TikTok marketing for B2B brands: Pros, cons, and winning strategies
Available in 160 countries, with over 1 billion active monthly users, TikTok has grown exponentially since its launch in 2016. At first, it was dominated by youthful dance challenges and viral memes, but its appeal has broadened considerably since then, and its user base now includes professionals and decision-makers. This shift in demographics has led an increasing number of B2B brands to view TikTok as a viable marketing channel. But what are the pros and contents of using TikTok and should your business be using it?
Pros of using TikTok for B2B marketing
Growing user base
One of the most compelling reasons for B2B brands to consider TikTok is its expanding user base. While it initially attracted Gen Z and younger millennials, TikTok has seen significant growth among older demographics and professional audiences. Many decision-makers and professionals now turn to TikTok for both information and entertainment, making it a valuable platform to reach B2B audiences. Bear in mind too, that B2B decision-makers have been getting younger in recent years, with digital natives making up a high proportion.
TikTok’s short video format encourages creativity and concise storytelling. B2B brands can use this format to simplify complex topics, explain their products or services, and showcase their industry expertise in an engaging and digestible manner. B2B brands like Adobe, Sage, Shopify, and SEMRush are great examples of using TikTok in this way.
As well as creative storytelling, B2B brands can use TikTok to create educational content, tutorials, and how-to videos. Offering value through informative content can establish your brand as a valuable resource within your industry, attracting potential customers seeking information and solutions.
Humanising your brand
TikTok provides an opportunity to humanise B2B brands by showing the people behind the company, office culture, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Example themes might include founder stories, employee spotlights, successes and failures along the way, and vignettes from company life. This personal touch can build trust and strengthen relationships with potential clients or partners and could also be useful for recruitment.
Similar to other social media platforms, TikTok boasts a thriving community of influencers. Collaborating with relevant TikTok influencers within your industry can help B2B brands expand their reach and credibility. Creators can effectively present your products or services in a way that resonates with their followers.
Participating in trends
TikTok is known for its trending challenges and hashtags. B2B brands can leverage these trends to create relevant and engaging content. This not only increases visibility but also demonstrates that your brand is up-to-date and responsive to current industry trends. Be careful not to be too late to the party, as TikTok trends usually come and go quickly.
Data and analytics
TikTok offers robust analytics tools that allow B2B brands to track the performance of their content and campaigns. This data-driven approach enables continuous improvement and optimisation.
TikTok serves as a valuable testing ground for creative ideas and marketing strategies. Brands can experiment with content and messaging to identify what resonates with their audience before scaling their efforts on more traditional B2B platforms.
If you start using TikTok ahead of your B2B competitors, you could gain an advantage. It allows your brand to establish a presence and build a following on the platform before rivals catch up.
Cons of using TikTok for B2B marketing
While there are benefits to using TikTok, there are also valid reasons why some B2B brands may choose not to incorporate it into their marketing strategy. These include:
TikTok’s user base are primarily interested in entertainment and lifestyle content. Some B2B products or services may not align with the interests of TikTok users, making it challenging to reach a relevant audience.
B2B marketing often requires a more formal or professional approach than B2C (and some cultures expect this more than others). TikTok’s casual and often humorous content style may not convey the seriousness and credibility that some B2B brands require, particularly in certain markets.
Short video limitations
TikTok’s format revolves around short videos, which can be limiting for B2B brands aiming to provide in-depth information or product demonstrations. Complex solutions and industry-specific information may not fit within the platform’s time constraints.
Managing a TikTok presence demands dedicated time and resources, including content creation, community engagement, and analytics tracking. B2B brands may question whether these resources could be better spent on platforms more tailored to their target audience and objectives.
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) for B2B marketing efforts on TikTok can be challenging. It may be difficult to directly attribute leads or conversions to TikTok campaigns, making it difficult to justify the allocation of resources to the platform.
Privacy and security concerns
TikTok has faced scrutiny over data privacy and security issues, raising concerns, especially for B2B brands dealing with sensitive client information or operating in highly regulated industries.
TikTok’s content varies widely in quality and tone, from creative and entertaining, to controversial and offensive. B2B brands may worry about their content appearing alongside less professional or potentially damaging content, which could harm brand reputation.
Convincing B2B decision-makers and professionals to engage with a brand on TikTok is not necessarily easy. Some professionals may not see the value in using the platform for business-related purposes, which could make it challenging to build a substantial and engaged following.
TikTok is a relatively new platform, and its long-term viability in the B2B space remains to be seen. B2B brands may prefer to invest their resources in more established platforms with a proven track record for business marketing.
Tips for using TikTok for B2B marketing
Ultimately, each B2B brand has to weigh up the pros and cons of TikTok to decide whether it’s the right platform for them. If your business does decide to use TikTok, here are some tips to get started:
Feel free to show your fun side
While maintaining professionalism, you may need to adjust your brand voice to match TikTok’s focus on humour and entertainment. Observe what works for other B2B companies on TikTok and adapt your brand identity to align with audience preferences.
Demonstrate how your product works
Create demo videos to illustrate your product’s features and functionality. Some B2B products and services are more complex than others, but you can potentially use TikTok to simplify complex concepts and provide valuable insights to potential customers.
Share valuable tips and fun facts – TikTok style
Take advantage of TikTok’s educational potential by sharing practical tips, hacks, fun facts, and advice in a format that resonates with the platform’s style. Use text overlays, voiceovers, and speaking directly to the camera to engage viewers.
Show customers using your products
Highlight your product from the customer’s perspective. Share short video testimonials and demonstrate how your product enhances their lives or addresses specific challenges. POV videos are a recent TikTok favourite – you could use these to mirror situations commonly experienced by your target audience. Focus on building connections rather than overtly promoting products.
Show what goes on behind the scenes
Use TikTok’s informal nature to provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of your company’s operations, product development, or daily routines. This kind of transparency and authenticity can help to build an authentic connection with your audience.
Announce new products or feature updates
Use TikTok to announce new products or feature updates. Showcase these developments in short, engaging videos to generate excitement.
Work with influential creators to spread your message
Collaborate with influential TikTok creators, especially those within your niche, to spread awareness about your brand. Partner with influencers for sponsorships, reviews, and tutorials to reach a broader audience. You can use Local In-Market Experts to help you identify relevant influencers in your target markets.
Amplify authentic influencer content with paid ads
Combine influencer marketing with paid advertising by using TikTok’s Spark Ads to promote authentic creator-backed content. This approach enhances engagement and extends the reach of your message.
Start a hashtag challenge
Launch your own branded hashtag challenge to boost visibility and audience engagement. Encourage users to participate by sharing stories or completing specific tasks aligned with your brand and hashtag.
While TikTok may not be the primary platform for B2B marketing, it offers a growing opportunity for B2B brands to connect with a diverse audience, showcase expertise, and differentiate themselves from competitors. By using TikTok effectively, B2B brands can expand their reach and influence within their respective industries.
. . .
To find out how Oban’s LIME network can help accelerate your brand’s international growth, please get in touch.
Oban International is the digital marketing agency specialising in international expansion.
Our LIME (Local In-Market Expert) Network provides up to date cultural input and insights from over 80 markets around the world, helping clients realise the best marketing opportunities and avoid the costliest mistakes.