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TikTok, TikTok: Is it time you joined?

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So, you’ve heard of TikTok, but like many other non-Gen-Z'-ers you’re possibly still wondering what all the fuss is about?

The good news is, you can be forgiven if you feel like you don’t quite get it. We’re here to offer a helping hand and (hopefully) give you a better idea of what it’s all about and why it’s the hottest app right now!

The facts
Starting with the basics, TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share 15-second video clips (oh and it was previously Musical.ly). You might be interested to know, some of the best and most popular memes start on TikTok before going viral around the internet. The app has experienced a huge hike in popularity since it entered the U.S. market last year and now boasts 500 million active users globally, overtaking Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat. It has the youngest user base out of all the popular social media networks and two thirds of its users are under the age of 30. It’s that ability to capture the attention of Gen-Z—the biggest consumer group in the world - that’s made it the world’s most valuable start-up at $75 billion.

How does it work?
Once you’ve downloaded the app (which is available from any of the usual app stores) you can immediately start browsing videos, but in order to post anything you need to sign up for an account. You can create an account using your email, phone number or a third-party platform like Facebook, the app then automatically assigns you a username. By default, TikTok accounts are public, so anyone can see your profile and view the videos you post, but you can of course adjust these privacy settings.

Then it’s worth nothing the app is divided into two main feeds. The default is an algorithmically generated stream of videos, then if you swipe left you’ll find uploads that are just from people you choose to follow.

TikTok is fast-paced and combines elements of Spotify, Snapchat, Vine, and Twitch. Music remains at the heart of it, but it’s is no longer restricted to music-related content. The sheer volume and range of videos that are available have turned it into a never-ending stream, and there’s also one noticeable trait all of the content…comedy.

Creating and editing videos is simple, with different effects, filters and stickers to choose from and users can easily share videos on other social platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. It’s the complete opposite to the filtered world of Instagram, and almost takes social media back to basics. It was recently described as “the only truly pleasant social network in existence” by the New York Times - young people on TikTok appear to feel comfortable showcasing their “real” selves, free of any inhibitions, which can only be a positive thing, right?

Its HUGE potential as a marketing platform
As we’ve mentioned, it’s taken off in a big way socially, but it’s also developed into a huge marketing platform too; it’s key USP being that it offers brands the opportunity to connect with that seemingly hard to reach demographic. For you marketers, TikTok could be considered one of the most effective ways of staying up to date - think of it as a massive focus group, but without the associated costs!

TikTok’s advertising offering includes native content, brand takeovers, hashtag challenges and brand takeovers, and more and more brands are now beginning to experiment on the app because it’s nowhere near as saturated as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter.  

Another point of difference is that it promises the best of both global reach and local engagement, more so than any other social media network. As we’ve mentioned, it’s gained mass adoption worldwide and this global appeal offers a unique opportunity for brands that are looking to explore new markets. An example of this is from Liverpool FC, who recently gained 500,000 fans on TikTok within three months, as part of its strategy to crack the Chinese market! Major corporations like Coca-Cola, Nike, ABC, and Google have also run advertising campaigns on TikTok, so it must be good!

 In terms of demographic, yes, it’s definitely more popular with Gen-z at the moment, but that said, more adults are adopting it - a demographic shift which is reminiscent of Facebook when it first started. So, watch this space…

We’ve got a team of social media experts (covering TikTok too, of course) over here at CAKE, so if you need to re-think your strategy, give us a shout!


gareth slaughter