How 4 B2B Brands are Clocking-In on TikTok
May 14, 2021
Despite being one of the fastest growing social media platforms today with nearly 100 million active users in the United States, TikTok is still rather uncharted territory for B2B marketers. And, we totally get it! 48% of the platform’s users in the U.S. are individuals between 18–29 years old. And, if we’re being honest, many working professionals using TikTok might not want to see branded content about your product or services (that’s what LinkedIn is for!).
But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a niche audience on the video-centric platform where your brand could have a voice. In fact, we’ve seen some B2B marketers start to clock in on the app and create content that’s connecting with folks out there. It’s all about finding the right angle and knowing what makes sense for your brand.
If you’ve been trying to think of ways to grow your audience, adding TikTok to your video strategy might be a route worth exploring. In this post, we’ll break down what approaches work well on the platform and show you examples of B2B brands who are starting to find their niche.
The current state of TikTok
At the Digital NewFronts, TikTok’s Sandie Hawkins, General Manager of Global Business Solutions, said, “People check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They watch TikTok like Netflix and Hulu.” Now, that’s some pretty profound engagement on the platform. Putting your B2B brand out there to get found doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, right?
Additionally, according to a March 2021 Kantar study, “30% of TikTok users in the U.S. said they watch less TV, streaming and other video content since joining TikTok.” During the presentation, TikTok even encouraged marketers to think about how they can fit into conversations and trends happening on the platform to resonate with its users. Sure, the audience there might have been mostly B2C marketers, but we think there’s room on the platform for B2B marketers, too.
“30% of TikTok users in the U.S. said they watch less TV, streaming and other video content since joining TikTok.”
What works well on TikTok
So, let’s talk about the types of content that work best on TikTok. For the most part, folks turn to the app to be purely entertained and get away from the hustle and bustle of their everyday. There’s funny, personal, creative, and informative content that spans an infinite number of topics. One thing’s for certain, leaning into your niche will help you resonate with the right audience and land on their For You Page.
“The name of the game on TikTok is relatable, niche content. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on TikTok, you might have noticed their algorithm is eerily good at surfacing videos that are relevant to your interests. Harness that to your brand’s advantage!”Frank Emanuele
Social Media Manager, Wistia
Who’s to say there isn’t someone on TikTok who’s a small business owner looking for software that can help them overcome a challenge they’re facing? That just might be where your brand can step in.
With a little experimentation and patience, your B2B brand might be able to find a way to grow an audience where you never thought plausible.
B2B brands creating content
It’s time to take a look at some brands who have found a unique voice on TikTok to appeal to their target audience. Get inspired!
1. Morning Brew
Morning Brew is a media company creating some of the best digestible, approachable, and engaging content about the business news landscape in the forms of newsletters, podcasts, social media, and events. They even have several newsletters — Emerging Tech Brew, Retail Brew, Marketing Brew, and HR Brew — to get even more industry-focused.
They may not be a software company, but they’ve garnered a B2B audience with their content. On TikTok, their account profile boasts, “Become smarter in 60 seconds,” which is a play on their original newsletter tagline, “Become smarter in just 5 minutes.” With over 35k followers on the platform, they’ve certainly appealed to a niche audience.
Most of their current content is satirical in nature and focuses on investing, tech startups, and big tech brands — all of which might appeal to the interests of folks working in B2B. What we love about their strategy is how they’ve stayed true to their brand voice and thought about content their audience would find clever and entertaining.
Looking at Adobe, the suite of computer software helping creatives share digital experiences with the world is also creating captivating TikTok content with over 76k followers. TikTok is rich with creative talent, both current professionals and anyone who simply wants to create or learn how.
Their very first post has over 767k views and their second has 1.3 million views — those are some impressive numbers! But, what made these posts so successful?
Well, their first video uses a popular trend of asking folks to “put a finger down if you…” followed by things that would totally resonate with their creative audience like “put a finger down if you draw” and “put a finger down if you write.” Throughout the video, they continue to get more in the weeds, asking people to “put a finger down if you think in pixels, frame rates, or beats per minute” paired with video content of their product. Then they ask, “Put a finger down if you tell stories through your art … and put a finger down even if you don’t but want to start.” Finally, their last message to everyone is, “If you put even one finger down, we’re going to be good friends.”
“The ’put a finger down' challenge is a great example of participating in TikTok trends to broaden your reach and humanize your brand. The more time you spend doing your research on TikTok, the more of these viral trends you’ll come across. Some of the most popular ones use particular songs or quotes from TV & movies to illustrate funny ideas. Tapping into these familiar trends makes it easy for viewers to understand your premise instantly, so they’ll be able to enjoy the humor or the value you’re providing.”Frank Emanuele
Social Media Manager, Wistia
In their highest viewed video, an Adobe representative sends out a call for creative TikTokers saying, “Hello! We are new here! Who is a creative TikToker we should know about? Tag them in the comments or stitch this video to show us.”
In both of these instances, Adobe has established their platform as a place for creatives to learn more about how to create and a place to connect with other like-minded people. They’ve grown a strong audience by sharing tips and stories from other creators on the platform to genuinely help and inspire others.
Last but not least, Shopify, the e-commerce platform empowering independent business owners everywhere, is taking a unique approach with their TikTok content.
Instead of highlighting the use of their product, someone from their team is creating content around stories about entrepreneurship and inventions in history. From the wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man to dog goggles, Shopify is here to tell you who came up with these ideas and their stories of entrepreneurial success.
Speak for yourself, but we’re super entertained over here. There are millions of TikTok users all over the world who are probably sitting on a golden egg idea. By coming across just one video from Shopify, they just might be motivated to start that business after all.
Square is a digital payments software company helping millions of sellers run their businesses. From secure credit card processing to point of sale solutions, Square’s an amazing platform founded by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey.
The B2B brand has found an exciting way to interact and build community on TikTok by reposting user-generated content from small businesses who use Square. Anyone who visits Square’s account will see their request, “Send us your videos,” in their bio.
“Using TikTok’s Duets feature can be a great way to showcase your brand’s area of expertise. The feature lets you add split-screen video commentary to another user’s video. Think of it almost as a parallel to Quote Tweeting on Twitter. Brands can curate great user-generated posts, and add value by providing their own commentary, tips, or critiques.”Frank Emanuele
Social Media Manager, Wistia
For any small business owners who aren’t currently using Square, this could be a great opportunity to learn more about the Square product. If they become a customer and create a video for Square on TikTok, it’s a win-win situation for both parties to get more exposure and grow a wider audience.
And there’s no shortage of small businesses creating content on TikTok, whether they’re a coffee shop, clay pot artisan, candle maker, or baker.
What makes sense for your brand
Who’s to say your B2B business doesn’t have an audience on TikTok? If these examples are any indication, it’s more than possible to appeal to a niche in a human and entertaining way. Even if you’re met with some backlash, don’t let that discourage you from trying. TikTok is all about experimentation, and if you can identify what works for your B2B brand, who knows how well your content will resonate.