By now, anyone who spends much time scrolling through TikTok knows the platform has long since moved beyond being a platform for viral dance videos. Now it’s a platform for making bank.
Every day, hustlers (in the best sense of the word) are flogging everything from how to get rich courses to diet plans to “marital aids” on the platform. And they are building massive audiences in the process.
The best of them get the vibe of the platform and create TikTok-friendly content (direct, irreverent, authentic). Such was the advice that young TikTok creators shared back in April at Localogy 2022 in Los Angeles. One of the creators summed it up perfectly. “Don’t make ads. Make TikToks.”
The Emergence of a Platform
Apparently, small businesses have gotten the message and are flocking to the platform in droves.
TikTok recently partnered with Hello Alice, a small business support organization with about 800,000 SMBs in its network to conduct a survey on their use of digital marketing platforms. About 7,000 small businesses participated in the survey.
The survey focused on five platforms. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snap, and YouTube. TikTok is not yet the top platform for small businesses. But it has come out of nowhere to compete with Facebook and Instagram as the digital marketing platform of choice. Notably, 45% of SMBs surveyed do not spend money on these platforms.
When asked which platforms were best for organic reach, the responses were.
- Facebook (68%)
- Instagram (66%)
- TikTok (51%)
What’s interesting and points to further growth for TikTok was that more small businesses recognize the value of creative storytelling. And TikTok gets top marks as a storytelling platform, at 67%, besting all the other platforms.
Also interesting is what’s driving TikTok’s rapid growth among SMBs.For example, TikTok dominates Facebook in word of mouth.
According to the survey summary, “43% of small business owners are now likely to join TikTok because they’ve heard reports of efficacy from fellow business owners. By contrast, only 23% said the same about Facebook.”
Further, TikTok ranks second only to Instagram (67% vs 72%) among platforms for their perceived growth potential. TikTok ranked first at 78% for the platform SMBs plan to increase their time spent. And not for scrolling but for creating actual content.
And all this enthusiasm is coming from SMBs that are mostly TikTok newbies, with 58% reporting being on the platform for six months or less.
We always need to regard sponsored surveys with a healthy dose of skepticism. Yet these results are not terribly surprising and seem to track with the platform’s overall growth.
TikTok has 732 million active users worldwide. This still pales vs. Facebook’s 2.8 billion. Yet TikTok has been around for five years compared to Facebook’s 17. Let’s see who’s in the lead in another five years.