TikTok: The Greatest Social Media Influencer

TikTok continues to be one of the fastest growing social media channels, surpassing 1 billion monthly users in September 2022. For an app which is barely 7 years old and competing with social media conglomerates like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, this is an impressive feat.

What is perhaps more impressive is that the way we consume on TikTok is now influencing consumption across all social media channels; short form video, viral trends, off-the-cuff presentation – this is all now being replicated by social media’s staple platforms in order to keep up with public interest. Instagram has Reels, YouTube has Shorts, Facebook has both Reels and a Watch Feed – you get the gist.

So authentic, short-form video is taking off. What other changes can be observed?

As well as a shift in the form of content consumed, there have also been radical changes in whose content we consume. Historically, Instagram and Facebook relied on you following or friending someone in order to cultivate your feed, whereas TikTok does away with this. You don’t need to have performed any action other than creating an account before it starts filling your feed with content, and then the algorithm does the rest. As John Herman put it, “Imagine a version of Facebook that was able to fill your feed before you’d friended a single person”. Perhaps it is best not to consider TikTok a form of social media at all, but rather an entertainment platform. It does seem to fit its function more.

If we are no longer relying on the action of following friends/brands to build an engaging feed for ourselves, then our consumption horizons just widened drastically . There are no fences to climb on TikTok in order to find new content and creators – you’re handed it on a silver platter as soon as you open the app. It is this accessibility which makes it such a vital marketing tool, and makes organic reach much greater than other platforms. To put it in perspective, the average organic reach for brands on TikTok is about 118% compared to Facebook’s organic reach of about 5.2%

What is so engaging about TikTok’s format that it has impacted the way we consume?

One of the contributing differences is that TikTok offers numerous prompts to inspire content creation, something which other platforms lack. At a base level, users are encouraged to make reaction videos via the duet or stitch functions, or they can use someone else’s original sound to inspire new trends. Either way, sources of content creation go beyond the confines of an individual’s ‘real life’, and live online.

Another great feature of the app is that you can interact with your favourite celebrities on a more level playing field than other forms of social media. Generally, you can stitch, duet, or interact with their content just as easily as you can your best pal down the road. So if you want to sing with Billie Eilish, tap the duet button and it’s done. Comparatively, they could just as easily duet with you, leveraging your content into the limelight.

Speaking of celebrities, personal success on the app also feels super accessible. We see casual vloggers rising up through the ranks of fame (we’re looking at you, Emma Chamberlain) and it feels replicable. We see the viral videos made from the comfort of someone’s bedroom and we think, “Yeah, I could do that!”. And so the TikTok feed gets fed. 

In Summary…

The beauty of it is that there really is something for everyone. You’ve got fashion vloggers, eco-enthusiasts, comics, musicians, gamers, book clubs, dancers, knitters (we love crochettok) and people who combine a variety of each to create their own niche genre. TikTok is a conversation starter, community builder, and an addictive entertainment hub with exciting prospects for those who learn how to harness its power.