You’ve probably engaged with TikTok in some way over the past year — popular videos even get shared on other social media platforms. And that means your customers have probably engaged with it, too.Which means that you could use TikTok to reach your target audience.
In terms of social media marketing, TikTok is possibly the best platform to use for B2B marketing in 2023.
What Is TikTok?
At its core, TikTok is a social platform designed to make video content sharing easy for almost anyone. While the app supports videos of up to 10 minutes, the most successful creators opt for much shorter pieces (think less than a minute), because that’s what users appear to prefer to watch. “Bite-sized” videos trend more often, so good content creators tend to keep their pieces short and focused.
One word: Algorithm. TikTok’s standout differentiator is its novel algorithm designed to understand its individual users on a deep level. So deep, there’s a running joke among users that the algorithm understands them better than they do themselves.
Another perk? Unlike Instagram or Twitter, follower count doesn’t provide the same content visibility advantage it does with other platforms. Instead, TikTok’s algorithm is centered on the user’s interests, which makes it a great place for brands to publish content relevant to their target audience.
TikTok’s algorithm recommends videos to users based on a variety of criteria to create a “For You Page” (FYP) that’s unique to every user. Here’s a rundown of what determines the content you see:
- User Interactions: Following, likes, shares, comments, playtime, and rewatches. Inclusive of negative feedback, such as hitting the “not interested” button or hiding a user.
- Video Information: Captions, sounds, hashtags, filters, etc.
- Account Settings: Type of device you use to watch videos, your language preferences, and location.
Don’t Get All Captain Hook About It
Statista revealed that, as of September 2021, 75% of users were between the ages of 20 and 50+. TikTok isn’t just the place where kids are hanging out; it’s a place where everyone is spending time.
While other social media platforms offer short form video capabilities, the TikTok algorithm makes it much more appealing to brands that aren’t already established and, for those that are, offers a better way to reach their audience. The specificity of what generates the FYP on TikTok makes it more likely that your content will be consumed by people who are genuinely interested in what you’re posting about.
Essentially, TikTok is trying its hardest to get content in front of users who will enjoy it; it’s extremely easy to reach your target audience because the algorithm and you are on the same team. Engagement is a major part of what decides whether or not your posts show up on feeds; interaction has value on TikTok. Relevant, on-brand content is the name of the game, and playing it right allows your target audience to find you organically in a way search engines simply can’t.
TikTok, The Great Equalizer
Since TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t suggest content based on follower count like other social media apps do, it’s a more level playing field for B2B brands. The phrase “the algorithm” is usually spat or hissed when a social campaign doesn’t play out the way we’d hoped it would. When we’re talking about TikTok, it gets a welcoming, dreamy sigh.
And the advantages for new or less socially active brands don’t end there. When users are scrolling their FYP, they lean more toward authenticity. A simple video shot on a cell phone and minimally edited is more likely to gain traction than a professionally produced anything. The “social” aspect of TikTok’s position as a social media platform shines here.
As ever, people are more likely to trust content shared by ‘normal’ people over content shared by brands. 76% more likely, to be specific. Which is to say brands should be as authentic as possible on TikTok to succeed. TikTok users aren’t looking for your “go-to-market” anything, they’re looking for genuine, relevant content. People have always valued authentic interaction, and that’s one of TikTok’s key strengths. Instagram and Twitter tend to favor the most-followed users, while TikTok is designed to look for the most-favored content, which levels the playing field.
The Top 4 Ways B2B Companies Can Use TikTok
We suggest focusing your TikTok campaigns on brand awareness, regardless of your specific industry or place in it. The same qualities that make it great for would-be internet stars trying to go viral make it great for B2B brands.
Here are the four best applications of TikTok for our fellow B2B marketers as we move into 2023.
TikTok’s video format is great for thought leadership content. Obviously, a two-minute video isn’t going to replace your carefully crafted and optimized pillar blogs, but customer education is typically well-received on the platform. Consider how a video can support traffic to your larger, more in-depth pieces.
It also helps that the medium is video. As most marketers will tell you, video hits different — video content on social media gets 1200% more shares than text and picture posts combined. It’s more engaging, and having a virtual face-to-face with your audience helps establish a connection.
2. Brand Values
Tired of having your values reduced to an H3 on your “About Us” page? TikTok can help you show your brand’s set of values rather than just saying them.
By showing your involvement with values-driven organizations and projects and actively promoting your goals, you can communicate your brand values to your audience in a way that will resonate. Actions speak louder than words.
Remember: One of TikTok’s key differentiators from other social media applications is its emphasis on authentic content. Don’t show your audience the banner you built for a charity drive or give them a rundown of your plans for facilitating values-driven projects. Instead, show them the actual charity drive or the results of your community outreach initiatives. Short form video lends itself to showing off, and it’s always better to show off results than ideas. Your viewers will thank you (and hopefully follow you, while they’re at it).
3. Customer Stories/Testimonials
Partnering with users to create authentic testimonials is a great strategy to use on TikTok. It gives your audience a story: a face to put to that story, and a message to go with it. Thanks to its content delivery. Your testimonials will hit the FYP feed of users who find your brand relevant and/or users who directly search for it. And relevant tags help make this even more efficient.
4. Brand Culture
Securing top talent requires an attractive brand culture. TikTok provides an avenue to show people not only your work, but also the people doing it.
In this instance, the breadth of user age is beneficial. Today’s scrollers are tomorrow’s workforce, and TikTok lets employers meet them where they are. If you have a great work culture, there’s a great advantage to showing it off. This is especially true in the B2B marketing space, because if someone is already good at navigating TikTok’s algorithm, they’re probably a good candidate for our industry. The easiest way to create a strong TikTok presence is to hire a person who knows how to use it well; a high follower count is resume-worthy, in some cases. Furthermore, understanding what’s trending and how to use it isn’t a far cry from how we handle SEO and other social platforms in the industry.
In summary, TikTok offers B2B marketers a lot to work with. All you need is a mobile device, an authentic message, and the patience to learn how to use the platform.
If you don’t remember anything else from this blog (presumably because it didn’t come packaged as a short-form video), here are the high points:
- Any account can trend on TikTok, regardless of follower count.
- Brands can gain significantly more views compared to other social media platforms.
- Content reaches target audiences at an unprecedented rate (i.e., The ability to go viral overnight).
- TikTok fosters community among users of similar interests (i.e, FinTok, TechTok, etc.).
Come to TikTok for the entertainment, stay to create and share stellar B2B content.
Did you like this piece? Check out our other marketing resources to learn more about B2B marketing strategies, how-tos, and industry best practices.
As a content strategist, Alyssa helps clients create and optimize long-form content that connects with their ideal customers and positions them as leaders within their industry. She has over a decade of marketing experience, most recently serving as Brand Strategy Director at a marketing and branding agency. The bulk of her career has been spent in the nonprofit sector managing marketing and philanthropy retention campaigns. Some of her former clients include Doctors Without Borders, Special Olympics International, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, and Harvard University. Alyssa holds a bachelor’s of journalism from Asbury University. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky and when she isn’t working with the Beacon team, she’s probably at brunch or fulfilling her role as dance mom and chauffeur for her daughter.