The Emerging Impact of TikTok on Local Businesses

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Many local business owners believe that marketing on major social media platforms is reserved for online businesses and major multinational corporations with enormous marketing budgets. In truth, this form of marketing can also benefit small and medium-sized local businesses.

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other social networks have made it easier for brands to reach potential customers.

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That said, reaching people in your target audience may seem easier if you’re not geo-restricted and can present your product to the entire world, or at least the whole nation. But can TikTok really help you advertise to a local audience? And if so, what is the best way to approach this?

Read on, and we’ll try to answer these questions and more in the article below.

Why Local Businesses Should Start Paying More Attention to TikTok

With TikTok, businesses have always found ways to be authentic while connecting with a thriving, engaged community. Through the platform, brands of all sizes can reach audiences they would never have reached otherwise.

However, a particular TikTok feature has made the platform a game-changer for local businesses — DMA (Designated Market Area) geo-targeting. This feature, which the platform introduced in May 2021 in cooperation with Nielsen, helps companies to reach specific local audiences in the US.

More specifically, TikTok covers 210 local regions, including the entire continental United States, Hawaii, and the most urban parts of Alaska. But what does it all mean for local business owners?

TikTok DMA Geo-Tagging Explained

Brands using TikTok to market their products can now pinpoint exactly what content users see based on their location. This means local marketing strategies can be more personalized, and local brands can advertise to the specific audience they wish to target.

The importance of Geo Tagging becomes more evident when combined with the ability to target users based on their behavior and interests. 

Marketing campaigns should strive to save as much time and resources as possible, and TikTok’s local targeting options can help accomplish that much more effectively than before. Businesses with a local presence can and should take full advantage of this advertising opportunity.

How to Use Geo-Targeting to Improve Your Marketing Campaign?

Local targeting is beneficial for all businesses that advertise on TikTok, but in some industries, it is imperative. Consider brands that produce seasonal products, like winter jackets. There is a high demand for these during the winter, but it drops significantly during the summer and spring.

By advertising locally, companies can reach customers in colder climates or states where winter gear needs are high throughout the year. It is possible to maintain balanced sales figures throughout the entire year in this way.

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However, it is essential to note that businesses with non-seasonal products can also benefit from local advertising. 

By creating different landing pages, you can cater your services and offers to the sensibilities of users from specific geographic areas. Furthermore, you will have more control over what parameters you want to set to reach the right audience, allowing you to get the same results on a smaller budget.

Keep It Simple and Unique

Social media platforms are filled with overproduced content that looks fake and therefore doesn’t resonate with a broader audience. This is something that most people fail to realize. TikTok’s creators understood this perfectly, and their insistence on organic yet simple and entertaining videos set it apart from the rest.

It’s impossible not to be blown away by the sheer variety of content TikTok offers, thanks to its integrated video creation software and numerous templates, images, filters, and music backgrounds. Simply put, a viral video campaign no longer requires studio access.

No matter what you do regarding geo-location and local audience marketing, when it comes to TikTok, creating exciting and entertaining content should always be the number one priority. Unfortunately, there is no blueprint for making viral content, but if you allow your creativity to run free and keep things unique to your voice, good things will happen sooner or later.

The TikTok local DMA regions enable your TikTok ads to go viral locally, reaching the audience most likely to relate to them.

Take Full Advantage of Trends and Challenges

You’ll need to be extra creative and test out different approaches if you want to reach a specific group of people and make a lasting impression. It might be a good idea to reach out to influencers. Due to their large followings, these TikTok users can present your brand directly to your target audience. But more on that in the next section.

The point is that you have a wide array of strategies at your disposal, and there’s no need to break the bank to rent out billboards around town or acquire commercial spots on your local TV station.

For example, you can use your products or services to create a series of challenges for other users to complete. A highly successful marketing campaign can be made within a few weeks, requiring no additional promotion or investment from you. That sounds much better than paying massive amounts of money to bombard people with ads they don’t want to see, right?

Leverage Local Influencers

TikTok is home to a large community of influencers and creators. These creators tend to have extensive local followings, so you should look for local creators with the largest following in the region you want to target.

Your business can naturally reach the audience you want by having those creators make TikToks for you. The influencer can specifically reference the address of your business and perhaps even create a few videos on location. This works particularly well for restaurants and entertainment venues (such as escape rooms, paintball/laser-tag locations, etc.).

Generate Interest and Brand Recognition Early On

Building a thriving local business will take a lot of work, but first and foremost, you must establish your brand’s presence in the local market. It will be impossible to build a sustainable business model if your products and services do not generate excitement and immediate recognition within your community.

TikTok and social media marketing, in general, can provide you with a tremendous amount of help in achieving this goal. Although Facebook and Instagram have been the go-to platforms for marketers for years, TikTok has rapidly emerged as the new shiny competitor. It has become a true force to be reckoned with now that it offers local advertising.

In fact, TikTok achieves some stunning results compared to the more traditional social media platforms. For example, in 2021, TikTok had 745 million downloads, compared to Instagram’s 545 million. Large numbers of new users provide your local business with more marketing opportunities and improved sales figures down the line, which is what any company strives for.

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Different Types of TikTok Ads

With TikTok, local businesses can promote themselves in a variety of ways. You’ll be able to run a paid ad as a TikTok-style video that seamlessly enters the stream of the users you’re targeting, for example. There are four main types of TikTok ads:

  • TopView ads — These are 60-second videos that appear as soon as you open the TikTok app. This strategic placement ensures users will see your ad.
  • Sponsored challenges — Businesses can sponsor hashtag challenges and receive custom banners on the Discover page. In addition to promoting your brand, the video explains and demonstrates the challenge created by your team.
  • Brand takeovers — These short advertisements appear before other user content. You can link the ad to your landing page and use it on various categories of videos.
  • In-feed ads — Native in-feed ads are videos that play between user content with a pop-up call to action. They can last up to 60 seconds.

These are the essentials. Experience, however, is the best teacher. Trying out the TikTok platform for yourself is the best way to learn how to use it.

Get Started with Local Advertising on a Budget Via TikTok

Advertising locally on TikTok doesn’t have to cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Unlike some other apps, like Facebook, TikTok allows for plenty of room for experimentation and enables you to achieve excellent results while remaining within the confines of your predetermined budget.

When it comes to local marketing on TikTok, all it takes is a great idea and a team of experts. 

You can reach out to the online marketing company in the UK and the US if you need additional inspiration or want to hire a team of professionals to help you along the way. They will provide great tips and tricks on creating a solid TikTok local profile to maximize your local marketing efforts.

Guest Article by Nicole Kelly

Nicole Kelly is a Raleigh, North Carolina, US graphic designer, digital marketing consultant, and writer enthusiast. In her spare time, she loves writing about new business strategies, digital marketing, and social media trends for different blogs and DigitalStrategyOne.

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