Does TikTok unlock a new route to social success for brave businesses?

"I think the basic fundamental thing which appeals is that one can act, dance, sing, and do whatever you are good at in front of a camera and upload the same to get liked by the world and ultimately become famous.”

Those were the words of one TikTok user when questioned by the BBC about what is currently the most valuable tech start-up in the world.

Yes – you read that correctly.

The. Most. Valuable. Tech. Start-up. In. The. World.

Uber has lost its crown to a social media app that at last count had over 500million users globally; at least one of whom reckons it’s going to make him famous.

But unlike other social media platforms, TikTok only has one type of content – video. And not just any kind of video. 15-second, short-form, filter heavy, hashtag loaded video.

TikTok’s emergence means the social media rule book is busy being rewritten – at least when it comes to targeting tech-savvy, occasionally fame-hungry,  hip young things, many of whom will very soon become (if they’re not already) part of your business’s target market.

A few years ago I sold Twitter to a sceptical client on the basis that while he didn’t use or actually get it, millions of others did, and that as a result a generation was on its way for whom Google would mean nothing, and social searches would be the be all and end all.

In fact, during that spiel I went as far as harnessing my late 90s, big-spectacled, baggy suit-trousered self, and mentioned the fact that the argument I was making for Twitter was the same one I’d made back then for getting a sparkly new-fangled thing called a website. And look where that ended up.

Well today, it seems that TikTok, and the copycat sites that are bound to follow, are adding a new layer to that line of thought – one that sees Twitter, Facebook et al in need of re-categorisation… perhaps as traditional social media?!

While, TikTok signals a brave new social media world, it’s most certainly not one for the faint of heart.

First up, there’s no paid for advertising element to it – at least not yet – meaning you can’t get into the feed of all those millions of users by simply waving your magic credit card.

Secondly, creativity wins.

Finally, funny is most definitely on the money. 

So if your social media strategy is aimed at reflecting your business’ successes, products, services and personality to an audience of current and potential customers then traditional social media is definitely still the place for you.

But if your aim is brand recognition and standing out from the market, then TikTok could be the platform you need to unlock a whole new level of social media success.

Written by Daniel Kennedy, 15/02/2019