psLondon - How B2B Brands Can Successfully Navigate TikTok | TikTok for B2B Marketing

Beyond the Dance Challenges: How B2B Brands Can Successfully Navigate TikTok

28 June 2023Download PDF

Ellie AtkinsonStrategist

The ever-evolving landscape of digital transformation and the rapid growth of new tools and social media platforms can present daunting challenges for businesses. Considering the speed at which these innovations are produced, we can see why brands may find this evolution scary and may feel overwhelmed, hesitant or unsure of how to adapt.

However, it is important to recognise that this development also presents exciting opportunities. By embracing the changes and leveraging these new technologies, companies can strengthen relationships with their audiences and stay ahead of the curve in today's fast-paced marketing landscape.

This article will explore how brands can effectively navigate the world of social media, with a particular focus on TikTok. In addition, we will provide ten valuable tips for B2B businesses who want to elevate their brand and start connecting with their audiences through TikTok.

If our competitors are on TikTok, shouldn’t we be there too?..

Similar to other popular channels, TikTok has gained immense and rapid success, capturing the attention of various global audiences. As a result, many brands have followed suit, recognising the platform's potential to reach new demographics. However, the popularity of TikTok can create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), prompting brands to share all their content on the platform to keep up with competitors who are engaging new audiences.

While it's natural for brands to want to take advantage of TikTok's widespread appeal, it's important to approach the platform with a clear understanding of its audience. Sharing all content without addressing the platform strategically could make the experience more challenging, as without a clear strategy the content may not yield the desired results.

It's therefore crucial for brands to thoughtfully consider their purpose as well as their target audience to maximise the potential benefits before jumping on the TikTok bandwagon. 

Building your brand identity for TikTok

Before taking on TikTok, it's important to have a solid understanding and articulation of your brand at a foundational level. At psLondon, we implement this strategy for our clients by creating a Brand Oyster; forming a structure which considers many components from the competitive environment to a brand’s products or services, values and consumers.

Building this out into a dedicated social strategy will enable you to have the freedom to explore different platforms, take the nuances into account, and feel safe in the knowledge that your practices are rooted in something true – your brand. Not only does this give you the opportunity to take risks and leverage trends, but it also gives you permission to be unique and even add effective mischief to your content.

Remember: we’re all human

When it comes to B2B marketing, particularly on TikTok, it’s easy to stay trapped in the world of business problems and business solutions. The reality is, your audiences are only human – they’re there to be entertained, educated and inspired. It’s crucial to consider who your audiences are beyond the business problems: why are they on this platform? What are they engaging with? In what context are you appearing on their feeds? 

Another misconception which is slowly being distilled is that businesses, especially in the B2B space, need to be restricted to seriousness on social media. In fact, TikTok and its users actively encourage and celebrate brands who present their human side–just take a look at Ryanair and Duolingo’s success to see this in action. At psLondon, we applied the same method with the University of East Anglia, by working with students on a TikTok campaign in 2020. We collaborated with UEA’s digital student ambassadors to share their experiences, to help alleviate stress and anxiety for potential students considering attending university shortly after the pandemic.

This consisted of user-generated content (UGC) by students, on the themes of student experience, support and the city of Norwich, to relate to prospective students and answer some of their key queries, whilst clearly aligning with UEA’s core messaging and content to support the university’s student recruitment campaign.

Like these brands, consider the people behind the audience and your business and do this by asking human-centric questions to contribute to the success of your social engagement.

Debunking the myth of a “teen-only" platform...

As TikTok gained popularity for its dance challenges and lip-syncing videos, it was perceived as a platform just for teens. Although it has come a long way from its humble beginnings, the perception can still put off businesses, particularly those in the B2B sector.

But did you know that over 50% of TikTok users worldwide are over 30 years old?

To make the best use of the platform, it’s important we understand why people use TikTok and leverage the platform for brand, advertising, and marketing efforts. According to research, 84% of TikTok users say that they use the app as a source of discovery or for learning something new. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to showcase their products and services on the platform. For instance, the TikTok hashtag, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, has gained billions of views, demonstrating the power of the platform to drive product discovery.

On the learning front, TikTok offers a unique opportunity to educate your audience in a way that's engaging and entertaining. Whether it's showcasing your product in action or using humour to explain a complicated topic, there are many ways to make learning fun on TikTok.

Is your audience seeking humour, education, inspiration, or something else?

Understanding your audience's preferences can help tailor your content accordingly, and by aligning your content with your audience's interests, you can make the most out of the platform and gain a competitive edge.

Numbers don’t guarantee success, connection does

The world of social media can be unpredictable due to the power of the algorithm, and nowhere is this more evident than TikTok. One day your post can go viral, but the next might not even make it out of the starting block.

It's not as simple as just looking at view counts and assuming that the most viewed content is the best. There are many factors that contribute to a post's success, from the time of day it's posted, to the caption, to pure potluck. But the most important thing to remember is that it's not as simple as just looking at view counts and assuming that the most viewed content is the best. Fewer, more meaningful engagements are far more important than hundreds or thousands of views from those who aren’t relevant to your brand.

Experimenting is key – rather than giving in to discouragement, focus on creating engaging content and learning from what works and what doesn't on this deeper level. That’s the kind of content that will inspire action, even if it’s just from a small group of dedicated engagers.

And don’t forget – your followers are no longer a true reflection of your reach and impact. Platforms like TikTok serve content to users on a discovery basis, rather than who they follow (and Instagram and Facebook are catching on too); your potential to reach and engage increasingly sits further and further outside your audience base.

So the question is, can B2B Businesses succeed on TikTok? The answer is yes, provided the brand strategy sits firmly at the centre. Download our free guide at the top right side of this page to get a head start with our top 10 TikTok tips for B2B businesses.


Written by Strategist, Ellie Atkinson in collaboration with Social & Content Marketing Manager, Shade Thompson.

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