Category: Tools to Use

Great social media and other communication tools you want to try.


TikTok 101: Ideas and Cautions

TikTok is a growing platform for short form mobile video. Gen Z and Millennials spend about an hour a day watching content on the platform. Is this a platform you should consider for your marketing mix?

TikTok By the Numbers

The latest data from Pew Internet indicates that 21% of Americans who use social media use TikTok. Other sources of data show:

  • 62% of TikTok users are ages 10-29
  • Males and females are equally likely to use the platform
  • Popular content is comedy, skits, lifestyle and tricks

If your content is about beauty, fashion, home, travel, food, drink, lifestyle, or music and these demographics align with your target audience, TikTok might be a good channel for your marketing. Before I share some thoughts on how to use the platform, you also need to consider some serious security concerns with the platform.

Security Concerns

TikTok has been at the forefront of countless rumors of privacy violations and security issues. It was banned in India, and by the US Army and Navy with accusations of national security threats.

In its privacy policy, TikTok states that it collects “information you provide in the context of composing, sending, or receiving messages.” Focusing on the use of the word “composing,” TikTok doesn’t just collect data related to what you share using the app. It also gathers data about content you created or wrote but didn’t share. It also collects information about your phone’s model, screen resolution, current OS, phone number, email address, location, and even contact list.

TikTok stores user data in the US and Singapore. It is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

Over the past few years, security researchers found multiple security vulnerabilities within the app. Serious questions are raised about the potential for data amassed by TikTok being exploited by the owners and hackers.

TikTok 101 for Marketers

TikTok content has a high chance of getting a large number of impressions and going viral. Content that is funny and creative combined with the right sound and hashtags will get the attention of users.

To define your brand on TikTok:

  • Create an account. Complete your profile and link to your other social pages.
  • Pick your sound. Sound is an important and expected element on TikTok. Brands that use custom sounds benefit from the sound discovery options on the app.
  • Partner with influencers. Find creators whose content complements your brand voice and values. Work with them, as the experts, to create original TikTok content.
  • Connect and engage with users. The app community expects brands to authentically show up on TikTok, participate in trends, comment on videos, and follow consumers and creators.

To find success, your brand will need to find a voice and originality that resonates with viewers. This is not a place to focus on sales or conversion. The vibe is lighthearted and fun.

Successful efforts are created specifically for the app and use sound and other tools that users expect. Challenges and campaigns that are simple and leave room for users to creatively respond get the most attention. Content that taps into “now” topics also does well.

Twitter Marketing for Small Business

Twitter is the social platform for news and events. When news stories unfold, details often come out first on Twitter. When events take place, it’s the platform where people share takeaways. If your small business is involved with news and events at any scale or level, Twitter is a platform to use.

Getting Started with Twitter

Start by defining the content that is best shared on Twitter. This may be a channel that is useful everyday, or just during particular times when news and events occur. Define your calendar of topics and timing.

Next, consider what unique value you will bring to Twitter. Retweeting what others are saying isn’t enough. What talking points and insights can you contribute? What voice will you bring to the conversations?

Focusing on who you’re Tweeting to is essential if you want people to interact with your content. Have a clear picture of who you’re talking to and what they care about.

Set Goals and Measure Success

The only way to know if your Twitter marketing strategy is working is to set goals. Once you have defined your goal, then determine how you can measure progress. Twitter analytics is a source of data. Your website metrics may also help monitor impact. Pick the metrics that provide you with insight.

Post Effective Content

On Twitter, there are lots of different options to interact with customers. Regular text tweets are common, but you can also tweet videos, polls, images, and GIFs. Try out different formats and see what works best for your business’s marketing strategy.

Engage on Twitter

You need to do more than post to get value from Twitter. You need to engage with your audience there as well.

Monitor your Twitter notifications and respond to mentions, good and bad. This will help you build a community on Twitter and you’ll get useful feedback too.

Make sure your customers know you’re on Twitter and ask them to follow you. When a customer mentions your business in a Tweet, always reply and retweet as appropriate.

Establish customer service approach to guide you when a customer has questions. Document your approach to determine what warrants a response and how that response will be composed.

A good small business Twitter marketing strategy should be real and resonate with your customers and prospects, and highlight your brand relevance to news and events. It should be monitored and measured to assess impact on your goals.

Scheduling Tools Now Part of Doing Business

Calendar scheduling tools have come into the mainstream. I get them all the time. People ask for a meeting, then provide a link so I can visit their calendar and pick a day and time.

I have very mixed reactions to this. It can save time over going back and forth by email. But it also feels like I am doing all the work. So, I turned to my online community for their thoughts.

I took a poll and asked, “How do you feel about using calendar tools to request time on someone’s calendar?” Apparently I need to get over my reservations because 76% responded that the love them!

Here’s a sample comment: “I cannot BEAR going back and forth via email looking for a time to talk. I use Acuity Scheduling (since 2015). I can barely stand discussing anything over email if it takes more than one.”

Scheduler tools like Acuity Scheduling and Calendly have earned a place in the busy business owner’s toolkit. Some advice for using these tools well:

  • Take care with the days and times that you offer through your online scheduler. Don’t give so many options that your schedule becomes unproductive. One commenter to my poll suggested limiting client meetings to a certain day. The single day approach can also help cut down the exchange of emails if you don’t use a scheduling tool.
  • Offer an option so that people who find using your scheduler a challenge can get on your calendar another way.
  • Make sure the time slot lengths are realistic. I recently had a request to set up a meeting and the slot was 15 minutes. No surprise, the call took longer than that, but the scheduler did not offer me the option to book more than 15 minutes.
  • Be careful with how complex you make your system. I recently got one with multiple fields, including opting out of an enewsletter. I understand the temptation to use the scheduler to get people on your email marketing list, but be sure not to add too many distractions.

As with all online communication and marketing, don’t lose sight that your calendar link is part of the relationship you are building. Make sure the tool is presented as a helpful option rather than an imposition. And, be open to people who want to approach scheduling a different way.