In a recent blog post, we covered the ever-churning question most B2B Marketing teams have discussed at some point in their strategy journeys: “Do we need to get on TikTok to stay relevant?”

The short answer: No, you don’t! But you do need to adapt to the trends and content-consumption habits TikTok has instigated in an ever-changing audience. 

Our attention spans have been trained to grow increasingly shorter through the decades, and TikTok has fed this shift. Consequently, adopting some of TikTok’s tactics allows you to communicate with your audience in a way they’re growing accustomed to. 

So let’s go through some ways to communicate in the modern love language of short-form videos—whether you choose to be on TikTok or not. 

Keep Your B2B Short-Form Videos Shorter Than Is Comfortable 

TikTok allows some users up to ten minutes to make videos—other platforms aren’t as generous—but this doesn’t mean you should aim to fill all of the allotted time. Keep in mind that your audience reach will increase with shorter videos that cater to shorter attention spans. It’s amazing how clear and focused our communication can get when reduced to a shorter time window.

Don’t Hide Behind Trends

Show up authentically by doing your own thing and being yourself! Short-form videos allow your audience to have a peek at who you are in order to connect with you.

Microsoft gives an amazing example of this in the following video—while also demonstrating employee advocacy and giving a taste of their fun workplace environment. 

Customize Your Short-Form Video Content to Each Specific Platform’s Audience

You wouldn’t find Microsoft posting that same content to all social video platforms. On Instagram, for example, they choose to highlight their brand, while on TikTok they focus on employee advocacy geared towards Gen Z job seekers. 

Here’s an example of how Microsoft posts its brand content to an Instagram-specific audience.

TikTok videos are more spontaneous and authentic because authenticity is what this specific audience seeks. Instagram videos, on the other hand, are slick and more produced to fit what brand followers expect there. 

We suggest spending some time as a consumer on the platforms you choose to be on. Get to know who is there, what the general feel is, and what its unique audience is looking for before determining what type of content you will offer on each individual platform. 

Take Advantage of Visual Communication: Show, Don’t Tell 

The creative adage “Show, don’t tell” rings especially true in today’s visual world. This is as important in video as it was and is in copywriting. Take a look at the distinct styles Google deploys on each of these short-from video platforms. Notice how in each one they don’t tell you what they’re trying to communicate; they simply show you: 

You Don’t Have to Talk to the Camera

Even when saying—not showing—something, you honestly don’t have to speak a word to get your message across. Instead, try TikTok’s “stand and point” trend where you point to a few text bubbles that contain your message. You can also dance—if you’d like to—as you point to the same. 

Here are two examples of the “stand and point” trend being used by DevOps engineers.

But You Can Talk to the Camera 

We have seen through our clients that many tech startups enjoy posting tutorials on their social platforms. Customarily, this has been done through long-form videos on YouTube. Simply talking to the camera would be an effective way of condensing the same instructional content into short-form video. Take a look at how this developer pivoted onto TikTok with his audience to give a demo on coding with Python.

(Who knows…maybe someday soon we’ll find more videos about coding with Python than about python the snake on TikTok)

Find a Way to Harness Sounds

You don’t need to show up as yourself and in your voice to talk about your brand in short-form videos. Instead, you can pull out your acting skills and harness a sound recording, like On The Border Chips does here.

In doing so, they were able to create a relatable experience to engage their audience—who hasn’t overeaten chips and salsa? And you can do the same.

When you hear a soundtrack you like, you can also click on it to see how other creators have used it. This particular creator, for example, uses the same sound in a spot-on and relatable way for iPhone users everywhere whose brains have exploded when receiving a second call.

Caption This: Subtitles Are Back

Remember when subtitles for movies were an annoyance? This is no longer the case—especially for short-form videos. Why the change? One of the reasons is that it increases accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. It also allows people to watch your content with the sound off—while scrolling at work or in a public space without headphones. TikTok calls this captioning, like closed-captioning. It’s a must-have feature for TikTok, but is only now becoming popular on Instagram Reels and is unavailable on YouTube Shorts at the time of this writing. 

Make Short-Form Videos Using Green Screen 

If you decide to create content on TikTok specifically, try using the greenscreen editing tool. It allows you to upload an image and set it as your background. This allows you to create different atmospheres and vibes for your content, to display and speak about a specific feature or function of your service or product, and to show—rather than tell—your audience something, all without needing to invest in a greenscreen setup or expensive editing software for the Chroma Key special effect

Learning what and how TikTok has changed content consumption and audience engagement can help you stay authentic in your communication and confident in choosing which platforms make sense for your marketing efforts.

We hope these tips and tricks have helped you gain this confidence in deciphering whether or not you need to get on TikTok to stay relevant.

Ready to add short-form videos to your social media marketing strategy? We’re here to help. Let’s get in touch!