The Big Appearance of Small Businesses on TikTok

Courtesy of Small Business Trends

By Natalia Potrapeluk

While the pandemic has isolated many and worsened mental health all around the world, Social media has  thrived as a way to keep people connected. Through this turmoil, TikTok managed to gain popularity and  brighten the lives of many. It took Facebook four years to hit 1 billion users, and Instagram five years. TikTok  has achieved this feat in a mere two years. Currently, TikTok is the fastest growing social media company in the  world. Some people’s lives have changed dramatically through the app’s algorithm that gives almost everyone a chance to become famous. Consequently, many small businesses have had breakthroughs on the app.  

To capitalize on this trend, TikTok has shifted toward a more marketing-friendly design. The app now has self advertising tools and has released $100 million in ad credits, specifically targeting struggling businesses during the pandemic. This update will allow businesses to be more creative on the app with a flexible budget. Some new features TikTok has added include a hashtag that has a shopping feature added, the ability to promote a product in 2D or 3D, and an e-learning center that teaches marketers how to successfully market on the app. With TikTok’s revenue growing to about $500 million a year, it’s likely TikTok will come out with more  programs and have an increasingly prominent role in the social media space.  

The target audience with these ads is mostly Gen-Z consumers – a demographic that tends to be more eco friendly. The younger generation of TikTok users are becoming real contributors to the climate change crisis  and are willing to pay more to fight climate change. The hashtag #ClimateChange has over 356 million views  on the app. As a result of these trends, sustainable businesses have become extremely successful on the app. One such example is Ethica Clothing. This business was created by Estella Struck, a sophomore in Wake Forest  University, that sells secondhand clothing for under 10 dollars. She also uses her platform to educate many on  the impacts of fast fashion on climate change.  

My Stern friends and I have grown to appreciate this new approach to business. Allison Cao, a freshman from  Long Island double concentrating in finance and data science, has noticed that a lot of Jewelry businesses blow up on TikTok and has even ordered from a business after watching one video. Oscar Gallimbeni, a freshman from New York City concentrating in finance, believes the algorithm promotes funny trends that many small  businesses capitalize on. Whether it’s a dance trend or a voice over trend, it seems as though the less serious the  marketing video is, the more successful it is.  

Being a prime user of TikTok myself, I would advise those trying to increase their views to look at videos that  are trending and amalgamate the highlights into your personal marketing scheme. Additionally, keep a look out for popular sounds and use those in the background with the trending hashtags.  


Constine, Josh. “Instagram Hits 1 Billion Monthly Users, up from 800M in September.” TechCrunch,  TechCrunch, 20 June 2018, 

Eliza Huber, Lily Fulop. “Gen Z Is Using Fashion TikTok To Fight Climate Change. Will It Work?” TikTok Is  Leading The Charge On Sustainable Fashion, sustainable-fashion-cottagecore-clothes.  

“TikTok Launches TikTok For Business for Marketers, Takes on Snapchat with New AR Ads.” Yahoo! News,  Yahoo!,

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