TikTok has been an inescapable presence for B2B social media teams. A fly on the wall in many of those team meetings might hear an ongoing debate with vital questions like, “Should we be on TikTok? What do we do there? Do we have to dance?”
The success of Bytedance’s TikTok has significantly influenced all other platforms to copy it in some way:
- LinkedIn is adopting TikTok’s stickers.
- Meta is doubling down on Reels for its platforms Instagram and Facebook, currently making it the most engaging type of content on Instagram.
- YouTube has its own in-app TikTok copycat called Shorts.
- Twitter is now adding full-screen video.
- Even Quora is taking a stab at mirroring a TikTok trend with a new video ads format styled after the Bytedance app.
Remember when creating a vertical video was a faux-pas? That’s now a thing of the past thanks to the success of TikTok. Even the NBA is getting into it with a new app that offers fans vertical videos and a “For You” feature that takes a bite straight out of Bytedance’s TikTok.
So, Do You Need to Be on TikTok to Stay Relevant?
These changes in so many major platforms only add to the idea or pressure that we all—even as B2B marketers—need to jump on the TikTok trend train. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be on TikTok. And even if you choose to do so, there’s no “right way” to be there, and no—you don’t have to dance.
None of this is to say that TikTok’s influence and consequent changes should be ignored or downplayed.
What you do need is to understand the trends this platform is inspiring because they are now invading the places your B2B audience is spending their time, shaping how they are becoming accustomed to consuming content.
The TikToking of Everything Now Extends Into Search
Video platforms are now also very popular search engines, with TikTok being the search leader for Gen Z. This has prompted other leading search engines, such as Google, to better their user experience by evolving beyond simple text search. Your phone’s camera is quickly becoming another way to perform a visual search—from scanning QR codes for more information on an item or for a shopping link, to including a 3D experience in your shopping journey.
Noam Dorros, Gartner Analyst explains that “A focus on strictly text-based strategies is going to eventually cause marketers to lose visibility and, as a result, consumers, to those brands standing on the forefront and optimizing towards those multimedia strategic initiatives.”
Only time will tell whether we give up typing into a search bar entirely—Google is already working on ways of making the SERP highly visual, which you’re probably already aware of. And in the future, the SERP may even pull in short-form videos from your YouTube Shorts collection, Instagram, or TikTok. But maybe that’s just not the lesson to learn here…
Focus on the What and How—Not the Where
Maybe what is important to understand is that where you should be isn’t as critical as the awareness of what and how things are changing and evolving in the digital world so that you can continue to connect with your clients and prospects in the most relevant, effective ways.
Here at Leadtail, we aren’t currently evangelizing TikTok for B2B marketing. But we also aren’t lost on the importance of pivoting along with this platform’s ongoing trends. Not getting on TikTok doesn’t mean you should ignore relevant market and content-consumption changes it has instigated. It simply means you should meet your audience where they’re at socially and connect with them in a way that is currently relevant and effective.
Three ways to do so are to:
- Adopt TikTok’s short-form video style on other platforms that can better serve your audience.
- Allow for spontaneity and authenticity in your communication.
- Show, rather than tell, your audience what value you have to offer.
Hopefully, this blog has taken some of the “social pressure” off of wanting to pivot your strategy directly to TikTok.
Instead, we hope you have been inspired to adapt your how—opening up to the idea of creating content in a style that TikTok has made relevant, such as with vertical videos, in a space where your audience is already at and where you already have a presence.
If you still have questions about future social media trends, please reach out. Our team is on top of these, and we are always ready to help.