Is TikTok a good B2B social media platform?
While platforms like LinkedIn are still the gold standard for B2B social media, it never hurts to experiment if you have the resources available to you. TikTok for B2B Marketing is not yet a strategic channel at the moment and just a platform where have some inspiration and learn more about marketing trends.
TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms right now, but marketing on the platform is still in its infancy. But as more and more brands use the platform for communicating with their audiences, you can expect to see more tools that are useful for businesses, like being able to track data, stats, and metrics.
TikTok is a social media platform for short-form video content, somewhat reminiscent of the now-defunct Vine. Originally launched in 2016 for the Chinese market, TikTok was released to global users in 2018 when parent company ByteDance merged it with the lip-syncing app Musical.ly. With the rebrand of Musical.ly came a shift in the type of content being created on the app. Although lip-syncing is still common on TikTok, users also explore other themes in their videos, like dancing, comedy, art, and social challenges.
Currently, users can create short videos between 3 to 15 seconds or string four 15-second segments together. You can add effects, voice-over, texts, and much more to spice up your videos to attract more viewers. Worldwide, TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times. In March 2020, TikTok saw a big uptick in searching, exceeding its rival Snapchat for the first time ever. With over 2 billion downloads worldwide and over 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has become the go-to platform for brands to engage with audiences.
TikTok has been extremely popular among Gen Z users (most active users are between the ages of 16 and 24). After Zoom is currently the most downloaded apps, beating out YouTube, Instagram and Facebook Messenger in 2020. According to this report from Global Web Index, 41% of their 800 million active users are between the ages of 16 and 24.
The question is: “Is the time right for TikTok in B2B marketing?”. The short answer is: “not yet”, but it’s time for some experiments even you are thinking that your buyers are not Gen Z and this is irrelevant. While Gen Z are the main users, the demographic is getting older and you need to have a culture of experimentation within your sales and marketing team.
A string limit is that there are currently no industry influencers in the B2B sector due to the very young and predominantly underage TikTok users and the app is currently used mainly by individuals, which makes it difficult to address businesses directly. B2B communication is aimed at competent decision-makers, and of course, the necessary expertise cannot be expected from young TikTok users.
Another limit is that the app focuses exclusively on visual content in the form of short videos. Accordingly, there is little time left to attract and captivate the attention of users. Many successful videos are characterized by storytelling, hip music, creative dances or colourful filters. Through certain editing techniques and effects, for example, things can be made to disappear or various illusions can be created – such “wow” effects are what excites the young target group and make for the app’s addictive potential.
For this reason, the content on TikTok is too playful for many companies and the philosophy of the platform is not compatible with the brand image. And when you do approach the platform, as some B2C companies do, the trick is to serve the interests of young people without making your own company look ridiculous or even dubious. In addition, the published content should be unique. This increases the probability that the video will go viral and get a lot of attention.
But probably the biggest difficulty is to bring the personal component of the videos to an entrepreneurial level. It is recommended to create a representative personality that embodies the company or to work with influencers who share the values of the brand. Because just like Instagram, TikTok is all about personality and authenticity. But in general, quality comes at a price. Producing quality content takes a lot of time and money, so action should only be taken when it promises success. And TikTok videos, at least in the B2B sector, are in many respects not yet successful.
TikTok is growing fast and there are no signs of it slowing down soon. For B2B companies, however, the platform remains uninteresting, as there are currently no relevant target groups. The high level of involvement in the app remains interesting; nevertheless, it is pointless to reach people who don’t know much about their own company.
I work in B2B. I manage every day B2B content. I figured that B2B companies would eventually start (trying) to use TikTok as a marketing channel. TikTok’s 1 billion+ users are not other businesses. They are not interested in your webinar, your whitepaper, your best practices, or your SaaS software. They are teens, young adults, & real humans looking to be creative, funny, and build communities with other TikTokers. The ultra-short video format of TikTok does not enable longer-form advertising that is prevalent on YouTube and Facebook. As a result, much of the marketing efforts on the platform either relies on influencers to hype up a brand or quickie humour that lends itself to meme-level comedy, not the best approach in B2B companies.
Even now is too early to use TikTok in B2B marketing strategies, the digital work is very fast and it’s possible that TikTok becomes a powerful strategy for more types of businesses, both large and small, over the longer term, Facebook and Instagram both started out with a mostly young demographic and then captured more adults with greater purchasing power and economic influence.
While platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are still the gold standard for B2B social media, it never hurts to experiment if you have the resources available to you. TikTok for B2B Marketing is not yet a strategic channel at the moment and just a platform where have some inspiration and learn more about marketing trends. At the moment, the image of TikTok and its focus on the authentic and personal simply does not correspond to the intentions, goals and possibilities of companies in the B2B sector.