Can TikTok be Used for B2B Marketing?
Short Answer: Although many b2b marketers are not on the platform yet, TikTok can and should be used by B2B Marketers, especially if their customers are in the demographic who are using it, if not they’ll be missing the opportunity to reach them in new and interesting ways!
How Can TikTok Be Used In B2B Marketing?
- TikTok is the fastest-growing video sharing, social media platform around the globe.
- According to Forbes, In the US alone, it is increasing in size at a phenomenal rate- five-fold in the last 18 months!
- 41% of the platform's users are between the ages of 16 and 24, one of the youngest demographics of a social media platform.
- Each of TikTok’s 800Million users a month around the globe have a unique “For You Page”. On the “For You Page”, TikTok curates an endless stream of video content based on a user's interaction with other videos.
The statistics above should make all Marketers - whether you are in B2B or B2C -eyes pop out with 'dazzlement'. To marketers, “fastest growing video sharing, social media platform around the world” ticks some very important boxes like: the possibilities of reaching more customers in new ways is almost limitless.
Now, here's the bit that’s stopping me getting overly ecstatic... The fact that 41% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16 and 24 and it’s one of the youngest demographics of a social media platform doesn’t bode well for B2B Marketing.
Then again...that still leaves a significant 59%. The question is where do these TikTok users fall in that demographic? Secondly, you may recall that in the early days of Facebook, their demographic was very young, but that changed dramatically!
You only need to look at the broad demographic of Facebook today. Everyone is using it including my mother in law, my father in law, my aunt and uncles, my parents, and my son’s kindergarten teachers to name a few.
While TikTok’s young demographic doesn’t appear a natural fit for B2B Marketing, the fact that it has 800 Million users a month, there’s massive potential to reach people with TikTok! Especially, if you want to reach out to other businesses in unique ways!
TikTok puts emotion into your strategies
The common assumption is that as a B2B marketer, your ideas and your gut feelings need strong and cold hard facts to support them. However, a LinkedIn study shows that emotions play a significant role too.
Groundbreaking research from the B2B Institute at LinkedIn showed that B2B marketing strategies that draw on “an audience’s emotions drive a massive 7x more very large business effects” than those that appeal to their more rational side. These strategies deliver more in the bottom line measures of sales, profit, and revenue!
In the inspiring words of marketer Rory Sutherland:
“Logic kills magic, and magic is a much-underestimated force in marketing” In other words, why do people from corporations buy Apple’s products? It’s not only because it’s the logical decision!
This study shows the powerful role of emotion in buyer’s decision making. And if emotion is the secret sauce for B2B marketing in 2021, TikTok gives brands a powerful way to do emotive marketing. TikTok’s video content is fun, entertaining, informative and emotion evoking. Videos generate joy, surprise, or make you laugh. They can elicit pretty much every human feeling you can name across the spectrum!
How B2B Marketers Can Use Tik Tok
Creating content that builds a human connection
Meghan Crawford writing for Sculpt.com says that TikTok is the ideal platform for personal authentic content creation. Successful B2C companies like Guess clothing company, The NBA and others use the platform to make inspiring humanized content. Crawford believes that B2B marketers can do the same.
A great example of a B2B company that is using TikTok is UPS. Check out this amusing humanized clip with the caption:
“UPS Drivers when someone orders same day shipping at 11.59”
Have the spirit of adventure and a pull towards being creative and experimental
Producing content using TikTok may be “going down the road less traveled”, and TikTok is likely not to be the first tool that B2B marketers think about when creating content.
Marketers need to be willing to embrace their spirit of invention and adventure, and give TikTok a try. At the same time they need to have the expectation that It may not work the first time. Here having the budget to test content out on TikTok will definitely help.
The example below is of a great, very human Hewlett Packard how technology brings people together!
How does TikTok work and what are its advantages for B2B Marketers?
With TikTok, it's easy to make videos that gain a large following in a short amount of time. Unlike platforms like YouTube, there is more chance that videos with zero views can grow into being followed by millions within just a few months. You could call it the Lamborghini of social media platforms!
The reason could be that each users’ page is different so there’s more of an even playing field. The amount of followers that you get on your videos also depends on a multitude of factors including: how many people have watched your video till the end, your music choices, the hashtags you use, or what country you live in.
There is an unlimited scope for creativity when using TikTok. The more original, amusing, or outrageous videos are, the more followers they'll likely get.
Here are a few examples of TikTok Videos:
Duets: These videos involve one user taking another's video and adding to it. Think of it like remixing a song. First, one user adds a beat, a second user then adds the melody. Another example: one user performs a walking handstand. A second user sees their video and decides to add to it by performing a similar action. Duets are an essential part of the TikTok experience.
There are two different types of duet videos:
- Challenge videos: Challenge videos involve users attempting to imitate another user’s actions. For example, one user performs an elaborate dance up a set of stairs. Other users will try to copy them. Challenge videos can be sponsored hashtags or community-created tends. This form of content creates a feeling of community among users.
Click here for a great example of a challenge video
- Cringe videos: Cringe videos are when a user takes a video of themselves acting in an awkward or embarrassing way, while attempting to make it look totally sincere.
Although there are a variety of videos on TikTok, after spending hours doing research, there aren’t yet many B2B brands using them. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t.
According to the B2B Marketers for the platform, TikTok is an exciting tool that’s well worth experimenting with. There are brands like WeWork and Hewlett Packard who have created TikTok videos and got a lot of engagement. For one video Hewlett Packard got 91.1K likes.
For every marketer that is for the platform there will inevitably be a few against it and here’s why:
Why Shouldn’t B2B Marketers Use TikTok?
Jana Prestrich, writing for Press Relations Knowledge Discovery, says that an attractive pull for B2B businesses and marketers for using TikTok would be if there was B2B content that is proven to work. Today, very few B2B businesses have tested these waters.
Our response: It may be that many B2B companies are not on TikTok, but it doesn’t mean “because there have not been many businesses that have not tested these waters” that businesses shouldn’t explore them, or at least “dip their toe in”.
If your customer base is full of young, successful and dynamic B2B entrepreneurs or business owners that use TikTok, it would be foolish not to at least experiment with this social platform. As the LinkedIn study cited above shows, buyers don’t just make logical decisions, emotion plays an important role too. TikTok may be young in years, but it does generate a kaleidoscope of emotions.
Jana Prestrich says content promotion on TikTok also depends on influencers. Because of their young age they are likely not to be taken seriously by buyers. That and the nature of content on TikTok which is fun and sometimes outlandish, communicates a message that won’t attract decision makers. Instead, there is more of a chance that it would put them off.
Our response: While it may be true that it may put off some decision makers. It largely depends on who your personas are, and the type of company you have. If your customers are the other 59% of the 41% of 16 to 24 year-olds', there is a chance that playful or cutesy videos will put them off buying from you.
The corporate audience simply isn’t TikTok’s
Kourtney Kirtin, writing for Medium.com, argues that while she can see a need for B2C marketers to use TikTock, the platform is not for a B2B audience.
Young people want to see their influencers' and heros' like NFL players make videos and share game highlights. Things that they find fun and engaging. Kirtin argues that B2B marketers will be wasting their time by communicating their message to a young audience that won’t be engaged.
Our Response: This doesn’t seem valid because if the buyers of your products are on TikTok, by not being on there yourself, you will be missing out on the opportunity to reach them in new and innovative ways that will engage them.
TikTok has just launched their TikTok for business, but is it effective or is it too early to tell? Some say like the Foodable Network on YouTube, that as the age of users increases, TikTok may be the platform of the future for B2B.
The Bottom Line:
Personalized content and emotive marketing is underplayed, TikTok is a great opportunity for B2B marketers to create emotionally charged content that resonates well with their buyers!
Here are a few other articles that touch on TikTok for B2B marketing:
We Are Sculpt
Why TikTok can be Used for B2b Marketing?
Why B2B Marketers Should Stay Clear
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Jonathan Gordon is the chief writer and PR liaison for an HR firm. His passions are creating inspiring and engaging content. Jonathan has a love for learning about new industries and acquiring new skills. Jonathan is also a trained classical and jazz pianist and loves meeting new people and is open to new experiences.