Getting the best out of TikTok

What happens when the worlds of TikTok trends and British small businesses collide? That’s what Funding Circle wanted to discover after research of 1,100 SMEs revealed that 84% know marketing is crucial, yet over a fifth (21%) don’t do any marketing at all. To help turbocharge and tell their stories in new and inspiring ways, Funding Circle paired four SME customers with some of the UK’s most inventive and quirky creators on TikTok. The result is a suite of light-hearted and leftfield clips that includes dogs lapping up ‘puppyccinos’, a festive after-hours rendition of Silent Night in a trendy London café and a local British foodie discovering her love for French pastries.

The unlikely pairings included:

  • A quirky music-centric London café titled Music & Beans, right, paired with indie artist and TikTok content creator Alto Key Music
  • A traditional Leeds, French bakery called Pany Chaud, main picture, paired with local foodie and TikTok content creator Eat with Fizza
  • A Yorkshire-based dog-friendly café and spa called Kibble Bakery, paired with transformation coach and feel-good TikTok content creator Magnus Davies 
  • A healthy revamp of everyone’s favourite meal/snack, London-based cereal retailers Brave Foods, right, paired with one of London’s favourite, go-to sources for city inspiration, TikTok content creator London by Kseniia

Offering tips on how to embrace social media as part of your business, TikToker Magnus Davies shares five dos and don’ts to selling your business in unexpected ways:

  1. Hashtags: Using trendy hashtags that are relevant to your business, can ensure that your content gets a higher chance of reaching a wider audience
  2. Songs: Music and TikTok go hand in hand, pair your content with trendy songs and sounds that are popular on TikTok order to boost the visibility of your videos
  3. Consistency: By posting on a more regular basis, you will begin to see which content performs better than others and be able to produce that content more frequently, maximizing your potential reach
  4. Location: TikTok shows you content that correlates to your current location. That is a big advantage for small, local businesses. Localise your videos as much as possible to attract locals to your content and products!
  5. Timing: Give some thought as to what time of day you post your content on. Posting in the evenings can be beneficial as that is the period in which TikTok users are the most active and more likely to come across your content

The TikTok and SME collaboration is one example of how small businesses are being inspired to think differently in a challenging economic climate. Tina Kebe, Owner, Director and Company Secretary for Pany Chaud said, “As a young business reliant on footfall in a highly competitive market, we need to get our name out there and people seeing our stunning bakery creations. We know lots about baking, but nothing about TikTok, but it’s a place where so many potential customers go for food inspiration. Working with Fiza showed us how to think differently and tell our story in ways that are eye-catching, authentic, and fun. It’s changed how we present ourselves and drive sales.”

Alexander Allen, Managing Director at Funding Circle said, “Starting and running a small business is extremely challenging, and marketing often gets neglected or becomes an afterthought. Even if an SME is born from ambition and hard work, not everyone is equipped with the time or support to attract new customers and drive growth. TikTok is just one example of new and compelling ways SMEs can reach new audiences and customers by showcasing their people, passion, and products. These unlikely content collaborations and tips from TikTok creators can inspire other small businesses – from bakers to builders – to think differently about self-promotion. It can be easily done with personality, wit, and charm, without breaking the bank and provides a return of investment that gives a competitive edge”.

As the SME market continues to grow, the most popular business sectors according to Funding Circle research include property and construction (20%), retail (15.4%), manufacturing and engineering (11.1%) and professional and business support (10.7%). The regions with the highest number of SMEs are Greater London (19.2%), the South West (14.8%) and the North West (12.2%).

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