Bringing a TikTok Mindset to B2B Marketing
BY Ryan Gray
November 1, 2022

If you haven’t started marketing with video in 2022, you’re standing still. Video is the number one format content marketers use to engage with their audience. More specifically, short-form video (think 30 seconds or less) has risen to the top of the marketing mix with the emergence of TikTok and its competitors, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. 

TikTok grew exponentially in 2020 and has become a preferred social media channel for e-commerce and B2C marketers. And while video is a valuable tool for any company, launching a TikTok in the B2B space may be more reckless than courageous. Courageous marketing most certainly does not get bogged down with the latest social media platforms or trends. Overwhelmingly, LinkedIn is still the top social media channel for B2B marketers thanks to its ability to not only focus on demographics but also specific job titles in key industries. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore what’s happening on TikTok—we should instead look to it for inspiration, big ideas and shifting communication trends. 

Here’s how you can use short-form video strategies from TikTok for your Courageous Marketing efforts, and how they fit into the four pillars: Knowledge, Confidence, Action and Evolution

Knowledge: Get Up Close and Personal

Boldly moving forward requires you to know not only why your company exists, but also understand the unique experience of your team. Their stories and perspectives can help inform how you market your services on LinkedIn. As Martin Scorcese said, “The most personal is the most creative.” On TikTok, users create funny and engaging content to get their audience’s attention. How can your B2B brand reach new audiences by being more personal? 

Pro Tip: Consider ways to write your video script that could capitalize on a skillset someone on your team already has. Is there an extroverted dancer on your team or an introvert with excellent penmanship? Tap into the resources that are already at your disposal. Importantly, make sure your funny or more personal content still aligns with your brand.

Confidence: Stress-Test Before Production

A personal story in B2B marketing only works if the message is communicated with confidence.  The second pillar of Courageous Marketing requires you to stick to your guns when people inevitably appear and second-guess you. Combat this by stress-testing video scripts within your organization. The first draft of your script should be picked apart, criticized and questioned. What will naysayers say about this new big idea? What will stakeholders and the C-suite think? Is there any pushback you anticipate that can help rework your video? More importantly, is the topic or theme of your video something YOU can stand behind? 

Pro Tip: Short-form video is not the time for traditional storytelling. You need to hook viewers immediately or else you will lose them. Studies from TikTok show that you have three seconds to grab viewers’ attention. Does your video confidently achieve this hook? 

Action: Show, Don’t Tell 

After completing a confident and personal script, it’s time to hit record on your video. The third pillar of Courageous Marketing is Action—bringing your big idea to life. 

Remember, when recording your video it is important to show your audience the message, not tell them. This is crucial when working in short-form video to keep the length to a minimum. Can you potentially show your service while having a voiceover? Is there a way to shorten your script by having words displayed on the screen with video clips? 

How are you going to record your video? What inspiration have you pulled from TikTok that could potentially help differentiate your message? You don’t need a fancy camera or editing software—most phones are capable of shooting in 4K and free browser-based software like Canva makes it easy to edit, even with little experience or a low budget. If capturing your video on your cell phone feels a bit intimidating, try screen recording a Zoom session.

Pro Tip: Unlike TikTok, Linkedin prefers native video content in a 16:9 or 1:1 ratio. Anything uploaded in a vertical 9:16 ratio will be cropped to a square. It’s important to keep these dimensions in mind when recording videos. Pay attention to the small details in your frame before pressing the record button. You don’t need to be the most stylish person or have the most interesting office. Instead, make sure things look professional and intentional. When in doubt, keep it simple and focus on your message.

Evolution: Test, Adjust and Try Again 

Falling behind isn’t the same as falling down trying. It’s important to keep in mind that the first videos you create might not be quite right. You might not be targeting the right audience in LinkedIn’s campaign manager, your thumbnail might not be eye-catching enough or your video could be too long. Courageous Marketing doesn’t mean getting everything 100 percent right the first time. 

Evolution is what keeps you a step ahead of the pack. The best way to evolve is to plan ahead for different scenarios and rework your content mid-campaign using data, which is exactly the strategy we used for our Courageous Marketing ad campaign. Our initial LinkedIn video ad (1-minute, 15 seconds long) was doing okay, but we thought it could be better.  So we decided to rework it instead of chickening out and pulling the campaign altogether. We chose a more engaging segment of the original edit and trimmed the video to just 22 seconds. This version featured a more intriguing thumbnail of a kitten and a stronger CTA. 

Our “Scaredy Cat” edit led to 8,669 impressions, 84 clicks and website visits over the first seven days after launch, with a lower Cost Per Click than the original video ad. This campaign is still active and continues to produce results.

A few weeks after launch, we decided to take this a step further by creating a 30-second video to go head-to-head with the “Scaredy Cat” edit. This video ad performed better than the original version, but not quite as well as the “Scaredy Cat” edit. Analyzing the video alongside the data we realized that this video did not have a scroll-stopping thumbnail and a strong CTA. Our new “Bold and Brave” edit has only 8,604 impressions and only 46 clicks and website visits in a longer time frame than the “Scaredy Cat” video. Its Cost Per Result was nearly identical to the original long video. Yikes! There is no need to overreact but instead to stick to our plan and continue to tweak the campaign’s spend. We chose to refocus our efforts on the more successful 22-second cut. The line between chickening out and evolving is thin but, with preparation, you can be on the right side of it with your short-form video efforts. 

Pro Tip: After a predetermined amount of time, check back in on the campaign with your team. What is working? What is not working? Perhaps your content is still too complicated for a 30-second video. Or is your message too simple and stretching out to hit the 30-second mark? Video length is always secondary to a killer message and execution. Keep in mind that LinkedIn videos require a minimum length of three seconds but have a maximum length of 10 minutes for native videos and 30 minutes for paid campaigns. 


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