Influencers are taking note, and seeing the rewards

As COVID-19 continues to keep people sheltering safely at home, one of the winners to emerge has been social media platforms as people increase their usage to communicate and share content with friends, family and followers. With its fun quirky dance styles and fun video challenges, TikTok has become the new Gen Z social media platform of choice. It’s seemingly never unending supply of content and millions of viewers has also piqued the interest of influencers and companies alike and has sprouted the next virtual goldmine. We think that TikTok will be the next place to influence your audience

Now in its third year of infancy, the platform has amassed a following of 800 million from across the world. Whilst recent news has been plagued with the app being banned in certain countries, and the nefarious uses of private data, this hasn’t deterred users of the app, as it was downloaded 150 million times in Q1 this year.

The key to TikTok’s success, whilst in part due to its easily consumable content that can be swiped through in a matter of minutes, is also down to its unique algorithms that put users into premade communities of like-minded individuals. Whilst the actual science behind it has not been released, the company did comment that these determinations are made off real time. The system is forever learning and will adapt within minutes if your preferences appear to change. Because of this, there is no need to step off your ‘for you’ page as everything is perfectly tailormade for you.

As these communities begin to distinguish themselves, an influencer can transport themselves onto the platform with limited effort. An ‘I started a TikTok’ vlog or Instagram post creates buzz on their original platform, which means any fans of theirs already using the platform will follow before anything has been posted. With huge followings already in place, these individuals have become a force to be reckoned with when recommending products or selling merch.

The ‘TikTok made me buy it’ trend has become synonymous with the platform, and only grown over lock-down as users are looking to shop virtually. These videos often come with endorsements on the product and how it worked for them. One such user that has dominated that space is SkinCare by Hyram, a skin care specialist with 5 million followers (on TikTok alone). He uses this space to educate his audience on how to best look after their skin, whilst also entertaining them in the stereotypical TikTok fashion. His influence is so strong that products previously only spoken about in Dermatologist officers have become household names, selling out across stores with weeklong waiting lists for specific items.

It’s clear that this domain has become a breeding ground of marketing, and it hasn’t taken corporations long to take notice. Some of the most well-known brands can now be seen partnering with TikTok influencers to keep their products in the limelight, for example, Nike, GymShark and Chipotle, to name a few. These adverts may be only 30 seconds to a minuet long, but they keep the company in the Gen-Z zeitgeist, and as studies have shown repeatedly seeing an object increases your chance of interacting with it.

The future of TikTok isn’t necessarily the clearest right now, with US announcing it might follow in the footsteps of India, which banned the app back in June. But as the US is the now the largest user of the platform, it seems unlikely that this plan will come to fruition. It has been vital for keeping people interested and active during lockdown and has created new opportunities for influencers and companies to interact with their audiences. The world of marketing is ever changing, and those that can keep up and stay relevant are more likely to stay ahead.