B2b brands: is it time for tiktok?

Colette Hagan-Young

Posted on: September 29, 2022

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Category: B2B marketing

B2B brands: Is it time for TikTok?

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Ever eaten a watch? It’s time consuming.

Just like scrolling through TikTok.

Clocking up 3 billion downloads since its launch in 2016, TikTok is a social media force to be reckoned with. While it’s popular with many B2C businesses, some B2B brands remain to be convinced. Here’s what you need to know about being a B2B brand on TikTok.

What’s the deal with TikTok?

In short – exactly that. TikTok is a social media app where users can create and share short videos on anything they like. It’s a bit like if Vine (RIP) and Instagram had a baby. 

Its success is partly down to its astute algorithm that provides a super-personalised content feed, and the way in which videos are shown on a seamless conveyor belt to keep users hooked. It’s been a springboard for countless trends and viral challenges due to its championing of popular songs, filters, and hashtags. Over a million videos are watched on the app every day.

While predominantly used by younger audiences (I’m of the age where I enjoy a TikTok video once it’s migrated to Instagram two weeks after going viral), but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusively for the ‘Zoomers’ among us. 

In fact, 53% of all TikTik users are over 30 years of age, and over a tenth are over 50. So you’ll find a fairly diverse audience scrolling the feed – and you could even find your next customers hiding amongst the viral dances and trending filters. 

Is TikTok a waste of time for B2B?

At first glance, it might be easy for B2B brands to dismiss TikTok. But all buyers want the same thing from businesses on social media – to be helped, entertained, or inspired. 

In terms of awareness, more than a third of users want to see more authentic and candid video content from brands – TikTok’s raison d’être. Research also found that short videos were 2.5x more engaging to consumers than their more polished, long-form counterparts. 

You don’t even need a big following to make an impact. Unlike other social apps, TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t recommend videos based on follower count. The platform champions authenticity and creativity, so your very first video from an account with no followers could just as easily go viral as a video from an established account with millions of subscribers.  

While your B2B product or service may not fall into the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt category, you can still harness TikTok’s power to form genuine connections with potential customers and endear them to your brand. After all, you’re still selling to people – the ones scrolling while they wait for their delayed train to arrive, or when they can’t sleep at 1am.  

B2B brands who are nailing TikTok

TikTok isn’t going to be a goldmine for lead generation. It’s an awareness game to show the human side of your brand and form connections with the people who’ll eventually become your customers. 

It’s a chance to get creative, play around a little, and try new things. Here’s some B2B brands who’ve nailed this whole TikTok thing: 

Shopify

The e-commerce platform’s mix of inspiring customer stories and self-deprecating entrepreneurial humour has seen them reach over 116k followers and 1.2m likes.  

Microsoft

The tech giant’s mix of corporate banter and ASMR has seen the usually-pedestrian brand gain 188k followers and 1m likes. 

@microsoft365

Just keep pushing off that call and maybe it’ll magically disappear. #Outlook #WFH #meetings

♬ Old Spice Remix – 👉Heisenberg👈

Adobe

The software company’s helpful tips and quick challenges have catapulted the brand to almost 326k followers and 3.2m likes. 

@adobe

What should @cinemat1cz try to design next in 1 minute? #AdobeTok #CreativeCloud

♬ original sound – Adobe

One to watch – TikTok as a search engine

While it’s not a search engine, TikTok SEO is gaining traction amongst its younger users as a super fast way of getting visual answers to their queries. 

Nipping at Google’s heels, TikTok is starting to overtake their maps and search function when it comes to Gen Z. Why is this happening? Because time is ticking on. Users don’t want to wait for answers, so they’re bypassing Google to get visual results to their queries, instantly. 

But not one to be outdone, Google is now indexing TikTok videos on their search engine results page, even listing the short form videos over content from YouTube and similar platforms. So anything you post to TikTok, doesn’t just stay on TikTok. 

That’s not to say TikTok will ever take Google’s crown. But it’s a genuine look into how trends evolve, and customer buying behaviour with it. 

Time out. Should you really be on TikTok?

There’s no use rushing to be on TikTok just to put out naff content. Contrary to what your less-than-marketing-savvy CEO might say, you don’t have to be everywhere. You just have to be doing it right where you actually are. 

TikTok audiences want you candid. They want you authentic. And they want you to entertain them.

Is there a visual way to display what you do? Or Is your offering more abstract? Try peaking  people’s curiosity with glimpses into worlds they never knew existed (such as the snagging inspectors who have almost 600,000 people in stitches with their glimpses into the world of shoddy new builds, and The Pool Guy who has 13.6 million followers in total relaxation and satisfaction at his ASMR pool cleaning). 

While these are B2C examples, the basic principles still stand. TikTok won’t be suitable for every business, but there’s definitely opportunities for B2B brands to make an impact. Tick, tick, boom! 

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