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Opinion, Sector knowledge

Are B2B brands missing a trick when it comes to TikTok?

Social media has fast become a tool which many B2B businesses are turning to for brand exposure, lead generation, driving website traffic and even profile building. Yet, when it comes to selecting the appropriate platforms to engage with a B2B audience, Twitter and Linkedin reign supreme.

More than 675 million professionals are using Linkedin to engage with content with research revealing that 80% of leads sourced through social channels are received through the platform. Interestingly, customer engagement platform Khoros claims Linkedin also drives more traffic to B2B blogs and websites than Twitter and Facebook combined. The advantages of using Linkedin are certainly a ‘no brainer’ for any B2B professional.  However, Twitter is not far behind in popularity, with 77% of B2B businesses using the site to distribute content and interact with followers.

While using Linkedin and Twitter should be part of every B2B social media strategy, is there also value in adding younger platforms to the mix? Or, should these just be reserved for B2C brands that are trying to influence end-users?

Over the past few years, the line between B2C and B2B has definitely become blurred, especially as the trend of ‘human marketing’ has become more prevalent within the B2B world. Businesses aren’t selling to other businesses; they are selling to the people behind the business. This is where content really is king! Communicating the benefits of a product isn’t just about listing its complicated technical features and shouting, “your team needs this to become more productive”. It’s about understanding the pain points that your audience experiences day-to-day, finding out what makes them tick, and demonstrating how your product can help improve their life and why this is beneficial to the overall business. This can be packaged in many different and exciting ways – and where TikTok can make a powerful impact.

TikTok – using video to be part of the conversation

Since the start of the pandemic, people of all ages are using TikTok to create and consume content – it’s not just for Gen Z! If you are a member of the platform, you may have noticed popular B2C brands popping up on your feed or ‘TikTokers’ promoting products on their behalf. You may have also found lots of interesting (and sometime humorous) videos that offer helpful advice to professionals from a range of industries e.g., tips for being an Excel wizard, how to create a successful marketing strategy, best ways to reply to an email etc. This means there are plenty of ways to be part of the conversation and to directly engage with not just decision makers but the people who sit under them.

TikTok has over 689 million active monthly users worldwide and is growing quickly. TechCrunch reports that the short form video app crossed the two billion download mark across Google Play and the App Store in the first quarter of 2020 and experienced a huge growth rate of 325%. However, this popular platform is, on the whole, uncharted territory for B2B marketers – yet, there is huge potential. Here are some businesses that have already started to test the waters:

1. Adobe – using viral trends

Viral trends

Software company Adobe posted its first video using the popular trend of ‘put a finger down if you…’ and linked it to things that would be relevant to a creative audience. This led to over 767k views, with its second video surpassing one million. The company now has over 76k followers on TikTok and is using its influence to help creatives share digital content. For example, its second highest rated video sent a call out to its followers to tag or ‘stitch’ a video of a creative TikToker their audience should know about.

2. Shopify – creating stories

Sharing stories

Shopify is an e-commerce platform empowering independent business owners everywhere and has used TikTok to share stories about entrepreneurship and inventions in history. If you view its profile, you will find a wealth of videos which feature different people who touch upon their challenges and successes as a business owner, all of which will resonate with other entrepreneurs. This approach has helped them achieve over 82k followers.

3. Square – building a community

Building communities

Digital payments software company, Square, has found an exciting way to interact and build a community on TikTok by reposting user-generated content from small businesses who use the product. This provides real-life examples of how Square is helping SMEs and showcases to prospects how it might be beneficial for them too. Anyone who visits Square’s account will see their request, “Send us your videos,” in their bio.

If you’re interested in experimenting with marketing on TikTok, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Use humour – TikTok videos range from 15-60 seconds which means you don’t have a long time to capture a user’s attention. Humour is the strongest and quickest way.
  • Keep up with viral trends – There are lots of trends that B2B brands can ‘jump on’. Using relevant hashtags will also help maximise engagement.
  • Be creative – You want to grab people’s attention. This means content needs to be visually exciting and loud. As most users are of a younger demographic who spend a lot of time on social media, they are quick to scroll past content if they have already seen it or something similar.
  • Consider what your users want – This rings true for any form of marketing. One tip for TikTok is to use captions to make videos accessible for users with hearing disabilities or for users who are in environments where they can’t use sound.

While audience plays an important role in which social media channels your business should invest more time in nurturing, platforms such as TikTok shouldn’t be discounted. Used appropriately, it can help increase brand exposure and enable to you to connect with followers in new ways. This will make your business more approachable to prospects and ensure you stand out in a saturated market.

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*This blog was written with the support of our Skout intern, Katie Coyne (who, as a Gen Z, has plenty of TikTok experience as well as a fantastic understanding of what it takes to reach an audience on the platform).

About this article

Read time:

4 minutes


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