TikTok – the unexpected social media channel for B2B brands?

Is there space for B2B brands on the platform that is dominated by Gen Z? Here are four ways TikTok can add a powerful new dimension to any B2B marketing campaign.

It’s been impossible to ignore TikTok’s huge growth since its launch in September 2016. Yet many B2B brands and marketers still remain sceptical about whether the video sharing phenomenon is a place for them. Cat Anderson, Head of Marketing EMEA of Sprout Social, talks through new data encouraging B2B brands to take advantage of its popularity…

The stereotypical view of TikTok is of a place where Gen Z go to dance with their friends and take part in viral trends. But, can it also be a crucial marketing tool for B2B brands? 

Apparently so. New data from Sprout Social reveals 45% of marketers intend to focus on TikTok over the next 12 months, meaning they clearly see significant value in the platform. 

TikTok boasts over one billion active users, millions of whom regularly log up to 24 hours a month on the platform. Not only that, but the majority of users are Gen Z, one of the most diverse and difficult to reach demographics in all of marketing. 

The platform presents a golden opportunity for marketers from all sectors and industries, provided they get their approach right. Below are four ways TikTok can add a powerful new dimension to any B2B marketing campaign. 

1) Building brand awareness

TikTok can be just what a plateauing B2B social media strategy needs, and not just from an end-user engagement perspective. 75% of senior and influential B2B buyers use online social networks throughout their purchase process. 

The platform can build relationships with untapped markets that perhaps haven't seen your marketing elsewhere. As growing numbers of Gen Z employees are entering the workforce, a good TikTok business strategy can not only help brands keep in touch with end users, but it may also help connect them with potential buyers too. 

2) The cost to entry might be cheaper than you expect

Many B2B organisations can be put off TikTok over fears they don’t have the video production capabilities needed to create the highly polished content they think they need. However, the 2022 Sprout Social Index™ found over one-third of TikTok users want to see more authentic, and less polished videos from the brands they follow. On top of that, they also find short-form video 2.5 times more engaging than long-form. For instance, quick behind the scenes (BTS) videos shot on a smartphone can be just as successful as expensive corporate branding content, if not more so. 

In short, B2B brands shouldn’t be scared to give TikTok a go – with a bit of creative thinking, they may just find themselves becoming the next viral hit! 

3) Understanding the pain points of end users (and prospects) 

There’s a growing amount of content dedicated to the trials and tribulations of working life, all conveniently organised under relevant hashtags. 

A quick look at #corporate #9to5 #workfromhome and #worklife reveals a wealth of content about the pain points employees face on a daily basis. Such content can be a goldmine and savvy social media managers can use it to help identify key trends and even offer solutions to end users where appropriate. These topics can also help inspire new brand content on the platform, such as top tips addressing recurring pain points, which will help grow audiences and boost user engagement over time. 

4) Offering a fresh start from a branding perspective

TikTok offers a blank slate for brands to build a fresh new image for themselves, or experiment with different types of content that otherwise may not resonate on more established brand channels. 

While it may be easy for B2B brands to dismiss TikTok, in doing so they are missing a huge opportunity. Especially when it comes to growing their brand amongst a much sought after demographic, many of whom now hold senior roles within the workplace. 

The success of TikTok up until this point is a strong indicator of the ongoing growth TikTok is set to endure, especially as it enters into the B2B space. Therefore, B2B brands can gain a clear advantage by getting involved now as it’s set to continue growing significantly. 

By Cat Anderson

Head of Marketing EMEA

Sprout Social