Laughing out loud, I show my friends a TikTok video. Their first reaction is always: "TikTok? Isn't that the app with silly dances?" The second reaction is usually a sarcastic "I already have Instagram". LiveWall's Marketing Manager, Sanne Stenvert, wonders why she is the only one in her friend group with the TikTok app on her phone. "TikTok has completely captured my scrolling finger."
I can't really blame my friends. At 35, I'm almost elderly according to certain TikTokers (see the shocked reactions to: "The older generation, you know, like born in the late nineties"). True love, however, knows no age. Therefore, for my friends and all others who don't know what they're missing, here are 5 reasons why I love TikTok.
#1 THE SETUP
TikTok breaks new records every day. This is mainly due to the app's focus on what the user likes (and doesn't like). The videos you see are relevant and usually right up your alley. In my case, these are videos about 90s music, how-tos, comedy, dog videos, and film reviews. The homepage is aptly named the "For You page" (FYP). With this, TikTok skips an important step that YouTube still uses: the search bar. You get trending videos first, and then the sometimes painfully accurate algorithm takes over.
TikTok videos are short, only 30 seconds long. That's why TikTok is my go-to app when I have to wait somewhere. In 10 minutes, you can easily watch 10 to 15 videos. One small caveat: TikTok is now even more in competition with YouTube, allowing longer-form content. Earlier, they launched 3-minute videos, and now the app is starting to launch 10-minute videos. Especially now that Instagram is pushing 'Reels' and YouTube is pushing 'Shorts'... What triggers me the most about TikTok is that I see unexpected, super-refreshing, never-boring content that keeps me on the platform. TikTok is actually a small dopamine factory that I enjoy using.
#2 THE PEOPLE
Even non-TikTokers have heard of Charlie D'Amilio and Khaby Lame. Two of the most famous TikTok influencers with millions of followers. However, they never show up on my FYP. And the majority of users are not there for the Charlies and Khabys.
On TikTok, regular people make content about something they are passionate about. That can absolutely be a stunning girl who can dance well. But it can also be the balding father who gives advice on preventing a frozen water pipe. The hyperactive young man who tests recipes from old cookbooks. The woman who is not satisfied with her fashion style, asks for advice on TikTok, and is now a fashion icon (I've misplaced my style). The girl with burn wounds who talks about her healing process. The boy with ADHD who explains what is happening in his head. Or the history geek who shows the objects she finds in the Thames.
All these "regular" people make "regular" content. And all creators have the chance to be picked up and become famous with their passion. But, again, that's not really what it's about. On TikTok, you show your personality in its purest form. And what's most important: you find out that you're not alone. That there are more people with your appearance, hobby, or humor.
The revolution starts on TikTok. Young people speak openly and honestly with each other about difficult topics. Ukrainian teenagers show how their city looked before the war started. They talk about salary and negotiation, which led to "The Great Resignation": companies are called out on good employment practices.
Women take a stand, ask for help, or show what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated culture. Katelyn reads book passages about women; passages that are clearly written by the most ignorant men. Girls not only show their beauty regime but also that they have a bloated stomach, or suffer from hair loss, feel insecure about sex, or about that incredibly bad date. Men show vulnerability, bake, cook, dance and sing, give advice, and call out each other on (un)veiled sexism. A relief after all the perfect pictures, perfect lives, and perfect filters on Instagram.
TikTokers are extremely honest not only about their lives but also about the products they use and whether they work or not. Sponsored posts are clearly marked, clothes are tried on on the spot, on camera, even if that size L doesn't even cover your buttocks. Does a product work and does it deliver what it promises? Then the producer can be sold out within a week. But if your product does not meet the expectations outlined, you're being called out. published
It was already mentioned; TikTokers genuinely want to teach each other something or have found a platform to share their skills and knowledge.
Take a look at Lily Ebert, a Holocaust survivor who, together with her grandson, tells about the horrors of Auschwitz in 30 seconds. And answers curious teenagers' questions. Or the young man who devotes his entire profile to things he would have liked to know before he turned 30. Thanks also to my peer Ron, who gives a handy 'Millennial Recap' every week, explaining all the trends and new meanings of emojis (and no, we no longer use the laughing face with tears: 😂).
During the Corona lockdowns, many young people explained in short, understandable videos from their expertise what Covid actually is and what happens in your body when you get vaccinated.
A much-read comment is: 'I've learned more on TikTok than I ever did in school'.
#5 FUN AND CREATIVE
Creative minds thrive on TikTok. Young people get to work on their own content, with the most beautiful results. But you don't have to have extreme talent to make fun content; complimenting other people also yields a heartwarming 30 seconds. Slick content is not important, you just have to dare.
TikTok also puts its stamp on the music industry - read this EB article about it - TikTok classics dominate our Top 40's. Fleetwood Mac was rediscovered, Gayle tried out her song on TikTok first. The girls who spontaneously made a musical out of the hit series Bridgerton won a Grammy.
Music and musicians go viral, like the Brabant saxophonist Karsten Belt, who now appears on screen on Jimmy Fallon. But also the boy who wanted to breathe new life into an old song of his father's, or the girl who sings the most beautiful soul from her bedroom, appear. Artists ask people to sing along with their new song. They jam together spontaneously (please watch the Num Cat TikTok band), they create together.
Are there no bad points to mention then?
Just kidding, of course, there are more critical notes. Privacy is still a precarious subject at ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok. Is it healthy to scroll through thousands of videos three hours before bedtime? Aren't young people relying too much on the well-intentioned advice on TikTok? And that mother dancing next to her baby in the hospital: we all don't want that.
There is enough to be critical about, but that wasn't the focus of this blog :)
TikTok represents a revolution in content creation, consumption, honesty, and creativity. As a consumer, I immensely enjoy this, as a marketer, TikTok is by far the most interesting channel to follow. And as a company, you're crazy if you're not taking advantage of TikTok now.
Even if you're like, born in the late nineties.
Do you want to know more about using a LiveWall team for the development of your TikTok campaign? Read more here and be sure to contact us!