TikTalk

Posted onSeptember 23, 2020


Social is a big part of what we do here at Clearbox, and Charlotte, one of our top content creators, has a few thoughts on Donald Trump's nemesis, TikTok. 

Let’s talk TikTok. Or TikTalk, if you will. We may love social media, but we love a pun even more…

TikTok exploded onto screens at the start of lockdown - quickly capturing the attention of an audience that was stuck at home and looking for as much distraction and entertainment as possible. As the platform de jour, it’s causing quite a stir across the globe with threats to ban the app and questions surrounding safeguarding for younger users.

TikTok in particular has seen the rise of Generation Z as content creators and has provided new insights into what that demographic likes, wants, how they communicate and most interestingly, their unique social commentary on the world around us - and us millennials should feel attacked (they really do have us nailed, though…)

TikTok represents a new way for consumers to interact, create and consume content. In fact, it’s been so successful that we’ve seen Instagram scrambling to roll out its counter-offering, Reels, in recent months.

So what can this controversial platform teach brands about COVID consumers?

1. For the user, by the user.

TikTok has grown out of a gap in the market for a social media platform that felt truly user-generated. The Holy Trinity of social networking (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) have each revealed themselves to be somewhat lost to advertisers, and consumers have become more aware of the messages they’re being fed. They’re seeking something else.

TikTok is fundamentally creative and collaborative. Users can replicate or put their own spin on trends to create individualistic yet relatable content and share it with the world. To saturate this platform with branded content would be to lose its unique selling point.

2. Knowing me, knowing you.

Despite the audience’s attempts to sidestep the onslaught of targeted ads, the platform is now seeing more and more brands encroaching. However, with a new platform comes new challenges, and TikTok has forced brands to think smarter and create like a consumer in order to be heard. But how?

The 2020 user is bored and wants to escape reality. Bombarded with bad news and uncertainty day after day, they’re demanding more of their social channels to provide an easy way out.

Brands hoping to capitalise on a new medium need to know the lay of the land, and how to give their audience something to work with - a unique filter, a cool camera trick, an easily learned dance routine and much, much more. 

Alternatively, brands may want to partner with existing TikTok stars to reach an already-captive audience. 

The TikTok user still holds the power on this platform, and they know it. As a brand, it’s not about you, it’s about *them*.

3. Attention!

Consumer attention spans are shorter than ever. They’re constantly in the firing line with brand messaging hitting them across their TVs, tablets, laptops and phones almost simultaneously.

TikTok’s content format is very much “minimal effort and high reward" for the average consumer. Generating endless feeds of 60 second portrait videos, the user doesn’t need to turn their phone around or click-through to longer videos like Instagram’s IGTV - it’s all there for them.

Keeping it quick and snappy is the name of the game, and brands need to deliver their message pretty sharpish to avoid a quick scroll past from their target audience.

TikTok may not suit all campaigns and all audiences, but if brands are deciding to utilise this new player, they need to fully understand it and deliver a specific and tailored strategy, or risk being lost in a sea of dying dance routines…