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TikTok offers free training to court small businesses

TikTok offers free training to court small businesses


The program includes guides to advertising on TikTok

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Tessellated TikTok logos against a dark background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

TikTok is rolling out a new program aimed at bringing more small and medium-sized businesses to the platform.

The six-week program, called “Follow Me,” includes step-by-step guides teaching businesses how to use TikTok to grow their companies — including how to advertise on the app. The courses are free to enroll in and will include lessons on running campaigns on TikTok and tips from businesses using the platform.

Virtually unknown businesses or products going viral is one of the hallmarks of TikTok, where a visit to a restaurant and a video of a kitchen sponge have the same chance of being seen by millions. Many small business owners have turned to TikTok to promote their companies, and individual customers have in turn built enormous platforms themselves through product reviews, recommendations, and tutorials. TikTok’s new courses could onboard more businesses chasing viral success and turn them into advertisers.

In the past few months, TikTok has introduced more ways for creators to make money via advertising on the platform. In May, the company said it would begin sharing ad revenue with some creators, who would get 50 percent when ads run alongside top-performing videos. Shortly after, TikTok announced Branded Mission, a feature that allows advertisers to solicit videos from creators — who essentially make content on spec — with selected posts being used as ads.

TikTok’s revenue last year was nearly $4 billion and came largely from ads, according to Bloomberg. And it’s projected to grow this year as the company continues building up its advertising apparatus in hopes of competing with Google and Meta, which dominate digital advertising.