How To Start Selling Your Products On TikTok & Skyrocket Sales
The most downloaded social media app in the world is also the app with the least competition for small business sales. It may pay well to get in on the ground floor.
You may be wondering which social media app is right to market your small business’s latest products, or to sell influencer merch. A quick internet search will suggest TikTok for your eCommerce needs, and for good reason.
TikTok is the newest popular social media platform, and has quickly become the most downloaded app in the world. The app has the most user engagement, and the most in-app purchases compared to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. 49% of TikTok users reported buying something they saw on the platform, with the majority being Millennial and Gen Z users, according to a recent Adweek survey. Even though there’s so much potential for making sales on TikTok, so far only 9% of marketers report using the platform in 2021. That makes TikTok the platform with the least amount of business competition, too.
If you want to learn how to sell products on TikTok, redirect users to an online store, and tips for selling on TikTok, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
How To Sell On TikTok
The majority of TikTok users are in Gen Z, so if you’re not within that generation, you may need a quick rundown on what this social media platform is and why it’s so popular.
TikTok is a short-form video creation and sharing app. The social media platform shows each user a customized feed based on a powerful algorithm that analyzes their individual interests and the videos they have previously engaged with.
For example, a new TikTok user may choose “jewelry” as an area of interest when setting up their profile. Then, the more they watch videos about making jewelry, the more videos they are shown about making jewelry. The intuitive algorithm, which “learns what you like,” is one of the main reasons why TikTok is so popular.
To sell on TikTok, you need a TikTok for Business account, which is different from a personal account. With a TikTok business account, which is free to make, you can:
- Get weekly and monthly user insights
- Gain access to exclusive TikTok sounds
- Find creative guidance from TikTok’s Business Creative Hub
- Connect and collaborate with other creators on the TikTok Creator Marketplace
- Add a link to your own online store in your business account profile
If you are an influencer looking to sell your own merch, skip to the second step to switch from your personal account to a business account. Your account will look the same to your followers, but you will have all the added features of a business account. It’s free to switch from a personal TikTok account to a business TikTok account.
Step 1: Download the app from your phone’s app store and create an account.
If you have a personal account, consider making a separate one just for your business. If you are an influencer looking to sell your own merch, skip this first step.
Step 2: Click the three horizontal lines on the top right of your profile page.
Step 3: Click on “Manage Account.”
Step 4: Click on “Switch to Business Account.”
Then, click “Next.”
Step 5: Choose the category that best fits your business.
After switching to your business account, you can edit your profile. Add your website link to your TikTok business profile, so users can easily access your website from your profile.
To sell on TikTok, eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and Square Online require you to have a TikTok Business Center account and a TikTok Ads Manager account, in addition to a TikTok business account. With TikTok Business Center and TikTok Ads Manager, you can advertise on TikTok, collect data from ad campaigns, and allow other people working on your business to access user insights.
Step 6: Set up your TikTok Business Center account.
First, go to the TikTok Business Center page in a web browser. Right now the TikTok Business Center is not available on mobile. In the top right corner of the browser page, you will see a “Sign Up” button. Click on it and log into the TikTok business account that you have just created (or converted from a personal account to a business account, if you are an influencer learning how to sell merch on TikTok.)
Step 7: Authorize TikTok for Business to access your profile information.
Step 8: Enter your email address for more TikTok Business Center functionalities.
Step 9: Name your Business Center and choose the time zone your business operates in.
After adding in all your signup information, you should land on a welcome page like the one in the image below.
You may go through the welcome messaging if you’d like. At the end of it, you should see your TikTok Business Center Overview in your admin dashboard.
Step 10: Set up your TikTok Ads Manager account.
Start by going to the TikTok Ads Manager registration page in a web browser. Enter your business information and register.
Step 11: Enter billing information.
You have to pay to run ad campaigns on TikTok, which is why you have to enter billing information. You don’t need to enter any debit or credit card information to finish registering for a TikTok Ads Manager account, so you don’t need to worry about being charged any money until you actually pay for an ad campaign.
If you decide to run a TikTok ad campaign, you can specify a campaign budget and duration.
How To Connect Shopify & TikTok
Shopify has partnered with TikTok to offer business owners and influencers a social eCommerce solution called TikTok Shopping. With this powerful new feature, Shopify store owners can add subtle product links within their videos.
When viewers click on these links, they are shown the exact products promoted in the video they’re watching, while the video is still playing.
After clicking on the product listing from within the TikTok app, viewers will be redirected to the TikTok business account owner’s Shopify store for checkout.
The checkout process is pretty standard once users reach the merchant’s website.
Users land directly on the specific product page and add the product they saw on the video to their online shopping cart. Then, they simply check out as they normally would.
Offering a streamlined shopping and checkout experience like TikTok Shopping is one way to reduce online shopping cart abandonment. For more ways to make sure your customers complete their transactions, read our post, How To Reduce & Reclaim Abandoned Shopping Carts.
Right now, Shopify merchants have to request early access to the TikTok Shopping functionality through the TikTok app for Shopify. The following steps show you how to get the TikTok for Shopify app. The app will connect your Shopify store to your TikTok business account.
Step 1: Find the TikTok app on the Shopify app store. Then, click “Add App.”
Step 2: You will be redirected to the Shopify website and prompted to log onto your Shopify account. Log on.
You should see the TikTok app under Sales Channels in your Shopify Admin dashboard.
Step 3: Connect your TikTok business account. Then, connect your TikTok Business Center and TikTok Ads Manager account.
As you complete each step of setup, a green checkmark will appear to let you know you’ve completed the step successfully.
Step 4: Add your business’s Terms of Service and Refund Policy by clicking “Add Terms.”
Step 5: Choose the target country for your catalog from the dropdown menu and click “Confirm.”
Step 6: Click “Manage Products” and follow the prompt to choose which items you want to sync from your Shopify product catalog to your TikTok storefront.
Step 7: Once you’ve chosen everything you’d like to display on your TikTok storefront, click on “More Actions,” then “Add available channel(s).”
Step 8: A popup window like the one in the image below will appear.
Check the TikTok option. Then click “Make products available.” After that, you can return to your setup page. You should see a green checkmark indicating that your Shopify catalog has successfully synced.
It can take 3-5 days for your products to be reviewed and accepted.
Step 9: Click “Connect” and follow the prompts to connect your TikTok business account. Once this step is completed, you should see a green checkmark showing that you successfully connected your Shopify products catalog to your TikTok business account.
Step 10: Click “Finish Set Up.”
Once your setup is complete, manage your TikTok storefront from your TikTok Business Center.
How To Connect Square & TikTok
Square has also partnered with TikTok to offer a TikTok Shopping integration for Square Online store owners.
To take advantage of this brand new feature, you need to have a TikTok business account, a TikTok Business Center, a TikTok Ads Manager account, and a Square Online store. If you don’t have an online store right now, or you’re thinking of switching to another eCommerce solution, read our in-depth review of Square Online.
This is how to connect your Square Online store and TikTok, including TikTok Shopping.
Step 1: TikTok Shopping is in the beta testing phase, so Square store owners need to join this waitlist.
If your business is eligible for TikTok Shopping, you will be notified via email within 3-5 days. If you do not receive an email, it means that your business is not yet eligible for the program. Soon, though, all Square Online store owners will be able to connect to a TikTok business account.
Step 2: From your Square Online dashboard, go to “Account and Settings,” then “Online Sales Channels.” You’ll see TikTok for Business listed as a sales channel. Click “Setup.”
Step 3: Submit your business’s information to use TikTok for Business. These types of products and services are generally not eligible for the TikTok integration as per TikTok’s advertising policies.
Step 4: Sync your TikTok for Business account to your Square store to activate the integration process.
Step 5: Authorize Square to connect with TikTok for Business.
Step 6: Next, connect your TikTok Business Center and TikTok Ads Manager account.
Step 7: Under Data Sharing, click “Create New.” This generates a TikTok pixel, which is a pre-made piece of code that connects your TikTok business account to your Square account.
Enable advanced matching to improve your visibility and conversion rates.
Step 8: Under Catalog, click “Create New.” This will sync your Square product catalog to your TikTok business account.
Step 9: Once your catalog is synced, click “Finish Setup” at the bottom right side of the page.
How To Advertise On TikTok
You can advertise on TikTok by setting up a formal ad campaign using TikTok Ads Manager, or you can design your own social media campaign to organically drive sales conversions. Running a TikTok Ads Manager campaign is not a light financial commitment, though.
- Campaign Level: At this level, you define your overall end goal of your ads, and the overall budget for your ad efforts. You must set a minimum budget of $50 to run a campaign, and every ad you run is part of a campaign. This means that, no matter what, if you want to run ads on TikTok, you must dedicate at least $50 to start.
- Ad Group Level: At this level, you define setting such as your target audience(s), ad group budget, ad placement schedule and ad duration. You can have multiple ad groups within a campaign, which means you can create specific ads for different audiences you are trying to reach. You have to allocate at least $20 per ad group per day. So, if you spend $20 per ad group, then run that ad group for 30 days, your total cost for running your ad group would be $600.
- Individual Ad Level: At this level, you (finally) create individual video ads. TikTok works on a bidding system, where you bid against your competitors for ad space on the platform. Your bid is the price you are willing to pay per 1000 impressions. There are four different bidding methods, which you can read about in more detail here.
If you are an established brand or small business, consider running a paid ad campaign. The cost of setup is steep, but the payoff can be worth it. Whether you decide to run paid ads or try to reach new customers organically, the following steps are generally how to create an ad campaign.
First, choose your campaign objective. In this case, your campaign objective includes getting viewers to your website and increasing online sales.
Next, hone in on your target audience. This will help you figure out what kind of content to create. With Ads Manager, you can define a custom audience based on factors such as age, gender, location, and interests. You can also choose to show your ads to lookalike audiences, which are users who are close to your target audience.
Then, decide how much you want to spend on your ad campaign. Ads Manager allows you to set a cap on how much you spend on your campaigns.
Next, create your video ad. Create your own videos or lean on the Ads Manager “Smart Video” option to make your final video look more professional.
Looking for content inspiration? Here are a few classic business-related ideas:
- Show the creative process. Create a video of your product being made.
- Post user-generated content. For example, if you’re selling merch with a catchphrase on it, post a video of a buyer wearing it. If you’re selling a tool, post a video of someone talking about how the tool has changed their lives.
- Create a video showing the different uses of your product. For example, if you sell clothing, post a video showing different ways to style a clothing item.
- Make an informative video that also relates to your product. For example, if you sell lotion, make a video sharing different ways to protect your skin, and highlight the importance of moisturizing.
- Start a giveaway or challenge to build user engagement and grow your following.
- Post any and all exciting business updates or merch releases!
Don’t forget to add product links to videos with the TikTok Shopping integration!
Finally, publish your ad. TikTok Ads Manager’s smart auction system optimizes your ad by making sure your target audience sees your ad at the right time.
Monitor the results of all your ad campaigns. With TikTok’s data analytics, you can learn what makes customers buy and what makes them scroll past you. After a few campaigns, you’ll know exactly what kind of content to make and how to get it in front of the right viewers.
Check out our complete guide to social media marketing if you want to learn how to build a full-scale social media marketing strategy that works for your business.
FAQs: Making TikTok Sales
16 Tips To Make More Sales With TikTok
- Really take the time to learn all of TikTok’s different functionalities. High engagement videos are well-edited, often use effects and words, and use crisp transitions.
- Do your research. Look into businesses or influencers selling something similar to your products, and how they’re making sales. Follow in their footsteps.
- Set up your filming space with any necessary props, lighting, etc. For example, if you want to sell jewelry online and use TikTok to promote your pieces, you will need some sort of product photography setup with the right lighting that shows the fine details of your work.
- Build a reasonable, consistent content schedule. Choose a day to film and edit a bunch of videos, then schedule posts using TikTok’s new Video Scheduler feature.
- Create a filming and editing process that’s efficient. Don’t get caught up in making the “perfect” video every time you post, or you may sink too much time into your social media marketing, or worse – you could get stuck in perfection paralysis and never accomplish your business goals!
- Focus on entertaining your audience, in addition to promoting your product.
- Don’t make every single post a promotion. Post some videos that just show your influencer or brand personality, in addition to product promotions and updates.
- Shoot for authenticity before all else. If you misrepresent your product, say something that doesn’t resonate with your intended buyers, or hop on a trend if it doesn’t align with your brand, you will probably lose followers.
- Hone in on your intended audience through targeted hashtags.
- Engage with your followers. Like and reply to their comments so they feel seen.
- Find and use trending sounds whenever possible.
- Work with other creators to promote your products. Offer smaller influencers a spotlight on your feed too, if a paid influencer video isn’t in the budget right now.
- Take advantage of TikTok Ads Manager, if your budget allows for it.
- Create a shareable sound and allow others to use it. This could be a video with your voice, or a mashup of two different songs, or a variety of sounds. Your sound could gain traction and eventually become a viral trend.
- Make sure all products in your product tab are high-quality and on-brand. Your TikTok shop tab is a storefront, after all.
- Cross-promote your TikTok account on other relevant platforms such as Instagram.
Key Takeaways When It Comes To Selling Your Products On TikTok
TikTok is a low-stakes way to get your products in front of more potential customers. It takes a little work to connect TikTok Shopping to your TikTok business account, but considering how many people are on TikTok, and the percentage of people who buy something just because they saw it on the app, it’s worth the setup.
Stay true to your brand, provide value to your followers, strategically plan out your ads, and make the social media to online checkout process as smooth as possible. Do this, and your eCommerce sales will skyrocket.
Don’t forget that social media is only one of many online marketing strategies to increase web traffic, though. Read our post, The 6 Best eCommerce Marketing Strategies To Increase Website Traffic, to drive even more web traffic and eCommerce sales.