The rise of TikTok
TikTok (formally known as Music.ly) is a fun app that lets Gen Z (and lately also millennials and families) create short-form videos and share them with millions of users all over the world that can engage through likes, comments, shares and even duets.
Creating and editing videos is easy, with various effects, filters and stickers to choose from. By adding effects and filters, backgrounds, music and stickers to their videos, users can collaborate on content, whether they create a split-screen duet video or a full-length music video. On the contrary of Instagram, where users only post their own photos, TikTok allows everyone to re-use others’ content and remix it, creating an endless opportunity for creators and influencers to create memes, funny content, remixes of songs and even of videos.
Some of the most successful TikTok videos
Every day there are a lot of new successful TikTok videos, that’s because every week new hashtag challenges pop up and trending songs are used as background music to create catchy videos: dances, lip-syncing, pranks, memes.
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David Dobrik posted one of his extra-ordinary videos, a record-breaking experiment that collected almost 18m likes; another video that surely popped up on your For You Page was a Mr Sandman cat dance and the same happened for Brittany Broski’s Kombucha video that made her the ’Kombucha Girl’. Zach King, one of the most famous former Viners, had a video that collected 2.1bn views and 12.3m likes.
How TikTok has emerged as the app of the Covid-19 lockdown
Covid-19 lockdown forced people to stay home and that means spending more time watching tv shows, TikTok videos and playing videogames. I have definitely been seeing an increase of video creators and families getting involved in making new TikTok videos: a lot of users now forced to stay home, from merely passive viewers, became active users that started posting their first TikTok videos. Some users are doing that just for fun, but others are starting to realize that TikTok can actually become a way to get famous and even earn money thanks to live streaming sessions and influencer marketing sponsorships.
Some of the biggest trends on TikTok during Covid-19
’#OnlineClass’ is definitely one of the funniest and most entertaining trends to watch: with students all over the world in quarantine, school lessons moved from physical classes to online zoom video calls. It was inevitable that a lot of students would have taken this opportunity to make fun of the situation, for example changing the custom background and using a picture of themselves to fake attending online classes or just trying to have a laugh in this sad moment asking a simple question to their professor.
And of course, a lot of users are spending their spare time at home getting creative, for instance, recreating the Disneyland Parade at home, or celebrating a family member’s 21st birthday in the best homemade way possible.
Who's soaring on TikTok
Collecting a fan base of millions of users is definitely easier and faster on TikTok compared to other social media channel and there are already 1,700 US TikTokers with 1m+ followers. Charli D’amelio became – just a few weeks ago – the most followed TikToker with 55.5m of followers, beating the queen on TikTok Loren Gray that has 43.2m of followers at the moment I am writing.
Several big TikTokers came from Vine, the six-second short-form video app that was shut down in 2017, and famous YouTubers are joining TikTok for its potential. Random users started using TikTok for fun and some of them became famous almost overnight (thanks to quality content, hashtag challenges and TikTok For You Page’s algorithm).
TikTok is a wonderful platform for creators to create their own communities and inspire others, not intimate them. For example, Crystal-Jade, also known as CJTOOICY has become a powerful young LGBTQ+ advocate. Not only is she using her TikTok account to empower other teenagers with self-confidence (and has the fan mail to prove it), she proudly uses the hashtag ’#gaypride’ in most posts. Just like Vine, as talent grow on TikTok, they are building their fan base, not just on the basis of great content, but also for who they are and the daily doses of joy they bring to viewers.
All in all, TikTok is a perfect app to both spend time watching funny videos but also jumping on challenges and get creative, remixing others’ contents or creating original videos that can become the next trends. Watching TikTok videos is also a great way to stay in the loop and understand the new generations’ needs and interests.
Alessandro Bogliari, co-founder and chief marketing officer of The Influencer Marketing Factory
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