December 15, 2022 | Maz Tannir

The Ag Revolution Will Not be on TikTok

Or will it? Since 2018, TikTok, a video-sharing social media platform formerly known as revolutionized the content marketing world and quickly dominated as the most downloaded app surpassing Instagram, YouTube, and Whatsapp. 

TikTok was a ticking time bomb ever since short-form video entertainment (60 seconds or less) became the new normal for content creators while disrupting the major players in the market – Meta (Facebook/IG/WhatsApp). The average TikTok video length is about 30 seconds, and image & text sharing are not an option. So how and why did this micro-entertainment platform turn into a marketer’s best friend in such a short time?

The answer lies in the carte blanche approach for content creators. One can post about virtually any topic in any industry: lifestyle, hobbies, humour, fitness, travel, music, photography, dance, food, and finances to name a few. Each category is open for exposure and gives creators an opportunity to share faster with relatively less effort For marketers, this would eventually democratize how brands engage with their consumers/audience. TikTok also allows brands to become more personal – the more relatable your business feels, the more people will relate to it. This form of marketing is not about trying to sell but about building brand trust. 

All of this sounds great but…is the ag industry really on TikTok? 

Some consumers and farmers already are. Plus, according to research, there are a lot of potential consumers, farmers, and ranchers that could be represented and reached with the app’s growing popularity. Not only are young farmers and ranchers looking for consumers, but they are also focused on helping to answer questions and concerns their audiences might have. Through social media outreach, farmers and ranchers can show consumers their day-to-day life, raise awareness, and spread their message globally. With over 100 million Americans alone on Tiktok, the opportunity is ripe.  

Here’s what TikTok and the other social platforms look like worldwide.

Facebook:  approximately 3 Billion monthly active users.

Instagram: approximately 1.4 Billion monthly active users.

YouTube: approximately 2.2 Billion monthly active users.

TikTok: approximately 1 Billion monthly active users. 

What makes people Tik?

As a digital marketing tool, TikTok has become the go-to for most B2C brands due to its visual nature and the potential for collaboration with content creators and influencers. It’s been low on the priority list for B2B companies but more recently, marketers are recognizing that TikTok can offer more than just dance challenges and adorable animal videos. While most videos are professionally edited and curated on Instagram and YouTube, TikTok videos are seen as more authentic and relatable and thus appealing to the audience’s emotions (emotional branding).

Brands that are more genuine connect with consumers much better and significantly outperform brands that do not. This is why TikTok is becoming a more top-of-mind sales funnel when it comes to digital marketing. Remember that TikTok marketing is less about trying to sell and more about building trust with your customer – although that trust usually results in a purchase.

Another benefit to TikTok is its networking capabilities. While Twitter and Instagram’s hashtag system seems convoluted to some, on TikTok, brands can use locally specific hashtags to connect with other local businesses and potential leads. This is similar to keyword selection for SEO but with more precise targeting and a better chance of being discovered.  

For Gen Zers (trendsetters) who represent over 60% of the app’s users, TikTok is an ever-growing opportunity to engage and earn with the highest screen time per user (approximately 26 hours/month). Digital advertising options such as brand takeover ads, hashtag challenges, and branded AR content have all provided marketers with a revenue-generating arsenal. In fact, TikTok’s global ad revenue has even surpassed Snapchat and Twitter combined.

Tok about a dark side

But as promising as this platform seems with the potential for delivering engagement and conversion, TikTok has a few drawbacks. Although, like with most digital platforms, these drawbacks are more attributed with your marketing strategy than the actual tool. 

For starters, all it takes is one faux pas post, message, or video that goes against your brand’s values. We’ve witnessed several instances where the wrong influencers have been used as advocates for a brand and the backlash that followed. 

In addition, TikTok has a few creative limitations – it is a short-form video format after all. For brands that are multi-dimensional, complex, or require longer messaging, TikTok may not be the answer. Some brands require more time to develop content to stand out and this may pose a challenge to properly explaining the brand..

When it comes to effectively communicating your brand essence, cross-channel plans are always more beneficial. Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram allow for a combination of video, text, and static image elements and thereby more room for creative freedom.

Finally, if your budget isn’t large enough, TikTok may not be your best friend. With ads that start at $10 (CPM), other platforms offer much more flexible plans for as little as one dollar.

Your ag brand, like any other brand, requires multiple platforms and channels to optimize your marketing outputs. Building trust takes time and more than a 20-second video clip. Relying solely on TikTok will not yield the results you desire and it may not be the answer despite its popularity. And while we certainly cannot underestimate the power of TikTok, deciding on whether or not to use this platform is still an important discussion to have with your team.

Want to talk TikTok with us? Our media team is ready to help. Contact us today

Maz Tannir

Maz uses 26+ years of experience to effectively develop, negotiate and tailor media strategies to align with marketing goals. He is actively involved in industry organizations including the IAB (Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce and Programmatic Trading Committee), and is a Media and Advertising Professor at George Brown College. You can connect with Maz on LinkedIn.

Jayden Vernon

Jayden works with the media and communication team to ensure campaigns run smoothly, building the experience and knowledge he needs to run this place one day.