TikTok brought millions together through the pandemic with viral dances, home-baking tutorials and countless cat videos – and now it’s offering to help small businesses in the recovery.
The social media giant, which allows users to create and share short videos, has this week launched the SMB Knowledge Hub in the UK and across Europe to provide tools to help businesses retain and attract new customers.
It has also offered to match up to £1,600 for any small businesses that get started using its Ads Manager service for the first time before 15 December.
The offer follows in the footsteps of moves to help entrepreneurs struck by the pandemic, such as Mail Metro Media’s campaign which gave small businesses free advertising on MailOnline, This is Money, the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Metro.
TikTok launched its Business service in June this year and has now launched a knowledge hub
DMGT, the owner of the Mail papers and websites, also helped launch the Tide charity, which will provide grants of £1,000 to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
With small business revenue growth at an all-time low, traditional festive markets cancelled and lockdown affecting footfall across Britain’s high streets, times are tough for the small business economy.
But many have taken to social media more than ever throughout the pandemic to advertise their products and services during a time when they have been unable showcase them in person.
The SMB Knowledge Hub aims to support small businesses in facing these challenges by giving them a range of affordable advertising tools, products and guidance to help target customers and get discovered by TikTok’s community of 100 million monthly active users in Europe.
It is an expansion of the company’s TikTok for Business platform which was launched in June this year, and gives businesses and marketers advice and solutions on how to be creative storytellers, with guides, examples and more.
TikTok’s UK small business creators
London-based brother-sister duo, who launched the business earlier this year, selling their homemade brownies at markets across London, before pivoting their businesse online and scaling it during lockdown.
Set up by 23-year-old Milly Parazo, who lost her job due to the pandemic in May this year. Having practiced making jesmonite pieces as a hobby, Milly decided to take the leap and start her own small business making ceramics.
@Roccoandthefox – The owner of the business, Cheryl based in Kent, was made redundant on maternity leave so started her own baby clothing company, which has grown significantly since first launching on TikTok.
The owner, 18-year-old Maisie started her own business from her bedroom during lockdown to sell custom tote bags, documenting the process on TikTok. She now has almost 115,000 followers.
Lisa Friedrich, head of SMB for Europe at TikTok, said: ‘Despite the hardships of 2020, Britain’s small businesses have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in the face of the crisis by ramping up social and online strategies at speed.
‘We want them to be heard by customers, but recognise it can be challenging without the ad departments or budgets of larger companies.
‘TikTok’s full-screen, sound-on experience provides a platform for joyful, relevant, relatable and authentic content and coupled with resources available through SMB Knowledge Hub, can act as a powerful launch pad for independent business owners.’
What can small firms do?
One of the key new solutions available will be the TikTok Ads Manager, a self-service advertising platform.
For UK businesses that get started on TikTok Ads Manager for the first time before 15 December, TikTok will match their spend as a festive gift, up to £1,600.
Alongside this, the platform has enabled SMBs to build affinities with the community through hashtags such as #smallbusinesscheck, #smallbusinessuk and #smallbusinessowner, which have seen up-and-coming businesses sharing their unique stories and journeys on the platform.
The Knowledge Hub also includes resources, example ad formats and case studies which break down every detail businesses need to know when getting started on the platform.
Tthere is no cost for setting up a business account on TikTok. Access to the SMB Knowledge Hub and Ads Manager are also free as part of the process – there are only costs once an ad campaign is launched and executed.
For setting up ads, there are low cost options. There are also easy-to-use first and third party tools to help monitor campaign analytics at every stage.
‘We experienced new engagement with customers’
Taiwo Adegbulu (pictured right), created Omolola Jewellery with her sister as a creative outlet as well as a form of self-care.
It was also a way to pay homage to their West African culture and artistry.
Taiwo started using TikTok for Business this year and has enjoyed making content to market her products in a fun and engaging way.
She said: ‘When it comes to advertising, the ability to specifically target the people who connect and value West African artistry and culture is what really matters most.
‘While we have previously relied on offline marketing for our pop-ups and concessions in stores, we have much preferred creating adverts online, as we have experienced a new level of engagement with our customers.
‘Plus, it has been so fun to create the content! We love being able to inform people of our products while making them laugh too.
‘Recently, we spotted how one of our followers shared our campaign on TikTok, and we instantly could trace the positive impact this had on our sales.’
What a small firm’s TikTok ad looks like
Coconut Lane is a London-based ‘sassy’ homeware and fashion accessory brand, which launched their new advert for TikTok this morning.
Its marketing manager said the team is excited about experimenting with creatives and trends to carry the company’s ethos of ‘girl power’ throughout its campaigns.
She added: ‘We have always loved building relationships and connecting with our customers online.’
Amazon launches IP Accelerator
Following the success of its Small Business Accelerator programme, in partnership with Enterprise Nation, Amazon has launched its IP Accelerator service.
This has been launched to help small business owners know their intellectual property rights, which are vital for stopping unauthorised parties from using their brands or copying their ideas.
Owning IP can also create new sources of revenue should entrepreneurs wish to license their goods or services to third parties.
The Amazon IP Accelerator aims to makes it easier and more cost effective for small and medium-sized businesses to obtain trademarks, protect their brands and tackle counterfeit goods.
It is available to any brand selling in its stores, and connects entrepreneurs directly with a curated network of European law firms with expertise in IP rights.
Participating law firms will cap fees for SMEs at competitive, pre-negotiated rates, giving sellers confidence and clarity about how much obtaining a trademark will cost them.
In addition, SMEs can also seek general intellectual property advice from these law firms as their brands and businesses grow.
Businesses interested in IP Accelerator can get started here.