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2023: Breakthrough Year for B2B Brands and Creators on TikTok

Read Time: 5 Min


  • As TikTok has evolved to become much more than a lip-syncing app, SMEs and professionals are flocking to the platform to create fun, educational videos and more B2B brands are jumping on.
  • TikTok’s creator base is on the rise, yet a study by premier B2B influencer marketing platform Onalytica found that only 10% of B2B brands are creating content on the app today.
  • With millennials already comprising 60% of B2B tech buyers, brands would benefit from having more digital customer touchpoints along the buying journey, including TikTok.
  • For more on why we believe 2023 will be a breakthrough year for B2B brands and creators, read on…

The Evolution of TikTok

If you rolled your eyes when TikTok and all its choregraphed dancing glory came on to the scene, you are not alone. Although I do pride myself on my groovy dance moves at family weddings, I couldn’t get myself to show up to my 8th grade dance recital, let alone post a video of myself on the internet moving my limbs at the speed of light at age 29.

However, the lip-syncing app that started out as Musical.ly and bred young, viral stars like Charlie D’Amelio and Addison Rae has, for the better, grown up over the last year. We’ve seen the company take itself more seriously, launching TikTok Creator Marketplace in 2019, ‘TikTok for Business’ in 2020, and TikTok Marketing Academy this past October for small businesses with a commerce course coming soon. And, in tandem, we’ve seen different types of creators flood to the scene.

In addition to the light-hearted dance videos from Gen Zers trying to go viral, creators are taking to the platform to share their professional expertise, career stories, and talents with a dose of humour for good measure. From finance experts sharing tips on home buying to a day in the life of an engineer, we’ve entered a new era of TikTok. An era that’s ripe with engaging, smart, influential content creators that are ready to work with your brand – and not only consumer brands, but B2B, too.

The Rise of B2B TikTok

TikTok’s creator base is on the rise and expected to grow in importance and value for B2B creators and brands.  Onalytica is the premier platform for B2B influencer marketing, and at AxiCom, we are proud to partner with them. A recent Onalytica survey of 115 B2B Marketers shows that today, only 10% of B2B brands are creating content on TikTok, yet Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of all B2B engagement will occur via digital channels.

While all brands may not need their own TikTok channel, every B2B brand should be thinking about how they work with TikTok creators to co-create content as part of a holistic influencer marketing and social selling strategy.

Take Adobe for example. With over 300k followers and 1 million likes, @adobevideo is killing it when it comes to the art of B2B marketing on TikTok. What they’re doing right: They partner with creative influencers, tap into popular design, editing, and cultural trends, and provide shortform tutorials for all levels.  

Then there’s Shopify, who announced a global commerce partnership with TikTok in 2020, with 132.8k followers and 1.2 million likes. What they’re doing right: They relate to common challenges and tap into the key moments that current and aspiring small business owners and entrepreneurs go through, infuse humour and content trends into their videos, and have an adorable mascot, Shoppy, that provides tips on how to use the platform, all while tapping creators within their own target audience, business owners, to develop almost all of their content.  

HR and payroll technology company Paycom who has 159.4k followers and almost 500k likes uses their own internal employees as influencers, tapping into their passions and expertise in fun, shortform video series such as #RankedByPaycom, they’ve partnered with talented creators who fit their brand personality such as @corporatenatalie, and capitalize on funny, trending sounds to create videos that nod to relatable issues HR pros face.

Convinced yet? There’s a place for your B2B brand to thrive here, too.

Real opportunities are brewing to create engaging videos with creators to help stop the scroll, break down complex topics, and show how a B2B service or product makes an impact in the real world – all while reaching a new audience, generating leads and getting some laughs along the way. According to a 2021 US study conducted by Flamingo, 73% of TikTok viewers say they feel a deeper connection to the brands they interact with on TikTok.

On the creator side, Onalytica’s influencer marketing platform contains over one million influential B2B content creators, and although TikTok creators only make up a small percentage of those influencers today, all signs point to continued strong growth.

“LinkedIn and Twitter have been the mainstay channels of B2B content creators over the past 10 years. YouTube, Podcasts, Instagram have become more and more popular over the last 5 years and TikTok has exploded over the past year. This represents an amazing opportunity for brands to leverage external experts across multiple channels to build awareness, credibility, and trust.”

Tim Williams, CEO of Onalytica

Millennials and Gen Z Got the (Buying) Power and TikTok’s Got Their Attention

As in all B2B marketing, remember that B2B technology buyers are people, too. Yes, B2B brands sell to companies, but they sell to the people in those companies who are a part of the Gen Z and millennial generations. And yup, you guessed it, spend a lot of time on social networks. Almost 30% of TikTok’s user base is aged 20-29, with 16.4% aged 30-39.

A 2021 survey by Trust Radius found that 60% of all B2B tech buyers are millennials, with Gen Z at 5% and predicted to rapidly rise in the next decade. These are powerful stats. Why? Because not only are these generations stepping into leadership and decision-making roles (millennials are currently the largest demographic in the workforce today!), their first step after identifying a need is to do their own research as found in a 2022 Trust Radius report on B2B buying. Whether it’s checking review sites, conducting a Google or TikTok search, or reaching out to a peer, we’re in the age of the self-serve buyer, and they are looking for information about products and services from as many third-party sources as possible. (PS: More on this to come 😉)

Key takeaway: You must be in more places beyond your own website and create more customer touchpoints along the buying journey to snag that lead. This includes social media, too: Twitter, LinkedIn, and yes, TikTok. According to TikTok-conducted studies, brands are remembered 40% more on TikTok ads than on other social platforms.  

What This Means for 2023

Let’s #BeReal, 2022 has been a chaotic (*Musk has entered the chat*) year for major social media platforms. It almost feels like anything can happen, which is why it’s important to not only be on top of social trends but think a few steps ahead to ensure your marketing plan is ahead of the curve.

Here are our predictions:

  • Influencer marketing spend is projected to grow 23.4% and 15.5% YoY in 2023 and 2024, and with more millennials entering higher positions within their respective industries and therefore holding more business decision power, plus TikTok’s app updates geared towards businesses, we anticipate more B2B brands testing out the platform.
  • However, with this uptick in users, it’ll become harder for creators to reach those high follower counts, leading influencers to increase investment in ad spend for their posts and brands to add whitelisting partnership content to their arsenal.
  • Niche influencers and influential experts with smaller but more engaged audiences will be a more sought-after creator group, with research confirming that creators don’t need millions of followers to be effective influencers. We can predict that these smaller accounts will continue to secure the bag with brand partnership deals and that TikTok will double down on its support of small creators by offering them more resources to learn, grow, and monetize, such as Creator Portal.
  • With 40% of Gen Z preferring to discover information and products on TikTok and Instagram over Google, it’s safe to say that the platform will likely expand its SEO capabilities. With this shift in consumer behaviour, it will be vital for businesses to adopt both traditional and modern search capes.

Not Sure Where to Begin? Start. Right. Here.

We’re delighted to combine our agency’s expertise in B2B influencer strategy with award-winning influencer marketing platform Onalytica to access their database of over 1 million B2B content creators.

From selecting the best influencers that support your goals to tapping into our Culture Engine to inform your content strategy, our data-driven approach combines with our expertise in all things tech to help you identify the marketing and communications strategies needed to enhance brand visibility, spark engagement, and increase lead generation.

I’d love to hear how your brand is meeting millennial and Gen Z business- and IT-decision makers where they are.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Written December 15, 2022 by

Natalie Goldfarb (Skoblow)