Why Did TikTok Blow Up and Should You Make an Account?
Social media has become part of our lives for quite some time now. Most of us have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Many of us have an account on all three. Some of us go even further and embrace the full world of apps that keep us connected to friends, family, and celebrities.
What of TikTok though? The phenomenon that has seen aspiring makeup artists, chefs, comedians, and dancers among others, catapulted into the viral world?
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media app that has very quickly adapted to the global demand for instant interaction. It is purely video-focused and allows people to share live and edited content as well as interact with followers. Content creators can upload videos that last as little as 15 seconds and up to 15 minutes.
By the end of 2021, it was the world’s most popular website – even beating Google!
Where did TikTok come from?
TikTok burst into life in China in 2016. Named Douyin, it quickly gained a large following. Within its first year, 100 million users had accounts and over 1 billion videos were being watched daily. Its continued growth led its founder, ByteDance, to look at expanding worldwide and in 2017 it hit the international market.
Once available for download under the now famous name of TikTok it became an instant global success and at the time of writing has been added to over 2 billion devices worldwide and that doesn’t include the Android downloads in China.
This number was partly achieved through the smart acquisition of musical.ly, a social media platform that gave users the chance to lip-sync and make music or comedy videos. With a huge audience already behind it, TikTok took on the existing musical.ly database and bolstered its own user numbers significantly. Musical.ly then ceased as TikTok became the app that a varied mix of content creators were able to use to showcase their latest hopes for going viral.
What is TikTok used for?
The variety TikTok offers to users means that now it is used for much more than just the lip syncs and dance routines that seemed to fill it in the early days. Many creators of content on TikTok have used it to showcase certain skills, interact with fans of certain interests, or present short videos about things in their daily life.
Although most social media networks have a varied range of demographics engaging with them, TikTok largely entertains a younger crowd with very few above the age of 50. Latest stats showed that just 7.1% of TikTok users filled the demographic known as silver surfers whilst a huge 41% were from 16-24. This has made for huge advertising campaigns by trend-savvy brands.
Using hashtags, much like Twitter, it allows users to find and engage with content that they may enjoy. Data released last year showed that entertainment and dance equated to 700 billion hashtag views in 2020. Home renovation and DIY surprisingly poll higher than beauty and skincare with 39 billion hashtag views and pets come in with a relatively low 10 billion hashtag views.
Businesses on TikTok
As it burst into life on a global scale, celebrities and brands began getting involved. Thanks to creating engaging content, fans have been able to interact with people, teams, or organisations they may have previously seen as untouchable. This opened many commercial opportunities for businesses as they were able to target high trending interests and cultivate advertising campaigns around them.
Celebrities such as Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mariah Carey regularly post and link up with brands further increasing reach of both the famous face and the endorsed product.
What makes TikTok so popular?
The huge variety of content available would be impossible for one TikTok user to consume. But its clever algorithm allows a user experience to be totally cultivated to specific tastes and preferences based on how they engage with the site.
A quick swipe up will bring the next video based on interests and interactions and this pattern continues until the user has stopped watching. Unlike other social media, TikTok very quickly works out likes, shares and watch time to give that video more or less prominence on other screens. So, a more liked video, watched for a longer time period, will very quickly appear on the screens of like-minded users. This allows a video to go viral very quickly regardless of whether the account has one follower or one million.
Something that has made TikTok so big is its sense of community. A feature known as duet allows someone to upload themselves alongside original TikTok content. Either copying it, responding to it or perhaps parodying it. This then builds even more interaction as collaborations between accounts can easily be created. Gaining both followers and interaction for both users.
Aside from building an audience on TikTok itself, users can also download their content to other social media platforms. This is a fantastic way to build a following for both business and individuals in part due to the downloaded videos including the TikTok logo and the creator’s username.
Back on the TikTok platform itself, users can also link to their YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts making a quick win for building online presence.
Should you make a TikTok account?
Whilst the target audience may or may not be in your demographic, it’s down to you. We spoke to a few account holders who mainly said they used it for fun and spent more time watching videos than creating them, utilising the “For you” section that customises the video feed. Those that did create content, liked to showcase talents or entertain, creating videos that required little in terms of editing skills.
Our honest answer… If you want to have some fun on one of the largest and easiest to use platforms in the world, then go for it. You never know, you might go viral.
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