Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram – do these social channels play a role in B2B marketing?

Mariah Kamei  /  Jun 30, 2020

Do social channels like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram play a role in B2B marketing?

This year, the average adult will spend at least 1 hour and 22 minutes per day on social media.  Sure, we all know LinkedIn is an integral part of modern marketing and sales strategies, but what about other social channels? With nearly 2 billion (yes, that’s BILLION!) installs worldwide, TikTok is a rising star on the social scene. But does that mean it will also do well as a marketing platform? 

And then there’s Instagram. According to eMarketer, Instagram recently saw a 13.8% spike in engagement via Instagram Live and Stories. Should B2B brands capitalize on the trend for lead generation? And just what the heck is going on with Snapchat? 

To give B2B marketers a better grasp on what the kids are doing currently, and determine their relevance to your marketing plans, we bravely dove into the “how, what, and why” of these channels.  

P.S. Are you more of an audio/visual type? Check out our Catalyst Marketing Rant on this very subject instead. 

What’s up with TikTok? 

TikTok is taking over the world. If you stumble across a young person aged 13-24, there’s a good chance you will find the app on their phone. And because TikTok is so well-loved amongst the Gen Z market, it is becoming the new marketing avenue to watch.

Initially developed as an app to create and share lip-synching videos, TikTok has since expanded its subject matter to include cooking tutorials, comedy sketches, singing, dancing, beauty how-tos, and much more.

These days, we are starting to see people sharing videos featuring their favorite products. Thus, the age of TikTok advertising is already upon us.

For most brands, TikTok as a marketing platform works in three ways:

  1. Brands upload original branded content to their own TikTok channels
  2. Brands spread content through influencers with an established audience
  3. Brands pay for ad placements on TikTok

TikTok’s official advertising platform is still very new. There’s no established market for it yet. However, it may become larger and more comprehensive over time.  

Snapchat for B2B? 

Remember when celebrities finally made their way to Twitter? Or when your parents finally got on Facebook? Today, most people on Snapchat are relatively young, with 71% of users currently under the age of 25. What’s interesting is that the age of the app’s audience is getting older over time. 

Whatever the kids are into, eventually older adults and late adopters follow in time. If you ask any parent of a teenager (who, based on age group, are more likely to be decision-makers for many B2B brands) how they communicate with their kids, and you’re likely to hear it’s all done on Snapchat. 

Also, at a time where many social channels have already jumped the late adopter shark (an example rhymes with Smacebook) and are very stingy with reach and eye-balls, Snapchat users are engaged on the platform for up to 20 minutes a day. There are billions of content pieces shared daily on Snapchat.

All of this sounds good in theory. But how—practically speaking—do you start using it to hit your B2B marketing objectives? Let’s take a look at a few examples

Ready to test the waters? Here’s how to choose between the two.

The bottom line is this: It may be a good idea to hop on the bandwagon as an early(ish) adopter. Especially if your tolerance for experimental channels is high.

If you’re looking for new pastures to take your marketing message to, how do you choose between Snapchat and TikTok? The answer depends on who your target audience is and where they’re more likely to be found. 

Brand personality is also another important consideration. If you want to promote authenticity and show off your sillier side of your brand, TikTok might be the place for you. But if you want to deliver more polished content or leverage the reach of an established publication, then Snapchat could be a better alternative. 

Keep in mind the price differential between the two. Snapchat isn’t a cheap place to play, although they did just launch some pretty sweet Augmented Reality (AR) upgrades to their Lens platform. And because TikTok’s ad platform is so new, you may be able to get a good deal in the early market, but you have to take the lack of experience that comes with it.  

And one more to keep on your radar… Instagram Guides

Instagram launched a new format for sharing curated, scrollable content: Instagram Guides.

The new feature gives users an easier way to consume helpful recommendations and tips from trusted creators, public figures, organizations, and publishers—with an initial focus on wellness. This isn’t currently a feature that is available to all brands, but it’s something to keep on your radar; here’s an example for easy reference. 

More to consider

One of Instagram’s biggest criticisms has been how the picture-perfect platform discusses mental health. Originally, the Guides feature was designed for travelers, but with the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the social media company needed to reverse its course. With the rollout of Guides and its pivot to focus on wellness, it seems as good a time as ever for the channel to try and change the conversation around mental health and social media.

For B2B brands, Instagram is a safe place to test out sponsored-content and new storytelling formats. It’s designed for brands that want to get out of their comfort zone without going too far out. With features like Stories and Guides, they offer a wide variety of new and exciting ways to tell your story as both discovery or lead-drivers.

Mission-critical: Going beyond the cutting edge

2020 is the year for all brands to be bold and reach beyond their comfort zones for new marketing channels and tactics. Now that you’re up to speed, it’s time to begin experimenting with fresh/new ways to connect with audiences in the digital space. While there’s no silver bullet for social media (or marketing in general), we’d encourage our B2B clients to boldly experiment with social media, because that’s where the kids are going and where the dollars are flowing. 

Here are some indicators that you’re ready to branch out beyond LinkedIn: 

  • You are a B2B brand who does awareness campaigns
  • You have a distinct point of view in your market and want to share it
  • Have an audience whose natural habitat is social media and are craving authenticity from their brands 

Ready to take the leap and explore how other social channels play a role in B2B marketing? Reach out anytime.


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