Your small business needs to be on TikTok. Here's why it can make a huge impact. – USA TODAY

I recently had the great opportunity to interview Becca Sawyer, the global head of SMBs at TikTok. Becca shared an amazing stat with me:
According to a recent report, among all of the major social media sites, the platform with the best word-of-mouth from fellow small business owners was TikTok.
Better than Facebook. Better than Instagram. Better than YouTube.
“It turned out that TikTok had the highest proportion of small business owners who planned to start or increase their digital marketing,” Sawyer said. “Because of the positive word-of-mouth from other small business owners who were sharing how effective the platform was for their own small businesses.”
When, apropos of nothing, your fellow small business owners tell you something is working, you tend to listen.
More:TikToker uses platform to explain news, current events using AAVE to underserved audience
There are a few reasons.
· Because videos on TikTok tend to be personal, small businesses are able to build relationships with viewers/customers. And especially these days, with all of the noise online, being able to be heard above the din and forge a bond with a customer is both rare and welcome.
· The very nature of TikTok is that it creates niche communities. This in turn allows small businesses to tap into their desired audiences much more easily than on other platforms
· Finally, small businesses are fairly easily discoverable on TikTok given that one of the main tools on the app is a search bar. If you are a restaurant in, say, Austin, there no doubt is a niche audience on TikTok searching for, yep, restaurants in Austin.
More:‘Bite-sized’ TikTok draws a Gen Z tired of Google. But misinformation remains rife.
“Because TikTok is fun and easy to use, and also because it creates engagement, it is not difficult for small businesses to able to find new audiences with the app.”
When I asked Becca if there were any success secrets for making videos, getting found, and growing a small business brand on the platform, she gave us a few pointers.
Maybe most importantly, and not surprisingly, “authenticity is key.” Not only do consumers look for that these days, especially online generally, but on TikTok specifically people can spot a phony a mile away. Your job then as a small business is to create content that is unique, interesting, and – especially – authentic.
More:‘TikTok is what helped me stay alive’: How the social platform is helping a new generation cope with death
But note: Your videos do not have to be The Greatest Video Ever. What users want to see is something fun, unique, and different. Your small business videos could be
· Behind the scenes footage
· How-tos
· Fun interviews with customers
· “Insider” product tips
Of course, the other way to grow your profile on TikTok, aside from creating engaging, organic videos, is the same as on any other social media platform. 
Advertising and marketing your business on the site with advertiser tools is pretty easy, and the stats show it is pretty effective too.
More:Is TikTok reading my mind? Why it’s so hard to avoid impulse purchases on social media
Well, according to TikTok’s stats, half of Gen Z TikTok users are likely to buy something while on the app, and “81% of users use TikTok to discover new products and brands.”
In addition, and not insignificantly, TikTok video ads are six times bigger than banner ads.
One thing I know is that two of the biggest pain points for small businesses are “not enough time” and “not enough money.” Maybe learning a new marketing tool falls into the former category for you. And maybe you are right.
What if a whole world of new customers are out there, on their phones right now, just waiting to discover a new business like, well, yours?
Steve Strauss is a popular speaker, attorney and the bestselling author of 18 books, including his latest, “Your Small Business Boom.” Recently named by SCORE as the top small business champion in the country, you can learn more about Steve and his content-creation at, get more tips at Planet Small Business, and connect with him on Twitter at @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at PlanetSmallBusiness. 


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