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Five TikTok ideas for small businesses

Microvideo has changed the way we enjoy browsing channels like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. And Reels and TikToks have changed the way business think about - and do - marketing in 2023.

Attention spans are shorter than ever, making it challenging to capture and retain people's attention. And microvideo, which is a short-form video content that lasts no more than a minute, has emerged as an effective way to engage audiences and create brand awareness without stretching attention to consume single pieces of content for minutes on end.

Platforms like TikTok and Reels have exploded in popularity, providing a steady stream of engaging content that anyone with a mobile phone can access. And it's given businesses of every size a unique opportunity to showcase products and services in a creative and engaging way. The really brilliant thing about microvideo is that it isn't something that only big brands or businesses with big budgets can do. This is a marketing tactic that is open to all.

TikTok is probably the microvideo of choice and it's a really effective way to reach and engage audiences. Yes, it is really popular with Gen Z and maybe with any teenagers at home - but it's an easy app to download and use and it's become a really good source of information for many of us. TikTok particularly has a powerful search function and its ability to serve up a seemingly endless stream of related content can be a huge time-suck... or deliver many snackable, really useful, watchable pieces of information. Reels - the Instagram lookalike version - is good for searching for keyword-specific content too, but its responses are slower.

But TikTok and Reels are often overlooked by services businesses and local high-street hospitality and retail places who are planning creative content and social media marketing. But this is a huge shame because posting to these channels is (sshh!) a really good SEO tool and will help visibility on places like Google Maps. Plus, it is a sure-fire way to get new eyes on your business.

I've just come off the phone with a lovely business who worked through my TikTok training, and they found the list of prompts really helpful. I work with a steady stream of independent business and ambitious start-ups, so I'm sharing some of the prompts here as coming up with ideas for TikToks and Reels can be something we all struggle with on a Friday afternoon!

So, here they are: my Top Five Ideas for TikTok when you're not sure what your small business should be sharing.

  1. Behind-the-scenes: Showcasing BTS footage of how your products are made or how your services are delivered is an easy way to give your audience a glimpse into your business's process. These don't need to be super long, helpful or full of explanation. Just think about something you do every day - or for every services client or coffee-shop order - and make a microfilm. Just 5-6 seconds filmed on your phone is an easy one to start with.

  2. Product demos: Can you create a short demo of your products or services in action? If your audience can see something up close, working or being assembled it will give a better understanding of what you offer. This is a great way for Services businesses to introduce new offers, team members or locations which all helps in establishing and growing customer relationships.

  3. Customer testimonials: Yes! People want to know who is already working with you or buying from you! Why? Because it helps to cement credibility and build trust. Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your business by leaving reviews for you and feature these testimonials in your TikTok videos.

  4. Education: Every business can create educational content that is watchable and maybe even shareable. Think about what is unique to your business, related to your industry, or the products or services you sell which position your business as a go-to place for something specific, or a thought leader in your field of expertise. This content provides huge value to your audience and should be relatively easy to brainstorm ideas for - because we should all have a handle on our business USP. Local hospitality and retail businesses can also share educational content, stories about supplier relationships have become a little over-done this year but we're naturally curious as humans and we love to see up close how something works. And services providers like coaches or consultants have a golden opportunity to talk to camera and share wisdoms and areas of specialism that are unique to you.

  5. Before-and-after transformations: TikTok and Reels have overtaken Instagram grids and Facebook feeds as the place to share transformation photographs. Hairdressers, cosmetic dentists and garden designers do this kind of content really well. But any process itself can be transformational, so if your business offers transformational products or services, create before-and-after videos to showcase the results. If you make wedding cakes or coffee shop goodies, if you stage homes for selling or clear clutter, or if you make amazing, intricate models from tiny pieces of balsa wood... there is a before and after story here where the end result looks nothing like its ingredients or starting point. Reels and TikToks that show markets being set up and traders, decorating overalls and room makeovers, or activities class set-ups complete with kit will all help keep your business top-of-mind. Content like this is classic BTS (behind the scenes) so it doesn't need to be slick or polished or making use of trending challenges. The objectives for content like this is to be visible. And if you can remind people of the processes behind what you do - and keep your business bookmarked for future reference while you're at it - that's a bonus

Social media strategy has changed the way we market our businesses - but these platforms are constantly changing and microvideo is probably one of the biggest changes to the way we consume digital content since Facebook was launched.

Platforms like TikTok and Reels are not just for the big brands with even bigger budgets, they provide an excellent opportunity to leverage microvideo content and showcase your brand's personality and values. Wherever your business is based, and whatever product or service you need to tell people about.

Tag me @thehammondagency or @the_storyboard_collective so I can see how you get on! And for the whole month of May, my Reels and TikTok training is available at a bargain price and includes Q&A and insights that are unique to your business, sector and location. Check it out here or drop me a message if you want me to include something specific in your training.

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