Is TikTok the future of social media marketing?

The popularity of Tik Tok seemed to have come out of nowhere. Originally named Musically, Tik Tok came to fruition in September 2016. It has taken hold of the social media world ever since, especially during lockdown when everyone was stuck to their phones with little to do. With 689 million users worldwide, the app has a broad collective of users from all demographics. Although the app is seen as an app for teenagers or Genz, there is host of users from all backgrounds and ages, making quick, snappy videos about any topic they want to. It has birthed over night superstars from musicians, dancers and makeup artists and even chefs and new age fashion icons. Celebrities have even taken to the app, creating and responding to content with their fans. There truly has never been anything like it.

EXCLUSIVE: Beauty guru Abby Roberts is starting a YouTube show! - GirlsLife
Abby Roberts, @abbyartistry on TikTok.

As an example, the beauty industry online has always beens huge, especially since the days on Youtube. Most 20 something year olds learned makeup tips that they still use today from Youtube creators. Now a days, it seems TikTok is taking over. It has launched beauty hobbyists to fame, all from a 15 second video showing audiences how they like to apply their lipstick. Abby Roberts, an 18 year old from Leeds now holds an enormous 8.5 million followers on TikTok and her content gets seen and shared around the web by millions. She is a self made internet sensation that shows no signs of slowing down on the app and gaining followers. Beauty companies themselves have benefited from the TikTok storm too. Brands being spoken about my fans on TikTok, or the brands making TikTok content themselves have transformed themselves in household names. The Ordinary, a skincare brand that specialises in professional quality skincare for an affordable price saw their products surf round the TikTok community and recently saw a 426% sales spike in its AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. The success of the brand on TikTok was organic and no paid or sponsored posts were administered. The speed in which information travels on TikTok is a powerhouse for earned media and marketing. It plays on the concept of ‘word of mouth’ which content able to reach views within the thousands in just a few hours. Alternative social media sites, such as Instagram, are flooded with content taken from TikTok. You can’t open your Instagram explore page without seeing content from TikTok on there. Campaign hashtags, many which Abby Roberts has been a part of (such as the Nyx makeup campaign which gained billions of views just on the app) are created and ran on TikTok’s ‘explore feed’, with popular hashtags reaching upwards of 7 billion views. Anyone with a camera on their phone has the ability to share content, use the campaign hashtags and have their videos seen by millions. It’s a marketers dream as everyones feed on the app is designed to correlate to content that they watch the most, spend the longest time watching and content that they like, save or share most often. There is a good chance that someone watching a post is the targeted audience intended to view it, as this is how TikTok’s algorithm works. This could attribute to the reason why every day people and small brands are gaining such success off the back of TikTok and it’s audiences.

Now, what is it about TikTok that trumps most of the other social media sites we see today. Why do Gen-Z seem to be gravitating towards it, aways from popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter? Described as ‘digital crack cocaine‘, TikTok does have scientific reasons behind it’s success. The dopamine in our brain is activated on sites such as TikTok. One video after the other, our pleasure sensors light up. It’s so easy to scroll through the app and have endless entertainment (and i mean endless, I have spent many, many hours late into the night scrolling on this app) just at our fingertips. There is no commitment to sitting down and watching an hours worth of content, such as a TV show or a movie, to get to the punch line. You get the start, the middle and the end of the content all in one 15-60 second video and then you’re onto the next one. It’s very easy to loose hours to this app as the videos are so short. You can feel like you haven’t spend the entire afternoon on it when you definitely have more important things to do. It’s like walking to Aldi and thinking you’re getting a bargain because everything is so cheap, but then you get to the till and you’ve spent ¬£75 on things from the middle aisle. It is so addictive and entertaining and leaves you wanting more because your feed on the app is so personalised to your likes and interests that you are guaranteed to find something you like watching on there.

In my opinion, TikTok will only get bigger and gain more users and followers. As well as producing more super stars and internet sensations. It’s hard to imagine social media before TikTok and even harder to remember what I did before with my free time before using the app. Above all, it’s a space for creativity and talent to be expressed with little barriers. It is a new way of creating art that millions of people can see and enjoy. There are qualms and problems with the app, such as unnecessary censoring and damaging information that can be shared on there, which hopefully TikTok can try and tackle. But enjoy the creativity on there, take information you see with a grain of salt and use it to your brands advantage and see where it can take you.

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