Here’s How This Small-Business Owner Was Able To Double Her Sales via TikTok

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kiichiro Sato/AP/Shutterstock (10792559b)Logo of a smartphone app TikTok is seen on a user post on a smartphone screen, in TokyoTikTok, Tokyo, Japan - 28 Sep 2020.
Kiichiro Sato/AP/Shutterstock / Kiichiro Sato/AP/Shutterstock

In an increasingly digital world, social media has become a powerful tool for small-business owners. According to the American Express 2022 Shop Small Impact Study, nearly all small-business owners on social (96%) believe that it has had a positive impact on their business’ revenue over the past year. In addition, 88% say it has helped them to find new customers this past year, and nearly half (45%) of small-business owners on social say that without social media, their business would struggle to survive.

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Nema Causey, founder of Candy Me Up, a packaged bulk candy store based in San Diego, said that TikTok has been instrumental to her business’ success over the past year. Here’s how she harnessed the power of social media to double her sales.

When did you start utilizing TikTok as a marketing tool and how did you do so?

I kept seeing ads on Instagram about TikTok in 2019. At that time, the word going around about TikTok was that it was an app for the younger generation that filmed themselves dancing, so it did not even cross my mind to get on the app myself. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I felt the shift in sales right away and became distressed.

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I created an account for Candy Me Up on the app in February 2020. I recognized the growing popularity of the app, and wanted to take my shot as I did not have anything to lose. At that time, not many big names or companies were on TikTok, and I also didn’t see anyone doing what I was doing. I knew it was a good place to start showcasing what I sold because of the younger audience that is my targeted client. I tested a few videos out to see what the viewers liked. When I saw a video I posted that gained a lot of views and comments, I continued creating similar content. I also searched hashtags and trending hashtags to see what others were posting.

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What effect has using TikTok had on your business?

I started my business, which stemmed from my father’s wholesale distribution company of 45 years, in 2016. In 2019, I had only grossed $180,000. Today, we have doubled those sales, of which 90% come strictly from the app. TikTok has changed my business drastically. I went from only selling bulk items to now selling viral candy and exotic drinks and snacks. When candy goes viral on the app and it’s something that we usually do not carry, I’m on the phone that same day calling my brokers to get it in store because I don’t want to miss out on any big sale opportunities.

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Was there one particular TikTok that was pivotal for sales/acquiring customers? If so, what do you think made it so successful?

There is one video in particular that changed it all. I posted a video of me packing an order — a trend I started for the candy side of TikTok — and it showcased many candies that were hard to find, in particular Jelly Fruits. I received 2,000-plus orders within minutes of that post and hundreds of thousands of followers. The success of that video wasn’t only because of the hard-to-find candies, but the viewers thought it was satisfying to watch. Every video I made packing orders gained more and more popularity and sales.

What tips and advice would you give to other small-business owners who want to utilize TikTok to grow their businesses?

Just do it because you can’t lose. I understand, from one small business owner to another, we work very hard to make a few bucks and never seem to find the time to do anything else since we have so much on our plate. Just film yourself! No need to post every single day. Start out with filming once a week, and once you get in the rhythm, post more often. Nothing is irrelevant and you’ll soon find the TikTok community that is extremely interested in what you’re doing. Be authentic and have fun!

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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