“Should I be using TikTok for my business?” This question comes up a lot at the moment in various business groups and communities and it’s certainly something I’ve been asked by trainers.

I think people have genuine FOMO (“Fear of missing out” if you missed out on that acronym!) about this social media platform. After all, isn’t everyone using it these days?

Although it seems like the social media platform to be on right now, there are a few things to consider before you jump on board, the biggest issue being that, yes, TikTok is hugely popular but is it where your next clients spend their time? That’s the question!

Why is TikTok big news for businesses?

Stats about TikTok at the time of writing (April 2022) show that the platform is now available in 154 different countries and has over a billion monthly active users. That equates to almost a quarter of the world’s 4.66 billion active internet users.

Right now, the only larger platforms are Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

TikTok users love the app, spending an average of 52 minutes on it every single day (or 60 minutes if you live in the UK) so engagement is definitely high.

The platform drew in an estimated $4.9 billion in revenue in 2021, representing a 142% increase year-on-year.

These are just a few of the stats that reinforce TikTok’s appeal but the question remains – is it the right place to market your training business?

 

Who are TikTok’s billion+ users?

I think understanding the demographics of TikTok is crucial before you can decide whether you need to have a business presence on the platform.

If we look at the UK TikTok audience first, the audience breaks down like this:

  • Approximately 25% of users are aged 15 to 25 years old
  • Nine per cent of internet users aged 26 to 35 use the app
  • A further nine per cent are aged 36 to 45
  • Only eight per cent of internet users over the age of 46 are on TikTok

Globally, 43% of TikTok’s users are between 18 and 24 years old. Only 3.4% of the audience is over 55.

Where do your clients fit in age-wise? In my experience, it’s rare to come across training decision-makers who are younger than 25. It’s not impossible, of course, but I would say it’s a small pool of people.

Still, if you do want to reach the under 25s then TikTok would be a good place to do this.

It’s also important to think about where your clients are based. TikTok’s biggest markets are China, the US, Indonesia and Brazil. There are estimated to be around 98 million TikTok users across Europe, which is a much smaller slice of the pie.

If you predominantly work with clients in one of the regions where TikTok is popular then you might want to consider using it but it may not be your best option for reaching clients in other parts of the world.

 

Why you might want to use TikTok for your business

The under-25 age group is often the one that homes in on the next big marketing trend. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all attracted younger users first and were seen as having little value to businesses but quickly became must-use marketing tools.

Many people believe the same will happen with TikTok, i.e. your audience isn’t there yet but they soon will be.

There is an argument that we should all start using TikTok for business now, learn with forgiving early(ish) adopters and build a presence before our competitors.

TikTok is known for having a highly effective algorithm, getting relevant content in front of the right users, and they’re quick to respond to requests for new features, as well as ditching features that don’t work.

We can see the influence of TikTok with the emergence of enhanced video features on other social platforms (think Instagram Reels, for example). It’s clear that the other socials see TikTok as a real competitor.

 

What sort of social media content do you want to create?

Deciding whether or not to build a business presence on TikTok may come down to where your time, money and energy are best spent.

TikTok is a video-based platform and while this potentially opens up a whole new level of connection with the audience, you’ll need to consider whether you have the resources to keep generating videos and also whether that’s what your clients want.

There’s no right or wrong here. If you love making videos or enjoy adding an extra splash of creativity to your content then TikTok could be the perfect platform to explore this.

TikTok is known for its fast-moving trends and there’s no doubt it gets people talking. But this can feed our FOMO as business owners.

Before you decide whether TikTok is the right place for your training business, I’d suggest thinking about the following:

  • What would you want to get out of using the platform for business?
    • Brand awareness?
    • New enquiries?
    • More clicks to your website?
    • Growing your reputation?
  • What sort of content would you want to share? (You don’t have to do videos of the latest TikTok dance trend!)
    • What would be valuable to your audience?
    • What kind of videos would your potential clients watch?
    • Why would they watch them?
    • What issues are they wrestling with and how can you help them?
  • How regularly can you commit to creating and posting content? Consistency is key.

I found a helpful starting guide to using TikTok for business from Social Media Examiner if you want to learn more about the platform.

 

Is it the right fit?

Personally, I’m not sure that TikTok is the right fit for every business. It’s a platform to try if you want to:

  • Target an audience under the age of 30
  • Expand awareness of your training business to a younger audience
  • Use videos regularly in your marketing
  • Try something new
  • Experiment with content and how to present it

You need to be prepared to share light-hearted brand videos, follow popular trends and talk about your training services in a fun and visually-pleasing way.

There are some household brands that do this brilliantly – Elf Cosmetics, The Washington Post, Gymshark, ESPN, Crocs, Fortnite and Reese’s all regularly show up on “Best of TikTok” lists – but I’m not convinced it’s where people will go if they’re looking for trainers.

You also need to think about how you’ll handle comments because they can be notoriously unpleasant. TikTok does offer various ways to limit commenting but spammy and offensive comments do reach even the most benign of content. Turning off or limiting comments may affect the reach of your posts so that’s something to keep an eye on.

 

Don’t let FOMO steer you!

I think the key point here is that you don’t have to be on TikTok just because you’re worried about missing out on the latest trend.

As always, it comes down to your clients. Where are they? How do they use social media? What content would they find valuable from you and where would they look for it?

It might not be as new and exciting but would LinkedIn or Facebook be a better fit for your social media marketing? Should you spend more time on blogging and email marketing and less time on social media?

Whatever you decide, let the data steer you, not FOMO!

Do you use TikTok for your training business? If so, what’s been your experience so far? What do you think are the pros and cons? I’d love to hear about TikTok success stories from trainers 🙂 

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