If you weren’t aware of the new social media sensation TikTok before, I’m sure you are now since thousands its users collaborated to tank President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma this past week.
Say somehow you’ve managed to avoid the flood of news outlets covering this story. Let me debrief you. TikTok is a relatively new social media application that allows users to upload short video snippets, usually of themselves doing trendy dances, to showcase to their followers or TikTok’s 800,000,000 active users.
Last week, TikTok took a sharp, political, turn. A few of its users uploaded instructional videos urging their followers to reserve a seat at Trump’s upcoming rally in Oklahoma with the intention of not showing up. That way, they could interfere with and throw off critical data collection for his campaign, and dissuade Trump supporters from showing up due to capacity limits. Needless to say, the videos went viral, and although it is unclear just how big a role it played in the rally’s turnout, it’s hard to ignore TikTok’s influence.
This isn’t an anomaly. Mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have achieved similar boycotts in the past such as with big brands Target and Uber. Facebook itself has actually been boycotted for not being tough enough on hate speech. On its own platform! This begs the question of how TikTok went from a channel meant for sharing quirky video content to a political platform, or any kind of platform.
Here’s what I found.
- It’s convenient. What makes TikTok different from other media channels is that users are presented with content immediately upon signing up. And, it doesn’t take very long for its algorithm to study your behavior and display targeted content. In contrast, Facebook and Twitter require some time and effort on the user’s behalf before they start seeing content they actually like on their feed. On top of that, the app is pretty straightforward. You literally aimlessly scroll through content found on the“For You” page for hours at a time. There is no need to build an online persona, follow anyone, or have anyone follow you (unless you want to become a creator). You just sit there. And scroll. For hours.
- It’s content driven. From the moment you sign up for TikTok you are presented with content. Before the AI software even knows what you like. Content. Before you can finish setting up profile. Content. Their key feature is how easy it is for users to create content! But, that’s not even the best part.
- It’s VIDEO content driven. Video content is, and has always been, one of the best ways to reach any audience of any generation. TikTok offers creators (and marketers) a unique and almost refreshing way of creating and sharing video content. The edits are ridiculously easy. You can even add your favorite song to your TikTok videos. On other applications, adding music to your videos almost always leads to copyright infringement and the ultimate deletion of your content. But not on TikTok. To top it off, the video content appeals to our unfortunate short attention span – videos can only last up to 15 seconds.
- Lastly, you go viral as quickly as you can make content. And it’s largely due to to TikTok’s algorithm. Here’ an explanation of how it works according to Bobby Owsinski from Hypebot:
When a video is uploaded, TikTok shows it to a small number of TikTok users in between popular videos. This way, the user doesn’t get bored. The algorithm then measures how much of your video is actually watched, as well as how many Likes, comments, shares, and downloads it receives. It seems that the ratio is 1 like for every 10 views in order to trigger the algorithm to show the video to more people. The algorithm is triggered by the velocity of the engagement it receives. In other words, if it suddenly receives 20% more Likes in a single day, then the video will be pushed out to more people as a result. Users have reported that their video views seem to come in waves as a result. Believe it or not, TikTok is has over a billion users and was download more than even Instagram last year. That means that the possibility of your video being seen by a lot of people, or even going viral in some small way, is pretty good.
For these reasons, it’s easy for content, politically driven or not, to be created and reproduced to targeted audience members. So what does all of this mean for marketers? Should we seriously consider TikTok as a platform for marketing?
Yes. And here’s why.
TikTok facilitates a unique way for brands to create and share content. Walmart has already hopped on the bandwagon and created a TikTok page. They share trendy videos of interactions among their employees which unlocks a realm of personalization never before seen. One user notes that, in some cases, the content is created for you. You just have to utilize the content provided by TikTok users correctly.
“The reason for its success is that they\’ve taken the knowledge companies have learned from making catchy advertisements and have given the creativity to the masses. If you watch a commercial on TV, the advertisers spend thousands if not millions to gather your attention for up to 30 seconds.”
Moreover, there is always the traditional option of ad placement on TikTok.
As of now, the marketing possibilities on TikTok seem endless. If you want to learn more about social media and how it can benefit and boost your business, visit our website at www.savageglobalmarketing.com or call us at (954) 633-2963.