded Effect on TikTok.

Hashtag Challenge Plus

Hashtag Challenge Plus is a subset of Branded Hashtag Challenge with a shoppable component. This feature allows users to purchase products associated with a Sponsored Hashtag Challenge directly in the app.

Like with the Branded Hashtag Challenge, users can create and view videos with the brand’s sponsored hashtag. Plus, they can buy campaign products in a separate tab on the hashtag page.

Please take a look at Kroger, a retail company that was the first brand to try it out! They partnered with influencers and successfully reached a young adult audience through their #TransformUrDorm hashtag campaign. Kroger suggested that TikTok users post their makeover videos with the branded hashtag. Users can go to the Discover tab and browse the products on the hashtag page.

TikTok shoppable
By tapping “Buy Now” on the hashtag page, you opened up the Kroger website, where users could purchase items.

TikTok Creator Marketplace

It’s not an ad format but a way to find a creator with a huge following to promote your brand. The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a platform operated by TikTok that hosts thousands of TikTok creator profiles. You can search the market for creators whose audiences match your target audience.

Selling and advertising on TikTok for online sellers

If you have an online store, check out TikTok Shopping. It is a tool that allows you to connect your product catalog to TikTok and display the products in your profile, and tag articles in videos.

After enabling TikTok Shopping, customers will see a bag icon in your profile or videos. They can tap the icon to view your product details and purchase a product without leaving the app. How cool is that?

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners

In addition to showing products in your profile and videos, you can feature them in your ads so that customers can purchase your products immediately.

How to Make Money on TikTok: A Guide for Business Owners

You can also run advanced advertising campaigns on TikTok. For example, you display ads that show a specific item to customers who have verified that product on your site. Or, promote your products to buyers who have a lot in common with your customers and are likely to be interested in your products.

Selling and advertising on TikTok are available to online sellers who connect their stores to TikTok through their eCommerce platform. Ecwid is one of the few eCommerce platforms that lets you connect your online store to TikTok. Here’s how to set up TikTok Purchases and Advertising with Ecwid.

Examples of promotion and sales on TikTok

If you need inspiration before installing the app, find out how different brands, influencers, and businesses use TikTok’s tools, formats, and ads.

ASOS shares videos from the creators of TikTok that show what the same outfit looks like on different body types:

sale on TikTok

H&M encourages users to participate in their challenge and share videos with their hashtag:

TikTok e-commerce

The World Economic Forum gets exposure by sharing fun videos that educate users on coronavirus precautions:

promote on TikTok

Travel and fashion blogger Kate shares tips for photo editing:

TikTok e-commerce

Mac Cosmetics uses duos to demonstrate different looks created with their products:

promote on TikTok

Get ready to promote your business on TikTok.

To recap, here’s what you can do to market yourself on TikTok:

  • Create an account and start creating fun and creative videos
  • Partner with popular creators – find them yourself or through TikTok Marketplace
  • Use different types of ads to promote and sell on TikTok
  • Connect your store to TikTok to sell and display on the platform.

Now give us your honest thoughts on TikTok. Are you planning to bring your business to TikTok, or are you already on the platform? If you’ve created some excellent videos before, don’t be shy and share your accounts for others to follow!

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