French fashion house, Celine, last week unveiled TikTok star Noen Eubanks as the face of its latest campaign, solidifying 2019 as the year of TikTok. As we look to 2020, TikTok is set to be one of the key battlefields on which brands fight it out for the attention of Gen Z. But, in order to ensure success, marketeers must understand the keyways in which these ‘TikTokers’ differ from influencers on other social media platforms.
Most obviously, they are young. The average age of a TikToker is between 16 and 24 and the app attracts more Gen Zers than any other generation. Marketeers should be mindful of this when thinking about incorporating branded content onto the app, ensuring it is appropriate for and tailored to younger audiences. Take risks, but don’t be risqué.
Meaning viral superstardom can come to anyone, as the barriers to entry are much lower compared to Instagram and Twitter – where having a large following is a key in ingredient to the success of posts. No one knows this better than Chipotle employee – Daniel Vasquez, who posted a video of himself flipping the lid of the Chipotle box as he packed the box, sparking the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge, a hashtag that has since generated more than 230 million views.
Part of the joy of TikTok is that you don’t need a large following to have a viral moment, because of the way the apps algorithm promotes content.
Unsurprisingly, as the users are younger and the barriers to entry lower – the content that performs best is spontaneous and largely unedited. When compared to Instagrammers highly curated grids of high-res artsy images, TikTok is much less about aesthetic and image and more about creating entertaining content that feels off-the-cuff and fits within meme-culture. The most effective brand campaigns of TikTok are the ones who have fully embraced this, including the NBA, who use the platform to show a lighter side of the organisation through videos of players dancing on the court or working out to dramatic music.
In terms of the cost of brand partnerships, TikTokers typically make less per sponsored post than on Instagram. Broadly, this is because the brand opportunities on TikTok are less defined and the platform is still experimenting with how to best bring advertising into platform. While this will be good news to those with smaller budgets, this is expected to change over the course of 2020 as the platforms advertising market continues to formalise.
Ultimately, the jury is still out if this new cohort of social media stars will be the influencers of tomorrow
But if brands are serious about their influencer marketing strategies, then they should be prepared to experiment with creators on the platform. However, as the app is still in its early stages and majority of users from a young generation, brands need to be careful when entering collaborations. For now, TikTokers are the new kids on the block and while they share common ground with their older, more artsy counterparts on Instagram, marketeers wanting to leverage their influence should understand the quirks that make this community different.
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