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TikTok: Social media’s new powerhouse

Marketing, Research

Praised, criticized, and ever-changing – TikTok has undoubtedly been the social media in the spotlight the last year. What started as a platform for lip-syncing and dance videos has grown into a comprehensive portal; you may find videos and trends covering virtually every niche. TikTok has proven capable of blowing up songs, increasing voting turnouts, and spreading trends like wildfire. Consequently, the app has evolved into a significant platform for influencers to share their content and rapidly grow a following. What do these tendencies entail for the lifestyle market? And how can brands best utilize the platform?
TikTok’s growth has been exponential: originally released to the Chinese market by Bytedance in 2016, it became available for a worldwide audience when it merged with Musical.ly in 2018. Although Musical.ly was established in its time, its main focus was on music, dance, and lip-syncing, primarily attracting a younger audience.

TikTok has, with its mass appeal across a multitude of ages and demographics surpassed its predecessor’s success: one can practically find something for every need and interest. While entertainment and humor remain the leading content category, content within lifestyle is the runner-up. Here, creators within fitness, DIY/home renovations, beauty, and fashion respectively gather massive view counts.

A blooming portal for inspiration

Hence, it comes as no surprise that TikTok has evolved into an influential platform across lifestyle markets. With staggering and ever-increasing views, creators that share lifestyle content reach a large number of users. Therefore, many lifestyle influencers have embraced the platform and made it an essential part of their social media portfolio.

For these creators, the platform serves as a way to share a more authentic, personal side of themselves compared to other social media channels. Also, there are also numerous influencers whose social media success primarily derives from their TikTok accounts.

Among these is fashion influencer Carla Rockmore, termed as the “real-life Carrie Bradshaw” by Vogue. Based in Dallas, Texas, Carla has worked as a fashion and jewelry designer for decades. However, with the covid-19 pandemic putting limitations on product development, she discovered TikTok as a platform for creative expression in April 2020. Since then, Carla has grown a large follower base sharing style advice and showing pieces from her impressive wardrobe.

VOCAST spoke to Carla about her experience as a lifestyle creator on the emerging platform:

@carlarockmore

An “essential” is a piece you see yourself wearing with more than one look. #fashion #fashiontiktok #fashionadvice #style #fyp #foryou #foryoupage

♬ original sound – Carla Rockmore

Interview

From a creator’s perspective, how does TikTok differ from other social media platforms?

Carla: Tiktok Is a lot less formal. The follower expects less polish and production in the uploads. The platform allows for relatability more than the other platforms. Because my success in social media started on TikTok, all my videos on all platforms have an organic quality to them.

What type of TikToks do you find that your followers respond best to?

Carla: Fast and flash. Tiktok viewers need to get hooked with something fun in the first 5 seconds, or else they flip to the next video. So you need to understand how best to catch them. Your personality has to engage them enough keep their attention. They are also very visual.

 

In your opinion, what does it take to become a successful TikTok lifestyle influencer?

Carla: You need to be aspirational, entertaining, and informative all at the same time. Its also important to be consistent and authentic to your brand. If you take on too much advertising, or too many collaborations that don’t align with your brand, the followers see right through it.

What is the significance of TikTok in the world of fashion and lifestyle? Do you see it changing in the future?

Carla: Because Tiktok is less scripted, fashion is also less scripted on the platform. It has a frivolity and an authentic edge. Anyone can be a chef on Tiktok , anyone can be a beauty expert. You just have to have the right formula to be able to engage and keep your audience watching.

Making social media feel personal

Since Tiktok’s official launch in 2018, the number of active users has grown 800% by the summer of 2020. It has continued to grow since: the app hit 1 billion monthly users earlier this year, only five years after launch. This is significantly faster than social media powerhouses Facebook and Instagram, which reached the same milestone eight years after their initial launch.

One of the key features responsible for TikTok’s success is its technology. The app has become famous (or infamous) for its addictive algorithm, which curates a personal “For You” page specifically designed to make you want to stay on it longer. While older platforms to a larger extent rely on active online behavior, meaning following, liking, and commenting,

TikTok intends to capture its users’ passive behavior. This includes logs of how fast you scroll through content, how long videos are left on loop, as well as what category of sounds attracts your attention. This ultimately creates a hyper-responsive system of recommended content “For You”.

These personalized pages are the landing page of the app, and where 99% of the users’ engagement occurs, giving much real estate for aspiring creators to reach an audience. Being featured on the “For You” page is the way to gain traction and followers: creators thus try to growth-hack their way to being featured on as many users’ “For You” page as possible.

A unique and powerful algorithm

​TikTok’s technical features offer unique opportunities for engagement. Its personally customized feed drives organic interaction between user and creator, which allows smaller users to reach new audiences. Your personal feed features a curated mix of content from any account that is predicted to match your detected preferences.

Videos that are predicted to create widespread organic interaction will therefore be featured on more people’s “For You” page. This explains why the concept of going “viral” is so prominent on TikTok. Users can go from zero to millions of followers in a matter of weeks, and content trends come and go daily. This offers the opportunity for instant engagement; it can effectively help users gather a following in a small amount of time.

For brands, this can have great publicity value: gaining traction on TikTok can have a spillover effect, making new potential customers aware of your product and leading them to your other platforms. Consequently, the number of brands embracing the app is ever-growing.

Keep up with the trends but stay true to your brand

When starting a TikTok account for your brand, it is beneficial to consider the unique features of the app and plan a strategy thereafter. Firstly, the nature of the app is more fast-paced than major competitors like Instagram. On Instagram, content can gain traction over time, and a particular style of the content may persist for several months.

On Tiktok, however, these processes can occur in a matter of hours. This indicates that one needs to pay closer and more continuous attention to what is currently trending.

Although it may boost your account short term, following any trend that may align with your brand will not make you stick out from the crowd of people doing the exact same. To create an impact that lasts, you need to consider what you want your brand voice and personality to be.

The algorithm of the app offers intimate engagement and connection: keeping in mind the individual on the other side of the screen is thus a critical part of gathering traction long-term. After all, the content on TikTok users’ For You page is primarily curated based on what content they continuously engage with, not the accounts they actually follow.

What type of content do people want to see on TikTok?

With TikTok’s focus on shorts snippets and entertaining content, many brands have successfully embraced a more humorous, engaging tone than on other platforms. In fact, traditional branded content generally performs poorly on TikTok. In nature with the personalized style of the platform, users respond better to branded content that has an authentic tone.

This allows for letting loose and having fun: shifting from a corporate to a more personal tone. Making this shift may be intimidating and unfamiliar; therefore, numerous brands have successfully partnered with popular TikTok personalities, giving a face to the brand and making it more approachable. Thus, brands’ own content as well as collaborations with influencers benefits from maintaining this human, more relaxed tone.

Among the brands that have successfully adopted a more humorous approach is Ganni. For Copenhagen Fashion Week, the brand partnered with popular humor and fashion creator Davis Burleson. As part of his popular TikTok show, “What’s Poppin?” Davis interviews people on the streets of New York City about their clothing and life in a playful way.

For the partnership with Ganni, Davis roamed the streets of Copenhagen interviewing fashionable people passing by, highlighting both what makes Danish fashion and people unique. The collaboration demonstrates how one can convey a humorous tone while still keeping one’s brand offerings in mind.

@ganni_official

Who can do math, not us 🤗 #copenhagen #whatspoppin #ootd @davisburleson

♬ original sound – GANNI


Meet the TikTok influencers

As a video-sharing tool, TikTok gives creators the chance to share a more creative and personal side with their followers. Consequently, it has become a popular social media for users to source inspiration for their lifestyle, clothing, and homes. The most successful TikTok creators are growing follower bases at a rapid pace and are becoming influential trendsetters. VOCAST has gathered the most prominent lifestyle influencers from each of our markets. Meet some of them here:

Denmark 🇩🇰 Mathilde Høeg Olsen

Mathilde is a 22 year old girl, living the Copenhagen lifestyle being very honest and down to earth on TikTok.
TikTok following: 88K

Sarah Friis – Danish Lifestyle Researcher

Sweden 🇸🇪 Lydia Tsegay

Lydia Tsegay shares her OOTD with a classy touch in a set mirror format where TikTok gets to enjoy her very curated Stockholm style with a variation in materials and shapes. Lydia wants to inspire black girls in Scandinavia to share their style.
TikTok following: 36K

Josefine Forslund, Swedish Lifestyle Researcher

Norway 🇳🇴 Marigona Kadrijaj

Marigona posts inspiring content that mainly revolves around her daily outfits and newest fashion purchases. She has a neutral and chic style, and is growing a follower base at a rapid pace.
TikTok following: 88K

Sara Linvåg Næss, Norwegian Lifestyle Researcher

Italy 🇮🇹 Elisa Maino

Elisa Maino shares beauty, outfit ideas and collaborates with many different brands in the fashion and beauty sector. Among the brands she collaborates with Boss, Salvatore Ferragamo, Furla and many other different fashion brands.
Tiktok following: 5,7M

Federica Manzi, Italian Lifestyle Researcher

Germany 🇩🇪 Daniel Toni Jais

Daniel is a German based fashion and lifestyle TIK TOK’er who’s influence has skyrocketed over the past year. He has build a very extensive community with over 952 K just on the platform. Posting content about his personal style which can be described as modern, sporty and elegant  characterizes his feed. Together with his girlfriend Nathalie Larché who is also a popular influencer, they serve their audience the typical power fashion couple that takes the social media world by storm.
TikTok following: 952K

Kevin Pretzel, German Lifestyle Researcher

France 🇫🇷 Hugo Dacquet

Hugo is a Parisian TikToker with a passion for streetwear fashion. Although he became one of the most prominent fashion TikToker from France through his OOTD videos, he also fits typically with the Parisian urban lifestyle.
TikTok following: 232K

Ema Laurenzana, French Lifestyle Researcher

THE UK 🇬🇧 Callum Mullin

Callum Mullin is a British fashion influencer with platforms on both TikTok and Instagram, and has recently launch his own gender-neutral brand. With nearly double the amount of followers on Tiktok, Callum is very much an influencer of his generation, posting fun, relatable content of his outfits, shopping trips and events he attends in a light heart, aesthetic and uplifting way.
Tiktok following: 251K

Georgina Juel, UK Lifestyle Researcher

THE US 🇺🇸 Taylor Hage

Taylor Hage is a 32 year old model and one of the most trending TikTok influencers. She is best recognised for sharing photos and videos of her daily outfits, styling tips and fashion trends on TikTok with her nearly 1.6 million followers.
TikTok following: 1,6M

Cerena Kulego, US Lifestyle Researcher

TikTok stats

Number of views per lifestyle category (November 2021):

Fitness: 176 Billion
DIY & Home Renovation: 126 Billion
Beauty: 129 Billion
Fashion: 103 billion

In numbers:

The world’s most downloaded app in 2020

Available in more than 150 countries

35% of users are between the ages of 19 to 29

Users spend an average of 52 minutes daily on the app

 

Sara is the Norwegian Market Coordinator at VOCAST, responsible for Norwegian fashion and lifestyle research. When not at VOCAST, she studies Brand and Communications at Copenhagen Business School. Besides work and studies, she is a travel, music and movie enthusiast.

 

 

 

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