TikTok vs the rest of us

young girls dancing and making shapes

Snapchat and Instagram feel like ageing figures from that distant era called the ‘2010s’ compared to the monumental rise of new social media platforms like TikTok. But just because it’s the latest and greatest trend to come out of the gen Z social media armoury, does this mean that as marketers, we need to be on it too? Absolutely not.

KISS Account Director, Olly Cooper writes: 

I think it’s more important to get back to basics and understand what role social media plays within your organisation, rather than being blinded by the latest shiny MarTech gizmo that will undoubtedly be replaced in the next year or so. There will always be new toys to play with, that’s now a spoken truth in the digital age, but when it comes to engaging and thought-provoking campaigns, it’s vital to focus on the best way to tell your story. And quite often the old-school ways are sometimes the most memorable. 

In the Hubspot/Social Media Trends for 2020 report it’s clear that TikTok is gaining big audiences and starting to catch-up with Instagram in terms of monthly users – closing out the year TikTok had an estimated 750 million compared to Instagram’s 1 billion. 

New social media platforms manipulate the media landscape, leaving marketers scrambling behind trying to jump on the bandwagon. But do new channels offer greater ROI or a more suitable audience? This is something that will be explored and analysed a lot more this year, but arguably no, it doesn’t. 

What is clear though, is that social media platforms should only be used for the purpose they were built for. The platforms that have come and gone have either tried to replicate existing platforms (think Google +) or just couldn’t keep up with the pace of change – MySpace being a perfect example. The common failure in both instances was that they forgot their original purpose.

The titans that are successful, and remain front of mind, are original and they know how to scale and continue to evolve with moving times. As a result, the old guys will still hold a huge amount of weight and value – ultimately, it comes down to understanding YOUR target audience and engaging in a way that is meaningful to them. 

However, the trend that’s arising with TikTok, is the popularity of raw, uncensored user-generated content that reaches unique and niche audiences. People are no longer looking for large communities, but more relevant ones. Less noise, more genuine engagement. So, what we can potentially see from this is marketers or brands creating content that looks ‘less like an agency has made it’ but more focused around the individual. 

My advice is keep your eyes on what’s happening with the ‘new kids on the block’ but don’t jump in straight away; do the homework and if, after that, you know it’s the right channel for your target audience, go for it.

And if you need help with your social media strategy and working out your TikToks from your Snapchats then give us a call.


KISS is the creative agency that clarifies the complex.