How to Sell on TikTok: 5 Tips for Success

How to Sell on TikTok: 5 Tips for Success
Here’s your step-by-step guide for how to sell on TikTok using TikTok Shops, LIVE Shopping, TikTok Ads, user-generated content, and more.
by Madelyn Young Nov 18, 2022 — 4 min read
How to Sell on TikTok: 5 Tips for Success

TikTok is a vast social media network that’s projected to reach over 100 million users in the United States by 2025. The platform is known for its short-form videos that are recommended based on what users like, watch, and follow, and TikTok’s algorithm-powered ability to serve up content users want to see has helped make it massively popular.

The social media platform’s popularity, especially among younger people, is poised to grow in the years to come, particularly as Gen Z uses TikTok as a search engine to do everything from finding new restaurants to discovering new products. 

TikTok is a smart place for your business to be and can help open the door to a new and younger customer base. Here are five tips for success when selling on TikTok.

1. Set up a TikTok Business Account and a TikTok Shop

TikTok Business accounts and TikTok Shops are cornerstones for selling on the platform. Here’s how they work and how to set them up.

TikTok Business Account

Business accounts are public profiles that allow businesses to use TikTok marketing tools. TikTok encourages businesses to think of their business account as a “home base” to build connections and share content. Having a business account enables you to access analytics on performance and audience data, a 500,000+ piece commercial music library, post scheduling, a business suite for your support needs, and a business creative hub offering guidance on content creation. 

To create a business account, set up a personal account and then edit your settings by clicking Manage Account. From there you can switch to a Pro Account, choose Business or Creator, then pick a category for your business. To complete setup, add a link to your website or online store and an email address where customers can reach you — both of which are directly shown on your profile and are essential to driving commerce through the app. 

With setup complete, you can start posting content. How-tos, funny videos, informational or educational content, and videos based on trending hashtags or challenges tend to perform well on the platform. Everything you post should align with the values and image of your brand. 

TikTok Shop

TikTok Shops enable you to display and sell products directly on TikTok through in-feed videos, LIVEs, and the product showcase tab. Available in a growing number of markets, TikTok Shops facilitate direct, end-to-end eCommerce on TikTok — from product discovery and product detail pages to shipping, billing, purchases, and returns. 

To set up a TikTok Shop, you must upload a number of business documents and wait one to two days to be approved before adding products and linking your bank account. From there you can manage your shop, inventory, orders, promotions, creator partnerships, and customer service.

Another avenue for showcasing your products is a TikTok Storefront. With a TikTok Storefront, you can create a product catalog through your business account but direct users to check out on your app or eCommerce site.

2. Showcase your products with captivating content

According to TikTok, soft-sell videos typically appeal to viewers more than hard-sell videos. Tag your videos with products from your catalog, but don’t overdo it as your audience may turn away from heavily commercialized content.

When you do want to showcase your products in a direct way, it’s smart to do so in ways that drive up their appeal — such as using good lighting, taking close-up shots, and ensuring that what’s in the background helps the product pop (like holding brightly colored products over contrasting backgrounds). Also, don’t forget that all TikTok videos automatically play with audio, so you’ll always want to include a voiceover, music, or audio clips.

LIVE Shopping Ads are another option that allow you to connect with TikTok viewers in real-time videos and share shoppable links to products and services while the content is streaming. By extending your reach on the platform, LIVE Shopping Ads can help shoppers discover your products and can be a useful tool for guiding customers through their purchasing journey. To create LIVE Shopping Ads, visit TikTok Ads Manager to create a new campaign and start your livestream from the Ads Manager.

3. Use TikTok Ads

TikTok offers a variety of advertising options, including In-Feed Ads, TopView (the position of the first ad a user sees when they open TikTok), Branded Hashtag challenges, and Branded Effects.

The platform also offers different advertising formats. Spark Ads is a TikTok ad format that allows you to boost your own organic posts or relevant content posted by creators, turning that content into In-Feed Ads or TopView content. Spark Ads can be helpful for creating ads that maintain an organic and authentic approach.

TikTok Promote is one of the more traditional advertising formats on the platform and is one of the easiest ways to generate more video views, website visits, and followers. TikTok Promote allows you to amplify any organic TikTok video by turning that video into an ad and offers insights into how your video performed when your Promote campaign finished. To use TikTok Promote, select a video that you want to promote and choose the goal, budget, and timeframe for the campaign.

4. Leverage influencers and user-generated content

Since half of Gen Z internet users in the U.S. agree that social networks are important information sources for shopping decisions, expanding your TikTok presence to include influencer- and user-generated content can authenticate your brand and grow your audience. 

Partnering with influencers — or creators, as TikTok calls them — helps expand your reach and feature your brand in new kinds of content, which can keep your brand top-of-mind for new and different audiences. You can request access to TikTok’s Creator Marketplace to make finding and collaborating with influencers easy by filtering its creator catalog for topics, location, reach, and more. 

If you’re looking to repost user-generated content to build your brand awareness and audience, start by finding content that aligns with your brand using hashtags or search. When you come across product reviews or other brand mentions using hashtags, reach out to the account owners for permission to repost.

5. Connect with shoppers and provide customer support

Your business account and TikTok Shop are powerful tools not only for posting and reposting content, but also for building meaningful relationships with your audience and potential customers. Invest time in connecting with shoppers by using the two-way communication that the platform provides to build a connection and establish trust.

If you use TikTok for commerce (through a TikTok Shop or TikTok Storefront), be sure to read and respond to customers’ comments and direct messages right away. Use TikTok Q&A to give customers a formal way to pose questions that you can craft video responses to. Incorporate TikTok customers’ feedback into how you do business on the platform to ensure they continue to trust your brand and shop with you.

Build a social commerce strategy on TikTok

As TikTok tests and expands new commerce features and shopping experiences, businesses have plenty of opportunities to reach the app’s widespread audience. 

Building your own social commerce strategy, creating content that resonates with shoppers, and leveraging eCommerce tools can help drive awareness of your businesses on TikTok and reach a new base of engaged customers.

Madelyn Young
Madelyn Young is a Brooklyn-based writer covering business-, finance-, and technology-related topics. Prior to going freelance in 2018, Madelyn spent ten years as an in-house writer and editor for various B2B startups, agencies, and media companies – first in Cleveland, OH, then Miami, FL, then NYC.


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