In 2020 TikTok was the world’s most downloaded app, and its increasing dominance of social media is a trend that’s showing no signs of slowing down. A platform that was not long ago considered just a craze for the kids, as Instagram and Facebook once were, it’s clearly here to stay with now over one billion users.
There are some reasons why TikTok has become so popular. It’s accessible, it’s easy to create and publish great looking content with music and special effects, and the fun and “snackable” videos make for fast engagement and excellent brand awareness. And unlike Facebook and Instagram, the ads fit more organically into the content, echoed by the “Don’t make ads, make TikToks” catchcry.
These fun, more genuine and more inspiring approaches to social content are contrasted with younger generations’ perception of Facebook and Instagram. Research by Facebook found that Facebook and Instagram are struggling to attract and retain young users, with those under 18 signing up to Facebook more slowly than before. It is perceived as outdated, boring and misleading, with too many ads and for older people. The younger generations struggle to identify with it and prefer more uplifting content.
Virgin Australia recently launched a TikTok account, the first Australian airline to do so, with the view to “ focus on its heartland customer and reach new audiences” by delivering “videos that make users smile and push boundaries” and have already reported almost two million organic views. They feature behind-the-scenes footage and informal videos made by airline staff. It’s clearly a good alignment of the challenger nature of the Virgin brand with the young, hip and fun profile of TikTok.
But there’s an opportunity for all brands to take advantage of TikTok in the same way, not just the challenger brands. For example, the Washington Post’s “We are a newspaper” account uses the platform not to post serious content that you might find on their other online channels, but rather showcases funny skits about current news topics, thereby attracting younger audiences seeking lighter, more entertaining content. The marketing potential for the more “serious” brands is in this way, arguably more powerful, as it allows them to show a different side to their brand personality and reach a whole new market segment.
Our CEO John Croll has built his career (and several businesses) by identifying and understanding what’s next. How will technology and innovation lead to a change in media consumption or behaviour?
“We’ve known now for a while that TikTok was gaining in popularity, but it’s also gaining in its credibility as a legitimate platform for brands and businesses to play in - particularly those that are wanting to tap into a new generation of social media users as part of their marketing mix.
“Just as the now “legacy” social players of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were once considered the latest fads for this audience, TikTok will prove to be an important consideration, and at Truescope it’s certainly part of our scope as we see the potential for it to become increasingly more commercially important.”
It’s this recognition of a consumer-led trend, that will see brave brands win and invest in a new way of communication that might just give them the competitive advantage. And if they’re lucky, they may even spark social media trends that spread to other social platforms, too.