The right way to use Tik Tok, Instagram and different social media to launch a enterprise


Gen Z grew up on social media – we built our friends and followers lists at a young age. So college students looking to try their hand at starting a business have a pre-built customer base and marketing platform on hand.

Social media platforms recognize this potential and have introduced trading tools. Pinterest and Facebook were among the earliest providers of shopping / marketplace features, and Instagram followed a few years later, giving small businesses the ability to reach millions – in some cases billions – of users. This was a turning point for startups.

In August, TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify, allowing Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account to add a Shopping tab to their profiles. Reality star Kylie Jenner was among the first to try out the new TikTok shopping feature, marketing her Kylie Cosmetics beauty products to her 37 million followers.

Kylie Jenner attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City.

He was subdued WireImage | Getty Images

“I’ve built my business on social media; that’s where my fans look first for what’s next from Kylie Cosmetics,” Jenner said in a statement.

And that goes for college students too: your friends are already following you on social media to keep up with the latest news. So when you start a business they are waiting to hear about it right away. It makes it so much easier – and cheaper – to start a business. You don’t have to create a marketing plan or spend thousands on advertising.

And when you think about that Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly users, TikTok and Instagram each have 1 billion, and Pinterest has 444 million users, the potential growth for your business is enormous.

Instagram currently has more than 200 million business accounts on its app. And almost half of the Instagram users surveyed (44%) said that they use functions such as shopping tags and the Instagram shop tab to shop every week.

Kerisa Mason, a freshman at Baruch College, started a bespoke art business on Instagram. She started the business during the pandemic.

All of your business comes from social media. Mason likes adding Instagram reels (short video clips) and the ability to post time-lapse of her art on Instagram.

Kerisa Mason keeps her painting “Girl on Fire” from her bespoke art shop.

Source: Kerisa Mason

“Instagram is a way to share my art with friends and strangers while I work with the algorithm to grow my business,” she said. “I was mainly inspired by TikTok and my friends who encouraged me to do it.”

Alexis Larreategui, a SUNY Plattsburgh graduate, started her vegan skin care business on Instagram. A few years ago she found she couldn’t pronounce some of the ingredients in her skin care products. After Larreategui did some research and found out how harmful it was to her skin, Larreategui looked for more organic remedies. After starting the company in college, she also understands the difficulties students face when purchasing products.

“My whole mission has been to make people accessible and affordable. If they’re like me, then you’ve gone to college and are looking for an alternative to the mainstream brands – that they have something for a reasonable price, ”she explained.

Alexis Larreategui wears a chocolate face mask from her vegan skin care brand.

Source: Alexis Larreategui

These platforms not only reach your own friends on social media, but also help other followers and companies to discover you and your products.

Instagram recently introduced new tools to help content creators and brands make it easier for them to discover and collaborate with other brands. Among the new features that are being introduced, perhaps the most important is the ability to use unique filters to find the best YouTubers for branded campaigns. Working with other brands can help companies get more followers and promote the brand name.

“Instagram helps me reach a wider audience. It’s an easy platform to communicate with customers and employees,” said Larreategui. “I’ve worked with 5-10 brands and it wasn’t anything big other than giving giveaways to show off our products or promoting each other on our site.”

87% of respondents said they took action after seeing product information on Instagram, such as: B. Follow a brand or shop online.

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College students used Instagram to sell face masks and other products during the pandemic

When college students start a business in college, where business goes after graduation is important; whether it becomes a secondary occupation or the main source of income.

Prices vary, but Mason can make up to $ 45 on one of their pieces. She views her business as a sideline and will continue to do so after she graduates.

“I feel like my business is becoming a secondary source of income,” said Mason. “I want to have my career and then my business is something I would do for fun, but it also makes me money.”

Larreategui also sees their business as a sideline but wants it to grow and network more with other brands. Every month is different, but she made up to $ 300 in a month.

Interested in starting your own business?

“I would say just start,” says Chantel Richardson, who runs a consulting firm and uses several social apps. “Go out there and study [because] We’re in a generation where everything is easily accessible so I feel like if you want it, go out and get it. “

Mukund Iyengar, a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology who also directs several programs that focus on creating student startups, says college is the perfect place to think outside the box and come up with fresh and strange ideas to develop.

“College is the time to be as ambitious as possible because you really have nothing to lose,” said Iyengar.

Do you have a value proposition.

Melinda Emerson, writer, small business expert and marketing consultant known as SmallBizLady, says the key to starting a business is having something called a value proposition.

“You must have something about your company that your competitor cannot easily duplicate,” said Emerson. “Discover something unique – something that makes your customers feel special because it’s about creating an amazing customer experience.”

Do competitive research.

Larreategui suggests searching YouTube to find how-to videos and see what other people have been up to. Find out what other products are out, how these developers market them, and what platforms they use.

“I struggled when trying to figure out how to build my brand, but I looked for it [for] Videos have shown people to me that I should create a certain aesthetic and follow a color scheme, “she said.

Take a business class in college.

Mason believes that taking a course gives students more knowledge about aspects of running a business.

“If you have a business idea it would be good to have the educational side to maximize its reach [you have],” She said.

Run product tests and get feedback.

Emerson understands that there are several reasons people buy and testing is critical.

“The first time you’re releasing something, people may not like it, so you may have to shuffle and republish it,” she said. “Get feedback from strangers, and social media is an easy way to do it.”

First select a platform.

Mike Allton, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Agorapulse, which makes tools for social media management, says companies should focus on one platform first.

“My advice is to pick one platform and go all in on that one platform until you succeed,” Allton said. “When you are successful – and you have to know what that means [for you]; Once you get to that point, expand to other platforms as soon as possible and diversify your platform. “

Find a mentor.

Allton thinks it is important to speak to someone about the project that is about to start.

“You won’t be an expert at everything, so find out who is giving you their time and expertise and identify their strengths,” he said.

Richardson believes that following your dreams and making an effort is important.

“We are in a generation where everything is easily accessible. So if you want it, go out and get it, ”she explained.

But do not blindly pursue your dreams.

“Dream with your eyes open,” said Iyengar. “People who dream with their eyes open tend to do something about it [the problem]. “

CNBC’s “College Voices” is a series written by CNBC interns from universities across the country to help them get their college education, manage their own money and start their careers during these extraordinary times. Leanna Wells is an undergraduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an intern in the talent development department of CNBC. The series is edited by Cindy Perman.

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