If you hadn’t heard already, TikTok is
big huge news, and its popularity is doing anything but slowing down.
The app has now surpassed 1billion users and just last week Cloudfare announced that in 2021, TikTok managed to end Google’s 15 year reign in the top spot of the most visited domains globally (including Maps, Translate, Photos, Flights, Books, and News, amongst others). That’s no mean feat for an app that launched in 2016, and is seen by some as a mere space for Gen Z to share outlandish dances 😉
It all starts with community and culture.
The TikTok platform has its roots well and truly anchored in its community base. The subculture of TikTok communities is where trends emerge and begin to permeate mainstream culture. TikTok trends have emptied shelves and catapulted previously unknown artists into the charts. It’s also what sets it apart from its competitors – the content on TikTok seems so much more genuine versus the airbrushed world we see so much of on Instagram. So, for a brand thinking of using the app, this is the place to start.
It’s vital that you understand your target market and their culture. Find out where they hang out and get involved with the content they engage with. There’s a (relatively) new saying out there that goes ‘build a TikTok, not an ad’ and there’s data to back this up. In a recent study undertaken with Flamingo it was discovered that ‘when brands participate and embrace the language of TikTok, the community embraces them. 61% of TikTokers like brands better when they create or participate in a trend and 21% feel more connected to brands when they comment on people’s posts.’ Ultimately, TikTok users engage more when a brand submerges itself within the community, the same study also declared that 66% of users enjoy when brands sponsor a related content creator to show off their products.
But isn’t it all about followers?
Actually, with TikTok, the answer is no. The TikTok algorithm is smart, like really smart and no two users will experience the same videos on their FYP (for you page) – this is what makes the app so addictive. The algorithm serves content based entirely on users’ interests and their previous video views and engagements. For a brand this makes things really interesting, there’s the potential to get your content in front of a massive audience, without having a massive following.
So, how is this changing the way we interact online?
Well, aside from allowing us to easily find and consume content from our favourite subcultures, the meteoric success of TikTtok is indicative of how we find and consume information. A new social media app on the rise and taking users away from its pre-established competitors; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc, is understandable.
But for a relatively new app to overtake Google and its ancillary brands, suddenly things have got more interesting – the data tells us that users are heading to the platform not just for entertainment, but for information and with 45% of users feeling more connected to brands that teach them something, it’s food for thought.