TikTok - is this the final countdown?
Updated: May 16
TikTok continues to be the social media hot potato, where will it be banned next? Only briefly overshadowed by Twitter’s dive bomb into blue tick chaos this week. Why are we bothered? Cos TikTok continues to be where the kids are at, innit. As you can tell this post was not edited by our wonderfully youthful intern, in fact us seasoned marketing and production peeps; Caroline Bar, consultant writer/producer, Victoria Scally founder and CEO of We Are All Marketing and our founder Melissa Fretwell have scratched our heads, ruminated and chewed over what we think the pros and cons are. Check out the nifty list below:
01. TikTok is full of comedy sketches, duets, and interesting dance moves, all of which are highly amusing, boredom busting hits while we’re waiting for real life to happen. I mean, AI tools can now produce vocals like Ye. Who isn’t intrigued by Ye singing Coldplay’s Yellow?
02. When it comes to that holy grail of social media marketing, going viral, the potential of TikTok is huge. What distinguishes it is the recommendation algorithm, the speed it drives virality assuming of course that your content resonates. As Caroline points out – “further enhancing not only brand awareness, but also your brand image as something that people are actively interacting with positively.”
03. Responsible TikTok stars are using the platform as a force for good. Award-winning dancer, singer and content creator Montana Tucker is committed to using her voice to spread awareness about the Holocaust and antisemitism. And Booktokkers are encouraging folks to go all analogue, to pick up a book and enable publishers to keep doing what they do best. TikTok are considering creating a feed to STEM content to boost the learning experience.
04. Alongside all the fun ways to get your brand out there, Victoria Scally reckons you could look at leveraging “TikTok as an employer branding tool. It opens a window to the world on the office vibe and can help prospective employees and future brand advocates get a feel for what happens behind the scenes. It definitely humanises brands, giving you permission to push the brand guidelines and be entertaining, and sometimes just downright silly - and I love that.”
05. Diverse advertising options - with so many ways to interact with your potential audience, you can tailor your marketing strategy to suit both your brand and the users you’re keen to connect with. And of course you can work directly with TikTokkers which can produce impressive shifts in attention for new brands.
01. However there's obviously “a risk around sensitive company information - sharing contact information knowingly or without realising as part of a TikTok around 'things my boss has said'. Things that would make IT security fall off their chair. TikTok puts social media managers physically in front of the camera, so being mindful of anything that also locates your brand/office to a particular location may not be the safest for staff. Don't risk the safety of staff for social clout..!”
02. “There is of course the highly undesirable flip side of going viral for the wrong reasons - one misstep, and you could find your content being ‘stitched’ by TikTok users critical of what you’ve created. Influencer ad content can also be high-risk. You don’t have to look far to discover recent controversies around influencer/brand collaborations, but there is also the chance that something problematic is discovered about an influencer long after they’ve worked with your brand, thereby tarnishing your reputation by association.” Fair point Caroline.
03. Fakes galore! From deep fake videos to bogus profiles and counterfeit goods on the TikTok shop. The policing of the platform is an ongoing mission as the strict rules on what can and can’t be sold via TikTok Shop are being circumnavigated. As our founder Melissa Fretwell points out “the advertising and sale” of all counterfeit products is clearly prohibited. Many of the illicit products sold via TikTok Shop are made in China and shipped to the UK and Europe, according to TikTok’s listings data, with details about their origin and manufacturing processes unknown. It’s more minefield than Westfield people.
04. And because TikTok is so darn popular, tweens and teens can feel left out if they aren’t using it. The fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome can be a real thing for them. Not to mention the effect of TikTok usage on their concentration and self esteem. The endless video stream is addictive by itself, simply because we expect to get a dopamine reward any second now. Dopamine spikes happening in quick succession is what makes TikTok akin to gambling. There is however a 60 minute default time limit if you’re under 18 years old.
05. Privacy and security are of course the massive elephants in the room and CEO Shou Chew has been testifying in the States in an attempt to keep the platform going for 150 million Americans on TikTok, of which 5 million small or medium-sized companies. They don’t allow users under 16 to go viral, or use the instant messaging app, giving parents a whole set of tools to control. This is based on age gating and tools which crawl your public profile, matching your age with the content you create, balancing it with privacy. Regulations vary country to country, being especially strict in the US.
So like most marketing channels, start with where your consumer’s at, what would your brand add to the mix in that space and then produce content that is designed not crowbarred in. Ensure you are gaming the algorithms and equipping your teams with social media policies that keep them on the light side of the web.
Curious about digital marketing, what makes social media tick 😜? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org .