Are Influencers Moving Away From Instagram and Towards TikTok? What does this mean for brands?

So over the Christmas break I’ve had some extra time on my hands, some might say too much time. So I decided to download TikTok to see what the hype was about and I’ve well and truly fell down a rabbit hole. Rengade is stuck in my head and I’m now Charli D’amelio’s biggest fan. (You will only get these references if you’re a TikToker like me x). For someone who is basically obsessed with Instagram, I never thought I would say this, but I now spend more time on TikTok. Something I have noticed is as a 21 year old, I’m one of the oldest people on the platform. The majority of people I see on the ‘For You Page’ (basically like Instagram explore page) are like 14-19 and a lot of videos revolve around things to do with being at school.But aside from that I still love it and I’ve also got some of my friends addicted now too.

One thing is certain you can’t deny TikTok’s influence, through it’s growth in 2019. The platform was the most downloaded app in 2019. With Youtube being the second most downloaded app – it shows a move towards video content being preferable for consumers.

Along with the popularity of TikTok comes a new class of even younger and more popular influencers. The group named ‘The Hype House’ consists of 19, 15-22 year olds living in LA with a combined TikTok following of 66.4 million. So they have major influence, see some of the members pictured below.

So what is TikTok all about, Tik Tok is solely a video platform similar to Vine which allows users to record 15 second videos or combine videos for a 60 second video. Trends on the platform include dance videos, lipsyncs, comedy videos and makeup videos aptly named ‘Tik- tourials’.

Currently there isn’t a huge influx of ads and branded content on TikTok and most of the popular videos are organic content or variations of a trend. I have seen a few ads on the platform, similarly to Instagram mostly beauty and fashion related, such as an influencer wearing a particular band of clothing and tagging the brand in the video. However it is no where near on the scale of what ad’s are on Instagram. A lot of popular TikTik stars have been promoting their Instagram and Youtube accounts, to build their following off TikTok also to be able to monetise on it. Unlike Youtube TikTok does not offer any monetisation options to add adverts to your videos, but this creates a more user friendly platform and is probably the reason why it is so popular.

So what should brands do if they want to capitalise on this popular platform, here are my top 3 tips:

Consider their audience: Brands need to take into account that the biggest age group on TikTok is 16-24 and possibly younger. If their product or service is aimed at an older age group, then TikTok might not be the platform you.

Tread carefully: As advertising and paid content is not that popular on TikTok yet, brands should tread very carefully, as this could come across as unauthentic and would actually be a turn off for potential customers. Brands should make sure any product placement fits in naturally with content which is commonly produced on TikTok.

Research: The type of content on TikTok is completely different to that on any other social platform, so brands should definitely do their research before blindly posting. Checking out trends and the type of videos which make it to the for you page. Two brands which are killing it right now on TikTok in my opinion are Asos and Pretty Little Thing. Check out their accounts for some inspo.

I definitely think in the next few months we will say way more brands using TikTok and TikTok influencers as part of their marketing strategy and as long as this is done carefully and considerately it could be a huge win for the industry.

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