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B2B Marketing and TikTok: Do They Mix?

Do you know what TikTok is? Chances are if you spend any time on the internet, you do.

The better and more relevant question is whether your B2B business should be on TikTok. Should any B2B marketing be on it? Your answer might be a quick and hard no.

And for many businesses, that makes sense– it’s not exactly a platform geared towards the traditional B2B sector.

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However, many B2B businesses have started to take interest for several reasons. This wildly successful social platform could present opportunities for creative and innovative B2B social media marketing. Still, it can also give many companies and organizations an opportunity to lose time, money, and maybe a little dignity.

So, is TikTok for B2B?

Before we answer that, let’s get a little perspective.

Fast TikTok Facts for B2B Marketing

There are a lot of TikTok facts out there. Here are a few that fall into the marketing context:

  • TikTok was launched in 2016 and has been downloaded over three billion times worldwide.
  • Data shows that the average user opens the TikTok app 19 times a day.
  • In terms of age demographics, ages 10-19 accounted for 25% of TikTok’s active users in 2020, while ages 40-49 made up 20.3% of users.
  • B2C businesses have already started to successfully leverage TikTok. A recent study found that 67% of TikTok users say the platform inspires them to shop, even when they had no intention of doing so.

With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that TikTok is pinging on the radar of B2B marketers.

In fact, Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Trends Survey found that 24% of marketers considered TikTok effective for reaching their business goals. That may not seem like a large percentage, but it’s a 700% increase from the 3% of marketers who said the same thing the year before.

TikTok may be the new kid on the social media block, but it’s already making waves in the digital marketing world.

Pros of TikTok

In business, we are often faced with difficult decisions. Should we launch a new product? How should we price our products? Should we enter a new market, aka TikTok?

A helpful and actionable way to work through these types of questions is to consider the pros and cons of each new idea. Use the pros and cons discussed below to help you make an informed decision on TikTok and B2B marketing.

Then, we’ll tell you where we come down on this new platform. (No skipping to the end.)

Needless to say, the Tik Tok space is trendy.

One billion users a month, to be exact. That’s pretty active.

Many marketers and investors see it as the future top social media platform, which will, in some ways, become the reality as more and more money is poured in.

Popularity alone may not be a hard reason to join, but it’s a consideration.

TikTok is a melting pot of creative content and users from all walks of life.

Many B2B businesses could stand to get back to working on the creative side of their businesses.

This platform could be a great way to hone and distill your brand to make a lasting impression. Entertaining educational posts could be utilized for thought leadership and employee visibility.

By leveraging TikTok, B2Bs can show off their personality ー and have some fun in the process.

TikTok is all about interaction.

It’s about integrating with others and, as with most social media, having a space for people to connect personally.

B2B businesses often get bogged down in service offerings and marketing research and forget that they, too, are made up of people.

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On TikTok, a B2B enterprise could start cultivating prospect and current client relationships. The powerful algorithm can give B2B brands the potential to reach a wider audience with their content.

People are already engaging with businesses. 73% of users report that they feel a deeper connection to companies they interact with on the platform.

The pros list is complete. Reach out and let us know if we’ve missed any! Now let’s examine the other side of the coin.

Cons of TikTok

Whether you view these as cons or just food for thought, here are just a few reasons to consider holding off on serious investment in the social app.

TikTok is geared toward the young.

TikTok is still very much for young people. As we mentioned, the highest percentage of users are under the age of 21.

Gen Z rules the space. They aren’t the targeted age group for most B2B company products and services…at least not for a while.

As with all marketing, if your audience is not there, don’t waste time on it.

While many older age groups are joining, they are not there to participate in business or to engage in a professional setting.

The space can be difficult for B2B content creation strategies.

TikTok is based on trends, popular songs, and audio edits. This is how you gain views and impressions on the platform.

B2B messaging tends to be focused on industry education, pricing, specific pain points, and long-form content.

That doesn’t exactly match the majority of the content on TikTok.

Specifically, it could be a stretch to incorporate your business’ core concepts into a TikTok dance. Or product demos for a complex e-commerce platform could be challenging to fit into the ideal 21 and 34-second video.

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It’s also a very visual platform; if your business has an entirely remote team or a generic brand, you’ll have a hard time standing out or generating interest.

This all goes back to the idea that businesses cannot join social media platforms and be passive. They must create content, engage with an audience, and justify their presence.

Providing the time and resources necessary to succeed on TikTok might not be worth the return for most B2B businesses.

The space is very informal and prizes authenticity.

TikTok is a vast, weird, and causal place. Users dance, do challenges, and refer to pop culture in a very layered chaotic manner.

B2B businesses rely on a more straightforward and linear interaction.

If your brand can’t seem authentic, fresh, and interesting on this platform, maybe don’t invest in it. Users and potential prospects will notice forced or out-of-place messaging.

Trust us, “cringey” content that is out of step and unentertaining will be ignored and even ridiculed.

You Decide

So, is TikTok the future of B2B marketing?

The short answer is: It will be for some companies, but it won’t make sense for all. Honestly, it’s just like any other marketing channel – it’s all about the audience and the ROI that can be gained from the channel.

The bottom line here is that you should weigh these pros and cons carefully and decide what will work best for your brand and your B2B business.

Marketers and businesses should and can innovate, but always remember to keep testing what works, and if it doesn’t work, get rid of it.

We’ll cheer you on either way.

At New North, we’ve spent nearly 15 years studying and growing with the B2B space and enjoy the challenges new platforms and ideas bring.

Schedule a free consultation today, and we can discuss navigating social media marketing and content creation in a way that makes for your brand and goals.

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