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TikTok’s Influence In 2020

With COVID-19 keeping the world indoors this year, TikTok has experienced a surge in growth as the social media platform was the go-to place for many in 2020.  As we head out of a year gripped by a global pandemic, let’s take a look at TikTok’s influence in 2020.

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Promoting Authenticity

TikTok’s laid back feel and goofy nature encouraged users to embrace themselves, ushered in an era of unfiltered authenticity. Three-quarters of people in a Nielsen study of TikTok said the platform is a place where people can express themselves openly.

Unlike veteran social media platforms like Instagram that pressure users to show highly idealized versions of themselves, TikTok leaves little room for users to retouch their look and provides a platform for users to have fun without the pressure of being perfect. This makes the content on TikTok less polished, more relatable, and genuine. We saw TikTok creators flood social media feeds with pajamas and makeup-free posts.

Another way the video-first platform promotes authenticity is by celebrating imperfections. For instance, TikTok users embrace authentic self-presentation under the guise of comedic videos and help other users feel empowered. Vi Lai is a popular skincare influencer on TikTok who makes her videos about beauty products and her mental health struggles.

TikTok has redefined what realness means in a social media world driven by picture-perfect posts. Moving forward, smart brands will leverage the authentic spirit of TikTok to give users a new way to discover and engage with their products.

Building Community

TikTok has become a platform for networking and community building among various groups. In fact, 60% of TikTok users said they felt a sense of community while on TikTok.

TikTok has proven to be a space for connecting with like minds. From #VintageGirls to #HarryPotter, TikTokers assign labels for their different communities within the platform based on interests in particular types of content.

TikTok has broken barriers created by social distancing and become a tool for creative collaboration. For instance, with Broadway going dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic, composers, singers, actors, musicians, dancers, and set designers on TikTok coordinated and choreographed songs for a Ratatouille musical that doesn’t exist.

TikTok is also a safe space for creators to feel comfortable with expressing themselves creatively and openly with unfiltered rawness. For instance, TikTok “skinfluencers” are switching the skincare marketing playbook by dropping candid product reviews and calling out brands.

Community or cult, TikTok communities are growing and have a stronghold on their fan base.

COVID-19 Lockdown

From educating users about ways to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 to bored in the house lip syncs, TikTok was a lock down essential that provided a steady stream of additive content to get people through the difficult lockdown period. TikTok’s algorithmic curation drives a sticky, addictive user experience and had people spending a lot of time on the platform.

The average time spent per visitor for the app and websites combined was nearly 8 hours for the month of March. By comparison, US visitors on Instagram spent an average of roughly 5 hours on the app and website combined in March.

TikTok unleashed everyone’s inner content creator during quarantine and unearthed new celebrities overnight. With TikTok’s easy to use format and laid-back vibe, users were able to create a steady stream of playful and entertaining content from their own homes without worrying about looking perfect. Sienna Mae Gomez became a TikTok sensation in August when a video of her making fun of the unrealistic body image standards while dancing in her kitchen was widely shared.

Why does fame come fast on TikTok-unlike YouTube or Instagram?

Discovery is at the heart of the TikTok experience. TikTok’s algorithm continually searches for new clips and promotes the videos of relatively unknown accounts rather than the latest videos from already popular users or users that people already follow. This makes it easy for users to explore new videos and creators from across TikTok and allows those with small followings to go viral.

The Resurgence of Old Music

Although TikTok isn’t a traditional music platform, it appears to be influencing music discovery and dramatically revitalizing old hits.  Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams is a well-known case.

A TikTok video of TikTok user @420doggface208 skateboarding while lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams and sipping from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran Raspberry juice went viral and put Fleetwood Mac back on the charts. The video, which resonated with viewers for its laid back mood, had over 70 million views and helped propel “Dreams” first released as a single in 1977 to the charts.

The video seems to have also provided a business boost for Ocean Spray. Ocean Spray CEO, Tom Hayes, said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that the company can’t say yet if there will be an increase in sales but that retailers have said there has been “additional draw off the shelf.”

The story speaks to the continued power of TikTok as a platform for more timeless hits to be introduced to younger audiences.

Defining Skincare for Gen Z

TikTok is helping Gen Z shift from expensive beauty products to embracing affordable skincare options that can easily be found at CVS, Target, or Dollar Tree. This year, some Skin influencers used TikTok to share skincare-related information and entertainment in short, digestible, and visual parcels.

These TikTok posts made products go viral and incited the purchasing power of Generation Z. For instance, 15-year-old brand skincare CeraVe established itself as a cult favorite and saw an increase in sales after TikTok user @hyramapproved shared a post raving about the brand.

The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution also went viral after TikTok user @kaelynwhitee shared her results when she used it to treat her acne. In just a few weeks, The Ordinary, one of the beauty brands owned by Deciem, sold 100,000 bottles of the serum.

TikTok is changing how Gen Z learns about skincare brands and influencing purchases. Watch out for brands teaming up with “skinfluencers” on TikTok to drive awareness and sales.

Like it or not, TikTok has won a place in the heart of consumers especially Gen Z.  Start familiarizing yourself with the platform and see how your brand can leverage it to reach your target audience.

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