Knock Knock, Who’s There? TikTok. And It’s Not Going Anywhere.

Originating in China, TikTok is a social networking platform where users create and share short music videos. In 2017, a Chinese tech company known as ByteDance bought the popular lip-syncing app The two merged their features to create what we now knew as TikTok in August 2018. TikTok made its mark in the social networking community by generating more than one billion downloads in its first month of being released, beating out Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Due to TikTok’s rapid rise to popularity, brands must start integrating the app’s features into business plans or risk your brand falling into irrelevancy. 

What Even Is It?

When TikTok first came on the scene, it was known for its lip-syncing feature that encouraged Gen Z’ers to creatively express themselves through song and dance. Ever since its release TikTok proved their much more than just a lip-synching app. The New York Times described the app as “more machine than man” because of the way TikTok’s algorithm interacts with users. When you open TikTok, the content you see doesn’t involve people you know; instead, it creates a personalized feed based on past videos you’ve watched or from profiles you’ve clicked on. 

What Makes It Different?

The customized videos are compiled onto a page called “For You” and is one of the main differences from platforms like Facebook or Instagram because the content never runs out. No matter how far you scroll, there’s always something to engage with. TikTok takes away that initial awkwardness of when you first create a social account and start with no followers or content on your feed because you don’t know who to follow. TikTok starts working from the moment you download it to provide you with an endless amount of content that is tailored to you. TikTok’s algorithm inspires the idea of “making anyone famous”. That’s one of the more appealing things about it compared to other applications, you don’t need to be verified to have your content seen by millions. The algorithm takes into account how often users are posting videos. The more posts you share means the more likely you’ll appear on the “For You” page.

How Can I Use It?

The New York Times praises TikTok saying “TikTok encourages users to jump from audience to audience, trend to trend, creating something like simulated temporary friend groups, who get together to do friend-group things: to share an inside joke; to riff on a song; to talk idly and aimlessly about whatever is in front of you.” As TikTok’s developed it’s constantly adding new features to make it more versatile. For example, the app added a “reaction” feature that enables users to directly respond to a video that has already been created by placing the film reaction next to the original video. The reaction feature differentiates TikTok from Twitter and Vine because it’s more engaging than just typing a tweet or commenting on a 10-second video, recording your reactions inserts yourself into the narrative. The app also offers green screen backdrops and filters (think SnapChat) to enhance creativity. 

Why Does My Business Need To Start Using It?

TikTok is like the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to starting up new trends. Trend monitoring is a necessity in today’s digital landscape due to the fact social media is continually evolving, and social media patterns are gaining traction quicker than ever before. Drea Okeke, a famous TikTok star, notes, “It’s a global app so you can actually see the analytics and you can see where people are seeing your videos from. It’s so much cooler than other apps, and it helps out with Gen Z as they’re growing up. Not only does TikTok keep you to stay up to date, but it gives insight to potential consumers’ behaviors. 60 percent of TikTok users are from Gen Z (16-24) and they are giving influencers a whole new level of fame. A 16-year-old girl named Charli D’Amelio is referred to as the “CEO of TikTok,” having 40 million followers and averaging at least 2 million likes per video. Her rapid rise to fame was all because of TikTok. D’Amelio is no actress, singer, or daughter to a celebrity, she gained America’s attention through her dance skills on TikTok. Prada took interest in her rise to fame and saw the potential benefits of partnering with the TikTok celebrity. Prada is recognized as an expensive, high-end fashion line that wouldn’t typically be worn by teenagers. Teenagers don’t wear Prada because they don’t want to, it’s just no one their age really wears the brand as it’s more marketed to wealthy adults. Prada’s goal was to connect with younger consumers, so what better way to get their attention through arguably one of the most famous teenagers in the world right now. D’Amelio attended the Prada Fashion Show during Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, where she was dressed head to toe in Prada. D’Amelio was recording videos of herself at the show, made dancing videos with models, and even sat next to a famous fashion journalist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Derek Blasberg. Prada staying in tune with the younger generation and knowing how to get to them benefited their brand tremendously and gained them massive amounts of exposure. TikTok is a brand new platform that gained consumer attention so rapidly giving companies very little time to get familiar with it. It’s understandable companies may feel a little lost in figuring out the best way to utilize the platform to better their business. Check out 270M’s social media services to give your brand an edge in today’s new marketing circuit.