Why Your Small Business Should Be Using TikTok

About this episode:

In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara interviews Alex Rossman on why your small business should be utilizing TikTok. They discuss the best organic, paid, and influencer strategies on the platform, how to become a trendsetter, some of his best kept TikTok secrets and more!

Alex is the Founder and CEO of Rossman Media. He started his career as a touring musical artist where he quickly learned the skills of PR and social media. As a well-versed entrepreneur and artist, Alex took his passion for social media and transformed it into an award-winning agency, Rossman Media. Since its origin in 2017, Alex and his team have been awarded “Best New Social Media Agency” of 2020 by Business Insider and have worked with companies such as Airbnb, OrangeTheory Fitness, Nike, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue to name a few.

Show notes:


Sara Nay: This episode of the agency spark podcast is brought to you by term mageddon, a privacy policy generator. Learn more about how to protect your business from fines and lawsuits@turnagain.com more on term again in later in the show,

Sara Nay: Welcome to the agency spark podcast. This is your host, Sarah. And today on the show, I have Alex Rossman, founder and CEO of Rossman media, and has worked with companies such as Airbnb, orange theory, fitness, and Nike to name a few. So welcome to the show, Alex.

Alex Rossman: Thank you for having me, sir. I appreciate it.

Sara Nay: Of course. So I'd love to start with your story first. I believe you started your career as a touring musical artist who Lee learned PR and social media along the way. So tell me a bit more about that and what led you to, to where you are today?

Alex Rossman: Absolutely. I think a lot of your listeners will probably share some sort of relate-ability here. I think a lot of us are accidental agency owners. In some way I big with me is a little unique in the sense where I really had no marketing or business background. I went to school at university of Arizona and studied communications. So I wasn't like super into business and marketing. I always knew I was an entrepreneur, but didn't really know at what form at that stage in life. And so I was really in at the time to music and that was really my passion. That was what I was good at. That's what I really got recognized for early on in my career. And so I was actually picked up by a major record label, but did some touring, did some song writing for some pretty large names? And through that process, what I realized like not, I guess directly was that I was doing a lot of my own marketing and my own PR to really get exposure for my music and the music being the super competitive space that it is looked at it as like, what is my career path, where I can make money and do what I love.

Alex Rossman: And it really naturally flowed into digital marketing. And so when I was in San Diego, living there at the time, very first client I brought on was the San Diego chargers when they were in San Diego. And it kind of from there started to unravel and turn into an actual business. So a long-winded answer there, but that was really the, I guess yeah. Jumpstart to, to Rossmann media.

Sara Nay: Nice. I'm a big chiefs fan. So we're already rivals. It sounds like now it's interesting. You mentioned your musical career and songwriting careers. Cause I actually spoke to a marketing consultant fairly recently and they had the same similar background where they're touring musical artists and then ultimately ended up in the marketing consultancy role. And really, I think a lot of the creative side of marketing and the storytelling and the connecting with your audience has to be a skill set that you really mastered as a songwriter that you can use. Some of that, those skills you developed to, to now what you're doing from a marketing perspective. Is that a fair assumption?

Alex Rossman: Absolutely. Sorry. Yeah. There's so much like overlap, which I never thought really was. Initially there, you start to realize, as you get into the weeds of your business and creating a strategies for your clients and really connecting their branded consumers like that, there's a lot of storytelling there. I think that's really what marketing is. So you're exactly right.

Sara Nay: I'm glad I'm not just making stuff up today. So we're on the same page. So daddy, for the, for the remainder of the show, really, I want to focus on something that I know you've had a lot of success with and that is tick-tock. So let's start with some of the very basics, should a small business be using tick talk as part of their marketing strategy. And if so, how should they get started?

Alex Rossman: Yeah. Short answer is absolutely Tik. TOK is especially since the pandemic and 2020 really kind of elevated that social platform in a whole different light. We're recommending it to anybody and everybody it's really the wild west right now. The opportunity to reach a large audience. It's more difficult now on Instagram, it's more difficult on Facebook. So Tik TOK is that new platform where you can really accelerate much faster. So if you're a small business, I'm recommending you jump on that platform and find ways to connect with your audience. And I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that Tik TOK is just gen Z, just super young people. And that's not the case anymore. It started out that way. And now you're starting to see the demographic of Tik TOK really expand out. So it doesn't matter if you think you're in a boring industry where it may not be applicable to tech talk, just get started because what you'll see is we have, can we even have like accountants, right? I wouldn't say accounting is a super sexy industry, no offense to anybody. It's not something that I would say, oh, that's a great tick tock brand opportunity, but believe it or not, people on Tik TOK are looking for advice. They're looking for educational tidbits and resources. So if you have something to give, which I think everybody does, I think tick-tock is really the platform to do that.

Sara Nay: And that was going to be my next question. So I'm glad you hinted on it a bit there with accountant. So are there specific industries, do you think that are better fit for tic-tac versus some that doesn't make as much sense? And I think I know your answer, but just still curious to ask.

Alex Rossman: Yeah. You know what, I, I think it's a good question. I think there's still certainly industries that do better than others. There's no doubt about it. I think if you are a consumer brand that has a product you're likely to do better, I think on that platform right now, and that's predominantly because you know, big businesses like Shopify who have really revolutionized the e-commerce world have now made a direct integration with Tik TOK. So you can sell your products and have a very seamless sales process for an end consumer. So if you're, if you have a product business and your e-commerce brand, I think it's absolutely a perfect for that. If you are even a B2B brand or we're seeing a lot of, as I mentioned, business consultants, coaches that are on there really just providing insight on kind of what's going on in their industry. So I think it's definitely very versatile and more so than it started out. But yeah, I think that the answers your question.

Sara Nay: Yeah, absolutely. And so let's say you've convinced someone that selling a product, for example, just to simplify what we're talking about. So you've convinced someone that's selling the product that they should be on Tik TOK. How often should they post or what's some just general advice on like overall strategy for someone that's just getting started and how to make connections with their audience, their,

Alex Rossman: With tick-tock you can get away with posting a lot more frequently. And so we definitely recommend the more frequent you can post the better. Obviously you want to do it with some intention. You don't want to just post to post, but we do find that one out of 10 posts have some sort of viral component to it. So there is something to be said about the frequency at which he posts on Tik TOK with that said have some, I guess, some strategies for your listeners is fine trends, like find things that are moving the needle on Tik TOK. And it's very easy to do now to see what songs are trending, what new, like, for example, they have like hashtag challenges and things like that. Try to be involved in that because tic talks algorithm is really based around community building content that is shareable. They want you to use a lot of their proprietary songs and sounds and widgets. So just try to be, really get familiar with kind of the native components of tick talk and try to post as frequently as you can.

Sara Nay: And I, and you're hinting on this already a bit, but are there some key differences on how someone would approach tech talk? Like they would let's say like Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn or some of the other social platforms that are out there.

Alex Rossman: Yeah, that's a, that's another great question. Sarah Tik TOK is all video, right? And that's why even competitors like Instagram and Facebook are starting to say, Hey, we were just going to be a video platform too. So it's like this competition that it's happening, but Tik TOK, I would say the biggest difference is it's all geared around bite sized video, typically six to 10 seconds, sometimes 15. So it's really all built around video. And the good thing is it's not like Instagram, which initially started being a very polished over-produced video content with Tik TOK. It's all about user generated content. It's all about creating content. That's very raw and versus kind of very polished. I would say that's a big difference, Instagram, as much as it's starting to turn into a video platform, which we love Instagram, most of our clients are leverage the platform, but definitely try to use assets of Instagram, like reels and stories and things like that, because those are really are, what's getting a lot of traction, but yeah, I would say that's the biggest difference, Sarah.

Sara Nay: Yeah. I think it's important. What mentioned there with tick-tock being a little bit more raw and not these over polished videos, because a lot of my small business clients over the years, you talk about video and it's this intimidating thing. Like they want to know what equipment they need to have and all the stuff. And it's like, it doesn't need to be that complicated, simplify it and make it your unique self. And I think that's almost more powerful than this whole pub like polished video that's overproduced ultimately. So another thing that I know you talk about from time to time is to approach tic, talk with the mindset of how to be a trendsetter. So can you expand on this a bit more and maybe give some examples?

Alex Rossman: Absolutely. Yeah. I think the biggest thing is tick talk is about following trends, but I think the ones that are having the most impact are the ones that are actually setting those trends. So getting very creative, creating things that will get some legs and start getting some movement organically, I think ways to do that. And I always talk about this sign, whether it's other podcasts, or if I'm speaking to business owners, people still buy from people, right? Like I think there's this idea that you've got to have this really flashy brand and product, but the reality is people are invested in other people. They want to know like why did you build something versus what it is? And so I think trendsetters, when we look at tick talk, I think there's an opportunity to do that where you're showing the process of your business, right?

Alex Rossman: Like some of the best performing business videos that are on Tik TOK are the business owners showing the behind the scenes of their operation. Like from start to finish from ideation of a product, to the actual manufactured deliverable that a consumer receives in the mail. And I think there's something to be said about that is, is showing that process a great example. One of my wife's really good friends. She started her own small business and it really jumped off because of tick-tock and what she would do. Like for example, yesterday, she just released a video where she's showing a Manila folder. Okay. And this was like her prototype of a bag that she makes called splay train. I'm doing a little plug here, but it got her content. It's really cool because then her audience loved to see her prototype to actually the creation of a product. And so I think a great way to be a trend-setter is don't be afraid to show your process. Even if you think people don't want to see it, they do.

Sara Nay: And now a word from our sponsor term mageddon states are proposing laws that will allow consumers to Sue businesses anywhere in the U S for not having a compliant privacy policy, any website collecting as little as an email address on a contact form should not only have a privacy policy, but also a strategy to keep it up to date. When laws change, learn more about how term mageddon can protect your business at [inaudible] dot com. Now back to the show, one of the things you started with there is people like to buy from people. And as you said, it's not just, this is my product. It's, what's the story. What's your story behind making the product what's the process look like? And so I think that's a really powerful thing to keep in mind, not just for tech doc. I think it's absolutely relevant and ticked up, but just in marketing in general as well.

Alex Rossman: I totally agree with

Sara Nay: It. All right. So then I want to shift because actually before I shifted, I have one more question and it kind of fits within this and I want to shift to advertising after that. But before we do that, let's say you're working with a client that hasn't really done a ton on tic-tac yet you're talking about volume, you're talking about types of posts. Like how do you map out an overall Tik TOK strategy for them? Is it, are you including like cadences and types of content or what is your approach to mapping out something like that for a client look like?

Alex Rossman: So it's all starts with goals and objectives. I think with any marketing, what is your, are you just going on Tik TOK because your neighbor's daughter is all about it and what is the reason? So when we go to it in the, any conversation with a business owner, it always starts with what are the goals and objectives? What are you trying to do? And then that really leads the conversation from there. And I think when we're building a strategy, we look at it in a three-prong approach. We look at it from a paid advertising standpoint, which Tik TOK is now being a very big player in that space. We look at organic reach, what can we do organically without having to do paid? And then we look at brand partnerships or influencers. So those are the three main components of tiptop and businesses saying, Hey, we just want sales period.

Alex Rossman: Like usually all three of them come into play at some capacity, but usually we're leading that conversation with paid ads because that's going to be the quickest way to accelerate and get some conversions in the door. If the goal is which in many cases, we have brands that are saying, Hey, I do want to have that cool factor. I want to validate our brand on Tik TOK. I'm less concerned about sales right out of the gate. I just want to build a good foundation on that platform. Then we go the organic and influencer where we're just connecting with influencers all day. We're creating content that we know is really going to move the needle from an organic standpoint. So I would say that's really how the foundation is built with every tick tock strategy. And again, I think it also varies based off of industry as well. Yeah.

Sara Nay: Yeah. And I think, I haven't think it's so important. What are the goals and objectives and then either focusing on paid heavily organic or influencers heavily just depending on ultimately what they're trying to accomplish. So I think that's smart. You identify from that, that from the very beginning. And so I did want to shift to paid next. And so how can a small business use the platform effectively to get paid results? So are there any best kept secrets you're willing to possibly share with our listeners today,

Alex Rossman: A hundred percent, I always want to help out other fellow agency owners. We're all going through the same thing. And it's always, you have to navigate this crazy space right now, which is constantly changing. So with Tik TOK on the page, the beauty of this platform is you're not dealing with just a couple of different placement options. I think with Facebook and Instagram, you're used to, and I'm just touching on social media ads here. You're used to the newsfeed ads or the story ads, right? Tik TOK is a bit different in the sense where you can choose from a different variety of advertising placements. So you can do a full takeover. You can do a newsfeed, which we're all familiar with. You can do a white listed influencer ad where you're actually leveraging an influencer to run your ads. So it's a kind of familiarity play. Um, there's just a lot more options in terms of advertising. So I think that's a big one is getting very familiar with the different placements within tick talk and what's available to agencies out there because it's pretty widespread. You're not just restricted. I will also say, I think one of the biggest topics of conversation is are we dealing

Sara Nay: With the same issues that we are with Facebook, with the iOS update and it's actually a bit different and we're, we're not running into the same issues surprisingly. And I think that's because Tik TOK has actually found some workarounds with different targeting metrics and ways that you can build out audiences. So there's a lot of similarities. I would say with this Facebook and tick talk where you can upload custom audiences, you can leverage lookalike audiences, you could do a lot of the same things. However, there is a bit more opportunity with how you expand upon those, which has made them very effective. I think one of the first things Sarah, that we heard from Tik TOK is like, ah, it's expensive. Aren't CPMs high, our cost per conversion high. And yes, the answer is they'd started out that way. And as they started to really build the backend infrastructure of the ad platform, it's becoming very intuitive. And so just a couple of things that think there, some takeaways, but the placements are more versatile. And then obviously the iOS and the audience segmentation is a bit more widespread. Absolutely. And you hinted on this a little bit there, but if someone's looking at budget, so how do I get started with determining a budget for paid spend on something like tick, tick, tick talk versus Instagram. Do you have any insight there?

Alex Rossman: Yeah. So you said tic-tac and remind me of Andy or like the, I don't know if that's dating myself, but uh, so anyways, yeah. So a little bit different, like with Facebook and Instagram that you can set daily ad budgets with Tik TOK, it's a little different, or I should say ticktack a little different, it's like a, you basically a bucket allocated to a budget. So you can put in, you know, as much as if we look at it over a 30 day period. So if let's say you're spending a hundred dollars a day, you put in basically 3000 for that full month and then they let you know when you're running out. So it's a little bit of a different billing structure, but what I would recommend is start small Tik TOK is still a new platform. You still want to learn from the data before you really accelerate. So we always tell business owners start at like 25 bucks a day, get a feeling for how your data is operating as there specific audiences that are doing better split tests, as much as you can, obviously with a smaller budget, going to be a little bit limited there, but, but yeah, I would start small. And then once you find things that work that makes it fun, because then you can really start scaling that up and doubling down.

Sara Nay: Absolutely. I love the idea of, especially with it being newer, starting with the smaller budget and learning and testing and growing and scaling from there versus going all in from the beginning before you even know what's ultimately going to work and not work. Great advice there to wrap us up. Do you have any resources that you could recommend if someone wants to learn more about talk either organic or paid?

Alex Rossman: Yeah. I would say the best way to learn. And I think it's so funny cause it's, I w I think the common response would be like, Hey, go to WW dot whatever. But my thought process is just go into Tik TOK and start playing around because what you'll start to realize is that as you're in the platform, you start realizing like why it's becoming popular and you start to pull these little bits of resources of, okay, this is okay. This is the type of content that's working best, and really go in there, not from a entertainment standpoint, but go in there from a educational standpoint, start playing around, spend some time on the discovery page, a tick talk. The reason I say that is that's where tic talks, the lifeblood is. That's where you can find the trending songs. You could find hashtag challenges, things like that. That can really give you guys some insight as to what's working and potentially how you can advise your clients.

Sara Nay: Love it. Thanks, Alex so much for sharing all this really insightful tips today. I loved learning from you and people want to connect with you online. Where can they find you?

Alex Rossman: I think the best right now would be on Instagram. We're doing a lot there right now in terms of just publishing resourceful information terms of videos. So at Rossman media would be the

Sara Nay: Best, not on tic TAC,

Alex Rossman: Tic TAC.

Sara Nay: Awesome. Thanks Alex. And thank you all for listening to the agency spark podcast. We will see you next time.

Speaker 2: [inaudible].


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