How to use TikTok to boost your startup
TikTok is more than fun videos. (Photo: iStock)

Gabriela Novoa lost her job during the pandemic, forcing her to go back to living with her parents. The young woman began to use TikTok as a means of distraction, but she found it was an app that loved entrepreneurs.

That was how her company was born. Gabriela holds a degree in commercial engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. “I already had an idea about how to begin, how to create my brand, to segment my market. But, before starting out, I educated myself with Google’s digital marketing courses. In August, I uploaded the first TikTok showing how I package my products, and that video went viral,” says Novoa.

Gabriela is the owner of Glamec Studio, one of the businesses with the most followers on TikTok and Instagram. There are so many followers for Gaby’s fine jewelry business that the number no longer fits in the TikTok box, so the app abbreviates it with a K, dividing followers into blocks of a thousand.

We recommend: The ABC of personal branding for female entrepreneurs

How to use TikTok to boost your startup

“At present, TikTok’s biggest influencers have 24 or 25 million followers. It’s a complete revolution, which is why this network is so powerful,” explains Jimena Gómez Alarcón, a TikTok expert and CEO of RAW Talent.

In 2020 alone, the latest Sensor Tower report shows that the application was the second most downloaded in the world, with 55 million downloads. Mexico is one of the top countries where people download the app and use it for hours.

The power of TikTok has given Gaby international fame. “I’ve seen my statistics and 60% of my audience and likes are from Mexico and 10 % from Ecuador. A lot of people from Spain also write to me,” says the entrepreneur.

Gaby used hashtags to position herself, generally using tags in English, such as ‘small business’. This produced an international demand for her products. Unfortunately, Ecuador’s borders are closed, so each video that she uploads clearly states: “No international shipments”.

“I have quoted delivery costs, but it’s not viable for customers. Once the pandemic is over, my vision is to open my store in Quito, and a website to make shipping to my international customers easier and cheaper,” says Gaby.

Mayra Alcántara, Influencer Marketing director at Another Company, explains that TikTok has a much higher engagement rate than other social networks. For example, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube stand at 4.7. “Meanwhile, TikTok has an engagement rate of 29. That’s a huge difference. A single video can reach 12 million people.”

The secret of TikTok entrepreneurs

“Many female entrepreneurs write to me to ask how to get started. I always recommend these free courses from Google and TikTok. Every entrepreneur needs to use this app. Today, my income is double what I received when I was in a company. Can you imagine what it would be if I could send international shipments? My business would have grown exponentially,” says Glamec Studio’s CEO.

Gaby manages to ship 30 orders a day due to her detailed packaging. This attribute was what made her popular on TikTok, but she has also trended on many other topics such as, Why don’t I share the name of my suppliers?, Tips for entrepreneurs, My entrepreneurial story, Pack check, Customer experiences, What people think when I tell them what I do/sell, and What I actually do/sell.

“TikTok language is different to that of other networks. Content is much shorter, quicker. It’s first-person based. 99.9% of what you see is a person recording on a cell phone and doing all the editing, almost entirely within the app. And it consists of three elements that should be seen as a whole: video, music, and slash, as well as copy and hashtags,” explains Jimena Gómez Alarcón.

We recommend: Want to see the world on a tight budget? This entrepreneur explains how

How do you reach ‘For You’?

If you’re a TikTok content creator, your goal is to reach ‘For You’. This is how other people will discover you. So, here are the top tips from TikTok experts on going viral on TikTok:

Use a clear line of content. Don’t do what everybody else is doing. Don’t copy content. Personalize it. Be the smartest, most interesting, most fun, detail-oriented version of yourself, and focus on a single line of content.

Use hashtags. Detect tags that group these types of initiatives. Some examples are: #smallbusiness, #entrepreneurs, #ecofriendly, #packcheck, and #calligraphy.

Use music before it becomes a trend. Search for audios with potential, but that haven’t yet become viral, and use them in your videos.

Team up with other creators who are at your level of followers or less. People like to see their creators together, and this is also how the entrepreneurial community grows.

There isn’t a magic number of posts, but there are never too many. It doesn’t do any harm to have a lot of content, but at least do one a day, and if you’re starting out, do between 2 to 10.

Don’t stop personalizing your products. It’s something that connects perfectly with Generation Z.

“TikTok is in a golden age. We have to take advantage of that trend, because as more content creators come about, it’ll be more difficult to compete for the ‘For You’ spaces, says the CEO of Raw Talent, an agency that looks for and represents TikTok talent.

Gaby has known how to take advantage of this point in time on TikTok, so much so, that all her social networks are saturated with messages. Every day she has approximately 300 new messages. Her sales have shot up and she’s now able to employ other people.

“I advise all entrepreneurs to be neat, detail-oriented with their packaging, dedicated, to give good customer service, and to watch what the big brands are doing. Take note of their hashtags and of trends, and use them to your advantage,” concludes the Glamec Studio owner.

See more: The evolution of social entrepreneurship: the aim is not to earn money