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Is TikTok the Key To Startup Marketing Success?

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The startup scene has continued to thrive post-pandemic. With more competition than ever before, small business leaders are constantly looking for new audience-gripping tactics that will keep their consumers engaged in a global online sphere.

In fact, on the back of Covid-19’s push for digitalization, addressing a new, global online audience has become one of the greatest challenges for startup entrepreneurs. Battling against a plethora of new platforms, an e-commerce boom, and consumer demand for increased personalization, many small business leaders are falling victim to startup failure in 2022.
After a recent National Business Capital Study found that 1 in 5 startups are failing in their first year, many entrepreneurs are turning to social media marketing for success. With over 4.6 billion users on board, social platforms have become the new targeting arenas for small businesses hoping to make it big.

From an article about Startup Failures on Failory, 22% of startup failures originate from a poor marketing strategy. Coupled together with a lack of market fit and cash flow issues, entrepreneurs must work on their market angle and digital skillset if they are going to survive in a new online playing field.

Read on as we explore the startup scene in 2022 and discuss how some of its greatest challenges can be addressed using the powers of social media marketing.

Exploring the Startup Market in 2022

It’s no secret that the startup market is thriving post-pandemic. With a digital shift making it easier than ever before for hungry entrepreneurs to start their own ventures, the number of new business applications has peaked since 2020 according to a study on Oberlo.

While the beginning of 2020 remained stagnant for startup ventures, lockdown freelancing saw numbers shoot up in Q3 of 2020, and business applications have been flying in ever since. With a 70% year-on-year growth jump, the startup market is quickly becoming densely populated and significantly competitive.

In fact, studies show that only 40% of all startup ventures are currently profitable as entrepreneurs continue to speed money on funding rounds, increased marketing spending and digital automation for improved productivity levels.

The problem is, that more than half of all new businesses have less than $25,000 at their disposal at the beginning of a venture, rendering cash flow issues one of the top challenges faced when battling increasing competition within a niche industry. 

Could social media be a saving grace for startup marketers or another cash-draining strategy? 

Are Social Media Strategies the Key To Success?

Social media has certainly played a large role in startup success in the last decade. Amongst its most well-serving platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and now, TikTok, marketers have used these consumer-dominated sites to promote products and services, create interactive and engaging content and, most importantly, connect with potential sales leads.

With over half of the world’s population using at least one form of social media in 2022, It’s no longer a case of if a startup should use social media within their growth strategy, but rather when.

In fact, 93% of marketers claim that using social media as a tool for promotion has significantly increased their business exposure, and has been the key to connecting with their demographic in the wake of Covid-19’s online shift.

Easy or Expensive?

The question is, can these platforms provide speedy success for a low payout?

The answer is yes, and no. Social media marketing can be a costly process when investing in paid forms of advertising, influencer partnerships and increased platform exposure. In fact, a number of startups have reported buying increased forms of paid advertising in 2022 in order to compete against both industry giants and user-generated content.

However, for startup leaders looking to gain organic exposure for less, the key to success in 2022 is content marketing. There are a number of ways online entrepreneurs can use a social media platform to their advantage, without investing in paid advertising formats. From newsjacking to jumping on consumer trends, generating success is all about changing the content angle and knowing what will get your target consumer’s attention.

As new platforms such as TikTok quickly emerge as a front runner for startup marketing, the key to success on these consumer-dominated applications is to blend in. Engage with video-based trends and replicate viral content with an original angle.

TikTok’s Rise To Fame

One social network, in particular, that has seen a sharp rise in popularity is TikTok. Now named the fastest growing platform in the last decade, with a 105% user growth rate, it’s no surprise that marketers across the globe are clinging to its success.

Flying higher than both Facebook and Instagram, social media’s once hottest platforms, TikTok has taken the world by a storm since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

Made up of short video-based content, TikTok’s user-defined algorithm gives every account that posts a video the chance to go viral. As trending sounds and video trends surface, all users can create their own versions of current TikTok trends? For their chance to feature on the all-important For You Page.

For startup marketers, in particular, TikTok is the place to be. After 85% of smart marketers revealed that video-form content was their most effective social tactic in 2021, the key to high levels of engagement is most definitely found on TikTok’s video-based app.

However, it’s one thing to post a video on TikTok, but how can a startup make their video stand out from the crowd?

How To Make Your Startup Go Viral on TikTok

Startups than want to go viral on TikTok need to tick three key boxes when creating platform-based content. These are sound, speed and satisfaction. TikTok content needs to be fast-paced in order to grab attention, filmed under a viral sound for a chance to appear on the For You Page, and most importantly, satisfying for a demographic, making them more likely to share the content with their peers.

Here are some of the key elements startup leaders should consider before posting their first TikTok:

  • Is It Platform Specific? Over 62% of TikTok marketers claim that platform-specific content is key if they want to connect with consumers. Videos need to be in line with platform trends and fit the viral video structure. 
  • Do You know Your Audience? TikTok has a wide and diverse demographic. Entrepreneurs need to be using sounds, trends and hashtags that directly address their consumer group if they want to end up on the feeds of potential leads.
  • Is The Content Original? While it is smart to jump onto platform trends, creating original content is key for startups. Why not newsjack a viral story and use it to promote a product or service with a humorous twist?

As TikTok’s platform evolves, so do its users. If you want a chance at success on the platform, your content needs to be fresh, exciting, and easily adaptable in an ever-changing social media landscape.

About the author


Rebecca Barnatt-Smith

Rebecca is a freelance journalist and multi-media marketing executive, specialising in the future of SEO marketing and UX design in business growth.