A common question I hear from many entrepreneurs and other people in the business world is whether social media has an impact on their business. The reality is that social media can have an impact on one’s business. This article will examine TikTok in particular, showing a few benefits of the service and also a few of the drawbacks compared to other social media platforms and compared to not using social media at all.
TikTok is a tool that can record videos. Essentially, it takes short videos of yours and you may upload these videos to the TikTok platform. People can then like or comment on your videos, etc., just like any other social media platform. So, what makes it unique?
Some point to its video format that makes it unique. Some point to the fact that it is most used by millennials and those who are younger than millennials, i.e., the next generation of consumers, in cold business terms. Others yet point to the potential gains one can make in posting videos on TikTok and having them liked by a large number of followers.
Most business advice I have seen these days, however, recommends only using one or two platforms with regard to social media, as saturating your business marketing content in one place (putting all your eggs in one basket, to use a proverb) can lead to failure. The argument goes something like this: if you are constantly trying to update statuses on Facebook and upload videos on TikTok and taking and perfecting photos for albums on Instagram and creating perfect one-liners on Twitter, where will all the time go when you are actually performing the service your business provides? Where will all the time go when you need to focus on who is going to manufacture your company’s product?
So, if I had to report one key takeaway from that advice, it would be to limit your social media use as a business owner. This could probably be seen as unpopular advice, but I can explain why you should likely not use as many platforms as you are trying to use currently (if you are on multiple platforms).
Argument one as for using TikTok, along with other platforms, is that they increase your visibility as a business, or at least has the potential to do so. Perhaps it exposes your business to new customers. This could potentially be an advantage.
Argument two for using TikTok and other platforms is that they provide a novel, new way for you to interact with customers and potential new customers. This can allow for a new channel/avenue of communication between you and them.
Argument three for using TikTok and other platforms is that they increase the number of people talking about your product, given that they can “share” and “like” your content. This will, according to this argument, give your business more of a positive reputation and this, in turn, will drive new customers towards your business.
I do not think these arguments are convincing, given the current state of affairs. Most businesses, especially small ones, are taxed already, and asking them to now have a social media presence is like asking them to do something they obviously have no time for: it makes little sense. I do think some of the arguments can sustain themselves for a little while, but time will tell. Time already has told us that a lot of successful technology companies can go under. The competition between these technology companies has become fierce, and it can only be expected to become fiercer as time goes along.
A viable strategy as long as you understand certain things
One thing to understand is that you will not likely get the tons of customers you were hoping for from one social media platform alone. You will have to perform more market analysis, more hard thinking, more putting on your sales cap, potentially more cold-calling, etc., to become successful in today’s marketplace. This is not a joke – I say this with complete sincerity.
A social media platform that claims to do all this work for you is likely either hiding something, or it is not telling the truth. So you should never put all your eggs in one basket, as the proverb goes, and trust these companies with your hard earned time. Because time, honestly, is a commodity in today’s world (some would say it has always been a commodity, but that is irrelevant).
The second thing you should understand about social media is that it likely does not achieve the goals you want it to achieve for your business. There is a reason some are skeptical about the social media use that has spiked worldwide in recent years. It is because there are other, human costs to social media. This is not to say that your business should not use social media, but rather, I do want to emphasize that social media comes with embracing certain ethical risks that may not be in line with your company values. Social media has been shown to increase psychological distress sometimes for people. This is not a consequence I would personally want my business to cause.
So, when you think about using TikTok for your business in 2021, think about the human costs, the capital it would take to realize a successful TikTok campaign, and whether or not it would actually work to undertake this campaign. There are many ways for these social media companies to monetize your content, yet the unfortunate/sad thing is that they are essentially taking your time and profiting from that. Yes, you heard that correctly.
Regardless, if you do use TikTok for your business content, or any other social media platform, for that matter, keep in mind that your content is likely going to be glanced at or ignored by people. However, there’s a solution for this, you can services such as SocialBoosting to grow your TikTok account and reach wider audiences.
An example is how the average attention span of people has been lessening significantly in recent years. Some attribute this to the speed at which data moves. Some attribute it to social media in particular. Many would say that being in the information age is what caused this.
All three of these factors may contribute to why and how the average human attention span is declining, not in absolute terms (meaning that it is possible to reclaim our attention, collectively and individually).
It is thus important to realize that a social media campaign is not going to make or break your business, though it is more likely the case that if you solely focus your efforts on social media and not other essential business tasks, your business might be more likely to fail.
Thus, adopters of new technology always undertake a risk. TikTok is one such technology, and it should be treated with caution, as with any new technology. That is why the FDA was slow (relatively) to approve COVID-19 vaccines. That is why we have controls in place, in short, in our societies, that will help us to avoid adverse consequences. I know of no such controls for the social media industry, and that is somewhat responsible for eating up our attention, collectively and individually.
Perhaps I have convinced you not to use TikTok for business purposes. Perhaps I have not. Either way, I hope to have educated you on the risks and potential benefits of using social media platforms such as TikTok. There are people out there who have learned a lot on TikTok. Whether that is information they could have gained through other avenues, I do not know, nor do I have the time or inclination to investigate. However, I do know there are potential benefits and risks to concentrating marketing efforts on social media alone. Yet it can be useful for business owners to use such media platforms, just with the caution I have provided here in this article.
The aim of this article is not to convince one person to perform a certain action, yet it does contain information that is potentially viewed as negative about social media. This information does not conflict with currently available facts about social media. Keep in mind that many businesses do attribute their success to social media. Of course, many businesses would not even be around if it were not for social media (including Facebook and the other major sites).
However, this does not mean that your business will be as profitable as Facebook or other major companies. Major innovation, I postulate, takes engagement on a consistent basis, and this, if accomplished on social media, would be a feat worth celebrating.
Yet, there are many other avenues on which we as individuals can work, some of these being the typical brick-and-mortar store, or when offering our services on different markets, such as localization services. It could potentially benefit from TikTok, yet it is difficult to say whether all of the cautionary advice about social media would still apply. I think it would still apply.
In this article, I hope to have shown the nuts and bolts (informationally speaking) of using social media platforms such as TikTok for your business.