You may have seen your child scrolling for hours on TikTok – you may even be enjoying its content yourself. If so, you have definitely come across major consumer brands placing ads or engaging with influencers on your “For You” page. TikTok has taken the social media world by storm with 2 billion downloads and has filled the void of short-form video sharing left behind after Twitter took down Vine. Now, more brands are considering how to use TikTok for business to business marketing.
Certainly, consumer brands are taking advantage of TikTok’s young audience and massive growth. Chipotle, for example, reached over 4 billion views with its #boorito campaign. The NBA came to the platform early, amassing 5.5 million followers with entertaining content. To decide whether TikTok B2B marketing is right for your brand, companies need to consider various opportunities and drawbacks.
Young people dominate TikTok’s audience. As of 2018, 41% of its active users were between the ages of 16 and 24. Its easy-to-use platform and continuous stream of new content appeals to shorter attention spans.
According to a study from Millennial B2B Report Merit, 73% of B2B buyers are millennials. Besides reaching young people, there is still a pool of more than 800 million active global users for brands to tap into. Additionally, its 10% retention rate far exceeds the 4% average for social media apps. TikTok could also be helpful for recruiting new talent for your organization.
With such a young userbase, some brands may feel that investing time and resources into TikTok doesn’t offer the greatest ROI if they are unable to target the right audience.
Informal and entertaining content characterizes TikTok. Marketers use the app as a way to engage with audiences on a personal level.
Tapping into feelings leads to strong relationship building, and the B2B space is no exception. Research from Binet & Field found that B2B marketing strategies with emotional appeals are seven times more effective at driving long-term sales. B2B brands on TikTok can emotionally connect with consumers through personal and authentic content.
When using emotion in marketing, it needs to be considered from the outset and not as an afterthought. Brands without strong and innovative creative capabilities are in danger of taking a swing but missing the mark at engaging users.
Emotional connections don’t need to be intense but can include feelings like confidence, trust, being impressed or simply positivity. Humans naturally use mental shortcuts to make decisions, so creating emotional memories in potential buyers can influence them to choose your brand in the future.
According to the Binet & Field’s B2B marketing report, successful B2B campaigns consistently involve empathy. If a B2B buyer has some emotional memory associated with a brand, he or she is more likely to pay attention to its claims. TikTok gives brands the opportunity to create truly memorable content that customers and prospects can easily recall during the buying process.
Building brand memory benefits companies in the long run, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t necessarily prompt immediate action or fulfill short-term goals. Additionally, ROI is particularly hard to measure with brand-building initiatives, which could also be the case for TikTok.
TikTok thrives on creativity – and any boring videos will fail to take off. Videos that gain the most traction are often bold, funny and unapologetically weird. For example, Ocean Spray saw it’s popularity rise when a TikTok user posted a video skateboarding and drinking its Cran-Raspberry juice while singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Random indeed.
The app allows brands to form their own persona, whether through a brand page or a leader’s personal account. Additionally, its tie to music creates a steady stream of trends, dances, or jokes to build on for content. A brand persona promotes brand loyalty and relationship building with audiences.
TikTok demands fun and bold videos – there is no room for a dry sales pitch. Companies need a marketing team with a culture of experimentation that is willing to think outside the box. For some companies, this type of content might be too playful and incongruous with brand identity.
Evidence suggests brands that set their share of voice above their share of market will tend to grow. In B2B advertising, a 10% extra share of voice, for example, will lead to a rise in market share of 0.7% per year. TikTok might be one way to boost your share of voice – but only if used correctly. Branding needs to be consistent to promote longevity and to attract the right customers. Before choosing the TikTok route or another video-sharing app, be sure it’s the right platform for your business’s goals.
Theresa Colston is an Account Coordinator at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London, and Australia. She enjoys developing creative marketing ideas and building connections to drive results for clients.