How B2B Brands Can Embrace TikTok: Will Aitken


TikTok is the world's sixth-largest social media platform with one billion users.

Slowly but surely, B2B brands are establishing a presence, although it's far from bandwagon jumping.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Sales Feed's Will Aitken talks about why now is the time for B2B brands to embrace TikTok and the power of video.

From insight into attracting 39,500 followers Sales Feed's TikTok channel, Will offers advice on how companies can get started and the keys to success.

BDB marketers love new and shiny toys. Were constantly checking out services and products that sound interesting. Even if our toy box is overflowing, you just never know when something different will emerge as a game changer. If you've been watching ticktock over the past couple of years, a few things have happened. One, the number of users has surpassed one billion. It's now the sixth biggest social media platform, behind facebook, Youtube, WHATSAPP, instagram and we chat to the demographics are quickly changing. It's no longer dominated by teenagers dancing to music, although there's still a lot of that. And three, many companies, including BB brands, have launched channels to build brand awareness and attract and engage prospects. If you're a beby marketer, you need to explore tick tock to understand how it works and whether it's time to at least experiment with it and better understand ticktock and how bedby company should approach it. I'm excited to have will aiken head sales evangelists with sales feed, which is established a dynamic presence on the platform. Welcome to marketing spark. Thanks so much, Malcolm. Very pleased to be hit. The first question isn't obvious one. Why the growing interest in ticktock among BEDB BRANDS AND BEDB marketers? Is it a combination of Linkedin, twitter, facebook, fatigue and curiosity about Tick Tock? And it's one billion users? Loaded question, softball question. We've had the same full channels now for quite some time. People want like new. We have Shiny Object Syndrome where we see something exciting and new and that looks fine, we want to try it. So I think that's why a lot of beat to be brands at turning that. But the other slip side of it is the one billion uses. They're realizing that that must be some of that demographic within that user base. With the huge organic reach that ticktock gen generously gives out, you don't have to invest much to get in front of a lot of people, though the one billion number is very sexy, very compelling. You counter that with marketers and BDB brands. Same. My audience isn't there. My audience is on Linkedin, my audience is on facebook and twitter and I shouldn't be operating on Tick Tock because the people that I want to reach simply don't use tick tock. True or false? Come on, it's got to be false, right. Billion uses. You don't think your decisionmakers, your target audience, or at least an influencer in the organization organizations that you're trying to target, is part of that user base, especially when you consider them the majority of those uses are in the the countries that we often try to talk it. We've marked in North America Europe. There's no doubt in my mind that there are tons of decisionmakers on that, especially because I've created content for them and it's resonated and performed. Let me ask you this question in another way. Assuming that our target audience, potential prospects are on the platform, how are they using the platform? Are they using it for entertainment, or are they also using it to discover and find out information about business services and products? Yeah, that's a good question and I think anyone who spent some time on ticktock will understand this. More there is a I don't think anyone goes on facebook to look for new products really intram but yet we still use those channels heavily now and be to be but the feeling of tick tock is even going to be a very quick laugh or you're going to feel feel I say, like you learn something. So I feel like people...

...are there for two reasons. One, the Algworth is very smart. It learns your interest very quickly and then it gives you more of that stuff. So it's a place to find out more by your interests, maybe learn a thing will too, but also the content is in a very entertaining format, which is will keeps you scrolling so much so I think that there to learn and I think that that's be entertained and I think there's a space in there for a be to be branded to put themselves in front of people. Okay, so the obvious question, given the number of users and the fact that there may be prospects on the platform who may have interest in learning about BDB products and services, how seriously should be be brands be taking tick Tock right now? I think right now is the most serious time to be taking tick tock in consideration. Be To be generally has been so slow to adopt the trends of its counterpart beat to see market. We're always lagging behind things like that. We get like years behind what be to see brands are doing, and it's partly because the niche audience, yes, but also because I feel like we get took caught in our ways and there's so many you we don't, we don't do that. There's this attitude that you just described our audiences on tick tock and it takes time to realize that. But right now is so important to folks on Tick Tock because it's still an opportunity to be early load. More and more people are greeting on Tick Tock and as that happens there's less opportunity to get shown to people. Imagine back in let's say two thousand and two thousand and ten, I'm sure a lot of people were saying these things about instagram and facebook, but now those the places to be. There is so much value to being early, or relatively early, to a platform and growing an audience sooner rather than waiting another three years and showing up when it's even more difficult to grow. So, on the flip side, what is the risk to a beb brand if they dismissed tick tock, if their views of tick tock are cautious or they're not convinced about the platforms potential? A year from now, two years from now, what happens to those brands when they look at the tick Tock Platform. I think the risk is in the two years time it's going to be harder to grow they do make that decisionable the lever. I think the risk right now is that those same four channels that you mentioned, the the Linkedin, the Instagram, the facebook, the twitter, those are really crowded right now, that people are prospects bias are being bombarded. So the risk is is really, I would say, the opportune the potential opportunity loss of not jumping on there right now and getting shown to a bunch of people who could potentially become your buyers in the future. Okay, so let's assume that tick tock is intriguing enough that a BB brand at a bedb marketer accepts the fact that they need to be on Tick Tock, or at least experiment. So. From your experience with sales feed, explain to me how a brand should start to dip its toes in the tick tock waters and how a bdb marketer should do the same. Maybe to take a few steps back before astart the sales speedy cam which now has. Before I jumped into sales weed can create a tick tock for them and then grew it to fortyzero followers. I had my own personal look at similar size, about thirty six thousand followers, and I was doing that from around April of two thousand and twenty one. And then when I joined the salespeed team, I said we've got to be on ticktock. The team agreed and then I applied all the lessons I'd learned from my own personal account to salespeed, which gave us a really incredibly strong start. Our first ever video got four hundredzero views. Wow, because I have the ability to apply all the learnings, all the mistakes have made on my own personal account, which I was just doing for fun, and apply that right away. So my recommendation would be to the learn first, because it really does help to have a some strong set start. Look at what others in your space are doing.

I would say go to look for creators in your niche. Maybe not brands yet because there's not that many of them. Now. Let's say your niche is digital marketing. Search up the Hashtack, see which videos have really performed and how those work. Really study those very closely because there's a there's a formula. Almost do it with hooks, the length of the video, if they're using trends, if they're if they're doing a silly dance. Probably not in digital marketing, right. But like, there's there's a nuance to it and that comes from observe, absorbing and observing. So consume a lot of content before you try and take a shot creating. Okay, so that sounds like the right approach and maybe I can relate it to my own experiences with Dick Tock. So I am hardcore on linked in. For the last two years I have posted almost every single day as a as a writer by training, it's a pretty natural form for me and it's the row by in. The engagement has been tremendous. But at the same time I also recognize that my clients are going to be looking at tick tock and I cannot be in a situation where I'm ignorant of the platform. So I have created I don't know but six videos. They're pretty short, they're pretty awful. So if I'm aside from just putting the phone in front of me and talking for thirty seconds, Forty five seconds, sixty seconds, what what are some of the things that I should be thinking about doing to start to make my tick tock videos a little bit better and a little bit better. You said it that practice is one. It's not a natural process of pulling out a phone, speaking to it or doing a trend or whatever the video may be. Practice definitely is a big one. Once again consuming content, watching what others are doing, thinking about, hey, that was really good, but why was it good? Why did that video just get shown to me? I just have a little thing to it. So my recommendation would be to do practice, because my first few videos were awful as well. I'll probably say that about my videos the day in two years time as well. But right, we always it's always we're always hard enough ourselves and what we did in the past. But it does take some practice and getting used to and I think it becomes easier when you you don't copy, but you get inspiration from elsewhere. You look at what's actually good and try and break down what parts that made it good. What were they doing when they were speaking? Where they looking at the camera? And of course they were, because that's how you make a connection with someone. How long was the video? Was the lots of little cuts or was all one loong presentation. Those are the things that you can you can do and there's plenty, plenty of resources out there now by young folk who are are we trying to teach other young folk? But we can, we can, we can benefit from that. Folks who are, you know, twenty years old trying to teach up people how to come influences. You got to look throughout your ego and you got to watch a video like that because there are amazing tips and these, these folks are younger than myself, are doing an incredible job of that and there's a lot we can learn from them, as long as we're willing to listen. Walk me through the sales feed journey on Tick Tock. So one, did they hire you to get them on to Tick Tock? was that sort of part of your package? And then, once you convince them that Tick Tock was at platform that they should definitely leverage, what are the next steps in terms of saying, okay, the first thing we have to do is this and we're going to talk about these things, we're going to make these have a videos, we're going to do it. So often can you go back and sort of recount that journey that you took sales feed on, of course. So to answer your first question, I was brought to the team that my tick tocks were definitely part of it. Like my boss title of Sad Review of marketing at midyard. Recognize that I was posting a lot of tiptock content, had grown a following on that, understood the platform quite well for someone of the beats be space, and that I've been reposting that a lot of that content on to Linkedin and growing up following relatively quickly on that platform as well. So you said, okay, will get get to kind of understand were...

...contents going from here. It's not getting longer, it's getting shorter, right, but that was part of it. Yeah, so then we always move. The Tick Tock was going to be part of our strategy, but we didn't realize they would be our biggest channel by far and I wasn't ready for it to blow up as well. It took me nine months to grow a following. Love. I think at the time I twentyzero followers. But will sales be the topless that a month. It was really I said, okay, what can what? What is sales be in a unique position to do versus myself, and I love I didn't just come down to I can't just make will akin sales my personal channel mark to it needs to be so in different so what what benefit do we have that? Well, we can up the production value slightly, we can involve more than one person, so they can be multiple faces on that, and then from there. We didn't and still haven't really looked at a long form strategy. We really just go with whatever we feel like doing every week and it really works because of that, because a lot of it is trends, a lot of it is timely and a lot of it does just come to you when you're feeling creative. Can you provise some more details into the type of topics that you video and frequency? How do you produce your videos? Is it on the fly? Do you have a script? Is it structured, unstructured? I think that'll give people some guidance in terms of how they should approach videos, because I think a lot of people probably think that these things have to be overly produced and it sets seems like that's not the case at all. No, I wouldn't say so at all. I don't think I've ever spend more than thirty minutes on a tick tock. So just that puts into perspective for you. I will rewind a little bit just to the previous question. You asked what our process is. We do have one person who wounds it, which I think is really important that someone who owns the channel. If you look at successful be to see brand, even those like the woman everyone talks about jewel lingo. That's one person who was, as is, a social media manager who works a jewel lingo. She's awesome, but having her own it means that you've got to give them the keys and they go for it. Now back to you the question that you did just ask. My process of making videos generally comes from ideas and those ideas come from prompts. So there's things that I have expertise talking to. I've been an account executive, being in BTB sales for around six years. I have some experience that I can share, tips, strategies. I can reef purpose those in a for fun format. For example, one that we did was the sales help desk, which is like medium a squit where someone calls up a help desk and ask the sales related question and then I give them the answer and pretend that I'm working at in a cool center, but I'm still giving a tip. So we do a mix of humor and tips on our salespeed channel, on my own personal channel, and mainly focused on careers, because that's obviously the demographics there. For that I was telling teaching people how to get too TACHT sales. On sales we we specifically do relatable be to be content like Oh, isn't it doesn't, it isn't the worst when you lose a contract at the end of the month, and then also sales tips, which come from myself, come from the team and other people who are willing to collaborate with us as well. We bring a lot of influence, influences I should call them, in the sales space, onto the channel as well. So walk me through a day in the life will lake. Can Tick Tock. Video producer. Do you have an idea that you're going to run with? As a is a spur the moment, you look at your sort of ideas list and go, okay, I'm going to do that one today. How does that work? Yeah, so being a s a mean, in say it was, means I know what's related when and what's not. For salespeople. So a lot of it just comes down from scrolling through the feed myself and think seeing what other people are doing and then thinking how could I try and make that that really good idea into a sales thing? or I might be looking. It comes a lot from other piece of content. So I might think of a skit when I'm driving along the road and I normally just try and stop right there and write it down, find a place to pull over it. And I have a notebook full of just ideas that I want to do and attack them when I can. And there's the flip side, which are a bit more in prompt to where I see a trend or a trending sound that I... and I want to just make that right away. So it's as easy as I have my phone right there, I'll think what do I need to do it? Okay, my tripod, my ring light, my set up down here is pretty pretty ready for it, and then I'll just go ahead and make a video right there and then, as long as I as I don't have as like in my calendar like I did today when I was late to this podcast recording. That's what I was doing. I was I got distracted by making a video and then I would walked away from my laptop and didn't hit the thing right because I wanted to make it right there and then because I had the idea of fresh my mind. But there's other things I write down. So I'm always looking for inspiration from things on Linkedin, instagram other tick tocks of a creators, not just be tob creators, but beat to see creators. I think there's a lot of inspiration we can get from those folks. We live in a world of contentory, purposing, recycling distribution. When you're doing tick tock videos, what do you do after that in terms of making sure that you're extracting as much roy from each video that you make, and how do you adjust your videos for other platforms? is a video on instagram and facebook different from what you might do on Tick Tock? Repubpsing is one of the best pots about tick tock. It's why I really, really like it, because you can have a video that goes on tick tock and gets two hundred views, and then what do you do of it? You can put it on on Youtube, you can put on Instagram, you can put it on Linkedin, which I've grown entire following basically just doing that, because on linkedin still very new to everyone level. Wow, a video. I didn't expect to see this my feed right the thing that you mentioned repurposing that. I thought we were going to go down a different road, though. Is that what I see a lot of brands doing, and a lot of creators as well, making the mistake of trying to repurpose content from other platforms on to Tick Tock, and I think that's where people are falling into a lot of traps because of traditional beats. Be Marketing is like the the content pyramid. I think it's good, no more of a salesperson than a marketer, but there's like you build a big piece of content and you cut up and you put in lots of different places. People don't come on to ticktock to watch a one minute section of a webiner. That's not why they're on that platform. They wanted that, they would go onto youtube and find it. So I'd see a lot of brands, a lot of people grabbing like a snippet from a from a Webinar or a podcast recording and trying to make it work on there. One it's normally landscapes. That's not going to work because if you scroll a hundred times you'll probably see one landscape video on ticktock and the second piece is the content isn't it's not the time to value on. It just isn't quick enough. You'll see almost every video you watching tick tock has a hook and the way that podcasts recorded, it'd be really hard to just find a single piece of even this episode and make that work for Tick Tock. It really needs to be quick, it needs to be punchy, it almost needs to be value immediately, and I don't think those long form piece of content have that. What are some of the other mistakes that bb brands are making when they are using tick tock? Obviously, taking a snippet from a podcast or a Webinar it's not going to work or it's going to be completely obvious that they are doing some straight recycling. Can you talk about some of the other mistakes that that brands are making? Yeah, I can. One of the most frustrating ones for me and I I can resonate with this because I made the same mistake when I launched my personal account, like I mentioned. But this is exactly why I think salespeople so successful so quickly because it was good content. But good content is enough on tick tock because, as you mentioned, a lot of those one billion users of are young people who have no interest or business watching be to be content. But you just put up a video of, I'd know, a sales tip or even a relabel funny video about how losing deals at the final hour, and then you put on tick tock and it gets shown to a fourteen year old. They probably won't get the joke or won't find value in the tip, that it'scrolling and they're not going to engage. And what's that mean? Your video stops getting showed to people. So how do you stop that from happening? Use the right hashtags. Hashtags on Linkedin and instagram and...

...even twitter that they're almost like an after thought these days. But on tick tock it's still really important to tell tick tock who to show your content to. You have to be hey, this is be to be marketing content, this is be to see, be to be sales content, and if you tell ti took that, then it will show you your videos. If you say put Hashtag be to be sales, it will show your video to people who have engaged with videos that have the Hashtag in the past and you can fall into a trap because people go on there, they post their first video. Oh, they put Hashtag sales. Well, what was your video? Actually it was a Hashtag be to be sales demo tip, let's say. But now you've put Hashtag sales, it's going to get shown to realtors, it's going to get shown to insurance sales people, it's going to get showed to car sales people. So it's really important to have Researchi to Hashtag as well, because they're they're also counterintuitive. Sometimes hashtag sales isn't enough. You've got to get specific. This is a be to be sales tip. I want to be shown to be to be sales people and therefore we get showed the right people. They will engage and your video get show into more people. If you do that too many times in a row, if you post ten posts that get low engagement, you fall out of trust, a little bit of Tick Tock and it stop showing a video to as many people. You'll see this on a love accounts. If you go on their accounts, you just see a hundred views. A hundred views they're not getting any views. That's because the consistently posted low performing content. It might not be because the content was bad, it just got shows at the wrong people. So we've got no engagement. So it's really important to find out Hashtags, and the best way to do that is find, once again, creators in your space, in your niche who already doing well and look what hashtags they use in and that's probably a five our x size. Before you do anything or post anything, you need to make sure you understand that part. So, speaking of number of views and Hashtags, when your boss looks at what you're doing on Tick Tock, how does he quantify your performance in the performance of the Channel? Obviously views are great, but in some sense they're vanity metric. It's great that you're getting lots of coverage and it and I guess arguably it'll lead somewhere, but where do you get the Roy how do you tell whether this thing is actually generating what it needs to do for sales feed? Great question and one that one I was asked myself a lot of the staff all this like how do I justify my job and all this great work I'm doing? I'm building a following boards that matter. Ticktocks actually quite easy to come well, I wouldn't say easy, it's quite a good platform to convert people forever and your funnel. Our average video on on sales feed releas gets around between five to tenzero views. There are ones that get a lot more than that. Last week had two videos go over two hundred thousand views. We've had has got over a million views. Now on the page we have a link that links directly to us. I we can try how many people convert through that link and the idea that we want them to subscribe as one. There's lots of which is one step fathered down to our funnel. Salespeed is a business model where media brand that sits on the vidyard. We think tick tock is right the top of a funnel, which is great because it's what we have the most followers. We want to convert them fever into more engaged stages in our funnel, which is newsletter, Youtube scribers, linkedin followers, and then eventually that funnel leads into Vid Yard, which is the whole purpose of what we're building here. So sales feed is become on linkedin. Let me back up here. When I was looking at bb brands that are doing well on Tick Tock. To companies keep emerging, Panda Doc and Chili Piper, and in the comments someone said you got to look at what will aiken is doing with sales feed. So when you look at the the BDBBDB SASS landscape on Ticktock, what are the brands that are doing a really good job of leveraging the platform properly, because I imagine there's a lot of brands who are doing it badly and there's awful lot of brands that are not doing it at all, and those are the ones that need to be inspired. They are the ones that need to see on the platform that there are companies just like them that are getting benefits from using tick tock. I think yeah,...

Chili Piper is one that I love. I love the team, uh I told them quite a lot. They do a really good job and one of the most successful videos. You can see why it was very successful and I think it was a recruitment video. So they really spoke to the right demographic and use the way hashtaggles on that. So Chili pipe comes to mind. Hand a dock, yes, but running in the bet be landscape. Other then I'd say Chili Piper pounded up. Maybe refine laps are doing pretty well right now as well. Beyond that, not a whole lot come to mind. I don't want to upset anyone because I might forget to mention someone else. A lot of creators in the Bab space and now doing a pretty good job as well. I'm seeing some big people, rainmakers in the sales space jump on the platform and I've spoken to a lot of them as well. Sam McKenna from Sam sales consulting will all read from Lavender Morgan Ingram from JB sales. Those folks were jumped on the platform and growing followings relatively quickly. The brands, I think. I think they're really logging behind. The message is that there's a huge opportunity for brands. But argue you could. You could even argued that on Linkedin. Many brands are not even leveraging their corporate profiles at all and rely on instead on the VP of sales or the VP marketing or evangelists, you know, somebody in customer success to actually do the heavy lifting for them, and that is very interesting. But I suspect that a year from now the landscape will will be radically different because you just look at the numbers and and you look at Thember Beb marketers are going to drag their companies kicking and screaming on to tick tock and it's going to be different. ID envision that. I think there's definitely a big opportunity that. I don't I don't think people should be kicking and screaming. I think you can almost like if you look at like the Jewel Lingo success story they just had. She's a very young digital marketer, social media manager, and they just said Hey, have this, do whatever you want it, and look what it turned into. So I think, I think it just comes down to maybe having the minerals to to do that and just say someone your team, Heid are you interest in this? Find someone's interest in it and say go ahead and own it, like did. Let that be your thing. On my team I manage to channels and create a lot of content forever channels as well. I manage all linked him corporate page which, to your point, we've done a really good job of making sure this engagement. Now it's like a stark contrast to a lot of corporate pages on Linkedin and then I also manage the tick top and then we also have other team members, whoever a manager over channels like instagram and Youtube and twitter. So I think just give someone the rains to own it. So don't be offensive, but take risks and then let that person it's all about find the right person and enabling your evangelist essentially to own the brand as well. To certain extent, if you're a BB marketer and your want or bb brand and you're watching this video or listening to the podcast, what is one piece of advice that you would tell them in terms of the next phase? Did of their Tick Tock Journey Stop? Like okay on that, like I don't know. Most people who listen to this definitely don't have a tick took account of corporate yet again, take some of the steps we said. Start Looking at the content, going to salespeed, if you like, take all the the inspiration you want, try and think about what what's good and find up a people who know what they're talking about and an all stem questions as well. Conversations like the one you and I have them right now Marka some of the most valuable. One final question. Where can people learn about you? Where can they watch your videos on Tick Tock and and where can they learn about salespeed? Take toks a great place to start. You, I thought your home. What going to sales feeds? Tick Tock, I would say, but yeah, mostly if you want to connect with me, you can go into linkedin. Will eight skin a, it tkn and salespeeds on there as well, if you want to check them up. Well, thanks for the inside about Tick Tock. I think there's a lot of bdb marketers that are taking notes and hopefully creating tick tock accounts and doing some experimenting, and I am inspired to raise... game, although the level of quality is so low right now that I can only go one way but up. And thanks everyone for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribe by a apple podcasts or your favorite podcast APP and share via social media. To learn more about how I help bb SASS companies as a fractional CMOS truticiic advisor and coach, send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dot Sea or connect with me on I like that.

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