Whether supporting brand awareness and positioning goals, facilitating customer feedback, driving lead collection, supporting recruitment or a host of other engagement opportunities, there is no question strategic use of social media needs to play a role in every organization’s marketing strategy. Which platforms to use and how to use them, however, is not a one-size-fits-all decision. The explosion of TikTok across a range of coveted generation sectors (over 1 billion active users in 2022 according to Hootsuite) has many companies wondering if it is time to get their brand connected to the short-form, video-sharing app.
Effective social media marketing on any channel takes time, creativity and a sound strategy. Simply “being there” does not cut it and having a lackluster channel or sharing misaligned content can sometimes do more harm than good. When it comes to maximizing social content, authenticity is the name of the game. You need to meet your audiences where they are (and that is on social for sure), but you must give them content that aligns with the channel and their expectations. Businesses should not set up an account on the latest social media platform just because it is “trending.” Instead, they should dig deeper into the functionality and features of the platform, the type of content that is posted, user demographics and more to decide if it is the right fit for their business and worth the time investment. For TikTok, this means understanding the type of creative video content users want to see and being prepared to jump into the real-time platform engagement it takes to maximize quality views.
While TikTok may appear to be consumer-focused and best fit business-to-consumer companies, with the right strategy, the social media platform can also be a valuable tool for business-to-business companies. In fact, 13.9 percent of B2B decision makers who use social media for work research say TikTok influences their purchase decisions, according to Hootsuite.
But, before you dive headfirst into creating a brand channel in support of a broader marketing strategy, it is important to understand just what you are jumping into and ensure you have a clear picture of how you will use the channel and what the plan is to collect and produce the engaging content users demand. To dig deeper into using TikTok for B2B marketing, including questions to ask when evaluating if TikTok is the right fit for your brand, keep reading!
What Do You Want TikTok to Do for You?
How will your brand’s TikTok presence support your marketing strategy and business goals? Are you looking to recruit new talent or show off your company culture? Do you want to build brand awareness among prospective clients? Like other channels, the value of quantity versus quality is imperative to consider. Just because your TikTok video gets thousands of views, does not mean those are the right eyeballs to move the needle for your business. Considering how you will get your content in front of relevant platform users is key.
Using TikTok as a tool to support your overarching integrated marketing efforts will yield the best results. For example, if your company is actively engaged in a recruitment campaign, you may want to leverage TikTok to help showcase the culture and firsthand experience of working as part of your team. Supporting that with other online and offline efforts, such as targeted digital ads based on the type of position, cross promotion of content on other owned social platforms and other strategies focused on building a steady cadence of visibility among your target audience sectors, will be key.
Just like any marketing tool, if you go in without a plan, your chances of success are at risk. Start by determining why you want to be there and what you want to get out of the content that is shared.
Is Your Target Audience Active on TikTok?
As a business-to-business organization, you may not be targeting the everyday consumer who is active on TikTok. Instead, your target audience may consist of industry professionals, other companies and the key decision makers within those organizations. It is important to ask yourself if the key decision makers you hope to reach are active on TikTok before investing time and money in the platform.
For companies considering joining TikTok, it is important to consider the following user demographics.
- In the U.S., the Gen Z cohort (those born between 1997 and 2012), are the most active on TikTok, with a total of 37.3 million users.
- 36 percent of TikTok users are between 35 and 54 years old and this number continues to increase.
- 1 percent of users are female, and 37.9 percent are male.
While TikTok may appear to be a platform to create fun dance videos, share everyday hacks and more, a lot of users are purchasing on the platform as well. Although you may not be targeting consumers, business leaders and key decision makers may still be a part of the 20.6 percent of individuals who purchase products on TikTok.
When evaluating whether your B2B business should be active on TikTok, consider if the groups of individuals you wish to reach with your messaging are also on the platform. If not, it may be best to allocate time and resources to other channels (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, paid advertising, etc.) where you know you will be able to reach the individuals who will have the most impact on your business.
Do You Have the Resources to Produce Relevant & Engaging Videos?
To be successful on TikTok and get your brand noticed, relevant and engaging videos are key. In fact, 96 percent of people say they turn to videos to learn more about a product or service. As more brands turn to video content to reach and engage consumers, it is critical your business creates content that stands out and breaks through the noise. Therefore, before going all in on TikTok, you should consider the time and resources needed to create video content and manage an additional social media platform.
TikTok videos, which can range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, should be fun and engaging but do not need to be overly produced or formal. To maintain a regular presence on the platform, brands will need to continually develop creative video ideas to showcase their products, services, team, company culture and more. Once ideas are generated, someone will need to be responsible for gathering the video footage, editing it together, adding music overlay and posting to the platform. Businesses should also consider who will mange conversations and brand reputation on the platform since commenting is allowed.
If you do not have the time and resources to allocate to video creation and TikTok, it does not mean the platform is not right for you. Utilizing your internal marketing team or outsourcing to a full-service marketing communications agency, like GRIT, is a great option to help save time and produce content that will perform well.
Do You Have a Paid, Social Media Ad Budget?
to increase visibility and results. As a business you will have the option to advertise within the platform. Similar to the organic content, just because you can, does not mean you should. But for some applications, a TikTok ad campaign may be a better way to achieve a short-term marketing goal versus maintaining a channel long-term. While TikTok’s focus on advertising and the tools available to brands who want to pay to promote their content are continuing to evolve, there are still some critical limitations that are important to consider:
- The recommended campaign budget is at least $500 with a minimum daily spend of $20 per day.
- TikTok allows businesses to target using a custom or lookalike audience, demographics, interests, behaviors and devices.
- When targeting by location, narrow by country/region, state, Designated Market Areas (DMA) or city. However, few city options are available at this time and are focused on larger, heavily populated areas (e.g., New York City, Atlanta, etc.).
While businesses can use TikTok for free, having a paid, social media ad budget could be beneficial to increasing brand visibility, reaching your intended target audience and achieving your set goals.
If you are considering joining TikTok or already have an account and are wondering if TikTok ads are right for you, reach out to our team of digital marketing specialists today!
Is TikTok Right for Your Business?
Sharing video content, like what is found on TikTok, can be an extremely valuable way for B2B firms to connect with future employees, prospective clients and other industry professionals. However, businesses will only see a return on their efforts when they use the platform well. Content that is not authentic, is overly corporate or simply does not fit the platform experience can do your brand more harm than good. Taking the time to evaluate how TikTok can be added to your existing marketing strategy and integrated into your other efforts will ensure when you do become active on the platform, you are set up for success.
At GRIT, we have experience helping B2B firms in a variety of industries create TikTok content and manage the platform. If you believe TikTok is right for your brand and are looking for a marketing partner who can bring your video ideas to life to help achieve your business goals, start a conversation with our team today to learn how we can support the process!