If you haven’t downloaded TikTok or learned any trending dance moves since the platform’s release in 2016, then you’re probably in the minority. The app has skyrocketed in popularity, with over 1 billion active users, according to Hootsuite — and it doesn’t look like that number is going down anytime soon.
But, just because people are head over heels for the social media app doesn’t mean it’s an entirely vital marketing platform for advertising professionals to implement into their social strategy. The app has suffered from privacy concerns in recent years due to its knack for collecting users’ personal data. But has that stopped brands from using the social media platform?
We wanted to see how marketers feel about TikTok and whether or not the social sensation is a tactful (and safe) place to post brand content. To answer our burning questions, we conducted a survey that was sent to and answered by 100 B2B digital marketing professionals — with surprising results.
Here’s what we discovered:
- TikTok has been widely adopted by many companies as part of their marketing strategy, even with potential safety concerns present. 61% of respondents said their company has a TikTok channel. The other 39% of people claimed the main reason their business doesn’t use the platform is that the app’s demographics don’t align with their target audiences.
- While there are several reasons why companies use TikTok, the most common are to expand reach and boost brand awareness, making the social media app a great place to connect with previously unreached customers.
- Although 60% of respondents said the biggest marketing advantage of TikTok is reaching new groups of people, the top challenge of using the app for marketing purposes is measuring ROI (39% of people responded that they have issues tracking success).
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Who Did We Poll?
To get a full view of our key findings, let’s take a closer look at who our respondents are:
Although Brafton partners with several types of companies across various industries, all of our respondents were marketing professionals working within the B2B space. They’re also working all over the globe, with the majority of respondents based in the U.S. (71%), the U.K. (26%) and Australia (3%).
Ready to see what these advertising professionals think about TikTok? Let’s jump into our key findings.
Takeaway 1: 61% of Responders’ Companies Have a TikTok Channel
When asked if their company has a TikTok account, 61% of people said yes — and that’s a pretty large percentage. The app has come under heat for posing a threat to American data, but large numbers of companies continue to use TikTok to push their brand in front of viewers — and it’s working! In fact, 72% of the 61 respondents who use TikTok said they’re achieving the goals they initially set as a company.
Even though these people all work in various types of marketing jobs, most said they don’t actually have a hand in managing the account. 65% of the companies that use TikTok task their social media team with creating and posting content; 31% have their accounts managed by their marketing, communications or PR team; and the remaining 3% of businesses rely on other management methods (e.g., outsourcing). One interesting fact to highlight is that no one in this survey outsources their TikTok channel content creation.
As for the 39% of respondents whose companies don’t use TikTok, 51% of them said the reason is that the app’s user demographics don’t line up with their target audience. That said, there are several other factors keeping companies off the platform:
- 18% – The company’s team lacks necessary resources like budget, time or people.
- 10% – The app conflicts with company values.
- 10% – The business has privacy concerns.
- 3% – TikTok doesn’t have the functionality they need.
- 3% – Employees are afraid TikTok will be banned.
That said, just over 40% of those who don’t use TikTok yet said they planned on setting up an account in the next few months.
That brings us to our second takeaway …
Takeaway 2: The Main Reasons Companies Use TikTok Are To Expand Reach and Boost Brand Awareness
Respondents said the main reasons they use TikTok is to expand reach (31%), boost brand awareness (30%), showcase products (25%) and connect with their audience (15%).
They also said that the top advantage of using TikTok for marketing is its ability to connect companies to new audiences. Because TikTok users spend an average of 1.5 hours on the app every day, businesses that post video content have a high likelihood of appearing on the screens of extremely active viewers.
Survey responders said other valuable benefits that TikTok provides include its cost-effective outreach and easy content creation process.
Takeaway 3: Although TikTok Provides Several Marketing Benefits, 39% of Responders Have Issues Measuring ROI
TikTok comes with its fair share of issues, the main one being its difficulty with measuring ROI. In fact, 39% of respondents said this was the biggest challenge with using TikTok for marketing purposes.
Of the companies using TikTok as part of their social media marketing efforts, 13% said they have no documented TikTok strategy. It can be especially hard for companies that make content without a clear, measurable outcome in mind to know if they’re actually receiving positive results, which may be why determining success on TikTok is difficult. This is particularly true when you consider brand awareness is the main goal for so many B2B companies using TikTok — brand reach is notoriously difficult to measure meaningfully.
Other reported problems with the social platform include a lack of targeting options (29%) and low engagement (20%).
Tips for Using TikTok for Marketing
Now that you know marketers’ honest thoughts about employing TikTok to circulate brand content, you may be ready to create an account for your company. Use this information as you get started:
Know what metrics to measure: TikTok’s algorithm may be a bit elusive, but your metrics don’t have to be. Some key numbers to track to refine your social strategy include:
- Engagement rate by view.
- Engagement rate by follower.
- Engagement total.
- Hashtags per video.
- Monthly follower growth rate.
- Videos by mentions.
- Videos per week.
- Views per follower.
Provide value to viewers: People generally don’t want to be directly sold products or services while they’re using social media. Use TikTok as an opportunity to give your viewers important information so that they think of your brand when they do need to make a purchase.
Use trending content while still offering original work: If you’ve been on TikTok, then you’ve most likely heard or seen the same song, dance or sound bite used over and over again in different videos. To get in front of more people, incorporate these trends in your own videos, but ensure you’re bringing something unique and beneficial to the social media table.
Even with the privacy concerns that TikTok faces, the app is still considered a valuable marketing tool by a surprising number of B2B companies — especially among those that have a set strategy in place and understand the platform’s strengths. If TikTok wasn’t seriously in your B2B crosshairs before now, it might be time to reconsider.