With more than 100 million active monthly users with an average daily view time of 68 minutes in the US, TikTok is a place you should promote your business. Now, it just became easier to sell on the platform with the announcement of TikTok partnering with Shopify to launch in-app shopping. Learn how to sell on TikTok using our guide below.
1. Choose the Right Products
Selling on TikTok starts with learning about the platform, its users, and which products sell well.
Research Your Target Market
Before creating a TikTok account, you need to find out if your target market is using it. As of March 2021, teens account for a quarter of US TikTok users, while those aged 20 to 29 are at 22.4%. If your market focuses on millennials and Gen Z-ers, TikTok is the perfect channel for you to spend time on.
If that’s not your target market, however, don’t cross out TikTok on your list just yet. A significant number of US TikTok users are between 30-49. TikTok is a channel where you can promote brand awareness and connect with a potentially huge audience.
Learn Which Products Sell
TikTok doesn’t provide a list of allowed sellable products, but it lists prohibited items. A quick look at trending videos can give you an idea of what types of products are an excellent fit for the platform. You can look at TikTok’s successful business case studies and explore the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag for ideas.
Since TikTok Shopping is currently limited to select countries like the US and UK, it might not be a good fit if your market is outside these areas. If you’d still like to explore adding social media networks as sales channels, try selling on Facebook or Instagram.
2. Create a TikTok Account
If you are using a mobile device to sign up for an account, tap to open it once the app is installed on your phone. Tap Me in the bottom menu bar, then click Sign Up. You can register with your phone number, email address, or an existing social media account.
3. Switch to a Business or Pro Account
Once you create an account, you are automatically tagged as a personal account. You need to switch to a business account. Aside from being able to sell products, switching to a business account enables you to access the following:
- Performance and audience data: Get insights into what your audience prefers when it comes to content
- Business content guide: Advice on everything from choosing a video topic to picking a sound
- Video Showcase: A carousel of popular content from businesses and content creators
- Commercial music library: A library of 150,000+ pre-cleared, royalty-free sounds that you can use for commercial purposes
- Web business suite: Download analytics data, view content creation tips from the Business Creative Hub, and access TikTok for Business for insights
Follow the steps below to switch to a Business account.
Set Up Your Profile
Once you have created your account, you need to optimize your profile before selling. A business account also lets you link your website, email address, and social media accounts.
Here are a few things to consider when setting up your profile:
Your TikTok bio is an introduction of your brand to your audience. Make it short and sweet. In a few words, describe your brand and what you do. You can use your slogan or keywords to improve your searchability in TikTok.
CTAs can change from time to time since this part allows you to tell your audience what to do next. You can direct them to your shop or blog, promote discount codes, or invite them to a hashtag challenge you are doing.
4. Link Your Shop or Products to Your TikTok Account
After optimizing your profile, you are now ready to start listing your products or connecting your ecommerce shop to your account. Below, we detail instructions on connecting a Shopify, BigCommerce, Square Online, and Ecwid store. Once you connect your ecommerce platform to your TikTok, you can:
- Sync your store’s product catalog to TikTok and feature a shopping tab on your TikTok profile
- Include product links in your TikTok videos that point directly to product pages in your store so customers can make a purchase
- Run optimized ads by installing the TikTok Pixel
The TikTok Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website so that when you run paid ads, you can share website visitor events to TikTok for tracking. All the ecommerce platforms we outline below make it easy for you to install the Pixel on your store.
Expand the sections below for details on connecting specific ecommerce platforms:
Connecting Shopify to TikTok
Shopify makes it easy for you to connect your store to TikTok. Just add the TikTok app from your Shopify dashboard. Once installed, follow the prompts to associate your TikTok business account. The integration also lets you run and manage TikTok ads directly from Shopify.
Note: The TikTok app in the Shopify app store is currently available in Austria, Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Poland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, and Turkey.
Connecting BigCommerce to TikTok
You can connect your BigCommerce store to TikTok by following these steps:
- Install the TikTok For Business app from the Channel Manager, under Ads and social.
- Connect and authorize your TikTok Business account.
- Once you connect your account, create or connect your TikTok Business Center account (this is different from your TikTok Business account) and TikTok Ad account.
- Set up TikTok Pixel.
- Set up your catalog. Under the Catalog section, click Create New to sync your existing BigCommerce catalog with your TikTok profile.
- Set up TikTok Shopping.
To add BigCommerce products to your TikTok storefront, click Manage under the TikTok Shopping section. You’ll be redirected to TikTok’s Store Manager.
- Within the Store Manager, click on your Store Name.
- Click on the Product tab.
- Find your target product by using filter options or the search function.
- Once you’ve found your desired item, toggle Storefront Status to on. Add items in bulk by selecting the check box for multiple items and clicking In Storefront at the top of the page. To remove an item, toggle Storefront Status to off.
Connecting Square Online to TikTok
As of this writing, Square merchants need to apply to be considered eligible to integrate their stores with TikTok.
Before applying for the waitlist, be sure to have the following requirements:
- Published Square Online website
- Return policy on Square Online
- Contact details—make sure you indicate the phone number in your store settings
- Visible payment methods
- TikTok for Business account
To join the waitlist to connect Square with TikTok:
- From your Square Dashboard, go to Account & Settings.
- Click Online sales channels.
- Find your TikTok Business Account. Click Get Started.
- Enter your TikTok username and click Get on the waitlist.
Square will notify you via email once your account is approved. By default, all product listings in your Square Online store will be published to TikTok. Specific items can be disabled in the Listings Manager.
Connecting Ecwid to TikTok
- Connecting specific ecommerce platformsGo to the TikTok page from your Ecwid dashboard.
- Specify your mobile phone number in the phone number section of the TikTok Business Tools field.
- Click + Connect TikTok Account.
- Log in to the TikTok For Business account (not your TikTok account), then click Connect. If you don’t have an account yet, click Sign Up to create one.
- In your TikTok for Business account, set up the Business Center by adding the name and clicking Create New.
- Set up a TikTok Ad Account; enter the name for your ad account and click Create New.
- In Data Sharing, enter the name for your Pixel and click Create New.
- In the Catalog, enter the name for your catalog and click Create New.
- Click Finish Setup.
Product review may take up to several hours, but you can check its status in the Products on TikTok section in your Ecwid dashboard. All approved products will appear in the “Listed products” column.
Once approved, your catalog will appear in your TikTok Business Center. Catalog syncing automatically happens twice a day. Ecwid has a guide on how to manage your product listings in TikTok.
If you don’t yet have an online store, read our guide to see which ecommerce platform is best for you.
5. Create Engaging Content
Now that you have connected your online store to your TikTok account, it’s time to get creative and promote your products. The only way to do this is to create engaging content that encourages more followers and promotes brand awareness.
It may seem overwhelming at the start, but looking at the Discover tab in your app or scrolling through the For You section can help. You can see trends, look at what’s going viral, and search for keywords related to your brand or business (and the products you promote).
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create your own brand’s hashtag challenge and encourage users to join in. Make the hashtag easy and memorable.
- Use trending music to create videos.
- Share an educational or tutorial (how-to) video. Make sure to do it in an easy-to-digest format.
- Join in special occasions or a viral craze.
- Run a contest.
One of the goals in creating content on TikTok is to drive lots of user-generated content (UGC). This promotes brand awareness that leads to trust, and finally, sales.
6. Partner With Influencers
Since TikTok is a creator-focused platform, partnering with influencers provides exposure for your brand and serves as social proof. One way to find influencers that fit your brand is through the TikTok Creator Marketplace. The platform houses thousands of TikTok creator profiles, and you can filter them to find ones that fit your target audience.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace provides insights about the influencer’s audience, including audience breakdown, content performance (view, comments, and shares), trending graphs (followers and engagement), and sample work.
7. Leverage TikTok’s Paid Ads
Apart from creating engaging content, partnering with influencers, and displaying products in your videos, feature your products in TikTok ads so that customers can buy your products right away. It is a great way to tap into this exciting new market.
When creating an ad, TikTok content has the following requirements:
- Image files: JPG or PNG only
- Video files: MP4, MOV, MPEG, 3GP or AVI
- Aspect ratio: 9:16, 1:1 and 16:9 (Vertical)
- Image resolution: 1200×628 (Recommended)
- Video resolution: 720×1280 pixels, 640×640 pixels or 1280×720 pixels
- Video duration: 5 to 60 seconds
- Brand name: Limited to up to 20 characters
- Ad description: Limited to up to 100 characters, no emojis
Types of TikTok Ads
You can run ads in the following formats: in-feed, top-view, branded hashtag challenge, branded lenses, and brand takeovers.
In-feed videos are shown before a user-uploaded video starts—similar to what happens in YouTube. However, TikTok always gives the user the option to skip the ad. With this type of ad, you can include a link to a website or an app download.
This type of ad appears at the top of users’ “For You” page when they first open the app. This ad format allows your video ad to be up to a minute long. A perfect example of this ad is the Galaxy Note 20 ad by Samsung.
These hashtag sponsorships last between three and six days and appear in the Discovery tab. When you run a hashtag challenge, you invite the TikTok community to make videos about the topic and mark them with the hashtag. For example, NYX’s #ButterGlossPop hashtag challenge generated more than 2 million UGC videos and experienced a 42% increase in brand awareness.
These are reality filters or “lenses” that users can use in their videos, similar to Snapchat filters. You can get brand positioning in a more indirect way than an ad.
These are ads that are shown as soon as a user opens the app. These ads take up the entire screen and are usually animations. This ad guarantees exclusivity because there can only be one brand takeover per category and country per day.
TikTok is still an evolving platform, and its in-app shopping experience is relatively new. However, getting into TikTok to promote your online store should be part of your retail marketing strategy. It is the social media platform every business should be in, especially with how fast user-generated content is put out by its users.
If you have an online store like Shopify, it is easy to connect, sync, and advertise your products in TikTok. Explore your options with Shopify’s 14-day free trial.