Tips to turn TikTok Fame into business deals

In recent years, TikTok has become a fundamental tool for businesses looking to increase their online presence and attract new customers.

But the social video platform isn’t just a great resource for existing businesses, it’s also a great springboard for aspiring entrepreneurs like Dylan Lemay. In May 2020, Lemay started making short “storytime” and tutorial TikToks while working at Cold Stone Creamery in Detroit, Michigan. One of his first videos, entitled ‘Your First Day At Cold Stone’, taught the public how to work at the ice cream chain – and was viewed more than 8 million times. Within 60 days, Lemay had expanded his account to over 1 million followers.

What started as a casual pastime quickly evolved, and in the fall of 2021, Lemay raised $1.5 million from investor Chris Camillo to open his own ice cream parlor in Mew York City, Catch’n Ice Cream, in July 2022. Since its launch, Catch ‘n Ice Cream has exceeded expectations, selling thousands of its ice cream balls a week – some to customers who have traveled across the country to meet Lemay and experience the store. Inc. spoke with Lemay and other entrepreneurs to get their top tips for using the platform to market and promote a business or product.

Create recognizable and shareable content

Lemay encourages everyone to “post content around the things you love” because you never know when a particular topic is going viral — or what opportunities you might encounter as a result. At first, Lemay thought his Cold Stone videos were stupid fun – something to keep him busy during the lockdown. But when his videos got several million views, he decided to study the platform and learn how to make a viral video on purpose.

He found that to go viral, you need a great story to tell — and a purpose to tell it. For example, one of Lemay’s first viral videos showed him making a graduation cake for his sister after her ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic. Lemay saw this as an opportunity to share a story that many high school and college students across the country could relate to.

Likewise, Madelyn Machado, a former recruiter at Microsoft, Meta and Linkedin, started posting TikToks earlier this year with career advice and tips on building resumes. When she decided to use TikTok and start her reverse recruiting company — a service where she helps candidates refresh their resumes and find a job — she went from $500 a month to $25,000 a month in less than 90 days. . Machado, who is on track to make $500,000 this year, says she gets the majority of her clients through TikTok and recommends posting 4-8 times a day.

One of her first viral videos explained the benefits for remote workers at her then employer, Meta. The video went viral, reaching 480,000 views, and immediately got an influx of people asking for one-on-one conversations. Machado kept the momentum going by posting video responses to popular questions in the comment section. Her subsequent videos all received tens of thousands of views. In addition, a trend Machado has noticed is videos that contain resources, interview questions, or websites that people should try, as well as videos that people can save and refer to. People are more incentivized to share these videos and therefore they are more likely to get off the ground.

JT Barnett, the founder and CEO of LATikTok-based marketing agency StrategyX says: “The most important metric to get your videos shown to new audiences is watch time. Normally, you would have watched most of a video if you had chosen to put it on. save or share with friends – both of which are heavy indicators that your content has been found valuable.”

How to turn TikTok success into business deals

Preston Seo worked in corporate sales and sold business cloud applications for Workday, a people management software company based in Pleasanton, California. In early 2021, he started creating financial content on TikTok with the goal of helping 100 people achieve financial freedom. After placing a video explaining the craze of AMC and GameStop exploded its presence on TikTok: the video was viewed 2 million times and, he says, “I went from 5,000 to nearly 100,000 followers overnight.” Seo noticed that people were interested in the topic and continued to make videos on the topic. Within two and a half months, his account had grown to a million followers. In the span of a year, he managed to quit his job and consistently generate $100,000 a month through branded deals—with companies like Fundrise and Morning Brew, affiliate links, and selling his own educational products.

Seo’s strategy was simple. He emphasizes that many creators make the mistake of making money too quickly and end up losing the trust of their audience. He recommends focusing first on providing as much value as possible — in the form of education or entertainment — to build trust with your audience. This means being selective about partnerships. He also emphasizes the importance of spending time answering questions from people within your community, explaining that “the more time you invest with your audience, the greater the ROI will be.”

When Seo launched his own product, an educational course on investing, Seo had tremendous success thanks to the trust he had built with his audience. More than 2,000 people attended his first webinar, which raised nearly $125,000.

Seo and Machado recommend having a place to drive traffic so that when you have a video that performs well, there is a funnel to capture potential customers. They use link-in-bio tools like Linktree and Beacons to generate clickable URLs that point to a single web page that serves as a hub for all of your products or services. According to Machado, “You need to have an email list. Whether it’s a free newsletter, a blog, a service, or whatever, you want a way to communicate with your audience outside of the platform.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.