TikTok hits big for small business: Nearly all say it outperforms Instagram for audience engagement

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Public Relations

The social media platforms hierarchy is no longer as set in stone as it once was. Facebook, once the indisputable king, is more on an even par with the rising video-focused heirs to the throne, including Meta’s own Instagram. Twitter, after a rocky transition to the site now known as X, has dipped below the front runners. So who leads the pack?

Well, that depends on the audience and network. New research from business software and services firm Capterra takes a look at the most used platforms by small to midsize businesses (SMBs), revealing that TikTok has surged past its competitors, becoming the premier platform for this group as it aims for high engagement and a robust return on investment. According to the firm’s new TikTok Marketing Survey, 71 percent of small businesses, including retailers and restaurants, will increase their TikTok marketing spend this year—up from 52 percent in 2023.

TikTok hits big for small business: Nearly all say it outperforms Instagram for audience engagement

The survey underscores a pivotal shift in digital marketing

The results highlight TikTok’s effectiveness in engaging audiences, especially among Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers. A staggering 96 percent of SMBs who market themselves on TikTok report the most engagement on TikTok compared to Meta platforms. The average small business on TikTok maintains a follower count between 10,000 to 25,000 with posts receiving an average of 1,000 to 10,000 views, illustrating the platform’s expansive reach. Additionally, 65 percent of SMBs post content daily, a testament to TikTok’s popularity.

In 2024, TikTok’s user-centric, diverse content and authentic engagement opportunities are prompting businesses to rethink their marketing budgets. Most SMBs plan to increase their TikTok marketing spend while around one-third will concurrently reduce their investment in Facebook (37 percent) and Instagram (32 percent). This strategic shift comes as businesses recognize the unique appeal of TikTok’s content, which fosters a blend of entertainment and utility unseen on other platforms. And this engagement is not just superficial—over half of SMBs using TikTok’s paid ads report a positive ROI.

TikTok hits big for small business: Nearly all say it outperforms Instagram for audience engagement

TikTok’s role in supporting businesses isn’t limited to organic content

The introduction of TikTok’s advertising suite, especially its popular Smart Targeting feature, changes the game by enabling SMBs to achieve rapid ROI, often within just five months. The efficiency of TikTok’s ad tools is so compelling that 85 percent of successful SMBs are gearing up to increase their TikTok advertising spend in 2024.

However, building a TikTok presence isn’t without its challenges

As TikTok expands into eCommerce with TikTok Shop, SMBs face logistical hurdles, including inventory management and fulfillment complexities. Around 45 percent of businesses have found that deriving ROI from TikTok Shop is challenging, signaling a need for strategic adoption.

“SMB performance on TikTok is strong. Most are seeing a positive return on ad spend, rising sales attributable to TikTok, and engagement above and beyond what they receive on any other social media app, including Instagram and Facebook,” said Molly Burke, senior retail analyst at Capterra, in a news release. “However, as TikTok’s eCommerce marketplace evolves, businesses must focus on creating content that is entertaining and helpful to avoid adding to users’ growing ad fatigue.”

TikTok hits big for small business: Nearly all say it outperforms Instagram for audience engagement

TikTok is set to dominate social media in 2024, and it’s clear that SMBs have much to gain from this platform. While challenges in eCommerce persist, the overall benefits of TikTok present a way for businesses to thrive through engaging content and effective advertising strategies.

Read the full report here.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter