As a rule of thumb, TikTok has to date been considered a platform better suited for e-commerce and consumer applications, and success as a B2B brand on this popular social media platform is a tough nut to crack. However, there is actually a growing opportunity for businesses to take advantage of TikTok as a B2B marketing and growth platform and be an early adopter or first comer to the space. In other words, overlooking this opportunity means simply missing out on the first-comer’s advantage.
The secret to this success — and what we will elaborate on further in this article — is to understand that, while B2C and B2B marketing have long been considered very different disciplines, TikTok manages to bridge the gap between the two. B2B brands can actually take cues from B2C playbooks, and instead of thinking of the customer or end user as the main audience, think of the individuals and decision makers within the ideal B2B client organizations as the primary audience for your B2B strategy. The strategy will primarily revolve around reaching this (human) target audience through content driven by value, education, and entertainment around your product or service.
In this article, we are going to cover TikTok B2B marketing: what it is, why you should consider it as part of your marketing strategy, various examples, and a winning content strategy aimed to get you going to start marketing today.
It can be difficult to navigate your B2B marketing strategy on TikTok because of the rather raw video format, the casual approach of the platform or the need for high content output; however, it’s important to keep focus on the significant advantages that a TikTok presence and social capital can provide —, such as reach, brand awareness and recall, rapid experimentation, and audience growth.
Companies such as Adobe, Notion, and Canva are changing the game when it comes to their content strategy on TikTok — and we will dissect their wins to understand what tactics constitute a successful TikTok strategy.
The way to succeed on the platform is to have a content strategy that makes sense for your brand and will be easily repeated by having a system in place.
Why Use TikTok for B2B Marketing?
There are a few reasons why TikTok should be on any B2B brand’s radar, and the below is a non-exhaustive list of benefits that the quickly growing platform can offer to any B2B brand with any doubts around TikTok.
Wide Reach and Diverse Audience
Traditionally not thought of for marketing to businesses, TikTok is emerging as a powerful contender as a go-to content platform for B2B — and the 1 billion active users are only one factor contributing to this. The audience on TikTok is extremely engaged, spending over 95 minutes (more than 1.5 hours) on the platform on a daily basis.
While traditionally, TikTok has been considered primarily an entertainment app for Gen Z and younger users aged 13-24, this is changing very quickly — and the user base on the platform is becoming increasingly diverse in terms of age and interests. For the US user base, here is the TikTok demographic breakdown by age: 10-19 makes up 32.5%, 20-29 – 29.5%, 30-39 – 16.4%, 40-49 – 13.9%, and 50+ – 7.1%. The tail end with the mature users continues to grow quickly, creating the unique window for opportunity. More brands and business owners are joining TikTok every year, and could make a great strategy for your next B2B campaign.
The educational and entertaining nature of TikTok’s content lowers the barriers to establishing valuable connections with potential customers, further contributing to TikTok’s unique positioning as a content channel for B2B. TikTok is the ultimate discovery and entertainment channel, rather than social media platform, thanks to its AI algorithm, naturally yielding to the opportunity to be discovered by your ideal persona with the right type of content.
Whether it’s in-house content creation or creator partnerships, there are a lot of ways to ensure a consistent flux of quality and value-driven content that can help build community as a B2B brand or connect with existing niche communities on the platform.
Storytelling Real Estate
TikTok’s creative is unlike any other — and it’s driven primarily by short-form video. The rise of this content format enables brands to share value, a message and their brand story with more creative freedom, beyond what static images have ever offered in the past.
Additionally, when executed well, short-form video is currently the most entertaining content format a brand can deploy and has the ability to hold a viewer’s attention for longer and break a mindless scroll in a feed.
Last but not least, TikTok is a smart investment because the creative this channel requires is guaranteed to work on any other channel. By building out a TikTok presence, brands can effectively create a continuously-replenishing repository of short-form video content that’s repurposable organically and for paid strategies across YouTube and YouTube Shorts, Meta (Facebook or Instagram Reels), Pinterest, and more. This approach allows brands to have a higher jumping-off point for experimentation across multiple channels in the marketing mix and build a full-funnel strategy based on fast learnings from TikTok.
B2C to B2B: Learnings from the Consumer Side
Traditionally, TikTok has been thought of as a B2C platform, and businesses just have been relatively hesitant to crack the code on marketing there. On the contrary, TikTok, in fact, is a very powerful tool with great potential for businesses to take advantage of for B2B marketing. In the same vein that one would think TikTok content is meant for the consumer, the same practices can be applied to think about businesses in the same scope.
The same people that are running the businesses that you want to advertise to are also using TikTok in their day-to-day lives, making them the target audience for your product or service. These businesses are real people, and marketing to convince them to buy your product or service has never been easier.
While B2B and B2C are considered completely separate, TikTok, in fact, brings the two schools of thought together due to its core focus on education, value-based content and storytelling. This type of content that focuses on delivering value enables community-building and brand recognition, which can be a strong growth driver for B2B brands.
Many TikTok B2C learnings can be applied to TikTok for B2B, as the platform has proven to be successful in spurring the growth of B2C brands. Strategies such as participating in trends or trending sounds, creating educational, humorous, or entertaining content, and leveraging influencers and UGC creators, all while creating content that speaks to an individual are all examples of B2C strategies that could be adapted for B2B.
Using trending sounds or participating in trends on the platform can be a great way to reach your business audience, just make sure that it makes sense for your overall marketing strategy and still resonates with the tone of the brand. Be careful not to be too late to the party on a trend, as they often shuffle out very quickly. It is important to be timely with your content, especially if it is a trend that everyone is doing. Additionally, don’t leverage trends as a go-to solution — with the increased content saturation, quality and value are still key and maintaining high relevance and thoughtfulness is important.
Educational, or evergreen, content is content that your audience that already knows you will expect from you and return to. This can be promoting your product or service, detailing all the ways that it can be helpful, while still remaining entertaining. These videos need to speak to your ideal client that you wish to sell your product or service to. Stray away from humor (or be conservative with it, focusing on authority instead) and make sure to highlight the strong parts of your product.
Utilizing UGC, or User-Generated Content, and influencers can be a great way to diversify your content and prove value for your product or service. Hiring other TikTok creators showcasing your product is a great way to show your product in the real world, but can also be tricky because of the relevance of the content and how much you want to rely on another creator for this. It can be helpful to use them for advertising content, but make sure it is a right fit for your TikTok brand page.
Tactics To Win at TikTok for B2B Marketing
You’re probably wondering where that content strategy is, right? Our strategy for using TikTok for B2B is very straightforward and can be easily repeatable. First, we start with content buckets to determine your content, understand your brand voice, make more of what works, and analyze what is working to improve upon.
Create content buckets from brand values
What does your brand or product stand for? If you are offering a SaaS, what is that product offering that is different from your competitors? If it is a physical product, then decide what that product can do differently than other products in the same category. How is your brand or company unique from others in your industry?
Once you have these values and questions answered, organize them on a list. We are going to call this list your “content buckets” that you can pull from when deciding the type of content you want to produce for your TikTok account. Creating content buckets helps eliminate artist block, lack of direction, and sometimes even getting past the starting line for those difficult days.
Deliver value first, convert second
The key to success on TikTok is to truly understand the purpose of the platform — and why audiences flock to it. The reality is, most users turn to the platform for entertainment or education, and it’s important to meet their expectations for value add with the content strategy you develop.
When building your content buckets and ideating videos within each, make sure your video concepts satisfy at least one of the following:
- Lead with humor (but only if the joke makes sense for your brand)
- Teach your audience something new (can be product-specific, focusing on the product in action, or industry-specific, helping your audience perfect their skills)
- Join a conversation happening on the platform with reactive content (increases brand relevance — but make sure you have a unique stance and contribute a fresh perspective)
- Entertain with a good story (can range from your brand’s founding story to an office skit that showcases culture)
Pull the curtain and bring your audience in
TikTok is at its core different from other platforms in that it prompts brands to share more of their culture and story beyond the key product(s), service(s) or offering(s). Pulling the curtain, bringing the community along with your journey, and sharing internal culture is part of building a strong presence on the platform — and a great way to lean into the authenticity aspect of TikTok.
This process humanizes your brand and increases its relatability; you can also leverage community feedback through comments and interactions to dictate your next content move and collect product feedback. There are a few ways this can be accomplished — so here’s a non-exhaustive list of what this content can look like:
- Founder stories
- Stories of failure along the growth journey
- Behind the scenes building the product/service
- Office culture
- Employee highlights
- Success stories
- Future feature announcements
Double down on content that works
Picking from these content buckets, the ideal posting cadence to help narrow down your niche and your voice is between 1-3 times a day. Being consistent helps viewers know what to expect and helps you get better at creating content and understanding the platform.
For new and existing viewers, being consistent allows them to expect that you are active on the platform as a brand voice and actively interacting and communicating with your audience. Commenting, dueting, and responding to existing users shows that your brand cares about feedback and is listening to their community.
Being consistent also helps you get better at creating content from your buckets and understanding the app you are trying to market on. Experimenting marginally with the same format for your content buckets improves the quality of the content as well. There is something to be said about actually using the app that you are creating content for, so taking time to scroll through the For You Page and Following page and engaging with those users and videos allow you to get a pulse of the platform and make content that makes sense.
Analyze and Repeat Processes
Analyze the performance of your videos, and decide whether to evaluate on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, so you can actively measure how well the content is performing. What are some trends that you are seeing with your content?
Creating every day and being consistent allows you to experiment with your content to see what works. For example, if you are posting how-to videos of your product, but notice that the views and interactions are the lowest amongst your content buckets, but others are doing better, it is clear to change the direction that your content is going and pour more of your resources into the content buckets that are performing well.
Top Companies That Do TikTok for B2B Right
Understanding which brands make killer B2B TikTok content will help us determine the direction and headspace we need to be in to start creating our own. Here are some of the best companies doing TikTok B2B correctly:
How could we talk about B2B without mentioning ourselves? At NoGood, we were one of the first adopters to TikTok and ByteDance as a platform and took it seriously for marketing to businesses, and helped lead us to where we are today.
What we excel at: Our content educates, delights, and entertains businesses, marketers, and professionals through industry advice, knowledge, and setting the tone for businesses on the platform.
@adobe In this ep of Make It Happen, @krisandrewsmall ♬ original sound – Adobe
Adobe is the SaaS company that most people would consider offers the industry standard applications for professional design work. However, as the years go by, competition ramps up and the marketing never stops for this mega-corporation.
Why they work: Adobe gives back to their community by using their TikTok to showcase artists actively creating and making a living using their products. This approach is relatable and sways those wanting to jump ship to a Creative Cloud subscription, or were on the fence with their existing one by showing the possibilities their applications can bring to people’s lives.
@notionhq How to build a habit tracker in Notion 📚 #notion #notionapp #blocktok #notiontok ♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio
Notion is another SaaS that entrepreneurs, businesses, professionals, students, and more can use to keep their tasks, calendar, notes, and more organized in an all-in-one app.
What keeps them relevant: Notion is incredibly knowledgeable at creating content around trending topics or sounds, while also showcasing its product. They do many behind-the- scenes examples and look into what it might look like for their consumer to be using it. It’s relatable and engaging for those who like the product or considering downloading/paying for it.
These are only a few examples of brand accounts that have figured out how to use TikTok to advertise their product to consumers and businesses alike. The one trait they all had in common was that they all understood the TikTok community and the platform.
Their content was not over-produced, sales-y, or tone-deaf. They know exactly who they are talking to and know their product well enough to showcase it to viewers in an engaging way that is unique to TikTok from the storytelling, sounds, topics, and educational content that will help sway buyers and potential customers.
@square Memory Sign Co. applying gold leaf to a window 🏆 #goldleaf #windowsigns #windowart ♬ original sound – Square
Square is a SaaS platform that small businesses can use to accept payments, especially in non-traditional environments. Their ease of use and wide acceptability make it tempting for those seeking convenience.
Why they succeed: Their TikTok videos feature small businesses and creators that use their products and highlight real people that already choose to work with them. They also have a unique approach to their style, using ASMR sound techniques to highlight different actions happening in their video, making it scroll-stopping and recognizable to returning viewers.
Canva is a SaaS design program known for just how notoriously easy and simple to use it is, making work and productivity much easier, especially when in a pinch.
Why they work: Most of Canva’s TikTok videos feature tutorials, walkthroughs, and tools that are baked into the program. Their videos feature the same person explaining the tool or feature and give users or businesses something to look forward to each time they tune in. They show how easy their program is to use and gives businesses another reason to invest in it.
Wrapping it all up
Making TikTok content as a B2B brand can be a challenge without an established presence or voice on the platform, but by understanding the nature of TikTok as a platform, its top-of-funnel reach promise, lessons from the B2C side, and, industry-leading examples, we can determine the direction to pursue on the platform.
TikTok for B2B is an opportunity to expand your marketing efforts to a new platform and reach an audience that will want to try or purchase your product or service. As the platform evolves, the potential for B2B marketing efforts and results will only be greater. If you’re looking to develop a TikTok strategy for your B2B business and want the help of a TikTok agency, reach out to our team to help you find your niche and start creating.