Cats, broomsticks and babies: Why TikTok is relevant to your B2B marketing
A cat sticking its head into a tube. A baby laughing uncontrollably. A 32-year-old man riding on a broomstick.
These are some of TikTok’s most watched and most liked short videos. And while their relevance to B2B might not be immediately obvious, their success reveals much about how we’re consuming content in 2022 and offers insights for all marketers.
It illustrates how our online communications are becoming more human, more personal, creative, socially driven and experimental. And while the numbers are enticing – 1 billion monthly active users, taking it past Twitter and Snapchat – the challenge of harnessing this social-media phenomenon for business-to-business is about retaining credibility, authenticity and identity.
Other platforms have scrambled to add similar features for making and sharing short videos, for example, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. At the same time, TikTok’s content is maturing, it’s becoming a place to learn, as well as be entertained. All this means the opportunities for business and for B2B are growing.
Almost every metric shows the power of TikTok – the platform caught up with Facebook in 2021 and overtook WhatsApp and Instagram in terms of the time users spent on it. And it’s not just young people. While the platform does offer great access to the GenZ demographic, 20% of users in the US are 40-49 years old.
Demand for video marketing
Looking at the broader context, video continues to soar in popularity in terms of the way we consume content and offers a good way for marketers to connect with their audiences. The amount of online video watched each week per person has almost doubled since 2018, according to video explainer company, Wyzowl.
And while some of that’s probably due to the pandemic effect, it’s clear the trend is here to stay. Two thirds of current video marketers plan to increase or maintain their spend and nearly 80% of those not currently using video said they expect to start in 2022, according to Wyzowl’s research.
We’re watching more online videos
Source: Wyzowl State of Video Marketing Survey
Human, personal and humorous
TikTok’s video format and informal nature make it great for adding value to brands and building engagement in the B2B space. Short videos can be used to build momentum, demonstrate business values like inclusivity, or showcase environmental, social and governance credentials.
Accounting, payroll, and payment systems provider Sage harnessed TikTok to show the human face of its products and spell out how useful they are. Using hashtags like the TikTok #Bossit2021 challenge and #SageTellMe – where users make short videos of the day-to-day moments that make them a small business owner – allows Sage’s customers to showcase their creativity and humour. The often engaging and funny content they create promotes what might be considered a dry product.
Tell us you are a small business owner without telling us you are a small business owner! #SageTellMe
Creative, social and experimental
This underscores how TikTok and other short video formats are encouraging B2B brands to innovate. Within reason there’s the scope to “fail fast” or to try out a relatively risky concept and move on if it doesn’t connect with your audience.
Machines for the food industry might not seem like catnip for the short-video generation, but the TikTok account of robotics and automation company Apex Motion, located in British Columbia, Canada, has more than 76,000 followers. Using platform features like captions, overlays and music helps bring its products to life.
Brand values as the anchor
The examples above show that taking an intelligent but lighthearted approach to TikTok can help B2B brands open up fresh marketing channels, in a fun and personally appealing way. But while it’s clear that there’s an audience for most B2B companies on TikTok, it’s also important to stay true to your brand values while embracing it.
As it increases in marketing prominence, TikTok is also evolving into a place to learn. And that presents businesses with new opportunities to educate and impart knowledge in their areas of expertise.
The platform is all about informality, creativity and experimentation, and for businesses that can identify what works for their B2B brand, there’s almost endless scope to release content that will resonate, drive engagement and bring in new leads.
About the author: Richard Wellings is Head of Social & Insights at Formative Content. He is an experienced Social Strategist and Strategic Marketer. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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