Is TikTok here to stay?

How do we know if a new social media channel has longevity?

We all know who the big social media players are. However, every year new platforms emerge and predictions are made if they will change the social media landscape. How will we know as digital marketers if Facebook will grow or start to decline? Will Twitter disappear or be replaced? Will TikTok become the next big thing?

Over the last two years we have seen a shift. Big social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook are becoming overly saturated with content. This opens up space for new social media platforms to emerge and challenge the status quo. Whilst some come and go, such as Vine and possibly Snapchat, others like TikTok have exceeded all expectations.

But with great promise, questions arise: are they here to stay?

Social Media Predictions 2020 TikTok

In order for a new social media platform to succeed two things must happen. First, the purpose of the platform must be established and second, the platform needs to target a specific community.

Establishing a platform’s purpose

Let’s look at a channel such as LinkedIn where the objective is very clear – connecting professionals in order to build a network within or across different industries. Although other platforms such as Reed, Indeed and Total Jobs provide similar services, LinkedIn combines the best bits of a social media app and applies them to the business world. In fact, it has never been easier to connect professionals.

Since Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, it has gone from strength to strength, launching new and improved features which have exceeded user expectations; as it stands today, the channel could even be considered a professional Facebook.

Users can follow companies that inspire them and reach out to them directly. This type of contact is something that no other recruitment company can provide, especially on a global scale. We think that the success of LinkedIn can be attributed to its originality, clear purpose and ability to evolve based on its community’s needs.

Creating a niche community

In addition, LinkedIn draws a particular type of person to its feed. Unlike various ‘mainstream’ social media platforms, LinkedIn has created a ‘niche community’.

Although platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have become a staple for brand marketing and advertising, it has become even more difficult to target your audience on these platforms due to them being so competitive. How can brands get around this saturation? If they focus on smaller, niche platforms, perhaps this is a way to generate more success.

The need for both paid media and organic in the digital mix  

Over-saturation on social media platforms has become very apparent in the last two years; if you want to be seen on Instagram, you will most likely have to have paid media behind your brand or campaign. The algorithms of platforms change daily, so it is almost impossible to post something and have it reach your target audience organically. 

However, within the current world of social media marketing, targeting your community and gaining interaction organically has never been more important for businesses. It’s the concept that it is more valuable to have one hundred loyal customers than one thousand scrollers, essentially strangers to your business. Here is where we begin to see real conversions for business and therefore a desire to move toward less saturated and more community based platforms, such as TikTok. 

Has TikTok nailed purpose and community?

If you are not a part of generation Gen Z then the concept of TikTok is probably a little lost on you. A large proportion of content creators, as well as TikTok users are part of the Gen Z generation. Unlike competing on Instagram for attention, they are directly posting their content in a place where their target audience can engage with it. A huge variety of content is posted on the platform which varies wildly, from pranks to makeup transformation to skits. But, it is content that can easily go viral.

Maybe the success of TikTok lies in the short, captivating fifteen second videos. It is no secret that social media attention span for users has decreased over time; the average attention span for social media platforms is eight seconds. With other platforms such as Instagram who have sixty second videos (and longer with IGTV), it’s no wonder TikTok is winning when it comes to video content. 

Here, TikTok has landed the perfect balance; the videos on the platform are short enough to be engaging and directly targeting the right audience. Whether it is to make their audience laugh or play a trick, it is holding people’s attention and there is clearly a market for it. 

Many are still baffled by TikTok’s success, especially when compared to other platforms and apps such as Periscope and Vine that started in early 2015-16, and have now disappeared. Social media has drastically changed since 2015, when over-saturation was not an issue and filters were considered cute!

In 2019, features offered by platforms are starting to overlap, so that it is becoming almost impossible to tell what makes each one unique. When we think about the original purpose of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when they first emerged, their objectives were clear cut; but now what they are used for and what they can do in 2019 is arguably very different from that original purpose. Maybe another reason why TikTok is still so successful is that it’s still in its early years, which makes it all the more exciting to see how it will perform in 2020. 

What does the future hold for TikTok in 2020 and beyond?

Over the past year the platform has become increasingly popular, surpassing all predictions for its success. As we come to the end of 2019 is seems as if TikTok is here to stay. Although the purpose of TikTok is not as clear as it is for our example of  LinkedIn, there is a niche community on TikTok that truly engages with the content being produced. 

Perhaps if TikTok did not have such a dedicated single type user and audience base, it would not have the success it has had. It could potentially suffer the same future as that of Instagram, becoming an over-saturated platform. Due to its success, brands are starting to take note of its impact on the Gen Z market, with ads and paid media collaborations very likely coming to TikTok in 2020. 

How we can help brands connect with their consumers on social?

Will TikTok continue to smash all expectations in 2020? The trends certainly point towards it and it is definitely something marketing agencies should be looking to learn more about.

It will be interesting to see whether paid advertisement will be introduced to TikTok and whether its users will branch out and appeal to a wider demographic, but for now it is a channel that has the potential to go far. 

At Mighty Social, we engage with communities on platforms with real conversations, as well as find authentic influencers to spread your messaging. If you’re looking to reach a new audience or niche community, get in touch and we can help you reach your goals in 2020 and beyond.