TikTok allows its users to watch, create and share short-form mobile videos. The users can lip-sync, enact, dance or even just make videos capturing the random moments. It has registered astonishing growth in the last few months and added 88.6 million new users in the last three months. TikTok has 200 million users in India and 120 million are monthly active users. Moreover, it is the fastest growing non-paid app in the social media category. It is one of the top five downloaded apps along with WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Therefore, it is important to understand the factors behind its startling growth and how brands can leverage it for reaching out to captive audiences.
Optimised Demographic Dividend
Its demographic appeal is more skewed towards Gen Z and Millennial falling in the age group of 16-24 years, indicating a vast opportunity for TikTok as 50% of the Indian population is below 25 years. Further, they are mobile natives and have attitudinised it as a lifestyle choice. These youngsters are energetic, unapologetic, experimentative, confident and self-assured about themselves. They seek personalised services, experiences and believe that they are different from others. Moreover, this lot is highly expressive about their opinions, feelings and abilities. They strongly seek belonging and appreciation for their abilities. Hence, sharing these expressions become an integral part of their selves.
TikTok has permeated small towns much faster, due to the accessibility of cheap and fast data from the telecom companies, especially from Reliance JIO.
Ease of Sharing
TikTok has democratised sharing of expression. Creating snackable video content of 15 seconds is relatively easier than making large format videos. TikTok videos can be created with minimum resources, by just using the smartphones. It also offers easy collaboration between two creators. Anybody with a smartphone can create and share content which can be liked, shared and commented by the followers and the people present on TikTok.
Level Playing Field
TikTok offers a level playing field to all content creators by offering a 15 – 60 seconds window and similar formats for video creation. One can either lip sync, enact, dance to showcase their talent. The same background music, sound snippet or voice over are being used by many creators. Hence the viral quotient of the post depend on the content, creativity and talent of the creators.
Indians are bitten by Bollywood bug. Bollywood is also the purveyor of interesting and entertaining content that are being appropriated by the young content creators on TikTok as they see the reflection of Bollywood stars in themselves. They enact dialogues from famous films and TV serials dance on the recent chartbusters and lip-sync melodious songs.
Irrespective of vivid content and level playing field, creative application ensures engagement and viral ability. The creativity comes from using it in right context with a hint of dramatisation within 15 second window, which is quite challenging. However, there are many creators who have more than million followers and have attained star or celebrity status in TikTok ecosystem. In fact some of them have more followers than TV actors and singers present on it. Interestingly most of these TikTok celebrities are raw talent, coming from all sections of societies.
Viralability of Content
Many TikTok videos have become viral on social media and Whatsapp. Snackable nature of genuine and authentic content coupled with ease of sharing, plays a key role in the success of TikTok posts. Apparently, humorous, tongue-in-cheek enactment of situation, creative recreation of signature steps and sound snippets, voice dubbed videos etc. are some of the most popular and shareable contents.
Brands and TikTok
Currently, TikTok as a platform offers limited scope to brands. But it is constantly evolving to offer a wide array of options for brand promotions. Brands can use TikTok influencers and celebrities for promoting themselves as one of the sure shot methods to gain eyeballs. However, direct promotion or in-the-face-marketing by the influencers will not create desired impact. Since TikTok audiences prefer natural performance and content from creators. Hence, brands have to infiltrate the TikTok ecosystem and blend their content to suit the audience frame of mind, who are young and seeking quick and variety in entertainment. Brands can allow influencers and celebrities to re-create their nostalgic ads, sound snippets, signature dance steps, signature sound track, creatively within 15 seconds.
Moreover, the cornerstone of success on TikTok is user generated content. Hence brands can throw challenge or contest to the users or audiences for their creation and re-creation of the ads, songs, music, dance steps etc. with a reward for the few most shared commented and liked videos. The genuine and creative videos will surely trend through other digital platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. Even sometimes with minimum effort from the brand itself.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Reputation Today.