Should your B2B brand take advantage of TikTok?

TikTok is the fastest growing video sharing network platform in the world. Here’s why some B2B brands should take advantage and why some Brands should respectfully bow out.

Social and video sharing networking platforms have been exploding in 2020. There was Lasso by Facebook, which ended almost as quickly as it started, and Caffeine, the app created by a former Apple designer which has the potential to become a top contender in the near future, but the biggest dark horse in the social media race this year was TikTok (over 2 billion downloads!).

Although TikTok launched in China in 2016, it’s popularity outside of the US rapidly began to climb in 2018. When some of my younger millennial colleagues began using this predominantly Gen Z app, I was slightly skeptical. I thought, “oh great, another snapchat or vine. The hype will die down quick.” Putting my shade aside, I put my preconceived notions in a box and decided to download the app.

I was impressed with the ability to curate your content right from the sign-on screen. Having personalized, digestible video content right at your fingertips was a marketers dream. It got me thinking, I wonder how B2B brands could leverage this app? I did some research to understand if or how B2B brands were using the app effectively. Here’s what I found:

Not many B2B brands are using the app. Historically B2B brands are in a “watch and see” phase for new social and video sharing platforms and stick to what they know, amplifying their message on Linkedin or Twitter. This isn’t to say that B2B brands shouldn’t use it, but I do believe it takes specific industries to get this platform right.

For instance, Personal Care industries should be able to see success. The beauty and DIY category combined have over 26 Billion views on TikTok. This shows that app users are interested in engaging with content such as watching ingredients and emulsifiers in action. B2B brands in these industries could most certainly take advantage of the action and create an account to upload product usage content and even partner with influencers who have high engagement in this space.

What would success look like? Primarily awareness. Don’t get too excited thinking this will be a lead generation machine, but it will prompt engagement which will translate into recognition and recall.

But what about intangible industries such as Finance, Biotech or Information Security industries? With these industries, it’s best to pump the brakes. According to a 2019 report from GlobalWebIndex, 41% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16 and 24. So not really a primary target audience.

With all this being said, I recommend starting with primary and secondary research. Truly understand which apps and devices your target audience is using. Do you see any growth pockets or hidden audiences that demonstrate TikTok may be an app to add to your social stack? If the research data doesn’t support this, then don’t do it. We all know what happens when we assume. So for now, to answer our own question to the blog title…It depends on your data.

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