Why (and how) TikTok is taking over social media, and everyone else is playing catch up.
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
The truth is, you aren't in charge of your brand anymore – consumers are. Everyone talks about it being the age of the consumer, or the creator economy, but that hasn't been more true ever before than it is today.
Yes, Covid isn't entirely gone, and it might never well be completely gone, but 2022 is regarded as a "post-pandemic" year, and consumers are in the driver's seat and they want personalized content, faster service and better experiences, and if your brand is to survive, you will need to respond to these needs.
And the biggest of these needs is to be relevant on the platforms that are relevant to our consumers.
TikTok will rule social media, and other platforms will need to adapt.
It's undeniable that TikTok will continue to dominate users in 2022. And what users, you might ask? Well, TikTok has broken all kinds of download records, and has become the go-to app for both current and future consumers (yes, I'm speaking of Gen Z and even younger, whatever they're called!). Unlike other social networks, TikTok boasts a highly personalized content recommendation system, and therefore can help brands gain exposure to and connect with a qualified, engaged audience.
As e-commerce features are introduced, and social commerce explodes on all platforms, brands that want to connect with consumers need to be TikTok savvy.
TikTok awareness has continued a steady growth since its inception. As the pandemic took force, in 2020 and 2021, and people spent more time indoors, the app's popularity spiked. With a 61% increase in mentions during the first half of 2021, new users signed up in droves, making it the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion global downloads.
During the pandemic, many brands turned to TikTok to keep their audiences engaged. Brands moved from intrusive ads to more direct forms of consumer interaction. TikTok’s success is driven by consumers themselves, and companies that are listening to their customers will fare better in the long run.
We’re also seeing TikTok content diffuse regularly across other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, demonstrating that it’s a medium that consumers engage with on an omni-channel level.
Consumers have committed so fully and quickly to TikTok that other social media platforms have had no choice but to follow. For instance, Instagram Reels took inspiration from TikTok’s platform, and just recently, Reddit rolled out a video format that is strikingly similar to TikTok.
Halfway through 2021, conversations around the #TikTokResumes began when they announced this new feature that would bring more value to the consumer experience. TikTok clearly wants to be a brand that stands for more than just entertainment, as TikTok Resumes allows users to post their resumes and apply to jobs directly through the platform.
With over 3.4K online conversations and over 300 million views on TikTok, this hashtag has been gaining traction among younger generations who want to express their creativity when applying to jobs.
The truth is, not every brand and every company needs to be on TikTok. But TikTok is rising, and it's rising fast. If that's where your audience is, you should be there too. Connect with them, and know where and about what they’re engaging with. To succeed on the platform, you need to make sure you’re a part of the conversations they’re having.
Such a sudden and strong rise in user-generated content (UGC) has changed the way many traditional industries have been marketing. Some brands will remain reluctant to recognize TikTok’s potential, but the pandemic has shown just how crucial this new app is to access a more direct way to engage with consumers.
If you're an accelerating brand, TikTok needs to be not only on your radar, but very much part of your plans. They're successful, but they don't rest on their laurels. There's constant innovation coming in through the ranks, and the platform is working on improving monetization processes to keep both creators and consumers from jumping ship or losing interest.
Just something to keep in mind, for the year at least.
Cover image: Pexels