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5 ways to use TikTok in your professional life

TikTok is the best business app in 2021. Here's how to do more with it.

By Isidora Prohaska · July 8, 2021
Hero image for TikTok app tips with the TikTok logo on a green background

I promised myself I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't going to download TikTok and waste my time on another social app to watch influencers make up dances. And I actually held out for quite some time, but alas, curiosity got the best of me, and I was tired of my mom asking me if I'd seen "that one TikTok."  

So, I downloaded it. At first, it was what I had expected: a lot of dances, challenges, and pranks. Don't get me wrong, I was completely sucked in from day one, but I wasn't gaining anything from it. But after a few weeks, TikTok started to pick up on my interests. (Yes, I know it's creepy, and I should be uncomfortable by apps tracking my every thought, but that's a topic for another day.) Pretty soon, I started getting business-related videos. Excel hacks, productivity tips, marketing ideas—and I was floored at how interesting the content was. I was learning from people all over the world in various professions and industries…and I couldn't get enough. 

TikTok quickly became my new way to keep myself up-to-date on business trends and work hacks. Since then, I've been able to productively leverage TikTok to grow my business and help me professionally. 

If you're wondering how you can get to the business and career side of TikTok without waiting for the app to read your mind, start by searching popular hashtags like #careertips, #smallbusinesstips, #careertok, #businesstips, and #careertiktok. Pretty soon, your For You page will automatically start showing relevant videos, and TikTok will become your most used business app, too.

1. Get app tips and business ideas 

Excel is my love language, and I really thought I knew a thing or two about spreadsheets until miss.excel showed up on the TikTok scene and started showing the world some serious Excel hacks. She's now officially a spreadsheet influencer and has been dubbed the Chief Excel Officer: she spends her days educating people about various formulas and shortcuts that can up your data game. 

A screenshot of a TikTok from miss.excel

There are all sorts of creators like miss.excel who are sharing their tools, tips, and tricks for work. Not to mention folks like simplydigital, who focus on business ideas to get your wheels turning and your inspiration flowing. This has been an incredible resource for me as I navigate my own small business, Lunarlo Consulting, constantly trying to think of new and unique ways to market myself. 

And yes, you can get these kinds of tips on blogs or long-form YouTube videos. But what's great about TikTok is that the videos are time-limited, so they cut out all the fluff and get straight to the point.

2. Grow your network 

One day while scrolling through TikTok, I came across a video from stevecadigan, former VP of Talent at LinkedIn. He asked the question, "Why are people leaving companies faster than ever?" 

A screenshot of a TikTok from Steve Cadigan

I was pulled in by his content and went through hours of his videos on leadership, company culture, and HR. He lit a fire inside me to start exploring this topic, and I wanted to talk to him about it. So, I reached out on Linkedin like the fangirl I am. I sent him a message about how his TikTok videos had inspired me and I wanted to know more about what trends and shifts he was seeing in the workplace.   

To my surprise, he responded. A few days later, I was on a Google Meet with Steve, talking about his new book, Workquake, and his experience with talent strategy and company culture. We chatted about all things work: applications, interviewing, hiring, career growth, and more. He then connected me to other people in the industry who are reinventing the future of work. I've had the opportunity to talk to dozens of brilliant people, all because of a connection I made on TikTok. 

Using TikTok as a networking tool might seem unconventional, but it works. Here are a few tips for being proactive with your TikTok networking: 

  • Create your own TikToks. Once I started my own TikTok channel and began creating videos on topics I'm passionate about, it drew the attention of other creators who were interested in the same topics. It made it easier to strike up conversations in the comments section or even on other platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Engage with creators' content. I make a habit of attending the lives of my favorite creators, asking questions and commenting on their videos. I've found that they're typically very responsive and love to interact with their followers. 

  • Stitch or duet a video. This is a great way to add value to your channel and audience while also recognizing the creator and their content. 

  • Check for links in their bio. Check if your favorite creators have contact info or even their personal calendar scheduling link in their bio.

  • Connect with them on LinkedIn. I like to connect with my favorite creators on LinkedIn, and I always write a personal message on how I came across them and which of their TikToks were my favorite.

3. Find business opportunities 

It's no secret that Zapier is one of my favorite companies, and I swear they didn't ask me to say that. So, when Zapier created a video on TikTok asking people what app they couldn't live without, I immediately responded with my own video on how they've massively impacted my work and I would one day get a Zapier tattoo in their honor. 

Well, it went viral, amassing over two million views, and now I make more than $1 million a year from TikTok and I live happily in an ocean hut in Bora Bora.

Just kidding (for now). Zapier did respond to my video, though, and they wanted to know if I'd be interested in writing a blog post for them. Writing is not my forte, but as my bestie Richard Branson allegedly once said, "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later." Pretty soon, that one blog turned into two and then three and so on. Now I think I'll have to get a Zapier tattoo and one for TikTok. Sorry, Mom.

If you're looking to get business opportunities from TikTok, here are some tips:

  • Be genuine and authentic. TikTok is a pretty casual and low-key platform, and if you're out for personal gain, people will notice. It's better to take an organic approach to drawing attention from other businesses by engaging with them in a meaningful way. This could be by commenting on their videos, attending their lives, or talking about them in your videos.

  • Mention businesses you want to connect with. Mention your favorite apps or businesses and how they've helped you. You may find that these companies notice your videos and reach out to you directly to see how you could partner together.

  • Create videos that add value. TikTok is currently one of the easiest platforms to get noticed on and go viral. You don't need to be an established influencer or somebody famous: all you need is to provide value, and others will notice.

  • Don't sell. TikTok isn't a direct sales platform. So your best course of action is to make videos that showcase your knowledge and skills. Teach your audience a hack on one of your favorite apps, show them a day in the life and what tools you use that help your business thrive, or talk about how you create your products.

If you're using TikTok to promote your business, take a look at these 7 TikTok marketing tips from small business owners.

4. Find a job

If you want to brush up on your application and interview skills, TikTok has plenty of videos for that. There are some amazing creators out there like wonsulting and erinmcgoff, who teach you things like how to revamp your resume and close out your interviews. Other creators are teaching you how to navigate the "What are your salary requirements?" question and what to do if you've been turned down for a role. With the job market constantly changing, TikTok can help you stay up-to-date on how to stand out.

But people are also using the platform as a way to land jobs. Creator amiawatson made a video targeting hiring managers, where she highlighted her skills and linked her resume.

A screenshot of a TikTok from Amia Watson

If you want to take an Elle Woods approach to job hunting, here are a few tips:

  • Make a "hire me" video. amiawatson is a great example of how to put yourself out there without a ton of frills or fancy equipment. Since a lot of people are still taking a traditional approach to applying for jobs, TikTok is a fresh and untapped market for applying. Make a 1-minute video on what you can bring to the table and link your resume in your bio. You can get creative, or you can keep it short and simple, like a video version of your cover letter. It'll depend on the role and company you're applying to.

  • Make videos on your skills. Make separate videos on what skills you have and how they're a good fit for your desired workplace. You could also make videos answering popular interview questions, so companies can get a feel for who you are and for your personality. 

  • Tag your desired companies. Other creators who've done similar videos have taken it a step further and tagged the companies they'd like to work for. With the approach being so direct and personal, it's hard not to get noticed.

5. Attract talent

On the other side of things, summerfridays posted a video looking for a Social Media and Content Coordinator, and it got over 37k likes and tons of responses.

If you want to attract talent on TikTok, here are a few tips: 

  • Make a "we're hiring" video. The reason the summerfridays video received so much attention is that they made it accessible and fun to apply. They asked that candidates stitch or duet their video telling them why they'd be perfect to join the team. 

  • Make videos about your company culture. There's a company on TikTok called middletonmeyers that has hundreds of videos on their company culture, and I don't know if they sell paper or if they're a doctor's office, but I do know that I would 14/10 work there. They have over 1.9M likes just for showcasing their culture, and if they ever posted a "we're hiring" video, I think it would crash TikTok. 

  • Show your personality. Since TikTok isn't used as a direct sales platform, try to show the human side of your company—not the product side. It's a great way for candidates to get a feel for who they'd be working with. 

TikTok has been my secret weapon app; it's helped me immensely with all things related to work. Every day, I'm learning something new and keeping myself in the know about what's going on in the workplace. Of course, I'm not above aimlessly watching dance challenges in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping, but overall, it's been an extremely eye-opening and productive app, and it's definitely one that I will continue to use and leverage, no matter how many times people laugh at me when I say "Ok, so on TikTok I learned..." 

Don't knock it till you try it, people.

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