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A Business Guide To TikTok: B2C vs B2B

Where does your business fit into the TikTok world? Let’s find out…

By now you must have heard of a little platform called TikTok. Everyone and their dog seems to be using this strange new platform that has very quickly shadowed its competitors. And it’s not even just other social media platforms that are trying to keep up with TikTok. It’s had such an effect on pop culture that brands in completely different lanes are changing their model to ride this new wave of short-form-video popularity. Netflix has introduced a ‘Clips’ feature to their mobile app in which you swipe through minute-long clips of movies and TV shows, an almost identical UI to TikTok. YouTube is another company that has also incorporated a very similar feature, as well as encouraging its users to move towards shorter-form content. 

TikTok hit the world by storm and shows very little signs of slowing down anytime soon. But where do businesses fit into the TikTok world? Is it even beneficial for a company to be using TikTok? Well, as time goes on, more and more marketers are finding a way to utilise this strange new platform to reach thousands of people and bring about awareness to their brand like never before.

So, in this brief article, we’ll have a look into what TikTok is, where it all started, and how different types of businesses (B2B & B2C) can be making the most out of TikTok. 

 

What Is TikTok?

If (somehow) you’ve not heard of it before, TikTok is a social media app & website that has a complete focus on short-form–videos. Much like how Instagram started as an image and photography focused platform, TikTok is its short-form-video equivalent. When it first started, you could upload a maximum of 60seconds per post. This then grew to 3minutes. And now, because of the massive popularity, it’s even increased again to 10minutes per post!

What IS different from other social media platforms, though, is the lack of concentration around profiles. Other platforms like Instagram are almost completely centred around building up and expanding your personal profile. You still have a profile and feed on TikTok but, thanks to the design, users are pushed more to throw themselves into exploration, trusting the algorithm to show you what you want to see, as they swipe further down the rabbit hole of other users’ content – with less of a focus on their profile. 

A Brief History Of TikTok – 

TikTok began its journey in Beijing in September 2016. It also actually started under a different name – ‘A.me’ – before quickly rebranding in December 2016 to ‘Douyin’. Douyin was developed in just 200 days and within a year had over 100 million users. From this immediate success, its app launched into the international market under the name TikTok. It was also around this time that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, spent up to $1 billion to purchase a music social app named ‘Musical.ly’ – and ported its 200million+ users over to TikTok. It’s this massive user base growth, a lot of celebrity endorsement, and the fact that people were beginning to be stuck indoors during the COVID-19 lockdowns, that became the perfect storm for its sky-rocketing popularity.

 

The Benefits of TikTok for Business

For the longest time TikTok had a perception that it was purely made for a very young audience, exclusively used by a very young audience, uploading silly, throwaway videos of dancing, lip-syncing, fashion, and absurd humour. And so, businesses were largely unseen on the platform. But as time goes on, more and more marketers have found a way of benefiting. This kind of throwaway content may be rife on TikTok, however, over time, the tone of content has shifted and grown. Now you can find almost anything you want. But still, why would a business get involved with this world? What benefits does a strange new platform like TikTok have to offer?

The Enormous Reach – 

Popularity means people, and more people means more potential. It may look and feel completely alien compared to other marketing routes, and it may go against every rule in the marketing rulebook, but if this is what culture is concentrating on, then not utilising could mean missing out on a huge amount of potential customers. However, it’s the stats that truly show the scale of TikTok’s user base… 

  • It’s reported that TikTok has a user base of over 1billion monthly users, from all around the world.
  • TikTok is used in 141 out of 155 countries, and can be used in 39 languages. 
  • TikTok has an almost perfect gender split. 51% of users are male, 49% being female.
  • It’s said that the average user will open the app 8 times a day. 
  • 8 new users join TikTok every second, with an average of 650,000 new users joining daily.
Humanising Your Brand –

As the consumer market gets smarter, and more aware of when they’re being sold to, the effectiveness of faceless brands is plummeting. Any marketer will know and understand the need to humanise their brand. Consumers want to know where and who their products/services come from and, luckily, TikTok is the perfect platform for doing this. TikToks’ own team has expressed the fact that their algorithm very much favours the videos that have a human face within it. They don’t want their platform to be filled with company advertisements (that aren’t paying for the privilege), and so the platform works against content that isn’t featuring a real person, speaking to the camera. At first, you may think that this works against businesses. But, in actual fact, TikTok is now a great platform for showing off a different side to your business. You can use a platform like LinkedIn to remain polished and professional, and TikTok to show your relaxed, playful side. 

If you’re worried about giving the wrong impression, a good thing to remember is that naturally, different audiences will exist on different platforms. Your formal audience will exist within a formal platform like LinkedIn, and your audience, who are interested in seeing a playful side, will be on TikTok.

TikTok’s Algorithm –

Anyone who has used TikTok a few times will know how unsettlingly effective the algorithm is at showing you content that reflects your interests. TikTok is monitoring every decision you make, no matter how small, to figure out what you enjoy seeing and how you enjoy seeing it. What’s good for businesses on TikTok is that if you position your content as correctly and as effectively as you can, you know the algorithm is getting it seen by people who will be genuinely interested. From what we’ve seen, TikTok’s algorithm will do this far more effectively than any other social media platform.

 

Best Examples Of B2C TikTok

Vessi – 

Vessi is a Canadian-based footwear company. Despite not being active on TikTok for very long, their profile now has almost 200,000 followers. They achieved this through a very smart and unique giveaway strategy in which they asked their customers to duet their content with videos of them showing off their products and saying why they love Vessi footwear. The best entries would win another free pair of shoes. This was genius as it meant even though they were giving free merchandise to already existing customers, those customers were all creating free advertising that had TikTok’s massive user base as its reach. 

The Takeaway: By utilising a simple feature like ‘duet’, they created a marketing campaign that grew their brand recognition an immeasurable amount. And that’s just within one of many platforms.

You can check out Vessi’s TikTok profile HERE!

Spikeball – 

If you haven’t already heard of Spikeball, they are a company self-described as a hybrid between Volleyball and Four Square. They’ve managed to build a following of over 700,000 through UGC (User Generated Content) alone. Their whole profile is dedicated to re-posting videos, sent in by their real customers, playing the game. This works on two levels. The first being the fact that their workload for content is minimal, the actual content itself being created by other people. The second benefit is the fact that their content is assured to fit their customers’ interest. A very smart win-win from Spikeball. 

The Takeaway: User generated content, if applicable to your business, can be a perfect route to maintaining a presence on TikTok, without having to actually create content, and is guaranteed to be relevant to your customers.

You can check out Spikeball’s TikTok profile HERE!

RyanAir – 

When you think about a brand like RyanAir, it seems obvious that they’d take their marketing and brand image very professionally, which they do, apart from within TikTok. Through partnering with a social media influencer, they’ve managed to grow a following of 1.6million users. Turns out all they had to do was create a badly photoshopped aeroplane mascot and avoid taking themselves too seriously. 

The Takeaway: Even if your business is a serious one, by not taking yourself, or the platform, too seriously, you can engage and reach a following of people who ordinarily wouldn’t engage with your content – a great avenue for brand reinforcement.

You can check out RyanAir’s TikTok profile HERE!

 

Best Examples Of B2B TikTok

Morgan & Morgan – 

As one of the largest law firms in the US, much like RyanAir, Morgan & Morgan could have approached creating a business TikTok in a very serious and professional manner. Instead, they took the opportunity to showcase their human side. Their content is varied, showing their team performing funny skits and showing off their offices. However, their most popular content is by far what they call ‘60 Seconds With John’. These videos consist of their founder, John Morgan, driving in his car, talking about funny stories and interesting tidbits. Something so simple and easy to produce has become a huge avenue for new customers and getting their brand name out there. Their TikTok is now at around 700,000 followers. They boast that their ‘silly’ TikTok videos are now their second biggest avenue for engagement and reach – a very close second to their Facebook page.

The Takeaway: Again, much like RyanAir, even if you think your business wouldn’t morally fit the tone of TikTok, you could do great things for your brand by simply filming 30second videos on your commute to work. In a way, it’s never been simpler.

You can check out Morgan & Morgan’s TikTok profile HERE!

Morning Brew –

Morning Brew is a media company that creates amazing, easily digestible content around business news and updates. They create these in all types of forms, such as newsletters, social media, podcasts, and events – all ranging from business to marketing to HR. Their approach to TikTok has worked perfectly for their brand. All they’ve done is repackage the content they’re putting out on other platforms and turned it into 60second quick tips and update videos, using one of their staff to ‘host’ each time. This simple repackaging has gained them over 300,00 followers – as well as very high, regular engagement. 

The Takeaway: It could be that your business is already putting out marketing content that could be easily re-purposed to fit TikTok. All you need is someone willing to go on camera and deliver it.

You can check out Morning Brew’s TikTok profile HERE!

 

Conclusion

It may break every rule in the marketing handbook, and it may seem trivial and silly, but TikTok really is one of the most powerful marketing tools in current times. As we’ve learnt, the user base is enormous – and rapidly growing! We’ve also seen that companies can attract views and engagement from a massive amount of people, getting their brand in front of an audience that it ordinarily wouldn’t – all with very minimal amounts of work going into it. So, with all this in mind, even if you feel your business wouldn’t fit the TikTok landscape, why wouldn’t you give it a try? It might just change the game for you and your business.

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