As the pandemic took hold, Tik Tok's lighthearted content came as solace for many - and not just Gen Z. It may have started to cross the bridge to the older generations but is it time for B2B marketers to start embracing the platform?
Tik Tok’s gross revenue more than tripled in 2020 from January to the end of April and grew by 800,000 users in the same period. In isolation, its fun appeal spread from Gen Z to older millennials and beyond. Some parents' humorous takes on homeschooling woes went viral and suddenly entire families were taking up dance challenges.
Here are some issues to consider before you decide whether to allocate some of your B2B marketing budget to experiment on TikTok – along with some content ideas if you decide to embrace it.
What Makes Tik Tok So Appealing?
As much as social media platforms are supposed to reward great content, most marketers frustratingly know all too well that it’s not quite that simple.
What makes Tik Tok stand out is that its algorithm really does allow anyone to go viral. It regularly searches for new clips instead of just promoting already popular clips or clips from popular accounts.
So even if you’re new to the platform and have zero or no followers, if your post starts to garner high engagement rates then it can quickly go viral.
Is Your B2B Audience On Tik Tok?
So far, Tik Tok is the most downloaded app of 2020 and the pandemic seems to have had a large part to play.
HootSuite’s round-up of Tik Tok statistics show that Tik Tok’s user base largely consists of Gen Z and younger:
- Age 13-17: 27%
- Age 18-24: 42%
- Age 25-34: 16%
- Age 35-44: 8%
- Age 45-54: 3%
- Age 55+: 4%
It’s predicted that those demographics may shift, with older generations taking to the platform when homebound. Your audience may not be there just yet but, as with all things, that can provide a competitive advantage.
Should You Consider Using TikTok For B2B Marketing?
Just because some of your B2B audience may be on there, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump on the craze to get a head start on your competitors. Here are a few things you should consider:
Tik Tok may be renowned for its fun and lighthearted approach but as Tik Tok told The Drum: "We want people to turn to TikTok not just for entertainment, but to learn something new, to acquire a new skill, or simply get inspired to do something they've never done before.
People were already doing this, and it's a trend we wanted to get behind and accelerate. So we're now collaborating with educators, subject matter experts and non-profits, such as @English.heritage, @maxklymenko and the @PrincesTrust.
Together, we've helped deliver an extensive learning experience - from life hacks to science tutorials, motivational tips to quick cooks - to ensure people can access learning that is personal, local and specific to their everyday lives.
This initiative is showing that entertainment and learning can come together on our platform and be genuinely useful to everyday life.”
Yet the platform’s users generally favour lighthearted relief
As one older Gen Z user put it on Medium:
“I didn't log on to TikTok this morning to see "Join My Webinar on XYZ Topic" or "The Undeniable Power of a Solid Sales Script" in my For You page. I get enough of this content on Twitter and Linkedin at my office job with people's obsession with video content and long-form posts."
That's not to say you can't pose informational content. The United Nations .@IFAD has used it to motivate people to change the world.
It shares clips of people farming around the world and it's amassed 14.4k followers. Yet .@washingtonpost decided to go against its familiar voice and adopt a much humorous approach, which has fared much better. They regularly receive 200k views of their videos like this one.
The @English.heritage and the @PrincesTrust. English Heritage has also adopted this tone of voice on TikTok. The question is whether your business is happy to change your voice to suit the platform and - in the process - risk losing the authentic brand you’ve built so far?
How Does “Going Viral” Fit In With Your Long-Term Goals?
As Rand Fishkin has recently pointed out on Twitter, going viral on Tik Tok is unlikely to bring the same benefits that it would on other social media platforms.
Tik Tok can help you build brand awareness but it’s unlikely to translate to leads - just yet.
ROI will be difficult to prove. The nature of TikTik content best suits building brand awareness. That has its place, but in today's climate, it may be too much of a long and experimental game for some B2B brands.
You Need A Very Creative Team (or employees)
Although the clips may be short - currently 3 to 15 seconds or a string of 4 x 15-second videos - users that add special effects usually attract more views.
It doesn't stop at voiceovers and captions - the creative effects used by some often feel like watching an episode of Dynamo or a sci-fi movie.
There are apps you can use to create these special effects for little to no budget, but it’s a very different type of creativity than that usually seen with B2B brands. Similarly, pulling off humour for a B2B brand without being too “Dad-jokey” can be difficult.
Examples Of How To Use TikTok For B2B Brands
If you do think it’s worth experimenting with TikTok here are some ideas to get you started:
Some industries lend themselves more to this than others. For example, a recruitment agency could film a series of fun clips of them trying to get “past the gatekeeper” or their worst telephone calls that day. A branding agency could show the brainstorming process with lots of visuals as they rule ideas in or out.
Branded challenges are a very popular marketing tactic used by B2C brands. This is slightly harder to translate to B2B but here are some ideas:
- Humorous singing compilations of common industry challenges e.g:
- Recruitment/HR: the best answers to the daftest interview questions or the most un-PC things a colleague has said
- IT’s: Fixing computer meltdowns (“reboot” is likely to feature here!)
- Investment Advice: Worst investments ever made
- Joining in with the #RealLifeAtHome Challenge
- Tech companies: The best use of makeover/design tools
- Values-based challenges. Think Dove!
Most B2B brands have embraced Employee Advocacy across social as they know that, time and again, Edelman’s Trust Barometer shows that their subject matters experts are their most trusted source and regular employees also garner a lot of trust.
Tik Tok is designed for sharing personal stories and triumphs and so it’s a perfect platform for employee advocacy. Again, it will be important to ensure those stories align with your brand values.
The jury's out on whether B2B marketers should start to experiment with Tik Tok. In reality, it's probably something that only the most daring brands are likely to experiment with.