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Do B2B brands need to be on TikTok? 5 things to think about

First things first: What is TikTok? 

TikTok is a social media platform for short-form video content, somewhat reminiscent of the now-defunct Vine that you may remember from 2012. It allows users to create and share short videos on any topic, offering a wide selection of sounds and song snippets along with the option to add special effects and filters. Simply put, TikTok has made it possible for anyone to become a creator. As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with 1 billion monthly active users spending more than 850 minutes per month on the app, it’s easier than ever to reach millions of people at the touch of a button.1 But what does it take to make them sit up and pay attention, especially in the B2B marketplace?  

From Adobe to Grammarly and Sage Accounting to Microsoft, these leading B2B brands are proving that it’s possible to crack the code of TikTok for business. With a bold, creative and individual approach to content creation, these B2B brands have collated a sizeable TikTok following, expanded their reach, driven brand awareness and opened up their business to new opportunities.  

So, should you be considering TikTok for your B2B business? We’ve highlighted five key questions to ask yourself before using the platform to promote your B2B brand. 

Does your target audience use TikTok?

This sounds like an obvious question, but marketers feel the pressure to ‘be everywhere’. We often see brands diving in before they’ve considered if they’re reaching the right audience.  

When you think of a TikTok user, what springs to mind? A twenty-something influencer dancing to a trending song?  

The general consensus is that TikTok is dominated by millennials and Gen Z. While 43% of TikTok’s global audience is between the ages of 18 and 24, 32% of the platform’s users are aged between 25 and 34.2 When you consider that the average age of those involved in B2B research and decision making are aged 25-39, chances are that your target decision makers on LinkedIn and other social media platforms could also be active on TikTok.3   

Do you have the creative capacity to craft unique, experimental content?

TikTok is the home of creative flair and humour, so you need to make sure you and your team have the creative bandwidth, budget and time to embrace doing something new. We’re not saying that your content has to be polished or professionally produced. In fact, more natural, ‘amateur’, off the cuff content tends to perform better on TikTok. However, it’s worthwhile considering whether you have someone within your team that is already accustomed to the app, or whether you can feature an influencer or key spokesperson within your industry who already has a successful TikTok account. This will put you in a fantastic position to hit the ground running.  

Are you willing to engage your audience on a more personal level?

TikTok isn’t the place for corporate content focused on products and services. It’s a creative, authentic channel for human-to-human interaction. Many B2B brands have tried and failed on TikTok, facing backlash due to the forced promotion of their services with no sense of emotion or empathy. The most successful brands on the platform are those producing content that don’t feel like a sales pitch.

Take Zoom for example, one of the most well-known video conferencing platforms across the globe. Rather than taking a serious, corporate approach, they subtly show off features of their software using relatable content and trending TikTok soundbites. One of their most liked videos uses a popular sound and rates each of their co-workers’ Zoom virtual backgrounds, an element of Zoom that the majority of users are accustom to. Not only is this video humorous; it subtly promotes a feature of their platform and may encourage users to explore the application further. From this one example, you can see why creating relatable, entertaining and informational content is key to standing out as B2B brand on TikTok.    

Is your content strategy flexible enough?

To succeed as a B2B brand on TikTok, you need to be willing to be bold, clever and even a bit weird with your content strategy. Standing out on a platform filled with innovative, fresh ideas and trends requires creativity at the next level. TikTok is the perfect platform for launching specific brand awareness campaigns using original content. Within the pharma industry, for example, there’s a significant opportunity for brands to make scientific information more digestible and accessible to their audiences. Due to the platform’s short-form video requirements that truly prioritise easy and authentic production quality, it’s the perfect avenue for science-focused brands to publish simple, bite-sized information to help teach users about complex topics.

Let’s use leading skincare brand Cerave as an example. With almost 500K followers and 2 million likes on TikTok, they regularly post content on the scientific composition of their products, hosting Q&As with dermatologists to highlight their brand proposition of creating effective and affordable products backed by science. From updating users on the latest research to spreading disease awareness through sharing patient stories, marketers within this industry shouldn’t be afraid to try something new and potentially reach out to a new audience of users via TikTok.   

Do you understand exactly what you are trying to achieve?

Any marketer accustomed to social media will understand that it’s always complicated to effectively measure social media ROI. However, because TikTok is primarily a platform for entertainment and awareness, it’s ideal if you’re concerned mostly with driving your own brand awareness and analysing top-of-the-funnel metrics. Don’t expect TikTok to generate leads, sales and conversion without first building an audience over time.  

So, is TikTok worth exploring for your B2B brand? That’s up to you to decide! However, if you’d like some guidance or advice on your social media strategy and the best platforms for your objectives, reach out to us using the contact form below and we’d be more than happy to help. If you’d like to learn more about our perspectives on TikTok in the B2B marketing mix, make sure to give our recent B2B IMPACT episode a listen! 




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