Social Media Marketing

12 TikTok Marketing Strategies Proven To Skyrocket Your Small Business

You want to attract new Gen Z and millennial customers, but likely don’t have the budget for influencer sponsorships or complex productions.


Marketers and small business owners constantly worry about competing on TikTok. With its explosively growing user base and powerful algorithm, standing out can seem daunting.
You want to attract new Gen Z and millennial customers, but likely don’t have the budget for influencer sponsorships or complex productions.

The good news is you can absolutely find TikTok marketing success without overextending yourself. You just need to be smart and strategic with your approach.

In this article, we’ll cover several creative, cost-effective tactics to help your small business win on TikTok. From leveraging trends to forming micro-influencer partnerships, these strategies will enable you to create engaging content.

You’ll authentically connect with your audience and drive real growth.

1) Create Brand Hashtag Challenges that Encourage User Participation

Creating branded hashtag challenges is a fun and engaging way to encourage user participation on TikTok. By inviting your audience to create content around a specific hashtag related to your small business, you can foster community and increase brand visibility.

For example, a local coffee shop might launch a #MyMorningBrew challenge, asking customers to share their unique coffee creations.

A representation of branded hashtag challenge #Shopblack at TikTok [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

This strategy can create a viral effect, spreading awareness of your brand and products.

Challenge of this strategy

Ensuring quality and brand-aligned content can be difficult, as you have limited control over user submissions.

Tips to ace this strategy

Incentivize quality videos: Offer rewards or discounts for the best submissions. For example, the coffee shop could offer a free week of coffee to the most creative #MyMorningBrew video.

Moderate by whitelisting creators: Collaborate with trusted TikTok creators or customers who align with your brand. You can create a list of approved creators and encourage them to participate, ensuring that the content reflects your brand’s values and standards.

2) Use Local-Geo Targeting Campaigns Through TikTok’s Ad Platform

Local geo-targeting campaigns on TikTok allow small businesses to reach potential customers in a specific geographic area. This can be incredibly effective for a local business, like a neighborhood bakery, that wants to attract nearby customers.

By targeting ads to users within a certain radius of the store, the bakery can promote special offers or new menu items directly to the community.

Learn more about TikTok’s local-geo targeting here

Benefit of this strategy

This strategy ensures that your advertising budget is spent on reaching the people most likely to visit your business, maximizing return on investment.

Challenge of this strategy

Finding the right balance between targeting too narrowly and too broadly can be tricky. If the targeting is too specific, you might miss potential customers; if it’s too broad, you might waste resources on irrelevant audiences.

Tips to ace this strategy

Use TikTok’s ad manager to set precise locations: Start with a broader area and then narrow it down based on performance. For example, the bakery could begin by targeting the entire city and then focus on specific neighborhoods that respond well.

Collaborate with a local marketing expert: If you’re unsure about how to set up a geo-targeting campaign, consider working with a local marketing expert who understands the community. They can help you identify the best areas to target and create engaging content that resonates with the local culture.

3) Use Niche or Micro-Influencers to Promote Your Products/Services

Working with micro-influencers, who have smaller but highly engaged followings, can be a powerful strategy for small businesses. For instance, a local organic skincare brand might collaborate with a micro-influencer who focuses on natural beauty.

These influencers often have a dedicated audience that trusts their recommendations, making them more affordable and effective for reaching your target audience.

A representation of how niche influencers help promote your products [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

Micro-influencers often have a strong connection with their followers, leading to higher engagement and trust. This can translate into more genuine interest and conversions for your products or services.

Challenge of this strategy

Finding the right micro-influencers who align with your brand and audience can be time-consuming and requires careful consideration.

Tips to ace this strategy

Research and identify influencers who share your values: Look for micro-influencers who already love your products or whose content aligns with your brand. For the skincare brand, this might mean finding influencers who focus on natural and sustainable beauty.

Create clear collaboration guidelines: Outline expectations, deliverables, and compensation upfront. This ensures that both parties understand the collaboration’s goals and helps maintain the authenticity of the promotion.

4) Create Behind-the-scenes or “Day in the life” Style Videos

Showing behind-the-scenes or “day in the life” videos can provide an authentic glimpse into your business, connecting with viewers on a personal level.

For example, a family-owned restaurant might share videos of preparing a signature dish or the morning routine of setting up the dining area. These real glimpses can humanize your brand and make customers feel like part of the family.

A representation of how behind the scenes TikTok videos look [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

This approach builds trust and loyalty by letting customers see the real people and hard work behind the products or services they enjoy.

Challenge of this strategy

Maintaining a balance between professionalism and authenticity can be tricky. You want to show the real workings of your business without compromising your brand image.

Tips to ace this strategy

Plan your content but keep it real: Outline what you want to show but allow for spontaneous moments that capture the true essence of your business. For the restaurant, this might include candid laughter among staff or the sizzle of a dish being cooked.

Consider using a professional videographer with a casual style: If you’re unsure about how to capture the right tone, working with a videographer who specializes in casual and authentic filming can help you create content that resonates without losing professionalism.

5) Do Interactive Live Streams For Product Launches

Interactive live streams on platforms like TikTok can be a dynamic way to launch new products. Imagine a small craft brewery hosting a live stream to introduce a new seasonal beer.

They could offer virtual tastings, answer questions in real-time, and even provide a virtual tour of the brewing process. This direct engagement with the community creates excitement and allows customers to feel involved in the launch.

A representation of how product launch live on TikTok appears [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

Live streams create a sense of event and immediacy, allowing customers to interact directly with the business and get immediate answers to their questions. It can build anticipation and create a buzz around the new product.

Challenge of this strategy

Managing a live stream requires preparation and can be technically challenging. Ensuring a smooth experience without technical glitches is crucial for maintaining viewer engagement.

Tips to ace this strategy

Do a test run with a smaller audience: Before the big launch, consider hosting a test live stream with a select group of loyal customers or friends. This can help you identify and fix any technical issues.

Collaborate with an influencer or host: If you’re nervous about hosting the live stream yourself, consider bringing in a local influencer or professional host who can guide the conversation and keep the energy up.

6) Utilize TikTok’s Duet and Stitch Features to Join in on Viral Trends and Expand Your Reach

TikTok’s duet and stitch features allow you to create content by responding to or adding onto existing videos. A small boutique clothing store, for example, could use the duet feature to showcase how they style a popular fashion item that’s trending.

By joining in on viral trends, you can tap into existing audiences and expand your reach.

A representation of TikTok’s stitch and duet videos on [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

This strategy allows you to engage with popular content and trends without having to start from scratch. It can increase your visibility and introduce your brand to new audiences.

Challenge of this strategy

Choosing the right content to duet or stitch with requires a keen understanding of your brand and audience. Aligning with a trend that doesn’t resonate with your business can feel forced or off-brand.

Tips to ace this strategy

Monitor trends that align with your brand: Keep an eye on what’s trending and identify opportunities that fit naturally with your business. For the boutique clothing store, this might mean focusing on fashion challenges or styling trends.

Engage with your community: Ask your followers what trends they’re interested in or if they have any requests for a duet or stitch. This can make the content more engaging and tailored to your audience.

7) Utilizing TikTok’s AR Filters For Branding

Utilizing TikTok’s AR (Augmented Reality) filters for branding can add a fun and interactive element to your marketing. Let’s say you run a pet supply store; you could create a custom AR filter that lets users virtually try on different pet costumes or accessories.

This not only entertains users but also allows them to visualize your products in a unique way.

A representation of how AR brand filters appear on TikTok [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

Custom AR filters can enhance brand recognition and provide an interactive experience that sets your business apart from competitors.

Challenge of this strategy

Designing an effective and engaging AR filter requires creativity and technical know-how. It must align with your brand and appeal to your target audience without being overly complex.

Tips to ace this strategy

Work with an AR designer who understands your brand: If you’re not sure how to create an AR filter yourself, collaborating with a designer who specializes in AR can help translate your brand into an engaging virtual experience.

Promote the filter through various channels: Once the filter is created, encourage your followers to try it out and share their experiences. You could even host a contest where the best use of the filter wins a prize.

8) Use Nostalgic Audio Clips or Songs to Trigger an Emotional Response in your Target Demographic

Music plays a vital role on TikTok, and using nostalgic audio clips or songs can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. For example, a vintage thrift store might use classic tunes from the ’70s or ’80s in their videos to evoke memories and emotions that align with their products.

This musical connection can create a deeper resonance with viewers who identify with that era.

A representation of this strategy in place [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

Nostalgic music can trigger positive emotions and memories, making your content more relatable and engaging for your target demographic.

Challenge of this strategy

Choosing the right music that genuinely resonates with your audience without feeling forced or clichéd can be a delicate balance.

Tips to ace this strategy

Research your audience’s preferences: Understanding the age, interests, and cultural background of your target audience can help you select music that truly resonates. For the vintage thrift store, this might mean focusing on iconic songs that were popular when their target customers were growing up.

Experiment with different audio options: Don’t be afraid to try different songs or clips to see what resonates best with your audience. Monitor engagement and feedback to find the perfect nostalgic tune for your brand.

9) Try Storytelling Through Series Content

Storytelling through series content involves creating a sequence of videos that together tell a cohesive story related to your business. For example, a local farm-to-table restaurant might create a series that follows the journey of a particular dish from the farm to the plate.

Each video could highlight a different stage, such as sourcing ingredients, preparation, cooking, and serving.

A representation of how storytelling series content work on TikTok [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

This approach can create a narrative that draws viewers in and keeps them engaged over multiple videos. It provides depth to your brand and helps customers connect with your values and processes.

Challenge of this strategy

Crafting a compelling story that flows across several videos requires careful planning and execution. The content must be engaging enough to keep viewers coming back for each installment.

Tips to ace this strategy

Outline the story before you start filming: Plan the entire series in advance to ensure a coherent and engaging narrative. For the farm-to-table restaurant, this might mean mapping out each stage of the dish’s journey and identifying key moments to highlight, such as sorting vegetables based on their ripeness.

Encourage viewers to follow the series: Use calls to action, such as asking viewers to follow your account or tune in for the next video, to keep them engaged throughout the series. You might also consider releasing the videos on a regular schedule to build anticipation.

10) Integration With eCommerce Through TikTok Shopping Tab

TikTok’s Shopping Tab allows businesses to link products directly within their videos, creating a seamless shopping experience.

If you run a small online clothing store, for example, you could create videos showcasing different outfits and then link the items directly within the TikTok app. Viewers can click on the products and purchase them without ever leaving TikTok.

Have a look at TikTok’s shopping tab [Source]

Benefit of this strategy

This integration simplifies the buying process, making it easier for viewers to purchase products they see in your videos. It can increase conversion rates by reducing the steps needed to make a purchase.

Challenge of this strategy

Setting up and managing the Shopping Tab requires some technical understanding, and it’s essential to ensure that the linked products align perfectly with the content in the videos.

Tips to ace this strategy:

Ensure your product listings are up to date: Regularly check that the linked products are in stock and that the information is accurate. For the online clothing store, this might mean updating the links if sizes or colors sell out.

Use clear and engaging visuals: Since viewers can purchase directly from the video, make sure your visuals are high quality and accurately represent the products. Consider using close-ups or different angles to show details.

11) Emphasize Sustainability or Social Responsibility

Emphasizing sustainability or social responsibility in your content can resonate deeply with customers who share those values.

For instance, a small eco-friendly cleaning products company might create videos showcasing how their products are made, the natural ingredients they use, and the ways they give back to environmental causes. This content not only promotes the products but also aligns with a broader mission.

To learn more about this strategy, watch this video here

Benefit of this strategy

This approach can build trust and loyalty among customers who appreciate and identify with your commitment to social causes. It sets your business apart as one that cares about more than just profits.

Challenge of this strategy

The messaging must be authentic and consistent with your business’s actual practices. Any perceived discrepancy between what’s promoted and what’s practiced can lead to mistrust.

Tips to ace this strategy

Show, don’t just tell: Instead of merely stating your commitment to sustainability, show it through behind-the-scenes content, interviews with team members, or visuals of your sustainable practices in action.

Engage with related causes and communities: Collaborate with or support local organizations that align with your values. For the eco-friendly cleaning products company, this might include partnering with a local environmental group for a cleanup event and documenting the collaboration on TikTok.

12) Use TikTok’s Creative Effects to Add Interactive Elements and Enhance your Brand’s Content

TikTok’s creative effects offer a range of interactive elements that can make your content stand out in the scrolling feed.

TikTok’s effecthouse beta lets you add some coolest video effects [Source]

If you run a small fitness studio, for example, you might use effects to add dynamic visuals to a workout video, such as animated arrows to guide movements or a countdown timer for intervals.

These effects can grab attention and add a professional touch to your content.

Benefit of this strategy

Creative effects can make your videos more engaging and visually appealing, helping to capture viewers’ attention as they scroll through their feed. It adds an extra layer of polish and creativity to your brand’s content.

Challenge of this strategy

Finding the right balance between enhancing content and overloading it with effects can be tricky. Too many effects might distract from the message or feel inauthentic.

Tips to ace this strategy

Experiment with different effects to find what works: Start with subtle enhancements and gradually add more as you see what resonates with your audience. For the fitness studio, this might mean trying different visual cues for different types of workouts. Ot scribble effect for zumba or aerobics workout videos.

Consider your brand’s aesthetic: Choose effects that align with your brand’s style and values. If your brand is fun and energetic, bolder effects might work well; if it’s more serene and mindful, subtler enhancements might be more appropriate.

This Absolute Resource Can Double down your TikTok marketing efforts

As you voyage on your TikTok marketing journey, consider exploring a UGC platform to further enhance your strategies. A UGC platform can:

Facilitate community engagement:

Idukki’s UGC platform allows you to curate and showcase user-generated content, fostering a sense of community around your brand.

By featuring customer testimonials, photos, or videos on a dedicated community page, you can create a space where customers feel valued and heard.

Features like comment sections and community voting can encourage interaction and engagement, building a loyal community.

Streamline content management:

Managing and organizing user submissions can be a complex task. Idukki’s UGC platform offers tools like content moderation, tagging, and categorization, allowing you to easily filter and organize submissions.

This ensures that only relevant and brand-aligned content is showcased, and you can quickly find and utilize the content that best fits your marketing campaigns.

Boost brand visibility:

Encouraging and sharing user-generated content through a UGC platform can create a viral effect, spreading awareness of your brand and products.

By hosting contests or challenges and featuring the winners on your website or social media through Idukki, you can incentivize more users to create and share content related to your brand.

This not only amplifies your reach but also adds authenticity to your marketing efforts.

Remember, the key to TikTok success lies in understanding your audience, being authentic, utilizing the right tools, and staying abreast of trends. Happy TikToking!

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