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How small businesses are using TikTok to pump up their sales

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Entrepreneur Robin Brackbill at her business
Brackbill from Fabby-Do Creativity Café: viral posts on TikTok helped to open doors

It is 7 AM in the UK and, as I open my TikTok and the 150,000th video featuring Lizzo’s About Damn time song pops onto my overcrowded timeline, I wonder if the short-form video hosting service has made a deal with the American rapper and songwriter to push it as much as possible. Possibly the same commercial deal that is making British singer Kate Bush’s voice repeatedly echo in all sorts of videos recently posted on the platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

By 7:18, I have stumbled across over a dozen pieces of content featuring Lizzo and Kate’s songs and some of that content, I easily notice, has been posted by small businesses from all over the world.

Although 37 years separate both songs – Lizzo dropped her single last April, Bush released her Running up the hill in 1985 – the reason those businesses are posting content on TikTok wrapped in pop hits is clear: promote their products and services, while growing their following on the social media network. But are small businesses on TikTok getting any results with their efforts?

A recent study by Hello Alice, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses, featuring approximately 7,000 responses collected between three surveys, shared insights into how SMBs are leveraging TikTok to find new audiences and build a community.

The  Small Business Digital Marketing Trends report revealed that a digital renaissance is underway: ‘Small business owners understand that digital platforms are no longer a nice-to-have, they are a critical tool for reaching customers and growing their business. Moreover, there’s a shift among those already leveraging digital platforms, with SMBs increasingly turning to emerging players, like TikTok, to follow their customers and accelerate their growth. In fact, 67% of SMBs surveyed indicated that they are most optimistic about their growth potential on the platform’ – says an official communication from TikTok.

“I recently posted a video on TikTok and gained over 300 email subscribers with just this video. In addition, almost 2,000 people saved the same content. That is significant considering the video was only seen by 27k individuals. I’ve found creating valuable, educational content that reflects the heart of my business leads to the highest conversions from viewer to follower to subscriber to customer. As an average of 3-5% of email subscribers convert to customers of my digital products and events, every TikTok video does matter and make a difference.” – says Orlando-based business coach Liana Danielle.

 

TikTok says that they have launched a number of education programs and a Small Business Resource Center, and announced that, in the coming weeks, the platform will also reveal a new initiative that will help small businesses leverage TikTok to grow.

However, over the past few months, as small businesses try to return to pre-pandemic trading levels, entrepreneurs are finding their own way through social media to expand their horizons and revenues.

“I began to focus on building a presence on TikTok and Instagram that was a reflection of my personality and the essence of our business. The fun, positive, and encouraging tone of my posts helped me craft my message and my niche. Most importantly, it grew my reach to a broader age and geographic range through a number of viral posts and helped to open many doors I didn’t think possible.” – celebrates Robin Brackbill from Fabby-Do Creativity Café, a small business based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, specializing in creative experiences, classes, and events for children.

 

For Lexie Becker, a Brand Partnership Specialist at South Florida’s marketing agency Fifth & Cor, it is not only content carefully crafted by company owners that can land results on TikTok, as other strategies can have an impact on a brand’s awareness, reach and sales.

“A hair-care brand recently leveraged user-generated content on the app, and a video
made by one of its loyal customers was attributed to $15,000 in sales of the product used in the video in just 24 hours. The power of TikTok and UGC combined is to credit for this. Moving forward, the brand will use both organic and paid efforts to establish a dedicated community in order to generate more sales.” – explains Becker who also works with clients posting content on other social media platforms.

According to the report, 81% of small businesses say that TikTok is fun and 73% say it’s easy to use.

Certified eyelash artist Taylor Volk, who opened her business in 2018, is another entrepreneur making long term plans based on what she has learned from the performance of content posted on TikTok.

“We started posting tips and tricks for other lash and brow artists and it has helped us reach over 10k followers on TikTok. Our top three posts to date have all done over 500k views, with one reaching 1 million, and they all have received between 10-50k likes each”, says Volk, founder of eyelash and brow company Lashfx, who mastered her own formula for content that performs well for her business. “Our strategy moving forward is to continue posting helpful content while keeping the first 2-3 seconds of the video captivating enough for viewers to finish watching the rest of the video.”

 

For those businesses with extra budget and creativity to spare, exploring collaborations with influencers and content creators can pay dividends.

“We worked with TikTok creator Mary Burchill @soneedley to help her grow her small business through the popular social media platform and increase sales on her website. Mary uses our blank apparel options to embroider clothing and accessories to sell for her small business, titled So Needley. While currently still in law school, she was able to turn her hobby into a side hustle business, and in the process allow us to grow as a brand.” – says Kathryn Hutchison, Senior Director of U.S.-based online e-commerce company Threadsy, a retailer for small-quantity customizable apparel founded in Texas in 2021.

 

Entrepreneur Oliver Zak

Zak, from Mad Rabbit: small businesses investing in TikTok content need bandwidth and patience to experiment

“Small businesses are thriving on TikTok if they’re willing to experiment to find what works in connecting with potential customers. Our company caters to those with tattoos, so we invested in content that we thought would be enjoyed by this niche and have built our following to almost 400K. We found that the videos that surpassed one million views were the ones that we teased a reveal in the opening seconds to grab our viewers’ attention.”, shares Oliver Zak, co-founder of Mad Rabbit, a company offering natural and organic tattoo skincare products formulated in Los Angeles, CA. “These results taught us exactly what tattoo lovers desire in their content, so we were then able to organically work our products into the content without interfering with what our viewers want to see. There is tremendous upside in small businesses investing in TikTok, so long as they have the bandwidth and patience to experiment.”, acknowledges Zak.

Consistency and alignment with other departments of your business may also be crucial for your content, and can make or break it when it comes to TikTok, as marketing expert Fulya Uygun, CEO & Head of Digital Strategy at Bowery Boost, points out:

“If you are planning to get on TikTok, get ready to post 2-3 times minimum each day. And if you plan to add money behind your TikTok strategy, let everyone on your marketing team participate in your content process. Brainstorm with anyone who is doing paid campaigns for your brand to make sure some of the content you build can be pushed as Spark Ads, which run through your brand account or an influencer account. This generates higher engagement and, eventually, conversions.”, explains Uygun, a New York-based professional with 15 years of experience leading digital marketing departments of various brands in the beauty, fashion, and wellness industries.

“We launched on TikTok three months ago and went viral several times, which was recently picked up by media outlets such as The Sun and NY Post. Our most viewed TikTok video has over 7 million views with over 830,000 likes and 2,800+ comments. This one video generated over $30k in sales.”, reveals entrepreneur Alice Kim, founder of PerfectDD, a small business that launched in December of 2020 focusing on providing clothing options for women who wear a DD+ bra size and up.

With other posts also surpassing 1 million views, Kim is happy with the online attention her business’ videos are getting, but her content strategy goes beyond fast revenue.

“We aim to normalize the conversation around (big) boobs but boobs in general. To destigmatize the stereotypes of over-sexualizing and body shaming breasts. We will continue to share the struggles of having a fuller chest and provide solutions for women to feel confident with their DD+s.” vows Alice who spent almost two decades in the fashion industry.

 

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.

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BT lands £70m IT services deal with South West Police

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Police woman standing next to a police car
Ten-year contract with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police will see BT manage IT services for the two forces.

BT today announced it has secured a ten-year, £70m IT services deal with Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police. Together, the two police forces handle more than a million emergency and non-emergency calls and respond to more than 118,000 incidents of recorded crime each year. The new long-term agreement will strengthen the forces’ technology estates by creating a future-fit infrastructure to support more joined-up policing, with the potential to extend the contract to neighbouring forces in the South West region.

The managed service contract will underpin a range of the police’s information, technology, and communication demands, including field mobile, airwave vehicle and handheld connectivity for emergency services – alongside security and customer service desk applications.

It will see BT work with both police forces to support public contact and staff collaboration platforms, delivering efficiencies for 101 and 999 services, whilst improving intelligence gathering and data sharing for staff. Frontline officers will benefit from improved connectivity for devices such as mobile phones, body-worn cameras and vehicle radio systems, delivering benefits for local policing by giving officers access to critical real-time information.

BT will also assist the forces in staying compliant with security frameworks, supporting measures to strengthen their security protocols against external threats. Together, these services will support Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police with their digital policing strategy and strengthen crime prevention efforts, whilst also delivering expected financial efficiencies.

More than 5,100 police officers and 3,500 police staff work within the two forces, and they employ more than 550 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and special constables. As part of the contract, BT has agreed to progress social value initiatives for both forces, implementing measures to improving transparency on the environmental impact of police activities in the South West.

“Efficient and resilient technology infrastructure is crucial to support the police in tackling both current and emerging threats – so we’re proud to have the back of South West police forces by delivering exactly that. This new managed service from BT will help future-proof connectivity in all areas of policing, from those on the frontline to behind-the-scenes support staff, helping them to protect the public and keep pace with the changing nature of crime,” says Ashish Gupta, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector at BT.

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12 steps to create inclusive presentations for any audience

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presentation
Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

A varied work environment requires presentations that everyone can enjoy and learn from. And In today’s diverse and interconnected world, providing inclusive presentations is more important than ever, as they can ensure that all audience members, regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, or learning styles, can engage with and understand the content.

Besides aligning several levels of expertise and increase audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully, inclusive presentations also enhance productivity, as audience engagement, as everyone feels respected and able to participate fully in any setting.

Here experts at a presentation design agency share essential tips on how to build engaging presentations for all audiences, regardless of background, abilities, or learning styles. These inclusive habits can help you improve your communication skills and create a respectful, inclusive atmosphere.

Understand your audience

To provide an inclusive presentation, first understand your audience. This requires investigating your target audience’s age, culture, career, and any limitations. Understanding these elements enables you to personalize your presentation to meet their individual needs and experiences.

Customizing Content to Meet Different Needs

Tailor your content to your target audience’s demographics. Use inclusive language and avoid technical jargon unless everyone knows it. Consider your target audience’s cultural and educational backgrounds to avoid alienating them via content or delivery.

Knowing your audience enables you to provide a more informed and engaging presentation. This first step establishes the presence of your presenting style.

Making content accessible

Making your information accessible goes beyond words. Speak plainly and simply to individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill levels. Summarize complicated concepts and provide handouts or visual aids to supplement the spoken information. Make your papers screen reader accessible and provide various formats for visually challenged audience members.

Planning your content around these features can make your presentation more inclusive and maximize the event’s advantages for everyone.

Making Slides Accessible

The visual style of presentation slides determines their accessibility and efficacy. Learn how to make presentations that everyone can comprehend.

Visually Accessible Slide Design Tips

To help visually challenged folks, use high contrast text and backdrop colors. Black text on white, or vice versa, is simple to see.

Simple Designs: Avoid layouts that are distracting or confusing. Use white space around text and pictures in a tidy way.

Use big letters for easier reading from a distance. Headings should have a larger font size than body text, which should be 24 points.

Selecting fonts and colors

Color schemes: When choosing slide colors, keep color blindness in mind. Avoid hazardous color pairings like green and red.

Choose readable fonts. Sans-serif types like Arial and Helvetica are ideal for screen readability.

These features allow you to design presentations that are attractive and accessible to everyone in your audience, even those who have visual impairments.

Inclusive Language and Delivery

Using inclusive language and careful delivery makes everyone in the audience feel valued and involved. How to do this in presentations.

Language Matters in Inclusivity

Avoid jargon: Use clear, straightforward language that all audience members may comprehend. Avoid utilizing technical or industry-specific jargon unless it is explicitly explained or clarified in the presentation.

Use Gender-Neutral Language: To neutralize gender-specific phrases, use “they” instead of “he/she” and “team” instead of “guys”.

Cultural awareness: Cultural variations might affect how your message is perceived. Avoid using idioms and words that may lose significance between cultures.

Clear and Respectful Communication Methods

Clear, Moderate Speech: Maintain a moderate speaking tempo so that everyone can grasp the information, particularly those who process auditory information slowly.

Pause to emphasise: After making crucial statements, pause momentarily to ensure that your audience understands them. This increases understanding and accentuates the point.

Restate To help you remember crucial points, repeat them throughout the lecture.

Inclusive language and thoughtful delivery improve the accessibility of your presentation and make attendees feel appreciated.

Using various learning styles

Recognizing and engaging audiences’ learning styles improves presentation inclusiveness and effectiveness. How to Support Multiple Learning Styles:

Engaging Everyone with Your Delivery

Use a range of teaching strategies in your presentation to suit various learning styles. Use imagery, narrative, and interaction.

Polls, question periods, and small group discussions make presentations more appealing to interested students.

Notes and takeaways: Provide attendees with specific handouts for use during and after the presentation. This allows all students to study and review at their own speed.

Accepting these many learning styles can help your presentation be more inclusive, memorable, and powerful for everyone.

Tips for Inclusive Q&A

Facilitating an inclusive Q&A session engages audience members while making them feel heard and appreciated. Here are some tips for making your Q&A sessions more inclusive

Set Clear Guidelines: At the start of the Q&A session, establish clear expectations for question handling. To encourage involvement, ask polite, concise questions.

Ask questions utilizing an audience microphone if one is provided. This elevates their voice and ensures that the whole audience hears the query.

Always repeat the audience’s questions before responding. If some people did not hear the question, this will help them to comprehend it.

Encourage all attendees to participate.

Encourage questions from the whole crowd. This fosters engagement from players who are not as confident or remote.

Provide other questioning methods: Throughout the session, attendees may submit written or digital inquiries. Shy people or those who dread public speaking may benefit from this.

These ideas will improve the effectiveness and inclusivity of your Q&A sessions by enabling everyone to participate.

Use assistive technology

Assistive technology may help make presentations more accessible, enabling everyone to participate. Integrate these technologies effectively.

Feedback Collection and Use

Continuous progress demands feedback, especially for inclusive presentations. Discover how to gather and use feedback to make future presentations more interesting and accessible.

In today’s globalised society, presentations must reach and engage a wide range of audiences. This article’s eight phases, which range from audience knowledge and content production to assistive technology usage and feedback, provide a thorough approach to inclusive presentations. Presenters may utilize these techniques to make their message more accessible, resulting in a welcoming and polite environment. In order to accomplish ongoing progress and flexibility, input must be solicited and absorbed. Take the following measures to enhance your presenting abilities and promote inclusion in your professional community.

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines awarded for beekeeping tour
Georgina May, PR Executive, Tabi Winney, Destination Experience Assistant, Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development | Photo: Michael Newington Gray

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have been awarded ‘Consumer Favourite for Excursions’ at the inaugural Sailawaze Excellence Awards 2024.

The cruise line received the award last night at a gala ceremony held in central London, attended and hosted by Patrick Grant, presenter of hit BBC show, The Great British Sewing Bee.

More than 150 entries were submitted across the award’s eight categories, which were then shortlisted by a panel of cruise line industry experts. The final shortlist was then voted for by consumers.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ rural beekeeping tour in Lithuania was highlighted by the award. This tour allows guests the opportunity to learn more about village life and the cultural significance of bees by visiting a family-run apiary to see how honey is produced, with the chance to sample various honeys and locally produced mead.

“We were incredibly proud to have received this award. It’s testament to all the work that our Destination Experience teams, both ashore and on board our fleet, put in to making each one of our guests’ excursions an incredible and unforgettable experience,” said Martin Lister, Head of Itinerary Product Development at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “We believe it’s all about the people and we believe that giving our guests the opportunity to connect with credible local people, who aren’t just providing information on a subject, but are passionate about sharing their personal stories and insights into their real lives, is the best way of engaging our guests and the communities that we visit”.

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