The truth about TikTok

Higher Order

Truth Collective Truth CollectiveAug 25, 2021

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You’ve probably asked yourself, “What’s the deal with TikTok?” Is it here to stay or another passing social fad like the ill-fated Vine? Is it just a place for dancing Zoomers with short attention spans?

Keep reading to find out.👇

Tik what now?

TikTok, formally known as Musical.ly, is the fastest-growing social media platform in the world. 75% of the audience are millennials or gen-Z, 60% females, 55% 18-29 yrs old, 35% 30-49 yrs old, 14% 50-64 yrs old and 4% 65 or older. While it is associated with influencers and the teen-flossing epidemic, it boasts a vibrant creative community filled with content creators and tastemakers making major waves in the pop culture pool. Best of all, brands are just starting to see the opportunities and capitalize on them. Are you next?

TikTok user demographics chart

How does it work?

TikTok is a short-form video platform that is designed around making and sharing video content. With in-app editing features, users can begin making content quickly and easily. Any content created for the platform is designed to be shared through hashtags, sounds and features like Duets where users can “stitch” to remix an existing piece of content. Another feature of the platform’s accessibility is that an account is not needed to view content, only the app, making its audience even larger than its registered-user base. The app has been downloaded 2.6 billion times and has 130 million monthly active users 
in the United States. Between January 2018 and January 2020, the platform’s user base grew
 800%.

Why should I care?

Long forgotten are the days when platforms like Instagram and Tumblr were focused on connecting creators over commerce.

TikTok is still in its honeymoon phase, where everyday users are testing the platform’s limits and prioritizing making things over gloating or branding themselves.

As a result, it’s a place to connect with an audience and turn them into your true fans while discovering your authentic self faster than ever before.

Dan Oliver, a small business owner and chef, has used TikTok to skyrocket his brand of spices to fame. Dan-O’s Seasoning has racked up 1.5 million followers, posting several times a day and adapting a shot on an iPhone, a thrifty aesthetic popular on the app.

Dan-O’s feed features Dan wearing his own merch and putting his spice on just about everything. When TikTokers started putting mustard on watermelon, Dan fired back with a video of himself sprinkling his seasoning on watermelon jello, set to the groove of Harry Styles’ smash hit, “Watermelon Sugar.”

TikTok usage chart

Isn’t it just another channel?

For any platform to connect as deeply and quickly as TikTok has with so many users from all over the world, there have to be multiple ingredients that make the sauce so special. TikTok has three main elements that make it unique:

It’s creative

TikTok is filled with creators who are using modest tools to make incredible content that’s connecting with audiences, often on a massive scale. Viral dances, short-form cooking shows, stop-motion animation, pop-culture commentary and so much more are driving not just an explosive growth in users but also a retention of them on the platform.

It’s contagious (in a good way)

The algorithm in TikTok is extremely powerful and quickly refines what users see based on what they engage with. This content is persistent in their feeds. It also allows users to easily stitch pieces together to add onto original content from another creator, making the spread of the source that much faster.

It’s influential

Influencers are a big part of the culture; many have created massive followings with tens of millions of viewers. 89% of Americans recognize the TikTok brand. The challenge-driven nature of the platform also creates powerful content that propels adoption of the platform. Whether it’s a song that has been noticed via the platform or a product/brand, TikTok is a tastemaker driving culture on an incredibly broad level.

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