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TikTok and micro-influencing in B2B marketing

The landscape of B2B marketing is changing. 

And there are 2 reasons why: 

  • TikTok isn’t just a platform for Gen Z or celebrities anymore. 
  • B2B marketing is expanding its horizon - specifically, it’s influencing how SDRs approach their role. 

These trends have been identified by Todd Clouser, Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Refine Labs

In a recent interview with Alice de Courcy, he explained in-depth what these trends mean for the future of B2B marketing.

Scroll 👇 to find out more. 

 

The advantages of TikTok for B2B marketers

Alice kicked things off by asking: 

How can TikTok help B2B marketers to accelerate their content marketing efforts?

Todd identified a few key benefits where TikTok comes out on top, compared to other platforms ⏬

TikTok brings authenticity

Human-to-human marketing is key.

And Todd said that’s why TikTok should be on the radar:

“The beauty of TikTok is that it makes it so easy to share content. And it performs well on other platforms, such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube shorts. You see a vertical video and you just stop, because there’s just an authenticity about it.” 

There’s one thing that pretty much all demand gen marketers can agree on: the importance of being authentic and human. It’s clear TikTok can help accelerate this significantly. 

The power of TikTok’s series feature

Todd said:

“When I first started out, my assumption was that TikTok was an escape from B2B educational content. I was sceptical if it would even work. I had this initial prejudice when I first got into it.” 

So, what changed his mind? 

Well:

“I found a couple of unlocks that would transfer very well over into B2B. And one of these was the ability to create a series through the platform. What this means is I can pick a topic, plug it into each series and then put them out, one after another. And each one will perform just as well as the previous one.” 

Todd added:

“With the series feature, I can remind the audience of the message. So just how Refine Labs has done on LinkedIn, I’m internally teaching people how to replicate this on TikTok.” 

TikTok strikes the balance between attention-grabbing and relevant content 

Todd mentioned that he’s used TikTok to create entertaining and educational content. 

But Alice was curious to know more - how exactly had this been achieved?

Todd said:

“What I try to do is ensure there’s a very real message underneath the videos. You might have to watch it once or twice. But one of the reasons these videos do so well is because I’m delivering a message that’s relevant to B2B sales and marketing people. I just do it in a way that’s really fun to watch. So, I can put out the exact same message 5 times a week successfully, because the delivery is different.” 

And how is this different from other formats? 

“If you put out 5 text posts that are only slightly different, you’ll probably see diminishing returns by the time you get round to the last post.” 

And Alice agreed, stating:

“It’s all about getting the best possible content in front of your audience, all of the time, and being as repeatable and creative as possible.”

Advice for B2B marketers who are newbies to TikTok

It’s clear there’s a lot of unlocked or unrealised potential with TikTok. 

Alice wanted to know if Todd had any advice for B2B marketers who were using TikTok for the first time. 

“The biggest piece of advice I can give to people that are new to TikTok is to figure out what you want to do before you start posting videos. Go through the platform, audit 10 to 15 accounts where the content is really good.” 

“Soon, you’ll start to uncover different things that these accounts do to hold your attention. And this is key to winning on the platform.”

And why else is this approach crucial? 

“The content that you post in the beginning is very important. Because roughly, your first 6 to 10 posts are crucial because they have the highest probability of going viral. TikTok doesn't know who you are, so they’re putting these posts out to all these places to see where it works. And when it does work, it’ll make it easier to succeed in future content.” 

The key takeaway here? 

Don’t just dive in and start filming. Really take the time to research; doing this will maximise your chances for success on TikTok. In Todd’s opinion, the earlier you do this, the better. 

Todd also offered his two cents on the content planning and creation process: 

“My process is pretty simple, and I’m not a huge proponent of batch filming content. Because when you do it so far in advance you miss things that are relevant. And you end up losing the ability to react to your audience in the moment. So I personally create content the day before.” 

As with all B2B marketers, testing and experimenting is important for content creation: 

“The only time I’ll recycle videos is when it’s from TikTok itself. Because I might do a separate edit that’s a little bit shorter, and see which one performs better.”

The power of micro-influencing in B2B marketing

There’s been a lot of chatter on how the SDR role is changing. 

And for Todd, this trend has been interpreted as SDRs essentially being B2B micro-influencers, or mini LinkedIn marketers. 

He explained why:

“A lot of people overlook the value in having a very large portion of your company putting out content. But if you empower people to create content (and it doesn’t have to be about brand messaging), and incentivise them to do it - there’s a huge advantage.”

“This is especially true in the context of SDRs. They’re talking to people everyday, getting feedback that not a lot of other roles have access to.” 

And before you ask, is the SDR role really headed for this much change? 

Todd’s own personal growth journey supports this trend.

“My first role out of college was an SDR. And I had to regularly call on leads that didn’t want to talk to me - all day, every day. But I wasn’t in a position to leave my job and find something else, so I had to figure out a better way to get people to take the action I wanted them to take.” 

He also said:

“At the time, I was the only real hire, so they gave me the freedom to figure it out. I set up a YouTube channel, posting educational content. And I very quickly saw how impactful this new approach was.” 

So, why is Todd’s story relevant? 

“I’ve seen first-hand how much more powerful it is to create content and educate people. So I believe the industry as a whole is on its way to this path. There’s real power in getting a small team of SDRs who have a dedicated role to create affinity with a brand.” 

But Todd also gave a word of warning: 

“It’s all well and good that these mini-influencers will receive engagement from internal people, such as colleagues. But in order for a strong following of people, you really have to remember to empower people to create whatever the heck they want to!” 

“SDRs who are creating content need to have the opportunity to put their own personal spin on things. That’s the secret to getting people outside the company to engage with the content.”  

How to combat management pushback for SDR micro-influencing

From a marketing perspective, it’s clear why SDRs need to be creating content. 

But Alice said: 

“This is important. But I know I’d receive a lot of pushback if I asked the sales manager to allow the SDR team of 100 to set aside an hour a day to post on LinkedIn.” 

So, she wanted to know if Todd had any advice on how to deal with this. 

His answer? It’s a good idea to test it and prove its advantages.

“The best way to go about doing anything like this is to take a small sample group and test the theory on them. Ask the sales manager for 5 SDRs as opposed to 100, and benchmark as a way to track progress.” 

He elaborated on why this would be the preferred option:

“You can prove how SDRs putting out content has made them better in their roles. Because what starts to happen is that SDRs build their personal brand or reputation.”

“Prospects will get calls from them and not be put off, as they’ll recognise the SDRs from LinkedIn. They’ll be interacting with people they already know - it’s like a celebrity effect. And it means SDRs can be ahead of the game.” 

In short: everybody wins if you let your SDRs become micro-influencers!

Closing thoughts

If there’s one thing we can take away from Todd and Alice’s conversation, it’s that times are a’changin’ in the world of B2B.

For marketers, it’s about understanding how ‘non-traditional’ or ‘non-conventional’ channels are opportunities to grow new audiences. In other words, TikTok isn’t just the place for trendy dances or recipes. 

And for sellers, it’s about learning from marketers on using content to their advantage and growing their personal brands.

All this is definitely a mindset shift, though it makes sense in the context of the push for alignment between sales and marketing.

Last question! 

Alice wanted to know if Todd had a killer resource that can inspire B2B sellers and marketers to adopt this new approach.

“There’s a book I always come back to, which is Primalbranding by Patrick Hanlon. This book is great for understanding how to connect with your audience and build a tight community.” 

Listen to the podcast

Click ▶️ to hear the full convo between Alice and Todd.

Check out other episodes of Revenue Champions here.

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