Could TikTok work for your B2B business?
“Should we be on TikTok?”
Many business owners have been asking this lately, and I get why. The video-sharing social media app now has a billion monthly active users. That’s a fifth of the world’s 4.8 billion internet users!
Based on forecasts released in May 2021, the number of TikTok users in the UK alone is expected to reach almost 15 million by 2025 [Statista]
Right now, there are 3.7 million active users in the UK who use the app for an average of 41 minutes every single day. My teens would willingly spend far longer on it if they had their own way – it’s easily the most engaging – and addictive – social media app available.
But while these stats are undeniably impressive, and prove that consumer attention is focused firmly on TikTok, should your business be rushing to join the party?
Are your customers using TikTok?
Unless you’ve got a dedicated social media marketing team (and a big enough budget), it’s almost impossible to use all of the major social media platforms consistently and effectively.
It’s far savvier to focus on the platforms where your target audience spends its time.
TikTok can be an outstanding platform for the right audience. But, right now, nearly a quarter of TikTok users in the UK are aged 15 to 25. We see a significant drop in all other age categories (just 9% of users are aged 26-35), perhaps because older users are put off by the heavy presence of the 10-14-year-olds with fake IDs who make TikTok their playground.
My guess is, these are not the people your business is trying to reach.
When it comes to the real decision-makers in business – your actual target audience – only 15% of internet users aged 35-55 used TikTok in the third quarter of last year.
Given the time and energy investment involved, is TikTok worth it when only 15% of your target age demographic is likely to even use it?
Is TikTok the best use of your resources?
Something else to consider is that TikTok is a fast-moving, video-driven platform.
Does your business have the creative capacity right now to regularly produce video content? Do you have the resources to experiment with different content types? Are you in a position to respond quickly to new trends and engage with comments from a young audience that is used to 24/7, immediate communication through their smartphones?
These are all questions any business should be asking before embarking on a TikTok strategy. There’s nothing worse than seeing a brand do a sloppy job because they don’t have the resources, especially because social-savvy users can spot it a mile off.
Yes, there are some B2B organisations that are using TikTok to great effect and it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on them. Morning Brew, Adobe, Shopify, Sage, Canva, Gymshark and US Law Firm Morgan & Morgan are all terrific examples.
However, I would caution that these are exceptions. A lot of business content is about as welcome on TikTok as a parent at a school disco!
Where is your audience?
Before deciding whether TikTok is right for your B2B business, the crucial questions remain:
- Where does your audience hang out online?
- What do they want from their online experience?
- How can you best connect with them in that space?
These days, we all suffer from FOMO (“fear of missing out” for anyone who’s missed out on that acronym!) but panicking because you’re reading about this hip new platform that ‘everyone’s using‘ is not a productive use of your time or marketing budget.
It’s also vital to keep your goals in sight. What do you want your social media marketing to achieve? Is TikTok going to make that possible or would another platform be a better fit?
Always go back to basics and look at the evidence
Social media marketing is powerful and it certainly makes sense for your business to build an online presence (check out our recent blog about why worries about negative feedback shouldn’t hold you back from using social media).
The caveat is that you should always make evidence-based decisions about which social media platform(s) to focus on rather than a gut feeling or, worse, because it’s the next big thing.
Honestly, this is so important that it’s a mantra here at Red Gem: What does your data tell you?
If you don’t have data about your audience, go back to basics and speak to your existing customers or reach out to people you know.
Which social media platforms do they use and why? How do they like to communicate? Do they use social media to connect with suppliers?
How old are your customers? What are the concerns that shape their working day and where would they go online for support or information? What are their interests? Do they expect a business in your industry to be active on LinkedIn or would Facebook, Instagram or Twitter be more appropriate?
If you want to reach young decision-makers under the age of 25 and you have the resources to embrace creativity in video form, then TikTok could be the perfect platform for your B2B business. It’s more likely though that your focus would deliver bigger and better results elsewhere. The data will tell you where that is.
There is no right or wrong answer – only what’s right for your target audience!
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