On December 15th, we were joined by TikTok and several Austin-based business owners who have had great success on the platform to chat about how small businesses can creatively and authentically connect with audiences around the world. In attendance for the live stream were over 140 members of our community, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, local officials, and academics.
We have all had to pivot and evolve this year, and many small businesses have discovered how to use TikTok to bring joy and reach new audiences. In her opening remarks, Chamber President and CEO Laura Huffman encouraged our small business community to take advantage of newer digital marketing tools like TikTok:
”As we all evolve and leverage the tools that we've got, establishing an online platform like TikTok really is important. You'll reach new audiences and people will see you and your business in a whole new and different way.“
Becca Sawyer, Head of Small Business & Operations with TikTok shared some tips and tricks to effectively leverage the platform to connect with and reach your audience. With 70% of customers expecting connected and personalized experiences, small businesses can leverage organic content on TikTok to drive awareness and delight their customers.
Small business panelist Gabriela Lopez shared how they were able to pivot during the pandemic, using TikTok to keep her business running:
“We opened during the pandemic. We opened and then we got shut down after a month or so, but we were able to do to-go and grow our to-go business because of TikTok.”
Erika Thompson noted that she was able to rapidly reach a broad audience, transforming her business:
“TikTok is such a great platform that really champions creativity and authenticity...It just changed my business overnight. It was the best opportunity and experience that I could have ever asked for as a small business owner.”
Gold Rush Vinyl's Caren Kelleher echoed how TikTok can lead to overnight success:
“It's wild. The first couple videos we put up I was like ‘Wow, there are a lot of views on them.’ I went to bed one night and when woke up in the morning, I discovered our website crashed. We didn't even have our website listed in our TikTok account...that many fans of vinyl went out of their way to find us on Google and hit our website and hit our order page thinking they could buy vinyl that it crashed our website. I was totally unprepared for that, that people would come into our business that way.”
Speaking about the unique culture of the TikTok community, Caren added:
“Understand it is a different platform than other social media communities because it is very community-driven...I've been shocked that we've had no trolls or negative content on our feed. The people who do stop to leave comments are generally very excited about what you're posting.”
So what are you waiting for? Unleash your creative side, and start using TikTok to tell your small business's story today!
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