TikTok is already part of the exclusive group of social networks that must be included in any communication strategy. The application – launched in 2016 by the Chinese company ByteDance – has just surpassed the 1 billion monthly active users, a barrier that places it among the most used social networks. And it has only taken five years to achieve that milestone, a figure that Facebook reached in 2012, eight years after it was created in 2004.
«It is a social network that companies must have. It begins to be essential “, he assures Marcos Blanco, professor of digital marketing at ESIC Business School. Most of its users are young, so this expert considers that TikTok is essential for any brand that is aimed at ‘millennials’ and ‘centennials’. Based on Comscore data collected in the United States,
32.5% of its users are between 10 and 19 years old, while 29.5% are between 20 and 29.
“If you are a brand aimed at a young audience, you have to be on TikTok,” says Blanco, who considers that the greatest challenge to communicate through this social network is in the ability to adjust to their language. With a duration of 15 or 60 seconds, The videos on TikTok are short content that uses humor to send a personal message. Their language is the most direct of all networks. “There is usually a face telling something, while its transitions and video effects give it a very strong aesthetic,” he explains. “On other networks you can replicate content, but that doesn’t work on TikTok: you have to adapt it to their language,” he adds.
“It has been identified with the most frivolous, insubstantial and the least relevant,” he says. Ferran Lalueza, professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), on some of the challenges faced by organizations that want to communicate through this app. However, this has not been a limit to the fact that various institutions have used it effectively to send a message to young people. This is the case, for example, of the World Health Organization, an institution that in March 2020 created its TikTok account to fight disinformation about Covid-19.
Communicating through TikTok can be easier for companies that have a commercial purpose, that is, companies that sell products such as cars, video games, cosmetics or clothing. This is due, according to Lalueza, to the fact that the language of this social network finds similarities with the typical television commercial. “The traditional television commercial is short, direct and can have a touch of humor. Those features are similar to those of TikTok, “he says. In this regard, it is more difficult for companies that want to send institutional messages to be able to use it effectively, as could be the case with insurance companies or banks.
Another reason for the success of TikTok lies in its algorithm. “This is a better algorithm than other social networks. Fine tune to keep you stuck watching videos», Says Lalueza. “It is very well adapted to to offer you a type of content that is very well suited to the interests of the user. And it allows a channel with a single video to have a viral one ”, agrees Blanco, from ESIC.
One feature that differentiates its algorithm from others is that a newly created account can have only one video, and that content will go viral. «It is very difficult for that to happen on YouTube, since its algorithm rewards the channel’s history. On the other hand, on TikTok there are times when a person has only made one video that has been very successful, “says Blanco. This feature allows its users to see their number of followers grow quickly, which motivates them to create more content and, in turn, causes the social network to reach more people.
Most of the users are still young. However, the micro-video social network is increasingly diverse after having surpassed the barrier of more than 1 billion active users. It is a consolidated platform that it already has three times more users than Twitter, although it is still far from the 2.8 billion of Facebook. However, TikTok is close to catching up with Instagram (1.3 billion),
a social network that is its main competitor due to the ‘reel’ function. «The ‘reels’ are a function that allows you to record short videos of 15 to 30 seconds. It is a kind of TikTok within Instagram “, says Lalueza about a challenge that the app faces to continue growing.
Blanco, from ESIC Business School, predicts a good immediate future for TikTok and believes that its expansion will continue. “It is a network that is already consolidated,” he says. In this regard, Lalueza agrees that he is no longer a candidate and is already a candidate to snatch the crown of “king of social networks” from Facebook.