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Is TikTok replacing Google for search?

Google Search has a surprising new competitor - TikTok. With more data dispelling misconceptions about the platform, here's why every business, including B2Bs, can benefit.

When it comes to social media marketing among B2B companies, there aren’t many platforms that are more misunderstood than TikTok.

These misconceptions lead to one of the most exciting platforms in social media marketing being written off, and huge opportunities missed. If you don’t take TikTok seriously enough, you will miss out to people who will.  

Surprising statistics

Many marketing directors assume that TikTok’s demographic skews too young for their organisation to bother integrating it into their marketing, especially for B2B.

The relative youthful audience might have been its biggest user groups during the pandemic, when the app’s popularity exploded, becoming the most downloaded app of 2021, but the idea that TikTok is only for teens just isn’t supported by the evidence anymore.

As of 2022, here’s how the ages of TikTok users breaks down:

The app’s popularity is spreading out more evenly across all age demographics under 50. This isn’t the only surprising trend.

Last month internal data from Google revealed that 40% of people born between 1997 and 2002 prefer using TikTok to Google for online search queries.

This statistic came as a shock to many in marketing, but as the platform gains popularity across age groups it’s likely that TikTok’s search function will only get more popular. If you don’t use the app, the idea that a growing number of people are finding TikTok more useful than Google Search may be difficult to understand. Here’s how it works.

Searching on TikTok

The image above shows TikTok’s search function and the kinds of results it produces. The “Others searched for” section is telling: “vibey”, “boujie”, “affordable”, “unique”.

Compare Google’s results for the same search. 

TikTok’s search success lies partially in the perception that it produces results that are more human, and more like a recommendation from a friend. There’s the sense that the results are more community-sourced than algorithmic like Google’s, whether that’s true or not. The fact that TikTok’s results are videos, giving you an instant look at the restaurant interiors,  also makes them seem even more genuine and informative than Google’s long-form lists.

TikTok for B2B 

That’s all well and good, you might think, but I’m not running marketing for a restaurant, bar or cafe. The trends however, are right in front of you.

  • TikTok is growing in popularity among all age demographics
  • Its search function is also growing in popularity among users over Google
  • Its success partially relies on the perception that it is more “genuine” than other platforms

Whether you’re working at a dive bar or a B2B company, TikTok is an opportunity to show off your team and company culture, work environment and everything else you have to offer on the human side of the client experience.

Here are examples of B2Bs making waves on TikTok, and how you can adapt these techniques in your B2B strategy: 

Showcasing your podcast’s valuable moments

Industry: Product Marketing Audience: Marketers

Showcasing short snippets from podcasts is a common, very popular format on TikTok at the moment.

Here, we’ve got a split screen video showing an interview on the top part of the screen and the examples discussed on the bottom, helping the viewer understand the industry references made whilst keeping the guest on screen at all times. 

This maintains that all-important human connection associated with TikTok while making the video as informative as possible in the shortest amount of time. This technique of showing both the interview and topic at hand can be transferred easily to B2B organisations. 

Industry: Investment Audience: Business owners and entrepreneurs

This is another great example of a podcast reformatted for TikTok. This one focuses more on the interview itself and gives plenty of airtime to host and guest while following TikTok’s best practices. 

When applying this to B2B content, think about the individuals working within your client’s business. How can you appeal to them? How can you connect with them? TikTok can be a great way to start nurturing trust and building relationships. 

Educating your audience with quick wins


Are you optimising the small things we forget about in social media platforms? #socialmediahelp #socialmediamanager #seo

♬ original sound – Abby | SMM | Marketing

Industry: Marketing Audience: Social media marketers, general marketers, marketing managers

This TikTok walks its audience through how they might be losing potential leads. It starts with a hook, and then goes through an explanation using examples overlaid on screen. This is another example of how you can target and appeal to the individuals within your target businesses, using TikTok as a way to build authority by showing your knowledge and expertise. 

Provide insights on your workplace culture


Reply to @xraybravohotel I’ve explained a bit more about unlimited annual leave here! #workperks #fyp #unlimitedannualleave #holiday

♬ original sound – Sleeping Giant Media

Industry: Marketing Audience: Employees, potential employees, 

A simple explanation can still be an effective way of showcasing your workplace culture – especially if you’re looking to recruit potential new employees. This TikTok is effective because not only does it align with industry-wide trends (e.g. how does unlimited annual leave work, a hot topic this year thanks to the trial of a four day work week) but also explains exactly how this industry handles it. 

It’s another great way of putting a face to the brand, building that relationship, and revealing part of your workplace culture in an authentic way.

TikTok’s rise isn’t over, and smart B2B businesses will start exploring the platform, measuring results, and setting trends instead of waiting for other, braver competitors to make the first leap.

More help

Want to get in touch about building a social media marketing strategy for your business? Drop me an email at [email protected].

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