How to use TikTok as a small creative business – the basics
Yes, another thing to get your head around. But TikTok is fun! And as a visual video-based app, it has so much potential for creatives like you, plus it can put you in front of a whole new audience. We’re here to help you get your head around how TikTok works, starting with the basics, share some ideas for your first TikTok video and show you how to find the content you actually want to see (and not just celebs dancing with their dogs, although that’s always good too.)
How to start using TikTok
With Gen Z dancing to the latest hits or a viral video, it’s easy to open TikTok and think, “this isn’t the platform for me”. However, there’s a whole community of small businesses and a love for handmade on this app. Here are some tips to get you started on the right track…
- Ignore the videos on TikTok’s home page and go straight for the ‘Discover’ page.
- Type in keywords for creative small businesses – try folksyseller, handmade and arttok (which has 1.6 billion views).
- Watch some of the videos related to these searches that catch your eye.
- If you like the videos, start following the accounts of their creators.
The more you show TikTok what you like through your searches, the better your home page becomes. Once you start to like, comment, follow or share content you enjoy, you’ll start to see more content tailored to your interests. You’ll start seeing more accounts that you actually like in your ‘Suggested Accounts’ section too.
We’d recommend following FolksyHQ too, naturally :)
Before starting out on your TikTok adventure, you’ll need to set up your profile. It’s good to think about these things right at the beginning, especially your username, so that your profile aligns with your brand identity and anyone who follows you elsewhere on social can easily find you on here too. You’ll need to set up:
We’d highly recommend choosing the same username for TikTok as on other social media channels, and ideally the same as your Folksy shop – assuming it’s available. If it’s already taken, try something as close as possible to your Folksy shop name. Keeping a consistent username across all social media platforms is good for brand awareness and makes it easier for people to find you.
Tip: Even if you’re not sure you’re going to be using TikTok, it’s a good idea to set up an account now to make sure someone else doesn’t take your username.
Your profile picture
When setting your profile pic on TikTok, choose an image that shows either:
- your face
- your logo
- or a piece you’ve made
Going with one of these three options give viewers a good idea of who you are right off the bat.
Adding a bio helps people understand who you are and what you’re about – it’s similar to your Folksy shop tagline. Think about what you want to say here to draw in followers and potential customers. We’ve got loads of tips in this article on how to write short, snappy bios for your creative business that are full of heart and personality – https://blog.folksy.com/2021/04/28/how-to-write-an-engaging-usp
Just like on Instagram, TikTok allows you to add a clickable link in your profile. When people tap this link it opens a new page on their device. Consider where you want to send them.
If you have a personal TikTok account, you can add a link to either your Instagram or Youtube channel but you won’t be able to add a clickable link to your shop. (So if you choose to stick with a personal account, make sure you have a clickable link to your shop in your Instagram or Youtube bio instead.)
If you have a TikTok business account, you can add a link to your Folksy shop, Instagram, Youtube or even your email address for customer enquiries. Making a business account is free, easy to set up and it offers more features, such as analytics and promotion options, that you don’t get with a personal account.
How to find your way round TikTok
‘For You’ page
The ‘For You’ page is part of the home page on TikTok. This is where you see recommended videos and where many people spend countless hours scrolling.
Just like on Instagram, hashtags are a way to both find content and get seen. Type in hashtags to find specific types of videos or content, and add hashtags to your own posts to get them in front of more people – 2-5 hashtags should be more than enough to expose your videos to new people without overwhelming your caption.
If you’re not sure what hashtags are, start here https://blog.folksy.com/2015/09/10/how-to-use-instagram-hashtags and then head over here for more suggestions https://blog.folksy.com/2016/07/16/instagram-hashtags-craft-handmade (these articles are both about Instagram but most of the info applies to TikTok too).
Tip: Use the hashtags #folksyshop or #folksyseller to find other Folksy shops and to interact with the Folksy team!
Popular hashtags on TikTok
Some of the most popular hashtags for artists and creatives on TikTok at the moment are:
#smallbusinesscheck #handmade #handmadeuk #foryou #businesscheck #supportme #foryoupage #artistsupportpledge #artforyou #ukartist #sketchbooktour #clayart #shopsmall #textileart #workinprogress #onmydesk
There are rumours that adding the hashtags #foryou and #foryoupage could help put your video on people’s ‘For You’ page, with the potential to be seen by thousands of TikTok users – which could mean new customers and sales.
These are really easy to find. Just click the ‘Discover’ page and scroll through to see the hashtags that are currently trending.
Posting on TikTok
TikTok is a video-based platform, so when posting your own content aim to share the best quality videos you can. You can film your video directly on TikTok and use their built-in effects, filters and sounds – or you can upload one from your camera library (which means you can film and tweak everything in advance using your favourite editing app). Phone cameras are so good now that should be able to film all your TikTok videos on your mobile, but even with the latest phone, you still need to make sure you have:
- good lighting
- an interesting setup or idea
- a popular audio or a voiceover explaining what you’re doing or showing
To make and post your first video on TikTok:
- Log into TikTok
- Tap + at the bottom of the screen.
- Upload content from your photo library or use the TikTok camera.
- If using the TikTok camera, add Sounds, Effects, Filters or other camera tools. (If you’re uploading a pre-recorded video, you can add all these after.)
- Start your video by pressing the Record button.
- Record your content.
- Tap the ✔️ tick mark.
- Make additional edits on the post page.
- Post your video!
TikTok has loads of hints and tips on how to create videos here – https://support.tiktok.com/en/using-tiktok/creating-videos
Ideas for your first TikTok videos
Got that ‘blank piece of paper’ feeling and don’t know where to start? We’re here to help with five ideas for your first TikTok videos that make the most of your creativity! Don’t overthink it, just go for it and add the hashtag #firsttiktok to get some extra support! We need to take our own advice here and get posting too ;)
1. Your creative process
People on TikTok love to watch process videos. Use that to your advantage. Record yourself while you make your work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Take this video by Folksy seller Evie Rose and Co…
2. New products
People love new things. So what’s the latest item for sale on your Folksy shop or is there something you’ve just made that you’re about to list? Show it off! Tell people where to find you and make sure to add a link to your Folksy shop in your TikTok bio (see our tips above).
In this little gem, Teodora Paintings gives us tour of her studio shelves stacked with hand-painted floral boxes.
3. Tips for small businesses
There are lots of creative businesses on TikTok, so why not share some of the best tips you’ve learned along the way or your observations on running a small business? Have a look at some of the many small business hashtags like #magicalmakers #smallbusinesstipsuk #smallbiztipsandtricks #ukbusinesscheck and #smallbusiness #smallbusinesscheck #smallbizstuff #smallbizmarketing
4. Packing up orders
People love to see how creative peeps use their skills to parcel up orders. So try filming yourself lining up all your recent orders, adding a sticker to a parcel or using some of the amazing recycle and reuse ideas in this post? #packandorderwithme is a good hashtag to use here.
5. Have fun!
Have fun with the content you make. There are always new trends circulating on TikTok. Spend a few minutes scrolling to see what people are loving, and use your creativity to come up with something that might capture their attention. Keep your own ‘voice’ and brand identity in mind, but don’t be afraid to do something a bit silly either – as long as you feel comfortable with it, go for it!
One idea is to look at what’s trending in ‘Sounds’ on TikTok and use the most popular audio and make a video using a viral soundtrack. The audio MadeWithMud used in this post is currently trending on TikTok (although by the time this blog is posted, it’s probably moved on to the next new thing!).
These are all just suggestions. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself!
We’re really loving TikTok at the moment, as it feels fresh and fun, and an inspiring place to spend time. We hope you give it a go!
Join the Folksy Community on TikTok
There are lots of Folksy folk already on TikTok. Follow us @FolksyHQ to see who we’re following and check out these other sellers too…