Due to all of the different dance videos and challenges, TikTok has become wildly popular—and not just for entertainment either.
In January of 2021, the app claimed over 689 million monthly active users, most of whom are under 30 years old. But while many may write off the social network as solely a source of entertainment for young people, others are harnessing it for B2B marketing. Many brands like Apple, Adobe and Shopify are finding job candidates as well as sharing aspects of their corporate culture with the generation quickly entering the workforce.
Here, we share our take on why TikTok can be such a useful B2B tool for social recruitment, how brands use the platform, and what you can do to get started.
The Magic of the TikTok Format
Why is TikTok such an effective format for social recruitment?
The answer lies in what Tessa White, a career coach with a strong TikTok following, refers to as “learning snacks.” TikTok videos are just 15 seconds long, making them palatable for viewers who may otherwise get bored or overwhelmed.
White has extensive experience working in H.R. departments and says that it makes sense that viewers are drawn to TikTok’s short and simple video clips. Many prefer taking in information this way rather than listening to long lectures or classes.
When users open TikTok, they aren’t seeking long-form instructional videos like what they would find on YouTube. The ability to watch so many videos tailored to a user’s preferences means that each viewer is exposed to a wide variety of content. Receiving this content in such short chunks allows viewers to “taste” a topic without feeling like they need to commit.
For example, one of White’s videos was about answering a common interview question, “what are your weaknesses?” which drew over 55,000+ views.
@jobdoctortessaHow-To Answer Greatest Weakness Question ##fyp ##interviewquestions ###jobsearchtips ##thejobdoctor♬ original sound – Job Doctor Tessa
The brevity of TikTok videos makes them ideal for marketing, an area in which audience members can quickly find themselves turned off to a brand if they feel it’s taking over their entertainment time. Short clips can mean exposure without risking audience members’ contempt.
How B2B Brands are Using TikTok
TikTok isn’t for those looking to see an immediate spike in sales, but for those looking to invest in long-term success.
“I think [TikTok] is useful, but in a way that a lot of B2B companies aren’t thinking of,” explains Kyle Dulay, Collabstr co-founder. “If you’re looking for instant gratification and instant growth, it’s not the place for you. But if you want to look at a five to 10 year outlook and see how you can capture that Gen Z and millennial market – that’s the workforce 10 years from now.”
Brands reaching their audience via TikTok have just 15 seconds to make an impression (or slightly more time once they have over 1,000 followers). Some B2B brands are using those 15 seconds to make a real impact while sharing information, providing opportunities for social recruitment, and attracting the perfect interns and employees.
One benefit of social media for B2B marketers is that they can make their product less of a mystery for potential users. Because of this, TikTok can be a key educational opportunity—if you can explain a feature well in just 15 seconds, it can’t be that hard to use, right?
Adobe does a great job of doing just that with their TikTok account, highlighting fun and difficult tools across their programs and showing how to use them. Adobe also uses the platform to build a community of creators, sharing hashtags (such as #CreateWithPride and #TheGreatUntold) and partnerships to get viewers involved in making their own content to share.
@adobeCatch some rays with @katyschlemmer & see how she created this sun-stealing scene inside Premiere Pro 🎞#learnwithme #learnontiktok #premierepro♬ original sound – Adobe
Showcase the workplace experience through employee advocacy
Employee advocacy is one of the best ways to gain a committed audience even for B2B companies. People want to hear from other people, not from corporations, and they can do just that if brands allow their employees to act as ambassadors.
Brands can also use TikTok to share the employee experience, raising awareness for their workplace and showcases aspects of the work culture. Although Google doesn’t have a corporate account, a handful of their employee ambassadors. They use hashtags such as #google and #worklife to showcase the Google work experience and ultimately as an employer branding tool.
TikTok themself has an account dedicated to sharing the employee experience at TikTok, while other brands simply allow and encourage employees to use accounts of their own.
Recruit top candidates
Employee advocacy is one great way to find and attract qualified candidates for job openings or internships. However, you don’t have to leave it up to your employees to do all the work. Brands like Hollister & Co. and the Washington Post have harnessed the platform to bring in candidates best suited to what they need.
TikTok also recognizes its own potential for recruitment tasks and is reportedly testing a recruitment tool that would be similar to TikTok but more specifically suited to the task.
Brands like Apple boost their recruiting efforts by improving employee experience. The real benefit is when employees or interns share their personal experiences online. And of course, it always helps when the company provides their employees with branded swag.
@anniekiwiwhen ur company sends you workout gear 🥵🥵 #lol #fyp #apple #intern #internship #summer #tech♬ original sound – annie
Others are in TikTok-adjacent industries, such as videography, making it the perfect place to share their personal experience. At the same time, they’re also fostering a community with others in a similar position.
@ayoungvisiona life changing experience & remember to always follow your passions!! #foryoupage #fyp #internship #nba #basketball #videography #transition♬ original sound – alyssa
Harnessing the Power of TikTok for Your Brand
If you think your brand could benefit from reaching an audience on TikTok, it’s time to jump in. There are several ways to get started with the platform, either as a corporate presence or through your employees.
- Build a community. You shouldn’t be playing the TikTok game alone, and if you are, you’re missing the point. Ask for viewers’ opinions about upcoming content, listen to them, and invite them to contribute content as well. An audience member doesn’t have to be an employee or intern to share your content or raise brand awareness.
- Educate your audience. A one-minute video is the perfect platform to share something new without overwhelming your audience, while at the same time positioning yourself as a valuable resource to viewers.
- Be an excellent employer. The best way to encourage employees to share about you is to be worth sharing about. If you’re consistently providing employees with fun experiences, freebies, and praise, they have more to share with others.
- Encourage employees to get involved. Allow employees to get active on social media and empower them to share their personal employee experience.
TikTok can be an important tool in the B2B marketing arsenal. But like any tool, it isn’t for everyone or a means to every end.
Now that you know the benefits of TikTok, it might be time to sit down with your marketing team to decide if it’s for you. Since TikTok is a relatively new social network, this could be an untapped opportunity to reach the next generations of talent.