Long-hailed as the leading social media channels for influencer marketing, both Instagram and YouTube have a new contender: TikTok. This new social channel takes the best features from seasoned social media platforms, improves functionality, and adds unique engagement options.
TikTok reported 800 million monthly average users last fall at its 3-year mark. Early estimates predict that TikTok monthly users will overtake its peers and become the fastest-growing social media channel in marketing history.
Who is TikTok?
Initially, the vision for TikTok existed in two competing apps, Douyin (Chinese for TikTok) and Musical.ly. In 2017, the owners of Douyin/TikTok purchased Musical.ly and formed the popular music video app now taking social media by storm.
TikTok’s mission is “to inspire creativity and create joy.” Founded in China, TikTok field offices exist across the globe today, including several locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
The makers of TikTok understood the power of influencers so much so that they hired celebrity influencers (like CardiB) to market to new users. Since then, other celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Tony Hawk, and more have embraced the music video app.
TikTok’s most significant appeal is with audiences 30 years old and younger. Many authoritative publications – Forbes, Business Insider, and The Verge, for example – declare TikTok to be the official social media platform for Gen Z.
But parents and grandparents of Gen Z-ers are finding their way onto the app, too. It’s astoundingly user-friendly and notoriously addictive.
How Does TikTok Work?
Users create short, vertical-view videos and can utilize one of several editing options to finalize their video posts. These editing options include slow motion, reverse playback, color filters, stamps, music soundtracks, and more.
TikTok is easy enough for kids to use and sophisticated enough for videographers to create incredible content. Non-creators still enjoy the app because it offers ten different ways to share favorite videos, along with several different ways to engage.
While TikTok supports PPC advertising, businesses are generating far more ROI from TikTok influencers and organic content.
TikTok Influencers in Demand
TikTok’s content sharing features work seamlessly across several key influencer channels, including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. It is the perfect mix of photography, videography, and meme creation.
Influencers Can Do More in a Single TikTok Post
Cropping, splicing, and filters are easy to use on TikTok. Videos are also shorter and force influencers to do more in a shorter time frame. Beauty influencer Kristen Hancher, for example, created a lip dub video to promote Too Faced’s Damn Girl Mascara with a before and after makeup transformation.
The Haueter Family, TikTok lifestyle influencers, created an entire narrative in a campaign sponsored by F’real. TikTok allowed the Haueter’s to merge several videos in which a disturbed Jayden is “all better” after a cup of cookies and cream by F’real.
Publishing videos of this caliber on other social channels often requires tedious editing on third-party software. But with TikTok, there’s no need for outside video editing.
Influencers Fans Have Access to More Engagement Options
Fans can react, comment, share (on their TikTok feed or to any other social media channel), and add to their favorite videos using the TikTok duet feature. TikTok’s potential for higher volumes of user-generated content is thus far unmatched.
TikTok duets, in particular, allow for an endless loop of imitation content. This capability significantly boosts audience participation.
Lastly, TikTok has become a breeding ground for hashtagged challenges. Many influencers have encouraged fans to try new things while in COVID-19 quarantine, such as dance challenges.
Several brands, including Chipotle, have also taken advantage of TikTok challenges. Among Chipotle’s most famous challenges are #guacdance and #chipotlelidflip.
TikTok Opens the Door to More Aspiring Influencers
Creative and younger individuals that before might have needed to develop technical skills in media creation (or hire a media team) can produce professional-looking content on their own.
That said, not every person can pull off a strong presence as a TikTok creator. The best TikTok influencers spend time practicing and experimenting with the app to deliver content with mass appeal.
Brands are Switching to TikTok
When it comes to engaging social media content, businesses are looking more and more to TikTok and TikTok influencers. Some brands are adding TikTok to their marketing mix, while others are replacing less-trending social media channels with TikTok altogether.
Higher Engagement Potential
TikTok is relatively new, and engineers have yet to expand on the existing platform and build out more ways to engage.
But as is, TikTok grants the average user more ways to engage posts and influencers than do other social media platforms. Additionally, TikTok makes each engagement option more enticing, as is already demonstrated through duets, challenges, reactions, and a host of other sharing options.
While TikTok is famous for dance content, it also delivers healthy doses of humor. As more senior social channels leave plenty of room for trolling and negativity, TikTok is almost exclusively a place to “fool around” with friends and strangers.
One of the most famous comedy-dance influencers on TikTok is Gil Croes. When Vidcon partnered with him to promote its 2019 event, Gil generated thousands of comments and shares in his “The Less I Know the Better” mini flash mob.
TikTok posts often look professional, but everyone knows that they are homemade. Users delight in both viewing and creating these lifestyle music videos.
Influencers find that they can endear followers on TikTok in ways that they cannot on other channels. This positivity transfers easily onto the products and services that these influencers promote.
What TikTok Influencers Will Do for Your Influencer Marketing
At present, TikTok influencer campaigns are the surest way to reach younger audiences. Gen Z consumers are already graduating high school, attending college, and starting their careers. Younger Millennials are building families.
As TikTok grows, more and more consumers will flood this new social media space. Brands that want to launch marketing campaigns that will “inspire creativity” with product use or “create joy” for a more experiential approach will find immense value on TikTok.
Just because consumers are wary of traditional advertising doesn’t mean that they are unwilling to engage brands. On the contrary, influencer marketing on TikTok shows that consumers are happy to spend money with brands that “get them.”
TikTok will not only help you take your influencer marketing to the next level, but it will also give you a more in-depth look into who your customers are.
It is no longer a question of whether or not TikTok is here to stay; soon, it may even overtake Instagram as the dominating influencer social channel. Early TikTok adaptors have enjoyed boosts in brand awareness, user-generated content, and sales.
The next phase of TikTok influencer marketing is poised to produce even better results, especially with the launch of GRIN’s influencer software TikTok integration. Influencer marketing managers have turned their attention toward TikTok as the next frontier of influencers.
This article originally appeared in the Grin.co blog and has been published here with permission.