TikTok isn’t just a social media app for mindless entertainment. For creators, the platform can also be used as a tool to generate some income.
There are many ways you can make money on TikTok. If you are looking to earn some cash, one of the easiest ways is to promote and sell products on the platform. With more than 1 billion monthly active users, the short-form video app can help you increase sales, whether you are selling physical goods or digital downloads and services.
Need more convincing? Read our guide below to learn why you should consider promoting your products on TikTok, what you can sell, as well as tips to start selling.
Why sell on TikTok?
It’s a powerful brand engagement tool
TikTok’s built-in features allow you to easily produce content that’s highly engaging and fun to watch. From adding trending sounds to your videos, to creating your own branded hashtags and including them in your captions, there are endless ways to capture your potential customers’ attention and interact with them.
It has a creator-friendly algorithm
TikTok is known for helping users find content and creators that they’ll love. It recommends videos to users based on a number of factors, including videos they’ve liked or shared, accounts they follow, and comments they’ve posted. Even without a huge following or a big budget, if you’re consistently creating high-quality content, you could still reach thousands of viewers on TikTok.
It’s a growing search engine for younger audiences
With Gen Z being more visually driven than other generations, many of them are now using TikTok as a search engine. Instead of going to Google, younger internet users are turning to TikTok to find information they are looking for, as well as to research their options before buying something. If you have a product, promoting it on TikTok could help you get it in front of this large group of consumers with rapidly rising spending power.
What can you sell on TikTok?
Beyond physical merchandise, which you can sell by setting up a TikTok Shop, you can use TikTok to promote and boost sales of your digital products and services. Here are a few examples:
Whether it’s a resume sample, a wedding invite template, or an expense tracker spreadsheet, templates are one of the most low-effort digital downloads you can create. To start selling, promote your template on TikTok by sharing its features and benefits to the end-user.
Coaching and consulting sessions
Whether your expertise is in social media marketing, graphic design, or nutrition, you can offer one-on-one coaching or consulting sessions to those interested in learning from you. To establish authority in your field, post regularly on TikTok and share useful information with your audience. In your videos, you can direct viewers to a link where they can schedule private coaching sessions with you.
A membership site is an exclusive space where your most loyal followers can discuss various topics, interact with each other, and gain access to you. To encourage subscriptions, you can give away useful tips and information in your TikTok videos, prompting viewers to purchase their membership if they’d like to gain more insider knowledge.
As much as it’s an app for entertainment, TikTok is an excellent platform for learning something new, whether it be useful phrases from different languages, home improvement tips, or interesting history facts.
If you have an online course, you can promote it on TikTok by creating bite-sized videos where you give away tips for free. These videos should relate to your online course topic and entice viewers to sign up for your course.
Kat Norton, better known as @miss.excel, is a good example of a creator who’s successfully driven sales for her online course through TikTok. In June 2020, she started posting on TikTok, where she shares tips for using Microsoft Excel. Within four days, one of her videos hit 100,000 views. This inspired her to create her first online course on Excel and sell it to her growing audience. “I already had about 300,000 followers by the time I launched my course, so sales just flowed in,” she said in an interview. By April 2021, she had her first six-figure month, earning over $105,000.
6 Steps to start selling on TikTok
1. Identify your niche
Before you begin selling a product on TikTok, you need figure out what you are good at, where your interests lie, and what sets you apart from others. To achieve long-term success, you’ll also need to understand the target market for your product.
For example, if you want to sell a downloadable monthly budget template, you must first identify your target audience. They could be young adults looking to save money and be more mindful of their spending habits. Now, dig deep into their demographic characteristics. They may be looking to pay off school loans, or to understand how income tax works. With these in mind, you can create the template and a complementary TikTok content strategy accordingly.
2. Create engaging content
You can start by experimenting with different types of short-form videos. Brainstorm ideas and evaluate if they align with your product and target audience.
Create videos that your audience may search for. For example, if you are selling a monthly budget template, you may want to make a video about “how to budget as a student.” Remember, your goal is to create engaging content that solves your audience’s problems. That’s how you can build authority, and make your audience desire your services and products.
This may take a while, but TikTok equips you with analytical tools to help you understand your audience and how your content is consumed. Use those reports to inform your future videos.
3. Build social proof
An excellent way to stand out from the competition on TikTok is by establishing social proof, which is about building trust among your target audience. This can come in the form of glowing social media mentions, or positive reviews, ratings, and testimonials on product pages.
91% of consumers read reviews before buying something online. So if customers start vouching for your product, you are inching a step closer to social-proofing your product and selling more.
To generate social proof on TikTok, you can create videos that elicit a response from your followers to encourage commenting. Videos that are entertaining, informational, and relatable can also prompts likes and shares.
Pro tip: Collaborate with other creators to gain access to their followers and audience. This helps build each other’s social proof and can potentially increase your sales.
4. Invest in paid advertisements
If you have the budget, you may consider investing in TikTok ads to reach more potential customers beyond organic means. Since 36% of TikTok users are aged between 18 and 24 , you can leverage the app to advertise to customers of that age group.
5. Diversify your offering
Once you get the hang of TikTok, you can sell more by diversifying your product offering. For example, you may consider selling additional products based on customer requests and feedback.
6. Rinse and repeat what works
Finally, study what works and repeat your strategy. Run multiple iterations, whether it is your content or the ads you place. If something performs well, stick to it and continue with the same process, until TikTok analytics show that your campaigns could be doing better.
Finally, how not to sell on TikTok
TikTok can be a great tool to help you increase your sales revenue. However, if you begin to spam your followers with salesy content, or try to promote your product at every instance, either TikTok will ban you, or your followers will get fed up. So, avoid making this mistake. Instead, focus on honing your product offering and bringing real value to your customers.