Gone are the days when Instagram was influencers’ favorite playground. TikTok is giving rise to a new breed of social media influencers who are bound to shake things up in the digital sphere.
Until not so long ago, popular social media apps like Instagram and YouTube served as the main hubs for influencer marketing. These were the go-to channels that digital creators used to share their content and engage with their audiences. Companies and organizations soon realized the potential of partnering up with these highly influential individuals and started working with them to increase awareness, build trust with their customers, and boost their bottom line. And that’s how influencer marketing was born.
But things move fast in the social media landscape and Instagram’s supremacy as a content machine powering the influencer marketing phenomenon is now being challenged by a new contender that promises to bring a breath of fresh air into this highly competitive space. TikTok is quickly becoming the app of choice for influencers and a place for brands to find the right creators to collaborate with.
The era of TikTok influencers is dawning
TikTok’s story begins in 2016 when the platform was launched by Chinese tech giant ByteDance under the name of Douyin as a video hosting service. Soon after, TikTok started to pick up steam as a dance and music app where people would post 15-second videos trying different choreographies or lip-syncing to music. In 2017, the platform launched internationally and the whole world was wrapped in TikTok’s magic.
The short format, the extensive library of songs and sound effects, and the innovative features and editing tools that TikTok provided gave people the possibility to create and share highly engaging videos that started to attract an increasing number of users to the platform. TikTok’s challenges and trends went viral over the internet, being shared on other platforms and extending the app’s impact on pop culture.
As TikTok matured, the content posted on the platform became more diversified and the video length also expanded, catering to all demographics. Nowadays, TikTok hosts content in a wide variety of categories, from DIY tutorials and educational videos to comedy sketches and everything in between.
The app’s rising popularity caught influencers’ eye, prompting many of them to join the platform and buy TikTok followers to boost their accounts and expand their social media presence. Brands followed the influencers’ streams and opened accounts on the platform or partnered up with TikTok creators. And that’s how TikTok became a major player in the influencer marketing arena.
A venue for quick fame
Social media does not provide any get-rich-quick-schemes, but TikTok’s ability to make people famous and turn paupers into princes is the closest thing to it. It usually takes content creators months or years and a lot of hard work to build a strong following on social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube, but with TikTok anyone can attract large numbers of viewers in a relatively short period of time.
This is mostly due to TikTok’s unique algorithm that reads into people’s preferences and feeds them the type of content they find interesting and engaging. Unlike other apps, TikTok doesn’t recommend content based on follower count, but on users’ interactions such as the videos they’ve watched, liked, shared or commented on or other accounts they follow. This gives new creators the possibility to get their videos in front of their target audience and rack up more followers quickly.
Anyone can become TikTok famous almost overnight as long as they know how to use the algorithm to their advantage. For example, including popular music snippets in their videos or using viral hashtags increases one’s chances of gaining more views.
The long list of people who rose to fame on TikTok proves that the app is indeed a powerful tool for influencers, brands, or anyone who wants to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. Addison Rae, JoJo Siwa, and Dixie D’Amelio are just some of the names who managed to get in the public eye by going viral on TikTok, so it’s no wonder influencers are flocking to the platform.
A more authentic experience
It’s true that part of TikTok’s creator base is made of established influencers who migrated from other social media apps like Instagram, YouTube, or Twitch. However, it’s not just a matter of influencers moving to a different social media app to keep up with the times and stay on top of trends. TikTok is promoting a different type of influencer marketing that has authenticity at its core.
In recent years, people have become critical and started to mock Instagram’s feeds for being crowded with highly curated pictures of influencers living perfect lives and pushing unrealistic standards onto consumers. This type of influencer marketing is no longer relevant to today’s audiences. TikTok’s content creators are taking a completely different approach to influencer marketing, mocking their predecessors for their polished looks and the pretentious and inauthentic content they put out.
On TikTok, content creation revolves around originality as influencers are focused on building a more genuine connection with their audiences. This is also the reason why brands are turning their attention to the platform and choosing to collaborate with TikTok influencers. It’s easier for companies to earn the trust and loyalty of their customers when their products/services are promoted by content creators who are perceived as trustworthy and honest.
Being an influencer has become a full-time occupation these days, and TikTok seems to be the platform of choice for many content creators who aspire to become famous. Although much younger than other social media apps, TikTok’s innovative features and unique algorithm promise to revolutionize influencer marketing in the years to come, so content creators and brands have plenty of reasons to be excited about.