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The pros and cons of marketing on TikTok

Ana Perez

Should you be using TikTok as a marketing tool? You could potentially benefit from its high engagement, but can you create content that performs well and gets your brand across? Is it worth investing in building a successful strategy on the platform? Will it actually increase brand awareness? Or does it depend on what your company offers? As with everything, there are pros and cons. Let’s dive into some common arguments in the TikTok debate:

TikTok is the future!

TikTok is a platform with a very creative culture, and it’s the perfect place to share short-form video content – the type of content with the highest ROI of all formats. However, it’s more than just a social media site – for younger users, it’s quickly becoming a search engine too.

And it’s taking the internet by storm. TikTok has quickly catapulted to one of the most popular apps in the world, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping any time soon. According to Business of Apps, TikTok boasts 1.2 billion users, and is expected to reach 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022.

Think back to when Amazon was a humble online bookshop – now it’s one of the biggest brands in the world, with the possibility of endless exposure for those that partner with it, and it offers access to accurate consumer profiles that can be leveraged into sales. TikTok seems to be set on the same path: from its origins as a small video-sharing platform exclusively for the Chinese market, it’s now the most downloaded app in 2022. Developing a strong brand presence early on could pay off later.

But TikTok isn’t built for B2B ads…

TikTok is, ultimately, a consumer platform, which was built for organic content with entertainment purposes. As such, TikTok users relate and engage more with content that feels organic and relatable.

It’s clear that brands that market directly to end consumers, specially those that push inexpensive products, do find success on the platform. Most viral TikTok products fall into this category, for example kitchenware, makeup products, and workout gear – pretty much everything you will see under the popular ‘TikTok made me buy it’ hashtag. The customer journey is short and buying the product provides instant gratification for the consumer.

However, the platform is very untested when it comes to B2B propositions, and users often complain about encountering this content as it feels out of place. In B2B, there are several people involved in the buying journey, all of which have different pain points. Products are more expensive and involve more complicated contracts. The customer journey is much longer as it takes time for a product or service to finally solve an issue for a customer, and this means it’s not appropriate for TikTok’s content format.

Or is it?

Online platforms generally take longer to be used for B2B marketing opposed to consumer marketing. For example, when Facebook and Instagram first broke into the scene, they were more suited to consumer marketing, but today there are many B2B campaigns that use them to their advantage as the platforms become more stable and popular with a wider audience.

TikTok is a relatively young platform, and this disruptive and novel quality could amplify the cool factor of your marketing. After all, in spite of their differences in targeting, there is no reason why B2B and B2C brands can’t use a similar advertising style in terms of the content format and platform used.

A Pro account on TikTok allows you to see stats on how your content is performing, keep track of your KPIs, and allows paid ads to be targeted to your defined audience – everything you need to produce a successful campaign. The ads placed on TikTok are responsive, and break through more than TV and digital video ads in other platforms.

Will TikTok bring the respectability of your brand down?

It’s undeniable that most TikTok content has a laid-back, humorous quality to it, with the most popular videos trends being challenges, dance videos, and lip-syncing.

It’s worth considering whether chasing virality by producing this kind of content will tarnish your brand’s corporate profile and professional reputation. Maintaining a serious image might be the key to what makes your brand trustworthy in the eyes of your clients and end users, and using TikTok might be a case of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole for you.

TikTok will expose your brand to a huge userbase.

The average person now watches 84 minutes of video daily, mostly on their mobile devices. Because of this, the use of video ads in general has increased across the board, with 86% of businesses now using it as a marketing tool, and 87% of these reporting it gives them a positive ROI. This has increased exponentially in less than a decade as social media and streaming services gain prevalence. Short-form video content specifically is becoming popular across all platforms, with Instagram and Facebook introducing Reels and Youtube Shorts appearing shortly after other apps like Vine and

TikTok is just the latest playground in this growing trend. With a total of 45.23 million daily active users across Android and iOS, TikTok is a perfect choice to diversify your output and broaden your audience. Over half of Gen Z consumers are on TikTok, and so are 39% of Millennials.

But is this userbase actually made of potential customers?

Consider this: 24% of UK TikTok users are between 15 and 25 years old. This demographic isn’t interested in B2B propositions, and they don’t often hold decision making power within a business.

The question of whether TikTok is appropriate for marketing goes beyond simple demographics: the primary purpose of the app is clearly entertainment. People ultimately go to TikTok to see fun things as a form of escapism, not to be sold things which relate to work. Doing this can easily backfire and make your brand seem intrusive and out of touch.

As Kourtney Kirton puts it in this article: “TikTok’s 1 billion+ users are not other businesses. They are not interested in your webinar, your whitepaper, your best practices, or your SaaS software. They are teens, young adults, & real humans looking to be creative, funny, and build communities with other TikTokers.”

What brands do TikTok right?

In spite of the challenges, there are brands that have successfully locked in their niche on TikTok and are running with it.

Duolingo, for example, creates humorous content featuring an employee dressed as their brand mascot. The memeable quality of their videos makes them very shareable, and the mascot lends their company a face that makes it relatable as they take advantage of viral trends like challenges and song duets.

The Washington Post, in spite of being a serious newspaper that focuses in political reporting, has adopted a similar strategy: by recreating comedy skits of recent events, they adapt their content to the preferences of the platform.

Another example is Gymshark. The brand excels at identifying the fitness trends of TikTok and creating snackable content that capitalises on them, for example by sharing workout challenges that are of interest to its target audience.

As we see from the examples above, the brands that adapt to TikTok most successfully are those who manage to showcase creativity and humour in their marketing, aren’t afraid of experimenting, can tap into influencer marketing and engage with the audience successfully.

On the other hand, your TikTok marketing is doomed to fail if you simply recycle the campaigns you use in other platforms and don’t tailor the content to the culture – we mean content that is too serious, polished and unrelatable. Another common mistake is to simply partner with a popular influencer thinking this will bring in profit without taking into account their niche and audience. Often, marketers don’t keep their finger on the pulse and fail to use hashtags effectively, for example, they might use words that are too general or not popular enough.

I don’t know where to start!

If you do decide that your brand should give TikTok a try, getting started is easier than it seems. You will need to set a robust strategy, so you know what you’re doing in terms of tone, but once that’s decided, the possibilities are endless.

TikTok itself offers in-app editing tools that should be enough for simple videos, but why not try something a bit more elaborate? Adobe Express, for example, is an app included in Adobe Creative Cloud which gives you access to thousands of unique assets and templates that you can use across your socials – and with a mobile app available, it’s much easier to share your output directly on TikTok. You can even create some simple animations that will give your content a fun and casual edge.

In conclusion…

In the end, whether your brand will thrive on TikTok depends largely on your strategy and target audience. If you do decide that TikTok is right for your brand, you will need the tools to create content at a professional level. A phone with a decent camera is a must, but beyond that, you can also boost your setup with professional lightning and even share animations instead of videos.

Whatever you want to do, we can help you get there. From kitting out your creative team with the latest iPhone model, to deploying Adobe Express so you can create beautiful social media graphics, to various Asset Management tools and everything you need to create effective short-form video content.

Want to hear more about the services and products we offer to creative teams? Call 03332 400 888, email or pop your details in the form below.

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