For many brands, TikTok is a scary, unknown place. What do you post? How do you use the trending sounds? I’ve rounded up small businesses that have generated thousands of likes and followers on their TikTok profiles alone.
In this article, we not only list successful small businesses on TikTok with a breakdown of their strategies but also hear from some directly on what influenced their success.
Note: In this article, we define small businesses as those with under 100 employees.
Founded by influencer and content creator Cassey Ho, POPFLEX has amassed 2.5 million likes and 116K followers since first posting in May 2020.
What’s the key to its success? Leveraging Ho’s loyal community and telling honest stories.
@popflexactive Time for a gym bag upgrade? Meet the all-in-one Valentina Duffle 💐 #dufflebag #duffle #functionalfashion #blogilates #bags #gymbag #ShowOffLandOFrost ♬ Classical Music - Classical Music
Ho grew in popularity on YouTube as a fitness instructor sharing pilates workouts and advice, hence the name @blogilates. After years of success, Ho launched the apparel brand, POPFLEX.
“It's such a huge benefit to work with a social media personality like Cassey, who already has not only a fanbase but a loyal community that she has built trust with,” says Lexi King, PopFlex’s social media lead. “We are an extension of that at POPFLEX.”
Knowing that these two brands are deeply connected, King says they focused on sharing the behind-the-scenes journey of building and growing POPFLEX.
“…People love seeing the ‘why’ and the process behind our products,” says King, “it makes the brand relationship less transactional and more of a relationship.”
She says that instead of selling a product, they walk viewers through finding solutions to their most pressing problems. On TikTok, each account feeds the other, creating what King calls an ecosystem.
“If you happen to be scrolling TikTok and come across Blogilates’ video promoting a product, that will likely lead you to check out POPFLEX where you can then see the product on different bodies through our try-on videos or see more of the functionality behind the product,” she says.” It's about creating an ecosystem of content, it’s like telling one big story.”
In addition to storytelling and leveraging their founder, King shares that the brand invests in building relationships with diverse content creators, through partnerships and gifting.
“Seeing our products promoted on external influencer/creator accounts helps build our awareness and trust with the consumer while also giving our customer real, raw, and unpaid reviews,” says King on gifting products to influencers.
Unlike many other brands on TikTok, POPFLEX doesn’t only rely on trending dances to gain traction.
“Doing trendy dance moves doesn’t always need to be your answer to increasing your reach,” says King. “You can find a unique way to utilize a trending audio to push your product and educate your audience about your brand.”
She continues, “In fact, being different and interpreting trends in unique ways has been some of our best performing content.”
If there’s one piece of advice King could offer other small businesses, it’s this: Succeeding on TikTok involves trial and error.
“You have to find what brings your audience in, weeding through what works and what doesn’t,” says King. “The only way to figure that out is by posting and by not being afraid to test new things — new creators, posting at different times, new angles, trends versus storytelling, etc.”
While some brands steer away from pushing their products on TikTok, others find great success in doubling down on this strategy. Faces Cosmetics is one of them.
About 90% of the TikTok videos this brand posts on TikTok are directly related to its product, specifically the quality, performance, and durability.
The reason this strategy works so well is that in just a few seconds, the video addresses user pain points and shows how the product solves them – all while leveraging trending sounds.
@facescosmetics And it’s latex free 😜 Secure those lashes baby! #makeup #mua #lashes #facescosmetics #lashessecured ♬ original sound - IT GIRL 💕
Here’s another tactic that’s worked exceptionally well for Faces Cosmetics on TikTok: Building up a story surrounding the product, hooking in viewers, then revealing the truth at the end.
While this may sound like a risky approach, it’s one that brought the brand 3.1 million views in a single video and a host of new customers.
For instance, in the video posted below, the brand’s founder posed as a content creator trying a new product that’s been making its rounds on social media. Spoiler alert: It’s her product.
@facescosmetics I wish i knew about this sooner omg! #lashes #makeup #ulta #facescosmetics #lashessecured ♬ original sound - Faces Cosmetics
She tries it on, addresses common customer pain points with this product line, then ends the video with the big reveal and a restock announcement.
The takeaway here is to tell stories that will resonate with your audience.
With over 125K followers and 4.3 million likes, all of Hoodjabi’s viral content has one thing in common: great use of a trending sound.
@hoodjabishop A lifechanging experience #hoodjabishop #modestfashion #hijabessentials #hoodiehijab ♬ The sound of love - Mandy & Boots- Viral 🔈Creator
Although every video features Hoodjabi products, they don’t focus on the products themselves. Instead, they focus on lifestyle – always in a funny, engaging way.
So, how do they do it? I spoke to Hoodjabi founder Kady Meite. In addition to her humor, she attributes her TikTok success to her understanding of the app.
“Because I personally use TikTok every day, studying the app comes easy,” she said. “Whenever I hear an audio, based on the wording of the song or theme of the trend, I automatically think ‘How can this apply to my brand?’”
Whether it’s for building brand awareness, promoting products, or community building, Meite says there’s always a way to leverage a trend.
“Way too often, I see other small businesses get stuck on views and why certain videos they worked so hard on aren’t getting any traction,” she says. “Once you click that ‘post’ button, you should be working on new content, generating ideas, or producing.”
Meite recommends that small businesses focus instead on posting as much as possible to get their name out there. She believes virality is driven mostly by consistency.
“ It has nothing to do with hashtags or certain times of the day,” said Meite. “Just post and post consistently – the right audience will find you.”
She adds that on a platform like TikTok, reusing and recycling old content is welcome – including photos.
“TikTok loves photo dumps with the right caption, trending audio, and great brand pictures,” Meite says.
For small businesses with limited time and resources, this is great news. You don’t have to start from scratch every time, a new trend offers an opportunity to turn old content into your next viral video.
If there’s one lesson to take away from Hoodjabi, it’s this: Take time to understand how the platform works, don’t agonize over views, and focus on creating content that will resonate with your audience.
4. Bobbie Goods
TikTok accounts like Bobbie Goods show us that simplicity can go a long way on social media.
What once was a drawing account from an artist evolved into a brand selling coloring books, stickers, and more.
What’s most interesting here is noting how the content in this account shifted once it became a brand. In the early days, the videos had little focus, allowing viewers to simply enjoy the drawings as they came alive on screen.
Over time, the brand started incorporating more behind-the-scenes content, from packing orders to creating new products.
@bobbiegoods add eco friendly gift wrapping to your next order! available now in my shop ☺️ @noissueco #noissuepackaging #fyp #packingorders #smallbusiness #etsy ♬ Real Love Baby - Father John Misty
Another interesting note? Bobbie Goods doesn’t rely on trending sounds to make or break their content, showing once again that there are multiple roads leading to success on TikTok.
Food brand Omsom isn’t just on TikTok to promote its products. After perusing just a few videos, you’ll find that there’s an emphasis on celebrating Asian, and specifically Vietnamese, culture.
Omsom invites its viewers to gain knowledge of the history behind Vietnamese cuisine as well as challenge longstanding myths related to Asian foods.
@weareomsom PSA: there are no proven harms of consuming MSG!!! #msg #asiancuisine #asianfood #immigrantstories #stigma ♬ original sound - Omsom
But that’s not all you’ll find scrolling down their profile.
Omsom also shares tons of food recipes, behind-the-scenes content from the founders, and relatable lifestyle content.
The Omsom team has HAD IT with these red flags 🤣🚩♬ Whatcha Say - Jason Derulo
Having this content mix ensures they appeal to a range of buyer personas, from Vietnamese consumers looking for a taste of home to curious eaters.
When your product is as good as SplayTray’s, there’s no fancy strategy needed (although that never hurts).
On TikTok, all it takes is finding the right trending sounds to show off your product’s most impressive features.
Take this video below, which earned nearly 270K views.
You definitely need it.♬ THE SOUND WE DONT REALLY NEED - Skeetersbedtimestories
The audio overlay – a conversation between two friends resisting the temptation to make a purchase – mixed with a simple video compilation made for a straightforward product demo that speaks for itself.
So, when in doubt, keep it simple.
There you have it – 6 brands using completely different strategies and killing it on TikTok. Whether you’re a small, midsize or large business, there’s a piece of advice in here for every TikTok marketer.