Should professional services firms use Tik Tok?


Rob Keating
December 13, 2022
Marketing

Can professional services firms use Tik Tok as a lead generator?

Social media giant TikTok has grown to become one of the most popular apps in the world, now with over 1 billion monthly active users. A staggering statistic, considering it is such a new player in the market. It also holds the crown for the fastest-growing social media app of all time. Which is why many practitioners and BD and marketing professionals are wondering ‘should professional services firms use Tik Tok?’

Starting life as Douyin, the app was originally released in China in 2016, and after its first year, had amassed over 100 million users. TikTok, as it is known outside of mainland China, is the international version, and was released shortly after in 2017.

Whilst TikTok’s user base has typically always been younger, there is data available to suggest the demographic spread of users has in fact widened over time. Some brands or businesses were early adopters of the platform; however, others, particularly within professional services have been quick to dismiss it due to their belief the younger demographic would not fit their target audience. While it is true that many of TikTok’s users are in a younger demographic, the spread of ages indicates there is still a large market that can potentially be missed if brands choose to ignore the platform. Therefore, perhaps, if we ask should professional services firms use Tik Tok, the answer should be that they should at least consider it.

In today’s connected world, it is no longer enough to simply throw content out there and see how much of it sticks. Today, professional services clients, are effectively telling us what content they prefer and how they wish to consume it. Many have a short online attention span and are looking for quick answers from firms to solve their problems or to purchase the services they are looking for. When professional services firms use TikTok, they are serving up bite sized pieces of content – in this case video – clients can see and hear what they want to know straight away. Much like the increasing use of chatbots on company websites – it allows you to find out the information you want instantly.

Tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple are in on the act, but not simply by showcasing their products. This kind of interaction would gain minimal attention. They have to humanise their offerings and interact with their audiences, just like everyone else. For example, this might be in the form of someone engaging in an activity or sport, such as skiing. The focus would be on the person/sport and a tech product might be subtly be added somewhere in the background or mentioned by the presenter.

The changing ‘metaverse’

It is no coincidence that other social media platforms are adapting their offerings to be more like TikTok in terms of quick-fire content that resonates with their captive audience. This is part of the changing landscape of social media. Facebook bosses have said that the platform will now prioritise serving up suggested video-based content that it thinks users might like and is no longer focused primarily as somewhere to connect with friends and family. This new ‘consumption over connection’ mantra means that you’ll be entertained by lot more video content from people you don’t know, and your aunt’s latest travel snaps will be hidden somewhere on the platform that you’ll have to search for in order to see. The move is one of the biggest changes the platform has made in order to compete with TikTok, and it’s an about-turn on its original purpose which was to help friends and family stay connected.

While giants like Meta adapt to emulate or compete with TikTok, by doing so they could end up losing their USP in favour of keeping up with the new players in the market. However, with that said, it is not unusual for players like Facebook to adapt in order to stay current and competitive.

What about TikTok and professional services?

Now, some might say there is no place for professional services firms to use Tik Tok. But we’ve definitely been here before. The same could have been said for other platforms in days gone by – Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Now as they become more mainstream, many firms will adopt them and produce appropriate content for each. As each platform has created its own version of video content e.g., Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts, it becomes clearer that this type of content is now more popular than anything else, and indeed becoming the way forward for social media engagement.

For TikTok content to be effective, it needs to be engaging and informative – just like every other piece of content you produce – but not from a ‘sales’ point of view. It could be in the form of a review or tutorial, or you could look at partnering with an expert or influencer that could help to promote you. The key is to hook your audience in early (as in the first few seconds of a clip) and think about showcasing the niche advantages you provide, or the things that make you different from the rest.

You can also take advantage of TikTok advertising. With such a huge reach, it can be a great way to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences that you otherwise may not have had the opportunity to get in front of.  By leveraging the exposure opportunities, you may just be able to engage with a far wider audience.

In conclusion, should professional services firms use Tik Tok?

Whether you choose to adopt TikTok itself or other social media platforms, there is no denying the social giants are leaning towards short and succinct video content as the way forward. Subtle changes are being made to entertain, excite and engage you by serving you suggested video content which keeps you on the apps for longer. For the providers, it may be a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!’.

What does all this mean for you and your firm? TikTok has the potential for you to tap into another vast audience that you may not have engaged with before. With the move towards video-based content, it really should be something worth considering when creating or amending your content marketing strategy for your business.

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