Social media marketing for small business is all about being strategic. While enterprise companies have the luxury of dedicated resources and time, small businesses need to be more agile, nimble, and creative.
You can’t just throw money at a problem and hope for the best. You need to be smart about how you’re using social media to reach your target audience.
Here are all the social media marketing tips you need to market your small business in 2023.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
If you own a business, you’ve likely spent time researching social media marketing for small business. And for good reason.
There are now 4.2 billion active social media users. That’s almost twice as many as there were just five years ago, in 2017. Those users spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes on social channels every single day.
What’s more, social media isn’t just for big businesses anymore. In fact, 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves, and 52% post once a day.
If you want to compete, you need to get online. Here are five essential reasons for using social media for business.
Reach more potential customers
Every business owner knows how difficult it can be to attract new customers. You can spend hours crafting the perfect product and designing an eye-catching website, but if no one knows you exist, it’s all for nothing.
Social media has leveled the playing field, giving small businesses a way to compete with larger companies for attention. By using social media platforms to create content that is interesting and engaging, you can reach a wider audience and encourage them to purchase from your brand.
Increase your brand awareness
A well-executed social media marketing strategy will lead to increased visibility for your business. When you create interesting, relevant content, people will share it with their followers, which will increase your reach and exposure. The more your brand is shown online, the more chances you have of people becoming familiar with it and eventually making a purchase.
Understand your customers better
How much do you really know about your customers? While you may have some information about their demographics, social media can help you to learn more granular information about their interests, needs, behaviours, and desires. This valuable customer data can be used to improve your social media marketing strategy and ensure that you’re creating content that appeals to your target market.
We’ve compiled demographic information for all of the major social networks. Use it to help gauge where your audience spends their time online. But remember that these demographics are just an overview.
Understand your competitors better
Your competitors are online. Period. And chances are, they’ve already put some thought into their social media presence. By taking a look at what they’re doing, you can not only get some ideas for your own strategy, but you can learn what’s working well for them and what isn’t. This competitor data is an essential part of creating a successful social media marketing strategy.
Conducting a competitive analysis can help you learn what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours. Don’t be afraid to look outside of your main competitors, and draw inspiration from the success of businesses in all industries.
Build long-term relationships with your customers
Social media isn’t just about posting pretty pictures and witty captions. It’s also about building relationships with your customers. These are the people who will buy your products and services and tell their friends about you, so it’s important to nurture these connections.
Showing that you care about your customers and their experience with your business will go a long way in securing these relationships long-term. And, as fans share and like your content, you rise in the social algorithms and gain new, free, exposure.
Keep in mind, the average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts, so you can connect with them on different platforms for different purposes. For example, you could use Facebook to build your audience and generate leads, and Twitter for customer service.
Let’s explore the benefits of each platform for small businesses below.
Now that you know how to use social media for small business, it’s time to get online.
As you begin researching the best platforms and tools to build your social media strategy, don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time.
Your instinct might tell you that if you’re targeting Gen Z, you should skip Facebook and focus on Instagram and TikTok. But the data shows that nearly a quarter of Facebook users are aged 18 to 24.
If you’re selling to baby boomers, social might not seem like a top priority. But it should be. Facebook and Pinterest are the top social networks for boomers. Adults over age 65 are Facebook’s fastest-growing audience segment.
Choosing your platforms doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences or to meet various business goals.
Here are the best social media platforms for small businesses.
No matter how you feel about this social media giant, Facebook continues to be the most used social media platform globally. It boasts over 2.9 billion monthly active users and more than 200 million businesses.
Facebook is a great platform for small businesses because:
- There’s a wide demographic range. Facebook users span all age groups, genders, and interests.
- It’s multi-use. You can use create a Facebook page, run advertising campaigns across Meta products, track audience data, and create an e-commerce shop, all within one platform.
- It can be a one-stop shop. Facebook can provide a full customer service journey, from first touch to final sale.
If you’re thinking about using Facebook for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Who is your target audience? Facebook’s most engaged audience ranges from 18-44 years old. If your target audience falls outside of this age range, you may want to consider another platform.
- What are your business goals? Goals on Facebook can range from creating brand visibility with a Facebook Page, to selling products in Shop or through Facebook ad campaigns. Knowing your goals will help you determine whether Facebook is the right platform for your business.
- How much time can you commit? Research shows that the best way to get results on Facebook is to post 1-2 times per day. If you don’t have time to commit to this, you may want to revisit your resourcing strategy.
While Facebook acts as a generalist platform, Instagram is where you can get specific about your niche. If you’re in the fashion, food, or film industries, for example, odds are most of your target audience is on Instagram.
It’s also worth noting that the platform skews younger—the vast majority of users are between 18 and 34. So, if your target audience is baby boomers, you may want to focus your energy elsewhere.
Instagram is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It offers in-app shopping. Instagram makes it easy for users to buy products they see in your posts, Reels, and Stories.
- The platform is visual, which makes it ideal for businesses in the fashion, beauty, travel, and food industries.
- Instagram users are engaged—the average user spends 11 hours per month on the app.
If you’re thinking about using Instagram for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Does my brand present well visually? Instagram is a very visual platform, so your posts need to be appealing.
- Can I commit to posting regularly? Like any social media platform, Instagram requires a consistent presence. Posting to Instagram 3-7 times per week is recommended.
- Do I have the time to create engaging content? If you don’t have the time or resources to create high-quality content, Instagram may not be the best platform for your business.
Another platform with generalist appeal is Twitter. Twitter is the 9th most visited website globally and has over 200 million daily active users. Twitter users are also highly engaged shoppers, with 16% of internet users aged 16-64 report using Twitter for brand research and 54% reporting they are likely to purchase new products. For advertisers, Twitter’s CPM is the lowest out of all the major platforms.
Twitter is a great platform for small businesses because it’s:
- Conversational: Twitter is all about engaging in conversation. This can be between you and your customers or you and other businesses.
- Real-time: Twitter is where people go to find out what’s happening right now. This is why news organizations and journalists love Twitter.
- Hashtag friendly: Hashtags are a great way to get your content in front of people who are interested in that topic.
If you’re thinking about using Twitter for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Are your customers on Twitter? Twitter is great for building relationships, but if your customers aren’t active on the platform, it might not be worth your time.
- What kind of content will you share? Twitter is a great platform for sharing quick news and updates, but if you’re mostly posting images or longer-form content, you might be better off on a different platform.
- Do you have the resources to commit to Twitter? We recommend Tweeting at least 1 to 5 times per day. If you don’t think you can commit to that, Twitter might not be the best platform for your small business.
Maybe you think TikTok marketing is not the right fit for your brand. But even well-established brands with an audience well outside Gen Z are experimenting with this platform.
TikTok is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It’s a level playing field. You don’t need a huge budget to produce high-quality content.
- It’s all about creativity. If you can be creative and think outside the box, you’ll do well on TikTok.
- There’s a lot of opportunity for virality. If your content is good, it has a chance of being seen by millions of people.
If you’re thinking about using TikTok for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Do you have time to create TikTok videos? While you don’t need an entire production team at your side, creating TikTok videos, and posting consistently, does take time.
- Does your target audience use TikTok? Keep in mind, TikTok’s audience tends to skew towards the 18-24 range. So, if you’re marketing to Gen Z or young millennials, TikTok is definitely worth considering.
- Do you have creative ideas for videos? If you’re not sure what kind of content would do well on TikTok, take some time to browse the app and get inspired.
In recent years, Pinterest has grown from a creative catalogue platform to one of the most powerful visual search engines on the internet today. Not only do Pinterest users love to find and save new ideas, but they’re also increasingly using the platform to make purchasing decisions.
Pinterest is a great platform for small businesses because:
- It’s a positive space. 8 out of 10 Pinterest users say the platform makes them feel good. Being present on a positive platform can help your brand’s image and reputation.
- It’s highly visual. People love images because 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Pinterest is the perfect place to share beautiful visuals of your products or services.
- You can reach new audiences. Because Pinterest is a visual search engine, you have the opportunity to be found by people who are actively searching for products and services like yours.
If you’re thinking about using Pinterest for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Do you have enough visual content to use Pinterest? As we said above, Pinterest is a highly visual platform. You’ll need high-quality images to make your pins stand out.
- Is your target audience active on Pinterest? Women aged 25-34 represent 29.1% of Pinterest’s ad audience while men make up only 15.3%.
- Do you have products to sell on Pinterest? 75% of weekly Pinterest users say they’re always shopping, so make sure you have something to offer them.
YouTube is the world’s most popular video-sharing social network that boasts a potential ad reach of 2.56 billion. Not only does YouTube offer a huge audience, but it’s also an effective platform for promoting products and services.
YouTube is a great platform for small businesses because:
- You can drive traffic to your website. By including a link to your website in your YouTube videos, you can drive traffic to your site.
- You can improve your SEO. YouTube videos often appear in Google search results, which can help improve your website’s SEO.
- You can build brand awareness. YouTube is a massive platform with a highly engaged user base. Use it to post engaging video content that will help build awareness for your brand.
If you’re thinking about using YouTube for your small business, ask these questions first:
- Do you have resources to commit to content creation? Unlike TikTok, creating YouTube videos requires more than just shooting a quick clip on your phone. You should have a decent camera and some editing skills (or access to someone who does).
- Do you have something unique to say? There’s a lot of content on YouTube already, so you need to make sure you have something unique and interesting to say before starting a channel. Ask yourself: what can I offer that other businesses in my industry don’t?
- Can you commit to a regular upload schedule? Once you start a YouTube channel, you need to be able to commit to uploading new videos on a regular basis. This could be once a week, once a month, or even once a day – but consistency is key.
Once you’ve found the right platforms for your social media marketing, it’s time to start posting. Here are a few social media tips for business to get you started.
1. Plan your content in advance
The number one mistake small businesses make on social media is posting content on the fly. While it may seem easier to spend a little bit of time every day coming up with something to post, this can actually be more time-consuming (and stressful) in the long run.
Creating a social media content calendar can help you plan your content in advance and avoid last-minute scrambling. Plus, it’s easier to come up with a mix of content (e.g., blog posts, images, infographics, etc.) when you have some time to think about it.
When building out your content calendar, make sure to include:
- The type of content you’ll be posting (e.g. blog post, image, infographic, etc.)
- The date you’ll be posting it
- The social network you’ll be posting to
- A link to the content (if applicable)
- A brief description of the content
- Copy to include in the post body
- Any campaigns, special holidays, or important dates to be aware of
- All links, tags, or hashtags you want to include in the post
If you’re not sure where to start, check out our free content calendar templates to get started. Or, check out this handy video for a visual walkthrough.
2. Schedule your posts
Once you have that calendar in place, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite to post them automatically at the right time.
Scheduling your posts in advance allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or even per week to creating your social content. It’s much more effective than letting social posting take you away from other business tasks throughout the day.
3. Commit to community management
Sure, posting creative content is important. But if you want to really see results from social media marketing for small business, you need to commit to community management.
Community management is the process of building a community with your customers through the interactions you have online. This can include responding to comments, answering questions, and interacting with customers on social media.
Think of it as an extension of your customer service. You should be interacting with your audience as much as they are interacting with you. This way, you can create a network of customers who feel connected to your brand and are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
Community management is also an important part of ranking in social media algorithms. Platforms reward users who are active and engaged, so the more you interact with your audience, the more likely you are to show up in their feeds.
Use Hootsuite Streams to like, comment, reply, and engage with your target audience. You can also use Hootsuite Inbox to keep track of all the conversations you need to be a part of, without missing anything important.
4. Pay attention to trends
We’re not saying you should leap on every meme that goes viral. (In fact, please don’t leap on every meme that goes viral.)
But, it is a good idea to pay attention to trends in social media, so you understand what people are looking for when they sign into their social channels. This helps you create appropriate content that resonates over time.
If you have time to dedicate to it, social listening is a highly valuable information-gathering tool that can help you understand what your audience (and potential audience) might want to hear from your business. It’s extremely easy to do with a tool like Hootsuite.
You can simply set up a stream for mentions of your brand on different social channels, so you can respond to concerns or positive reviews immediately and keep tabs on sentiment regarding your business.
5. Sell products on social
Social media marketing has evolved in recent years to include social commerce: the ability to sell your products directly from social channels. And business is booming, with a projected global market value of $492 billion in 2022.
Social commerce is a particularly useful tactic for small businesses in the ecommerce or retail space. The beauty of it is that you can cut down many of the friction points that come with selling online. Your potential customers are already on social media, so they don’t need to go through the process of visiting your website and navigating to your product pages. And since you’re meeting them where they already are, you have a much better chance of making a sale.
6. Use analytics to guide future posts
Even for small businesses, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t on social. Social media analytics tools can help you track your progress over time and identify which posts are generating the most engagement—likes, comments, shares, clicks, etc.
This data can be extremely valuable as you plan future content. If you see that a particular type of post is doing well, try to replicate that success in future posts. And if you notice that a certain type of post isn’t performing well, experiment with new content to see if you can find a better way to engage your audience.
Analytics can also help you understand which social media platform is working best for your business. If you see that you’re getting more engagement on one platform than another, you may want to consider making a switch. You don’t have to be everywhere, so stick to the platforms that are giving you the best results.
If you’re like most small business owners, you wear a lot of hats. You’re the CEO, the CFO, and the superstar sales team. It’s no wonder marketing often falls by the wayside!
But even if you’re not a marketing pro, that doesn’t mean you can’t effectively market your business on social media. In fact, with a little help from the right tools, you can actually save time and energy by using social media to reach your target audience.
Obviously we’re a bit biased, but we think Hootsuite is especially helpful for small business owners. Hootsuite is a social media management platform that gives you the ability to track and post to all your social media channels in one place, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
It also offers recommendations on when to post, what kind of content to post, and how to interpret your performance. So it’s a beginner-friendly platform for people who don’t have a lot of time to waste on creating the perfect strategy.
Don’t believe us? Check out this 5-star review from Todd W., who doesn’t have a ton of people to help him do his social media marketing.
“Hootsuite has proven invaluable as we work to plan our social media calendar for the month – especially with limited staff. We’re able to create and schedule posts and see where our planning leaves “gaps” in our social media coverage” – Todd W.
Hootsuite’s integration with Grammarly can also help you avoid any embarrassing typos or mistakes in your social media posts.
One last Hootsuite feature we think is super useful for time-strapped small business owners?
If you’re ever stuck for content ideas, just go to the Inspiration tab and use a template to get started.
What about the native tools?
Hey, we understand that splurging on yet another monthly subscription might not be in the cards for your small business—especially when the networks offer free tools. But here’s the thing: those native tools come with limitations.
For example, let’s say you want to post the same message on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. With most social media management tools, you’d have to type that message three times—once for each network. But with Hootsuite, you can compose one message and post it to all three networks at once. That means less time spent on social media, and more time spent growing your business.
Plus, the free tools offered by the networks only give you limited insights into your social media performance. With Hootsuite Analytics, you can track your posts and tweets to see which ones are getting the most engagement, so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
So if you’re serious about using social media to grow your small business, investing in a tool like Hootsuite might actually save you money in the long run.
Save time and grow your small business using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you can publish and schedule messages to all your social media channels, engage your followers, and monitor what people are saying about your brand online. Try it free today.
How This Underwear Brand Won with an Anti-Black-Friday Social Campaign
Ah, Black Friday.
It’s no surprise that the official kick-off day for the holiday shopping season is responsible for a massive annual surge in consumer spending, reaching $8.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021. But while this is a yearly slam-dunk for big box retailers, Black Friday can bring more challenges than benefits for small businesses.
Slashing prices to make sales cuts straight into their bottom line — and with limited marketing budgets and resources, competing with big brands takes courage, insight, and creativity. That’s why the small businesses that stand out during the holiday season are the ones that connect with the unique wants and needs of their customers, get bold with their marketing strategies, and create thumb-stopping content that’s sure to get people talking.
Last year, UK-based sustainable underwear brand and Hootsuite customer Pantee won Black Friday with a campaign that broke convention and raised awareness of unsustainable impulse buying. We interviewed Pantee’s founders, sisters Amanda and Katie McCourt, to learn how they did it, what the results were, and what they’ve learned for future campaigns.
What is Pantee?
Pantee is an underwear brand making a difference: their products are made using “deadstock” fabrics, or unsold inventory that would otherwise end up in landfills. Designed by women, for women and the planet, Pantee’s products are created with comfort and style in mind, while helping prevent unused garments from going to waste.
@pantee_uk We launched a business in lockdown! Here’s how we did it ✨🩲 #smallbusinesslaunch #howtostartabusiness #smallbusinesscheck #whatididduringlockdown ♬ Bubble – Official Sound Studio
For Pantee, sustainability isn’t a buzzword or trend to jump on; the brand was founded with this purpose at its core. The idea came to life in a thrift store in 2019, when Amanda was browsing second-hand clothing stores in London and was blown away by the number of brand-new t-shirts lining the shelves, tags still on them.
“It was crazy to me how many people had given away clothes before even wearing them once,” says Amanda. “It got me thinking: If this is how many discarded clothes we can see, how much is there that we can’t see? Once I started researching, I knew that we could make a difference. It’s very difficult to get buying right in the fashion industry with trends and shopping cycles changing so frequently, and as a result, many companies overproduce. I became fixated on the idea of what we could do with deadstock clothing.”
The short answer to Amanda’s question on how much waste we can’t see: a lot. The fashion industry produces an estimated 92 million tonnes of textile waste each year, and approximately 30% of clothes made are never even sold.
With a bold passion to make a difference for our planet—and after realizing that the soft cotton t-shirt fabric everyone loves would lend itself well to underwear and wireless bras—Amanda and Katie named the business Pantee (an abridged version of “pants made from deadstock tees”) and got to work bringing the concept to life.
@pantee_uk Upcycling never felt so good ♻️ link in bio to learn more about how we make sustainable underwear! #sustainablefashion #smallbusinesslove #fyp #comfort #recycledfashion ♬ luxurious – milo
Since initially launching their Kickstarter in November 2020 (where they raised £11,000) and Shopify site in February 2021, Pantee has grown into a successful sustainable startup—upcycling more than 1,500 kgs of deadstock fabric in its first 1.5 years alone. Pantee also plants one tree for every order placed (resulting in over 1,500 trees planted!) and is a proud member of 1% For the Planet.
Flipping the script with a ‘Blackout Friday’ campaign
Leading up to the Black Friday pandemonium in 2021, Amanda and Katie had one thing on their minds: overconsumption. Already an issue in the fashion industry during the regular season, Black Friday was sure to encourage consumers to make unnecessary purchases—many of which would go unused and end up back on shelves or, worse, in landfills.
So, while many small businesses grappled with whether or not to run sales and promotions, Pantee asked a different question: how could they create a successful campaign while staying true to their mission?
- The solution: Reclaim Black Friday by rebranding it “Blackout Friday,” an initiative encouraging consumers to rethink their purchases and avoid impulse buying.
- The message: Stop and think before you buy. Is it something you love? Is it something you need? If so, go ahead— buy and enjoy your new purchase. But if you weren’t already going to make that purchase, consider going without.
“Black Friday is the biggest impulse buying day of the year, and people get easily sucked into sales,” says Katie. “But the mentality should be: Is it really a bargain if you weren’t going to spend the money originally? Our campaign stance was not to encourage impulse buying, and we saw a lot of engagement because of the shared values and common ground it established with our audience.”
“There is so much overconsumption on Black Friday,” adds Amanda. “Our stance wasn’t necessarily don’t make a purchase, but if you’re going to, buy something you’ve wanted for a really long time.”
Pantee didn’t stop there. To bring the campaign to life and put their words into action, the retailer turned off their website to all but their engaged customers, who were only able to access the website through a code they sent to their existing mailing list.
The campaign was an overwhelming success, leading to a significant increase in sales, social engagement and reach, brand awareness and new customer acquisition.
- Engagement on social media doubled throughout the campaign (from 4 to 8%), and organic social impressions reached over 4x the total followers at the time.
- The campaign organically increased web traffic by 122% month-over-month in November 2021 without any supported paid spend.
- Pantee’s mailing list grew by 33% in the week leading up to Black Friday.
- The success of the social campaign extended far beyond Pantee’s Instagram, with the initiative featured in top-tier press including The Observer, Drapers, Reuters, The Daily Mail, and more.
“While we didn’t run a sale or any promotions last year, Black Friday was the biggest sales day of the year,” says Katie. “By simply taking a stand and leveraging social to get our message out, we drove a month’s worth of web traffic in a matter of hours and had loads of people signing up for our email list. We saw a ton of new, first-time customers just because they valued what we were doing.”
“Brands often think that you can have values, but they won’t convert to sales,” adds Amanda. “But we think that’s changing—and this campaign is a great example of that.”
Pantee is now launching the campaign for the second year and looking forward to even more impressive results.
4 lessons learned from one unconventional campaign
Whether you’re brainstorming future creative campaigns, building out next quarter’s social marketing strategy or already getting started on planning for next year’s holiday season, Pantee’s Blackout Friday campaign holds great lessons that every marketer should keep top of mind. We asked Amanda and Katie for their top four recommendations—here’s what they said.
1. Hone in on your purpose
“We talk a lot about our values as a brand,” says Katie. “And time and time again, we’ve seen that if we talk about an issue, our values, or something with substance behind it, our engagement is so much higher. That’s what people want to see: something that gets them thinking.”
Amanda adds: “I think at one point, we lost our way a bit and became more product and sales heavy on our social channels, and we noticed that we weren’t getting the same reach. Pushing product works through email marketing and other areas of the business, but with social, we’ve seen a bigger opportunity to educate our audience and share useful information that they can walk away with.”
2. An engaged community is everything
“There’s a huge difference between growing a following and growing a following that also has engagement,” explains Katie.” When it comes to social, what we’ve found is that people who engaged with us early on have become advocates for our brand. We see so much value in community and engaging with our customers beyond getting the sale. Many brands see social as a platform to get their message out, but for us, it’s a two-way street.”
3. Don’t be afraid to be bold
“We learned quite early on with our social that the highest peaks of engagement happened when we took a stand for something,” says Katie. “We’ve always been quite mission driven, but we like to have fun with it and not be too preachy. When we’ve launched campaigns with our sustainability mission at the forefront, the engagement has been through the roof.”
4. Remember that there’s more to social than what you’re posting
“Social media isn’t just about what you post, it’s about how you engage with other accounts and make people feel,” explains Amanda. “Spending time on your social platforms connecting with others, building relationships and establishing an engaged community is invaluable. We use our social channels for two-way conversations with both customers and our community – there is so much you can learn when you talk with them instead of at them.”
If there’s one takeaway that rises above all the others, it’s that social is one of the most powerful tools that brands can use to ignite their business, turning bystanders into loyal brand advocates, awareness into sales, and your mission into positive, tangible change. Just ask Pantee.
Find out about the biggest trends shaping social media so you can stay ahead of the game—and make sure your next social campaign is a winner.
How To Find and Use Business-Friendly TikTok Sounds
TikTok is many things to many, many people — a daily vlog, a place to get news and an incredibly popular search engine. Still, it’s important to remember that TikTok started as a place for sounds.
Yes, before it was the all-consuming social media beast it is today, TikTok was mostly known for music. In fact, it merged with a lip-synching service called Musical.ly in 2018 to become the app we know and love today.
Whether it’s a song, a movie clip, a lip-synch or something else, sounds make TikTok special. In fact, 88% of users say sound is vital to the TikTok experience.
Whether you’re promoting your personal page or your business profile, mastering TikTok sounds is always in your best interest.
Read our handy guide to learn how to find sounds on TikTok that work for your business.
Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.
In a way, TikTok sounds work like hashtags do on other social media apps. Add a trending TikTok sound to your video, and you’ll enter into a larger conversation happening around that sound.
If you choose the right sound and do something special with it, you could make a lot of waves. Here’s how to find TikTok sounds that will click with your audience.
The beauty of trending content on TikTok is that it’s easily presented to you right on your For You Page. Unless you’ve royally messed up your algorithm with weird browsing habits, chances are you’ll have viral content on your FYP when you open the app.
And if you notice a sound that’s been used more than once on a cursory scroll, you might have a trending sound on your hands. Tap on the song (at the bottom right) and take a look at what else is happening.
The song’s landing page allows you to add the song to your favorites, share with friends, or use the audio right away.
But this is also a great place to see if an audio trend has really gone mainstream. Check out how many other videos on TikTok use that sound and you’ll have a pretty good sense of whether a song is truly viral.
Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” has been used in 1.5 million TikToks, so it’s safe to say that it’s a pretty popular audio.
In addition to its timeline, TikTok has a powerful search function. You can find plenty of great trending content just by hitting the search bar. Even something as obvious as “viral sounds” will bring up, well, plenty of viral sounds.
You can hit the Hashtags tab of the search results for another set of popular options. Users often hijack trending songs with content unrelated to the trend, but you should strike gold without too much effort.
It’s obvious, for sure, but still worth noting that the best place to find trending TikTok sounds is, well, the TikTok sound library.
The sound tab makes it easy to find a list of recommended playlists with trending sounds. Be sure to look at the “Featured” and “TikTok Viral” playlists for more inspiration.
TikTok has made it even easier than searching for sounds yourself, however, thanks to their Creative Center.
This resource lets you see real-time stats about specific songs and sounds on the app. You can see how well a sound is doing based on specific regions too. This is super helpful if you’re targeting a part of the world that you’re not currently in.
@tiktokforbusinesssea 💥 Visit TikTok Creative Center at our bio for all the inspo you need to bring your #creative A-game. #tiktokforbusiness #tiktoktips ♬ original sound – TikTok for Business SEA
You can view limited info on the Creative Center without logging in, but you’ll need to create a free TikTok Business Account if you want to dive deeper.
You don’t have to stay within TikTok to find the best trending sounds.
You can use these sites to view stats like which TikTok songs are charting and where. You can even see which hashtags are associated with the song.
If a song is trending on TikTok, it’s likely trending worldwide too. TikTok is inherently tied to the modern music industry, so it’s wise to keep an eye on trends at large. If a song is incredibly popular on Spotify or YouTube, it will likely do well on TikTok too.
You can even put on your music industry hat and start watching the Billboard Hot 100 chart to see which songs might be future trends. You could even follow Billboard on TikTok.
@billboard Here’s a breakdown of @Taylor Swift’s big week on the Billboard #Hot100. 💯 #taylorswift #billboard #swifties #midnights #theerastour #antihero #taylornation #billboardcharts #tsmidnights #tsmidnightsts #tsmidnightsalbum ♬ smiles & sunsets – ultmt.
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You’ve learned how to find trending songs, so now all you have to do is add a new Taylor Swift song to your latest video, right? That’s technically the case for influencers, but it’s not so straightforward for business accounts.
Business accounts do not have access to major pop songs — or really, songs by any well-known artists. That’s because potential copyright issues could arise if they use them in an ad.
If your business account tries to use a copyrighted sound, you’ll see the following disclaimer:
Fortunately, there are still plenty of options for using TikTok sounds as a brand.
Here are some options for what you can do.
There are over 150,000 pre-cleared tracks from just about any genre. You won’t have any shortage of options that are suitable for your content.
You can search for songs by genre, hashtag, mood or song title, and there are even playlists you can browse for inspo. It’s an easy solution for branded content.
@nfl that fake out tho 😮💨 @49ers #rayraymccloud #sanfrancisco ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat
The track “Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Vira” by WZ Beat is an example of a royalty-free sound that has gone superviral on the app.
If your marketing budget has room for audio production, consider using TikTok’s in-house sound marketing partners. Last year, TikTok expanded its Marketing Partner Program to include Sound Partners.
The program now boasts offerings from international music companies like Butter, 411 Music Group, Sonhouse, AEYL MUSIC and many, many more.
The cost will vary depending on the scope of your campaign. Some of the production houses also offer subscription services in addition to per-project fees. You could even work with them to strategize the sounds of your entire brand TikTok page.
If you’d rather not use some stock music as your audio track, there are plenty of other options available to you if you opt to make your own sounds. Depending on how ambitious you feel, they can be as complicated or simple as you want.
For one thing, you could make or hire someone to make original music for your TikTok page. That could look like messing around in Garageband or collaborating with an audio composer and musician.
This option isn’t necessarily ideal if you have no musical knowledge whatsoever, but it could pay off in major ways. After all, a branded audio sting or TikTok-ready jingle could travel far if other users want to use it in their videos.
That last point is also why you could do just as well to create an official sound that is just, well, you talking. If you say something memorable enough that others will want to quote, you might find your sound being reused in other videos.
If you’ve named the sound and included mention of your brand somewhere, that could pay off for your project in the long run.
@elfyeah Poof! 💨 Poreless putty can make anything disappear! Show us your #elfvanishingact ✨ @rominagafur #porelessputty #elfyeah #elfcosmetics ♬ Vanishing Act e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer – elfyeah
The cosmetic brand e.l.f. works with agencies to create original songs that go viral and launch TikTok trends.
If you’ve had some luck with Duets or noticed you’ve developed a bit of a following on TikTok, you could straight up request user-generated content from your fanbase. Framed correctly, a user-generated campaign could pay off very well.
Think of ways your specific demographic would want to participate in your campaign. You can try asking for a testimonial or tutorial about your product or even something more creative like a joke or a jingle. If it applies to you, you could encourage fans to react to your work or have them come up with a comedy sketch. You could even incorporate the user-generated content into a contest of some kind.
Another great way to inspire user-generated content is to encourage Duets. If your branded video is the kind of thing that users will want to collaborate with, it will likely make some waves throughout TikTok. Think about what kind of Duet someone might want to create with your content and go from there.
@yoleendadong #duet with @vessi wow no more wet socks pretty cool kinda freaky deaky ✨ #nomorewetsocks #vessi #waterproof #waterproofshoes #ketchup ♬ December (April Remix) – The Young Ebenezers
The shoe company Vessi encourages Duets with contests, call-outs and, well, extremely weird videos that are begging for live reactions.
If you post anything made by someone else, you should always credit them in the caption. This will keep you safe from any issues should the users choose to copyright their audio later on.
You should also avoid reposting audio that includes copyrighted music, even if it’s in the background.
Okay, we get it: you absolutely need to use a Carly Rae Jepsen song in your TikTok brand campaign. There’s simply no replacement for her uniquely crafted, emotive pop music.
In that case, you could license a song to use in your video. This might get expensive, but it is technically possible. Start by seeking legal advice from a copyright or music licensing lawyer — and let us know how it goes!
Still confused? Here’s a breakdown of some frequently asked questions about TikTok Sounds.
Yes. Businesses can use TikTok sounds in their videos so long as they are cleared for commercial use. The best ways to incorporate sounds into business posts are to use TikTok’s pre-cleared commercial audio, make your own original sounds or use user-generated content (and credit the creators).
If you receive this error, it most likely means that you are trying to access a “mainstream” song while using a business account on TikTok.
TikTok users with personal accounts can use any sound they like — including the world’s most popular pop songs — but TikTok does not allow businesses to use mainstream music in their videos.
They implemented this policy in 2020, at which point they introduced the royalty-free music available in their Commercial Music Library.
@timmycobbsfitness #moda #problemsolved #fyp #business ♬ Meet Me At Our Spot – THE ANXIETY & WILLOW & Tyler Cole
TikTok’s commercial sound library is available on both the app and your desktop browser.
If you’re using the app:
- Open the camera and tap Add sound
- Then tap Sounds and search Commercial sounds.
This will bring you to the Commercial Music Library, where you can browse your options.
There’s no direct way to download a sound from TikTok onto your device.
If you want to save your favorite sound on TikTok, tap the bookmark icon to add a sound to your favorites. This will save it within the app, so you can easily use it later.
If you really want a TikTok sound for use outside of the app, you could consider screen recording or downloading a TikTok video with a third-party app or website.
Once you’ve added a TikTok sound to your favorites, it’s as easy as tapping the Favorites tab when you’re making a post.
When you add sound to a new TikTok, just tap the Favorites tab. All of your previously saved sounds will show up under that banner.
You can’t add multiple sounds to the same TikTok within the app. If you’re looking to stitch together more than one sound, you’ll have to use a third-party video editor to create your video, then upload it to the app.
If you do this, however, you will likely miss out on having your video associated with that particular sound in TikTok’s database.
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What Is a UGC Creator? Follow These 5 Steps To Become One
Have you ever dreamed about becoming an influencer and getting paid to create social media content without needing a big audience? Well, a new wave of people is doing just that: UGC creators.
If you’ve spent time on TikTok or Instagram in the last 6-12 months, chances are you’ve come across UGC creators. Even if you don’t recognize the term, you’ve probably seen content made by these creators on your favorite brands’ accounts.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know the exact steps needed to become a UGC content creator.
Bonus: Unlock our free, customizable pitch deck template to successfully reach out to brands and lock down the influencer partnership of your dreams.
What is a UGC creator?
A UGC creator is someone who creates sponsored content that appears authentic but is designed to showcase a specific business or product.
The most common format for UGC creators is video, especially on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Creators usually film and narrate the content from their perspective, which gives it an authentic feel.
The main difference between UGC creators and influencers is that UGC creators create and deliver to businesses without the obligation to post it on their channels (although some UGC deals may add this for an extra fee). With influencers, the company usually pays for both content and exposure to the influencer’s audiences.
Replying to @ROY KANYI What is UGC? Quick summary of what UGC content is, what UGC content creators do, and how you can become a UGC creator! #ugccreator #whatisugc #ugc #whatisugc? #ukugc #ukugccreator #ugccreatoruk #startugc #ugchelp #ugctips2022
UGC content also tends to appear less polished and professional than influencer content, which helps to preserve the authenticity of UGC.
Why is UGC so valuable?
While being a UGC creator is a new concept, traditional user-generated content (UGC) is not. It’s become a proven tool in social media strategies for building communities, increasing brand awareness, and driving sales.
Despite the name, UGC creators are not creating traditional organic UGC. Normally, UGC is created organically by customers in the form of photos, videos, testimonials, product reviews, and blog posts and shared spontaneously. Businesses can choose to re-share a customer’s UGC, but no payment or contracts are involved.
UGC creators create content that emulates traditional UGC, using the same unpolished and authentic filming style that an everyday creator might use when sharing a review of their favorite product.
As driving awareness and sales are valuable results for any business, it’s no surprise that brands are willing to pay UGC creators. Understanding the reasons why can help you better pitch yourself for UGC jobs.
It feels authentic
Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view UGC as authentic versus content created by brands. UGC is the social media equivalent of product reviews and word-of-mouth.
User-created content will always have an organic feel that can’t be matched by brands, no matter how “cool” they are. As such, UGC tends to be more eye-catching and engaging, which is invaluable to brands.
✨You always ask to post UGC examples for new beginners or UGC video examples with no voice. This is an organic UGC example, aesthetic/ Asmr skin care. What is UGC? It stands for user generated content. If you wondering how to become a UGC creator, I post best content creator tips and tricks on my page. #ugcvideoexample #ugcvideoexamples #wheretofindbranddeals #howtougc #ugcforbeginners #ugcfornewbies #ugcnewbie #ugcnewbies #howtoworkwithbrands #skincareugc #ugcskincare #ugccreators #howtoworkwithbrands
It’s cheaper than influencer content
When working with influencers, brands need to pay for both the content and the posts on the influencer’s channels. The more reach and engagement an influencer has, the more a brand has to pay — which can be in the millions for celebrities!
With UGC content, brands only need to pay for the content itself, which often can be the same quality (or better) than the content from influencers. It also gives them complete control over the distribution and positioning of the content.
It can influence purchase decisions
Many brands pay to get UGC to use in social media ads because it influences purchase decisions. UGC acts as social proof, showing that real people are buying and using a product, which can drive more sales.
Moreover, UGC doesn’t look like a blatant ad, which can make it more engaging when used in ad campaigns.
It’s faster than producing content from scratch
By sourcing content from UGC creators, a brand can get way more pieces than if it created them in-house. Brands can distribute a UGC brief to multiple creators, who will produce and deliver the content back to the brand by the same deadline.
How to become a UGC creator
Anyone with a decent smartphone or camera can become a UGC creator. You don’t need a bunch of followers or professional video editing skills.
That’s the beauty of UGC — the more authentic and natural the content is, the better.
The absolute beauty that UGC content creation is 🧁 #ugc #whatisugc #ugccontentcreator #becomeaugccreator #ugccreatorlife #ugccreatoruk #ukugccreator #ukugc #ugccontentcreation #ugccreatorhelp #ugccreator2022
We’ve put together five steps to get you started as a UGC creator.
Step 1: Figure out your filming setup
You can shoot UGC almost anywhere — at home, outside, or in a store (as long as there isn’t too much background noise). Many UGC creators create content in the comforts of their homes, where they can perfect their filming setup.
In terms of equipment, you only need a phone with a decent camera and a tripod to stabilize your phone for product shots.
Some optional upgrades:
- Ring light. Useful for closeups of your face and filming at night or in darker rooms.
- Lavalier mic. Plugs into your phone’s audio jack and improves the quality of your recorded audio. Alternatively, you can also use the mic on a pair of wired headphones.
- Backdrops. You can get creative here – paper, fabric, and construction materials all can serve as backdrops.
- Props. Varies depending on the product, but find props that match the lifestyle or use cases of the product you’re showcasing.
The 5 things every ugc creator or content creator should have (aka my ugc starter kit). PS: they all count as a business expense so feel free to splurge on better quality items (I’m not a CPA, please consult an actual tax professional for advice 🤪) #ugcstarterkit #ugcmusthaves #contentcreatormusthaves #contentcreatorbusiness #ugccreatorsoftiktok #ugctipsforbeginners
Pro tip: Don’t let the quality of your equipment or filming setup hold you back. Many UGC creators produce great content with just a phone, the product, and themselves. Once you get more experienced and start receiving feedback from brands, you can upgrade your equipment and setup.
Step 2: Build your UGC portfolio
Ah, the old chicken-and-egg dilemma: To create UGC content, you need products. However, brands will only send you products once you have a portfolio. So, how do you get started?
The answer: Make content for free featuring your favorite products. You don’t need permission from brands as long as you don’t portray it as a paid deal/sponsored content if you choose to post it.
There are several common types of UGC content:
- Unboxing. Opening a new product’s packaging and revealing all the contents. You can narrate the functions of the included pieces and how to use them.
- Review/testimonial. Giving your honest opinion on a product and how it works. UGC testimonials are different from other product reviews in that they should be short and not as in-depth, perhaps only focusing on one aspect instead of the whole product.
- How to/use cases. Demonstrating how you use the product. These can be more lifestyle-focused videos, showing how you naturally use the product during your daily life, or more tutorial-style videos.
Pro tip: When you’re just starting your portfolio, we suggest focusing on videos, as this is the most common format for UGC requests. Aim to have at least one example from all UGC types above.
Replying to @theresatetty #CapCut here’s what my what ugc portfolio looks like! Your portfolio can make the biggest difference when it comes getting ugc gigs! Things that will help with creating your portfolio: ✨️ Knowing what to include in your ugc portfolio ✨️ Including high quality (not just talking about aesthetics) ugc examples ✨️ Knowing how to optimize your portfolio so you’re seen as a professional Hope that helps! #FomotionalFinds #CapCut #ugccreator #ugcportfolio
Step 3: Practice your editing skills
Once you’ve recorded your clip(s), the next step is to edit them. The typical length for UGC videos is 15-60 seconds.
Editing videos can be tricky to learn, but luckily there are many apps to make it easier. Two of the most popular apps are CapCut and InShot. The in-app editors within TikTok and Instagram are also quite user-friendly and have many of the same features as third-party apps.
If you’re creating UGC for TikTok, here are 15 tips on how to edit your videos.
Pro tip: Practice, practice, practice! There is no shortcut to becoming good at video editing. The more you get used to the tools, the quicker you’ll get. We recommend incorporating TikTok trends into your UGC videos to make them more engaging.
Check out these clips for editing inspiration:
Step 4: Post your UGC (optional)
This step is optional, as posting your content isn’t generally required as part of UGC contracts. However, it is an excellent way to practice and get feedback on how to improve your content. Even with a small audience, you can learn what works and what doesn’t work by checking the analytics for your posts.
Posting your UGC on your account also allows brands to see your content, after which they may reach out to you to offer UGC gigs.
Pro tips: If you want to increase the chances of brands discovering your UGC, don’t use hashtags like #UGC or #UGCcreator — these will signal the algorithm to serve your content to other UGC creators. Instead, use industry- and product-related hashtags.
Secondly, add your email (or another way to contact you) to your bio to make it easy for brands to reach out to you.
Step 5: Get paid
Now you’re ready for the next stage: Getting paid for your UGC! Once you have a portfolio, you can start applying for UGC gigs. We know this is easier said than done, so we’ve expanded our tips into a whole section below.
4 tips for getting paid as a UGC creator
1. Use platforms to find brand deals
With UGC’s rise, there are new platforms dedicated to facilitating UGC brand deals. Some post opportunities for creators to apply, while others require you to create a listing for your content creation services.
Here are some platforms to search for UGC opportunities:
- Fiverr. Create a listing with your UGC services (such as this) and wait for brands to book you.
- Upwork. You can apply to UGC creator jobs or list your UGC services.
- Billo. US-based creators only.
- Insense. You join via an app and choose opportunities to apply to.
- Brands Meet Creators. They send UGC opportunities via email.
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2. Network with brands and business owners
If you want to be more proactive and work with specific brands, then your best bet is to network via platforms like Linkedin, Twitter, and TikTok.
You can use these platforms for networking in several ways:
- Personal branding. Post updates on your account sharing your journey as a UGC creator, and add a CTA for brands to contact you for UGC
- Cold outreach. Think about brands you genuinely like and for which you would enjoy creating content, and reach out to folks who work at those companies
Pro tip: Smaller companies like startups and small businesses just starting to build their social media presence are more likely to need UGC.
3. Perfect your pitch
Pitching yourself to a brand for a UGC opportunity is like applying for a job. As more and more people become UGC creators, it’ll become more competitive. That means you need to make your pitch stand out.
Keep your pitches focused on the brand (not yourself) and the value you’ll provide for them through your UGC.
Pro tip: Tailor your pitch for each opportunity you apply to. In your portfolio, curate examples that are relevant to each brand’s industry and will appeal to that brand’s target audience.
✅How to pitch UGC content in 2022? Until you fix your brand outreach strategy you will not be able to scale as a content creator. No responses from brands = no brand deals = no money. Everyone keep searching where to find brands to work with, or best platform to pitch UGC, but until you fix your pitching strategy no need to even search for those brands. #howtoworkwithbrands #wheretofindbranddeals #ugcnewbie #ugcnewbie #howtougc #ugcpitchtips #ugcguide #contentcreatortips
4. Know your worth
As with influencer marketing, payment rates for UGC creation vary widely. The brand or platform usually sets the rate for brand deals. Nonetheless, staying up-to-date with market rates will empower you to choose deals that pay fairly. This benefits you and ensures equitable compensation for other UGC creators.
Pro tip: Follow UGC creators on TikTok and Instagram, as they often post content sharing behind-the-scenes details on how they negotiate brand deals and how much they get paid.
Frequently asked questions about UGC creators
How many followers do I need to get paid as a UGC creator?
You don’t need a certain number of followers to become a UGC creator. Many UGC brand deals are content-only, meaning you only have to create and deliver content, with no requirement to post it on your own channels.
How do I find brands to work with?
The easiest way to know if a brand is looking for UGC creators is to use platforms that curate UGC brand deals. Brands may also advertise call-outs for UGC creators in their feed posts or Stories. You can also DM brands with your pitch in case they’re open to working with UGC creators.
How do I create a UGC portfolio?
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