TikTok has launched new research into how people are discovering and engaging with small businesses (SMBs) on the platform, and how SMBs are using TikTok to reach new audiences and grow their businesses.
TikTok has fast become a home for SMBs looking to reach their communities in an authentic way and drive real world results. The research, which surveyed the TikTok community and SMB advertisers across European markets including the UK, found that almost half (47%) of users say TikTok is the platform they use most to engage with SMBs. More than three quarters (77%) of those that have come across small businesses on TikTok say they discovered them there before seeing it anywhere else*.
SMB activity on TikTok drives real world action from communities
The research also found that people are more likely to take action after seeing content from small businesses on TikTok, with 79% saying they have or would look for more information on an SMB after seeing it on the platform. Meanwhile, more than a third (35%) of people that have come across small businesses while exploring their feed have gone on to make a purchase, while 88% say that SMB content has inspired them to try and shop more local*.
Businesses are recognising the tangible impacts of incorporating TikTok into their marketing mix
TikTok is becoming an increasingly important tool for small businesses to advertise their products and services. Around three quarters (73%) of SMB marketers believe the platform has helped them reach new customers, and 42% say that TikTok has helped them achieve more from their ad spend**. A third (34%) of SMBs on the platform say that they have increased sales of their products or services as a direct result of advertising on TikTok.
TikTok encourages SMB marketers to push boundaries and evolve their strategies
According to the research, TikTok is encouraging SMBs to experiment with new marketing strategies to help them resonate with the TikTok community. 81% of SMBs say that advertising on the platform makes them think outside the box, while the vast majority (82%) say that being a part of TikTok's community helps them showcase their brand's personality.
Lisa Friedrich, Head of SMB, EMEA at TikTok, said "SMBs on the platform are embracing TikTok and sharing their stories from their workshops and storefronts, bringing brand personality that communities want to engage with.
"TikTok's creative tools make it easy to quickly create fun, authentic and engaging content that drives real world results for SMBs, with some even selling out their products thanks to the communities they've become a part of."
Lizzie Carter, founder of London haircare brand Only Curls (@onlycurlslondon)
“The goal of our business is to encourage people to embrace their natural curls. With TikTok, we’ve been able to join the CurlTok community on the platform and have found thousands of new customers.
"Since joining TikTok, our sales have increased exponentially. We’ve built closer and more trusting relationships with customers and we’ve had so much fun getting creative with content along the way.”
TikTok has grown into an unofficial channel of choice for SMBs like Only Curls, who have seen steep growth on the platform and are supporting other small businesses through hashtags such as #smallbusinesscheck (16.7B views) and #uksmallbusiness (144M views).
TikTok has also recently launched the 'Follow Me' initiative, which gives entrepreneurs new tips and tricks each week on how to get the most out of TikTok. The programme offers different learning sessions based on SMBs' goals, culminating in 'Ask Me Anything' style webinars with TikTok SMB Ambassadors.
*Source: TikTok Marketing Science EUI SMB Consumer Research 2022 conducted by InSites Consulting (UK Data n=600)
**Source: TikTok Marketing Science EUI SMB Advertiser Research 2022 conducted by Advertiser Perceptions (UK Data n=100)