How to Sell on TikTok in 2023

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What sounds like a clock and has over a billion monthly users?

TikTok, of course. But the real question isn’t whether TikTok is wildly popular (it is), or boasts high levels of engagement (it does). But whether your business or brand can use it to sell products, build your brand, and cultivate a loyal following.

Well guess what? It can. And we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you do just that.

So read on to find out how to sell on TikTok! We’re breaking down the what, why, and how, from finding a niche and researching your audience to creating top-notch content. Below you’ll find everything you need to sell on TikTok in 2023.

What Is TikTok?

Launched in 2016, TikTok is an uber-popular social media app.

It revolves around users (about a billion of them every month, to be precise) creating, sharing, and watching short videos.

Put TikTok’s striking rise to prominence down to its user-friendliness (anyone can augment their clips with filters and music), plus its high levels of shareability and collaboration. What’s more, TikTok is addictive.

Don’t believe us? Try it… and watch five minutes quickly become five hours!

Why Sell on TikTok?

As we just mentioned, TikTok is addictive.

And what happens when an app is addictive? People use it. So it should come as absolutely no surprise that TikTok is the most engaging social media app out there (and by a country mile, too).

Users spend an average of 10.85 minutes on the app per session – more than double that of Pinterest, which places second with an average session duration of 5.06 minutes.

TikTok’s users, then, are engaged. But there’s also a lot of them. As of September 2021 – over a year ago – TikTok had already laid claim to more than one billion monthly active users. And it’s the sixth-most used social media platform in the world.

So why sell on TikTok? With an incredibly large, highly engaged (and growing) audience, the question isn’t really one of why you should sell on TikTok.

But why you need to!

Should I Sell on TikTok?

Yes – absolutely!

The beauty of TikTok is that you’re not necessarily limited by your industry, the products or services you sell, or even your budget. (In fact, TikTok is well-known for its “democratic” approach to ranking and recommending videos; preferring interesting content over the expensively made, overly “salesy” stuff.)

Nope – all you need is a smartphone, a little ad spend to get you started, and a drive to produce engaging, entertaining content. An eye for the latest trends won’t hurt either, nor will a passion for vibrant, virulent content.

Most of all, though, you’ll need the patience to keep at it. You may not go viral overnight, but – if you keep putting your videos and your products out there – you will eventually. Especially if you read our step-by step guide below. So let’s dig in!

Best Ways to Sell on TikTok: Step by Step

How to sell on TikTok? Good question. Luckily, you’re just seven steps away…

  1. Define your niche – then research your audience
  2. Create an account
  3. Switch to a business account
  4. Start creating great content
  5. Engage with your audience
  6. Promote user-generated content
  7. Work with influencers

#1. Define Your Niche – Then Research Your Audience

Before you start selling on TikTok – heck, before you even create an account on it – you’ll need to first find your niche.

Your niche, in TikTok terms, is a subsection of a wider market. A niche is a group of users interested in a similar thing – be that ‘90s horror films, basketball shoes, vegan pastries or, well…pretty much anything you can think of!

So ahead of starting to sell on TikTok, identify which niche your business operates in. Follow this line of thinking, and use it to understand a bit more about your audience.

How old are they? Where are they based? What gender do they identify as?

Knowing these kind of things, understanding your niche – and, more importantly, understanding how your content will fit into that niche – will help you produce more relevant content that resonates with your audience.

Who’s Using TikTok?

The main demographics on TikTok make for interesting reading:

  • 47% of TikTok users are between the ages of 10 and 29
  • 1% are female; 46.9% are male
  • 43% of new TikTok users are from India

Knowing these kinds of general TikTok audience statistics is important. Getting to grips with the specifics of your audience, though – that’s even more vital!

#2. Create an Account

With the groundwork of your audience and niche well and truly laid, it’s time to start building your TikTok empire. And it all starts with a single brick – creating an account.

Fortunately, that’s simple. Download the TikTok app on your smartphone – or head to TikTok’s signup page on your desktop – and set up an account using your phone or email. You can also log in via Facebook, Twitter, or Google, if that’s easier!

Once you’re in, be sure to follow some accounts in your niche or industry – it’ll ensure your feed is populated with plenty of content relevant to your business and brand.

TikTok create account sign up page
It takes just a few moments to create an account with TikTok.

#3. Switch to a Business Account

TikTok has two types of accounts: Personal and Business. If you’re planning to sell on TikTok, you’ll need to be on the latter.

Don’t fret, though – making the switch is a cinch. Follow these steps:

  1. Tap “Profile” from your TikTok app
  2. Hit the “Menu” button, then “Settings and privacy”
  3. Select “Manage account”
  4. Tap “Switch to Business Account”
  5. Follow the prompts on-screen to confirm the switch

In TikTok’s words, “anyone whose primary goal on TikTok is to promote their business (either a product or service) should use a Business Account.” So, unless you’re planning to use your new TikTok account for personal videos only, it’s worth remembering this step in particular!

For more information about business accounts on TikTok, head to the TikTok For Business website.

#4. Start Creating Great Content

TikTok is all about creating amazing content – so it’s time for you to start doing it.

Remember, TikTok isn’t like Facebook or Instagram. It doesn’t revolve primarily around text, pictures or (like Twitter) short snippets of text. Instead, it’s built on creating and sharing videos – so it’s time to start rolling.

Here are our top tips for creating captivating, compelling content:

  • Be yourself: whether you’re camera shy or made for Hollywood, it doesn’t matter – your best bet is always to reflect your brand in a way that’s authentic. Plus, TikTok’s algorithms are as adept at sniffing out ads as users are reluctant to watch them. So keeping things natural and relatable is always the best way!
  • Post daily: you can’t get away with neglecting your TikTok content creation for days or weeks. Nope – TikTok prioritizes its most frequent posters. And posting every day (heck, multiple times a day) boosts your chances of getting noticed. Or better – appearing in your audiences’ “For You” feeds. (The TikTok Holy Grail!)
  • Focus on quality: Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity, though. You’re representing a brand, here – so your production values still need to be up to scratch. Using proper equipment – like a tripod, ring light and high-definition camera or smartphone – is important. As is investing in your video’s post-production processes, such as editing and adding music and effects.

Above all, though, remember – you’re here to sell on TikTok. What you’re not here to do is create ads. Always focus on the quality of your content ahead of packing in advertising spiel, at all costs. And prioritize offering value and entertainment to your users over simply selling to them.

Over time, you’ll win their trust, build your brand – and watch your sales rise accordingly.

#5. Engage With Your Audience

As humans, we all sometimes need a reminder – it’s not all about you! So don’t simply focus on your own TikTok profile and videos, but on the wider ecosystem of content that sustains the social media platform – and supports its billion-strong litany of users.

So get tap happy, and start viewing, liking, and commenting on other accounts’ videos. It won’t just get you on their radar – it’ll boost your chances of ending up on their feeds, and them viewing and liking your videos in turn. Through that lens, interacting with your fellow TikTok users is one of the best digital marketing tips we can offer!

Be sure, too, to engage with your audience – the people you identified in your niche with an interest in your brand, product, or service. These are the people following and liking the videos of similar accounts – or even your own.

The more you do this, the more you present not only as a business, but as the relatable human behind that business. As a creator of good vibes, rather than commerce alone!

#6. Promote User Generated Content (UGC)

User generated content (UGC) refers to content made not by you, but by members of your audience. It’s videos made by people using and trying your products, but with a twist – they’re not getting paid to do so.

UGC is powerful social proof, and works because of its simplicity – it never feels like marketing. When your audience creates UGC – off their own back, around your brand’s wares – it’s compelling because they’ve done so for one reason: a genuine love of your product, and a wish to share it with the world.

TikTok HelloFresh still with image of woman face palming with the text "I'm crying over our hello fresh meal right now"
UGC is when a brand finds its way into a TikTok user’s video – without that brand paying for the privilege. It’s excellent social proof, so encourage it!

If your brand is established enough to have your followers shouting about it on social media, interact with these videos and accounts. Encourage your wider audience to keep posting about their experiences with your products – challenges are an excellent way to do this – and promote these videos where you can (with permission from the creators, of course!).

For more information about how to promote your TikTok videos, TikTok can help.

#7. Work With Influencers

The opposite side of the UGC coin is working with influencers. Unlike their unpaid counterparts, TikTok influencers are people who’ll promote your brand for money.

Influencers are useful because they often have hundreds of thousands (nay, millions) of followers – meaning they offer your brand access to a wide audience of potential customers. They also provide access to an audience that’s engaged, and has a demonstrable, enduring interest in the industry you operate in.

Charli D'Amelio TikTok profile with three videos
With over 141 million followers, Charli D’Amelio is considered by many to be the most famous TikTok influencer in the world.

TikTok influencers serve as powerful social proof – and hiring them doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money.

That’s because TikTok has a thriving population of micro influencers, too. These accounts have fewer followers than “macro” influencers – at least 2,000 is the generally accepted lower threshold – and are usually more affordable and open to brands looking to advertise.

Plus, TikTok micro influencers can be just as – if not more – effective than their more lauded counterparts. Their smaller followings and more modest reputations can boost trust with an ad-weary social media populace – something that, as an advertiser, plays right into your hands.

You can reach out to TikTok influencers directly, or hire a third-party agency to do it for you. And for top tips on putting together a world-beating influencer marketing strategy, we can assist!

How to Sell on TikTok: Summary

Now you know how to sell on TikTok, it should be a no-brainer. And, if you’re already comfortable in front of the camera, have an eye for the viral, and sell products that lend themselves to a less traditional – but increasingly popular – form of marketing, it’s the right tool to propel your brand to new heights.

After all… a billion people are watching!

FAQs

The best marketing channels for ecommerce are email, content, SEO, social media, retargeting, influencers, search ads, and affiliate marketing. Be sure to use all these alongside – and in harmony with – your TikTok TikTok sales strategy!
Harnessing the power of micro influencers isn’t just a TikTok game – they operate across a wide range of platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. For more info, check out our guide to micro influencers on Instagram. Or find out whether a micro, macro, nano or mega influencer is right for your business.
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