The ultimate guide to starting a successful business on TikTok

The ultimate guide to starting a successful business on TikTok

Posted: Tue 28th Jun 2022

TikTok is a video-sharing social platform that launched in 2016. It's become phenomenally popular since then, with its user base in the UK expected to reach nearly 17 million by 2024.

TikTok users post short video clips that can last up to three minutes. The app was originally best known for its dance videos, but it's grown to include a huge range of content and users – and small businesses are no exception.

Small business content is thriving on the app. A quick search shows the hashtag #supportsmallbusiness has five billion views and #smallbusiness has nearly 67 billion.

Ready to start filming? Our new free guide, How to start a business on TikTok, has everything you need to get going. In the meantime, here are some brief tips on how to set yourself up.

Set up your account on TikTok

The first step is setting up an account. Here's what you need to do:

  • Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

  • Set a username. It's best practice to use the same name and format you've used on other social accounts to make it easier for customers to find you.

  • Add a profile photo. Again, use an image that aligns with your online presence elsewhere.

  • Add a bio. You've only got 80 characters, so make it count!

To add your website to your profile page, you'll need to switch over from a creator account to a business account. It's free to do within the app – hit Manage account" and select "Switch to business account".

With a business account, you'll get access to performance metrics and audience insights, which will come in handy when you start posting. It will also allow you to schedule posts on a desktop browser (rather than just your phone).

Familiarise yourself with existing content

Sara Carter, Enterprise Nation member and business consultant, recommends spending time familiarising yourself with the app before posting your first video.

"Don’t rush into it! TikTok is a new and exciting way to communicate – it's not just about filming yourself anymore. You need to spend time observing the platform before posting to get your content seen by others. Think about your goals and strategy."

Browse hashtags related to your industry and see what your competitors are posting. Make a note of which posts have high engagement levels, and think about what you could do to set your business apart.

We’ve pulled together a couple of business accounts that are thriving on TikTok to give you more ideas:

  • BrownieGod has built up a 514,000-strong following by posting videos based on what commenters want to see, including reviews of different brownie flavours and an honest look at when things go wrong.

  • Vessi is a footwear business that nails its audience engagement by running regular product giveaways and inviting customers to pour different liquids over their shoes to test the brand’s waterproof claim. 

  • Simon Squibb, entrepreneur and Enterprise Nation adviser, prioritises regularity and shares a new video with his 542,000 followers every day, posting from places like his sofa and coastal paths.


Download more free StartUp UK guides and learn how to start a business today!

Other free guides in the series

Start a fashion business / Start a food business / Start a beauty business / Start an Instagram business / Start a Pinterest business / Start an Etsy business / Start a side hustle


Don't mix up Instagram with TikTok

While there are a few similarities with Instagram – and it's fairly common to crosspost videos between the two – avoid going into TikTok with an identical approach.

Audience demographic is one of the biggest differences between the two: Instagram's biggest audience share (32%) is people aged 25 to 34, while TikTok's biggest (24%) is people aged 15 to 25.

The other difference is that TikTok is recognised for experimental, less curated content. While that makes it easy and inexpensive to post, it can take time to adjust.

Katherine George, Enterprise Nation adviser and founder of Oh So Social, says:

"On Instagram, you might show a more polished impression of your business or brand. TikTok leaves more room to get creative without everything looking 100% perfect.

"Instead of super refined and professional content that may do well on other platforms, TikTok prioritises content that feels like a genuine TikTok. In other words, if you can create something that feels similar to videos an individual might create for fun on the platform, you're heading in the right direction."

Create your first video

You can record your video within the app by hitting the “+” sign or record it using a different app and then upload it. 

Remember that TikTok videos are short so it's important to hook your audience in straight away. As Sara Carter says:

"Grab people's attention in the first two seconds. Cut out the frills and make your video simple, direct and fast-paced. Be short and sweet – most clips range from between 15 seconds to one minute."

TikTok's suite of video editing tools can feel daunting at first and you're not obliged to use them. That said, they will boost engagement and can be a lot of fun to experiment with.

Music is a key part of TikTok so make sure you're exploring the app's extensive music library. It's also important that you add text to your videos to give users context when they’re scrolling with the sound off.

Additionally, you can add things like stickers and filters to improve engagement.


Download your free StartUp UK guide now

Expand your business's reach and connect with a younger audience

TikTok is a marketing goldmine waiting for you to tap into. Learn how to create engaging content, grow your following, and ultimately increase sales for your business. Get the guide now

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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