TikTok often gets lumped in with other social media platforms in media discourse. There’s a good reason for that; there’s often a huge amount of crossover in terms of the kinds of people who use TikTok and the audiences for other platforms, and many will use them in tandem to build a following. However, you can’t simply approach TikTok like you would Facebook or Instagram and expect to meet with the same success. Here are some of the key differences between the TikTok app and other social media platforms, and how you can leverage those differences to build your brand on social media.
First and foremost, TikTok’s content differs from other platforms in key ways. You can’t post any kind of text content to TikTok without workarounds, and you can’t really post still images either, although you can create montages of them as a video. TikTok is all about short-form video content; you’ll upload videos up to a minute in length, and that’s effectively all you’re able to do. Other platforms have their specialities, and TikTok’s is Vine-style content that’s perfect for memes or viral campaigns.Audience
TikTok’s audience is predominantly composed of Gen Z users, so your TikTok followersare more likely to be between 18 and 24 years of age than any other group (depending on your personal niche, of course). Facebook’s biggest age group is millennials, as is Instagram’s, so if you want to target Gen Z with your content, you’re going to need to be on TikTok. Of course, this is more fluid than it might initially appear; Gen Z is on other platforms too, and TikTok is slowly growing its population in other age demographics. Still, there’s no denying that TikTok is still primarily a Gen Z social media platform.
While all of the major platforms allow you to share content between them, TikTok actively encourages you to do so. You can share your content to other social media networks with just the press of a button, which isn’t always easy to do on other major social media platforms. Many TikTok videos become famous through their appearances on platforms like YouTube or Twitter; indeed, some users don’t even discover TikTok until they see some of these montages, so you could say that social media platforms are integral to TikTok’s success.
Right from the get-go, the TikTok app fosters creativity and encourages you to make your own content feel individual and unique. It does this by providing you with a surprisingly advanced suite of editing tools that you can use to make your videos look exactly how you want them to. Once you’re finished shooting a video, you can cut parts of it out, add filters and text, give it a soundtrack, and much more. This is the beating heart of TikTok’s creativity focus; Twitter is merely a text platform and Facebook doesn’t emphasise its video tools in the same way, so it’s fair to say TikTok has a unique approach to encouraging creativity.
Due to TikTok’s Gen Z audience, there has been a lot of scrutiny on the app regarding how it moderates offensive or inappropriate content. The app has made great strides towards making its audience feel safe while they’re using it. Of course, there’s always more work to do, and plenty of bullies or trolls will always slip through the cracks; no solution for dealing with negative content is entirely foolproof. However, compared to platforms like Twitter and Facebook (and to a lesser extent Instagram), where many have said bullying is rife, TikTok represents a relatively safe space where users can express their creativity without fear of reprisal.
Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok has two highly effective tools for collaborating with other users built into its editor. Duets allow you to add your video alongside someone else’s, which is perfect if you want to add a vocal harmony or an instrumental accompaniment to another user’s song, for example. Stitches let you edit your video directly into another user’s content, interspersing yours throughout theirs or just adding it onto the end. These tools foster collaboration and allow users to create great content together, but if you don’t like them, you can always disable them in your options menu!
TikTok’s secret weapon is undeniably its incredibly advanced algorithm. While most social media networks focus largely on who you’re following, TikTok’s For You feed shows you a never-ending list of AI-curated content that it feels you will like. This algorithm is uncannily accurate; many have commented on how it seems to know their personality and recommend content that’s exactly what they want to watch at that moment, which is spooky. Some social media platforms have competitors in this regard; Instagram has an algorithm feed too, and Twitter will recommend users and tweets based on past activity. None of them, though, come close to TikTok’s accuracy.
TikTok’s audience prizes authenticity above all else. Being who you are and staying true to your own creative vision are the most important values for a TikTok creator to have, almost above the quality of their content. If you want staying power on TikTok, it’s important to always be honest with your audience. You can contrast this with platforms like Facebook, which has come under fire for the dishonesty of many of its users in terms of spreading misinformation, not to mention the unscrupulous practices of its owners. If you want people to be honest in their content creation, use TikTok.
Why Is The TikTok App So Popular With The Youngsters?
It’s no secret that this social media platform has taken off amongst almost everyone. It plays host to big brands, independent companies and even people that many now look at like their ‘online mums, dads and grandparents’. But it all stemmed from the original platform Musical.ly that then merged into what we now know as TikTok. Mucial.ly was hugely popular with school-age children and that fascination certainly carried over with its new branding. But why do they love it so much?
The TikTok app trends like dance crazes and in-app filters make it really easy to find creative content ideas. People jump on a trend because they know it is what people want to see and they have a better chance of going viral. If they can create a trend themselves or attempt one and make it their own, they will get noticed quickly by other people. Even celebrities have joined in on a lot of recent trends which makes them more appealing. Imagine getting noticed by your idol for making a 30-second dance on TikTok!
There are also hashtags associated with certain trends that make those types of videos really easy to find. They will often pop up on your ‘for you page’ so get viewed more often than others that people have to search for. You might notice some of the youngsters even practising dances in the playground or out and about. They are engaged with the trends because it gives them something to copy and aspire to when they post their next video.
With such a diverse range of content and creators, many people take to the TikTok app to find some like-minded people. “Communities” are categorized by similar types of videos, audio and common hashtags. This makes them super simple to find for anyone who is interested. It quickly builds a very close-knit group of people all asking similar questions or making similar videos. This is why a Q&A or tutorial style video is often appreciated over multiple communities.
For example, art videos, exam preparation and small businesses often have walk-through or Q&A style content that gives people a quick resource for answering questions. Businesses benefit greatly from this platform because they can create engaging content and direct their customers there in times of difficulty. You can stop sending people the same emails for frequently asked questions and point them towards your social media. (You might gain a follower in the process!)
Kids nowadays have a really short attention span (so do most adults) and it means the length of our content is having to get shorter and shorter to keep them engaged. While you can now reach up to a whopping three minutes of recording time on TikTok, many still remain under the one minute mark. This is what people prefer because they can scroll through until their heart’s content. It’s unlikely they will pass the same kind of video every time they scroll, so it keeps us entertained for longer.
We can take short bursts of information and quick one-liners, but when it gets past that minute mark, we lose focus unless it is a really engaging or informative piece. (Plus, any longer than that and you’d usually turn to YouTube!) So TikTok provides the perfect length and style of videos for practically everyone. It’s becoming more and more popular – not just with the youngsters.
Need Some Social Media Advice?
Whether it is the TikTok app or one of the many other platforms, a business can benefit greatly from utilising them in the right way. While you may need to have a think about which is the best for you, we have the experts that can point you in the right direction.
We offer all kinds of services here at delivered social from web design to filming and video creation. Our free social clinics offer an opportunity to have a conversation with us about the direction of your business and see how we can help get you where you want to be. So save yourself some valuable time answering those questions and compile your expertise into some engaging content!