The Rise of TikTok: Can B2B Marketers Afford to Ignore It?

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By Dan Baron, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

As social media platforms continue to evolve, marketers are always looking for new ways to reach their audiences. One platform that has gained a massive following in recent years is TikTok. With over 3 billion downloads and an average daily user engagement time of 52 minutes, it’s no surprise that marketers are eyeing this app as a potential new marketing channel. However, the question remains…

Is TikTok a viable platform for B2B marketing?

One of the main reasons why TikTok may not appear viable for B2B marketing is the absence of presence. Unlike other social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok does not allow pages to create a “landing page” outside of the profile page. This means that businesses are limited in their ability to create a more customized experience for their audience. For example, B2B companies can’t use TikTok to promote their products and services with specific call-to-action buttons or create pages that are more tailored to their audience.

 

Another factor that contributes to the questionable viability of TikTok for B2B marketing is the age of its user demographic. According to a 2021 report by Hootsuite, over 60% of TikTok users are under the age of 30. This means that the platform is more suited for a younger audience, making it difficult for B2B companies that target an older demographic to find their audience on this app.

In addition to the young age of the audience, TikTok’s volatile user engagement is another reason why it may not appear viable for B2B marketing. Like Twitter, engagement on TikTok tends to skew negative with about 34% of user interactions being negative, according to a 2020 report by Digiday. This means that businesses risk negative interactions and backlash from their content, potentially causing harm to their brand’s reputation.

Another issue with TikTok for B2B marketing is the lack of platform trust. Recently, TikTok has faced allegations of sharing user data with the Chinese government, which has raised concerns over privacy and data security. These allegations have led to some companies banning the use of TikTok in their workplaces, making it more challenging for B2B companies to build trust with their audience.

 

So, what platforms could TikTok compete with in the B2B space? The obvious competitors are Instagram and Twitter. Both of these platforms allow businesses to create a more customized experience for their audience, making it easier to promote products and services. Facebook is also a competitor, but because Facebook lacks the presence that TikTok offers, it has more growth potential than Facebook. According to a 2022 Fortune report, TikTok has already begun taking search traffic away from Google, which could also make Google a potential competitor in the future (if not now.)

The Future

While TikTok may not be an obvious choice for B2B marketing, there are still ways that businesses can use this app to reach their audience. For example, B2B companies can use TikTok to showcase life hacks involving their products or services, provide support for their customers, or showcase the area they service. Businesses can also host webinars on the app or post videos recorded like a webinar. This can be a unique way to showcase the company’s expertise and offer value to their audience.

 

Another way that businesses can use TikTok is to showcase their team or talent, clients, or a non-profit they support. Videos tend to be less professionally edited and curated than those on Instagram Reels or YouTube, appearing more pedestrian and down-to-earth. This allows businesses to show the human side of their brand, which can help build trust with their audience.

 

While TikTok may not be the most viable platform for B2B marketing at the moment, it certainly holds great potential for the future. As the platform continues to grow and develop, businesses should keep a close eye on its potential to connect with younger audiences and create authentic, engaging content. By utilizing the platform’s unique features and taking advantage of the opportunities it presents, businesses can establish a more personal and relatable brand image while reaching new customers. While there are certainly challenges and limitations to consider, TikTok’s potential as a B2B marketing tool cannot be ignored. As the platform continues to evolve, businesses that are able to adapt and create effective strategies for leveraging its unique strengths will be well positioned to capitalize on its growing popularity and reach their target audience in new and innovative ways.

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