Keeping Up with the…Kids

The defining app of the younger generation and why your business should strike while the iron is hot
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Looking to cultivate and scale your online audience? Then TikTok, with an audience of close to 700 million; dubbed the defining social media app of gen Z, is worth paying attention to.

Founded in China just over two years ago as a platform for creating and sharing short videos; TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2019. The app’s expansion has been extraordinary, particularly considering it is essentially still in its infancy.

With the growth showing no signs of slowing; a new breed of influencers are on the rise and a potentially untapped audience is within reach. There is enormous potential for your business to leverage this unparalleled opportunity for exposure.


If Instagram’s explore tab is Rob Kardashian; TikTok is Kylie. The app is in many ways the polar opposite of Instagram; it’s authentic rather than aspirational and promotes conversation rather than curation by encouraging interaction far beyond likes and comments. TikTok is not centred around a self-directed feed; the first thing a user sees is not their friends or labels they have chosen to follow. The app opens to a “ForYou” page, similar to Instagram’s explore page, just on a far bigger scale. The algorithm seemingly defies all logic and takes a deep dive into your brainwaves, surfacing content (albeit often meaningless) that is deliciously easy to devour. What’s just as easy, is to open the app with the intention of watching one or two videos and ending up down the TikTok rabbit hole for far too long.

Ironically, and perhaps an intentional move by the founders – there is no time on TikTok. Posts are not time stamped and the feed of videos is not displayed in chronological order. There is no way to discern exactly when content was created. What’s wonderful about this for your brand is that content can withstand the test of time. Whilst it may be a faux pas to like a three week old Instagram post, a TikTok post may only get surfaced and potentially go viral weeks, if not months after being uploaded. Unlike Instagram, posts seemingly never date; there is always the potential for old content to get unprecedented engagement.

That is not to discredit Instagram, it will always hold its relevance and rather the compete, there’s potential for your overall social media strategy to leverage both platforms to showcase the many facets of your business.  For example, through Instagram you can display the more refined side of your brand via a carefully curated feed of still imagery. TikTok presents the opportunity to reveal the more playful, relatable side. While the strategies for the platforms will likely differ, if executed correctly, there’s an opportunity for the two platforms to complement each other, inevitably driving increased overall engagement with your brand.

For now, the platform unreservedly showcases engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares. As far as I can see, there are not all that many fashion labels currently using the app. In fact, there is not a lot of brand presence at all. However, I did discover a relatively small Australian swimwear brand making waves. To paint a picture, this particular brand joined Instagram in February 2015 and now has 196k followers and close to 2000 posts. By comparison, judging by their TikTok bio which reads, “we just joined” and their total of 7 posts, it wouldn’t be bold of me to assume they only just jumped on board the video sharing platform. In what appears to be a very short window of time, they’ve gartered 14.5k followers, 57.6k likes and one of their videos has been played close to one million times! 

This type of seemingly low effort engagement needs to be harnessed. As it stands, TikTok is primarily a brand marketing play. As with all content channels, there is a clear distinction between organic and paid marketing. TikTok is currently experimenting with paid media which makes it the perfect time to jump on board and be one of the first brands to understand how it all works. In doing this, you will wind up with a competitive edge when a plethora of brands inevitably join to carve out their own piece of the platform. 

I implore you to download the app. You’ll quickly see that whilst TikTok may rival Instagram, they remain two very different platforms – as such don’t jump on and simply repurpose your Instagram strategy. Creating content that will get engagement on the platform might be challenging at first, but if you get it right, the payoff could be exponential. Excuse the pun, but don’t let time get away from you on this one.

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