Although we’ve seen the rise and fall of social media applications and platforms before and we’ve even weighed the pros and cons of new social media tools like Snapchat for businesses, the current state of TikTok is a bit different. However, we can share a few facts and tips for your marketing strategy.
What Is TikTok?
Before diving into the current situation, let me backtrack. TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app that has quickly amassed a huge following, mostly in the age range of 15-34.
Earlier this year, our Chief Creative Officer, Meredith shared her first-hand experiment as a creator on TikTok. A few things she learned was that hopping on trends is a big contributor to growing one’s followership on the app and the other was to, well, fit unrealistic beauty standards. A colleague recently backed this up, noting that her blog views for recent posts are at about 250 without a TikTok video and over 10,000 with TikTok.
A Change in Ownership vs. TikTok Alternatives
On August 6, 2020, the President signed an executive order addressing the threat posed by TikTok, a Chinese-based mobile app. The app’s owner, ByteDance, must sell its service in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand within 45 days of the order. Over the next few weeks, companies ranging from Microsoft to Oracle were rumored to be putting in a bid to purchase the app. Microsoft said it would continue the discussion on the potential purchase, “building on the experience TikTok users love while also adding world-class security, privacy and digital safety protections.” For now, the ban is delayed until at least September 27 as Oracle negotiates with the app’s owner on oversight of user data in the United States.
In addition to tech giants starting a bidding war, other social media players are trying to knock down the app’s foothold with Gen-Z by launching TikTok alternatives. One notable is Instagram (owned by Facebook), which launched its cluttered, TikTok knock-off app “Reels,” and another is “byte,” the new venture from the creators of Vine, the app TikTok wished it were.
I foresee two options.
What a TikTok Ban Will Mean for Businesses Already Using the App:
If the current administration bans TikTok, what will it mean for creators who’ve already amassed a huge following or businesses who’ve perfected their 60-second video strategy?
It means that you need to start pushing your followers to another channel. Now.
When Vine shut down in 2017, Vine stars moved to YouTube (if you’re interested, you can read all about what Vine stars are up to now).
What a TikTok Ban Will Mean for Everyone Else:
Here’s the thing, for those who haven’t started using TikTok (or at least haven’t had much success), you’re not off the hook either.
Now is the time for you to re-evaluate your social media strategy and how your audience consumes information.
For example, Gen Z streams video roughly 23 hours each week, and 62% of Gen Z visits YouTube every day. And, in 2019, they outnumbered millennials (Bloomberg). Whether it will be Instagram “Reels” or “byte,” only time will tell, but it’s imperative that you’re planning now.
What Social Media Marketing Will Look Like in the Future
Why do my kids like to watch livestreams of other gamers? Why does my husband enjoy fantasy football?
Because it’s fun.
It’s distracting, and it’s easy.
Last month, agency president, Matt Cookson wrote in a column for NH Business Review, “Imagining How We’ll Do Business in New Hampshire after Labor Day,” in which he anticipated how businesses would continue to work together and do business in the future in the world post-COVID:
“We’ll continue to do business with those who stood by us in the hard times.”
And, that is true for social media, too.
People will continue following and engaging with the brands that made them laugh, that they learned from – and most of all – that they connected with. If what you’re creating doesn’t do those things, your social media marketing strategy will look more like a virtual bulletin board – and that, friends, is what we call anti “social.”