Every couple of years, there are new social media platforms that trickle into the mainstream. From MySpace to Facebook, to Instagram and TikTok, there’s a neverending cycle of changing demographics.
These platforms must change with the times, so must the retailers. As a whole, brands and companies learned how to integrate platforms like Insta and Facebook into their marketing strategies, but now it’s time to learn about the next generation of social media.
What Are Some the Big New Names?
TikTok: This social media app has been around for a little while, but it seems that brands are only just grasping its concept, and the power it holds with younger Millennials and Gen Z. Its predecessor, Musical.ly, was rebranded last year shortly after being acquired by Chinese company ByteDance in 2017. Known as Douyin in China, its content consists of 15-second videos, mostly comedy and lip-syncs of famous songs, and have produced a myriad of popular users, known as “TikTok Stars”.
Caffeine: Created by ex-Apple designers in 2016, this app was released in 2018 and allowed users to create live broadcasts to friends and followers. It captures Gen Z as its target audience and is a direct competitor to YouTuber favourite, Twitch.tv. This is an updated and refreshed version of traditional live streaming platforms. Although there are no confirmed user data as yet, it has received over $140 million in funding and secured a partnership with 21st Century Fox.
Houseparty: Once known as Meerkat, Houseparty is an app that allows video chat for up to eight people at once. While FaceTime remains one of the most popular video chat apps, Houseparty enables users to create filters, stickers and other cute extras while making a call. The app currently has more than 20 million active users and recently introduced a gamification feature called Heads Up. This feature now has more than 10 million users.
What About the Legacy Platforms?
It’s no surprise that the most popular social media platforms are still the ones everyone knows about: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They’ve dominated the industry for years, and they will continue to do so. However, with ongoing privacy breaches, changing customer habits and adjustments to algorithms, it’s only a matter of time before a newer platform takes the reigns.
“In the past, achieving success on social only seemed possible for a few, very innovative brands. But today, innovation is not optional. It’s expected. By customers, employees, shareholders, and new markets you’re trying to enter,” explained Heather Cook, General Manager APAC of Hootsuite. “It’s clear social plays a role as a high performing channel in every customer-facing – and employee-facing – part of communication and across all platforms. Organisations that understand how to harness that in a unified way are in a better position than those who do not.”
It’s now about the Age of the Individual, said Ms Cook. “Social innovation and marketing have moved into the Age of the Individual. It’s no longer enough to offer a great customer experience simply. Experiences must be personalised, relevant, timely, and completely centred on the unique needs of each customer no matter what platform they are delivered across.”
“Privacy is an ongoing concern and customers are shifting to private channels such as messaging apps or DMs. Messaging app users now easily eclipse traditional social network users worldwide with top messaging apps—WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, and Skype—now collectively counting at nearly five billion monthly active users, according to Hootsuite’s 2019 Social Trends Report. Already, nine out of ten consumers globally want to speak with a business directly through a messaging app. The key is for brands is to find ways to add value through private conversations—without being intrusive to customers. One brand doing this really well is Estee Lauder. Their Lip Artist chatbot combines AR and AI to help you try on lipsticks before you buy, providing clear value to customers in the messaging space,” she explained.
Some Tips for TikTok Marketing
To get your brand started on this booming social media platform, it’s essential first to understand how it works. There are two main pages that you want to focus on:
- For You Page – this is the page you automatically get directed to when you launch the app. These include the trending videos, suggested follows and the top creators.
- Following – As the name suggests, this page allows you to see the content from those you follow on the app. The more people you follow, the more content you see.
Using advertisements on TikTok: On the social media platform, there are four significant types of ad formats that a brand can use to engage further with customers.
- Infeed native content: TikTok videos last nine to fifteen seconds. If a brand chooses to upload a post that follows the other content in the feed, it will appear somewhat like Instagram and Facebook. This gives you the option to insert website links, which you can measure using the analytics tool.
- Brand Takeover: For one day, an exclusive brand can utilise the Brand Takeover tool to create content that connects to landing pages or hashtags and challenges. What’s great about this option is the higher chance of better exposure, broader reach and greater click-through rates.
- Hashtag Challenges: Using a distinctive hashtag, such as #TransformYourDorm as used by Kroger on TikTok, users can take part in sharing videos using the hashtag and promoting the challenge. This allows the brand to get creative and create something interactive that the audience would enjoy doing.
- Branded Lenses: Much like Snapchat, TikTok provides the opportunity for brands to create a direct marketing campaign via a branded lens. These allow users to upload a video of their own using the lens.
How Do You Capture an Audience?
There’s a unique difference that TikTok has that platforms like Instagram don’t – it’s unpolished and imperfect. Users don’t have to create highly Facetuned or photoshopped images to grab attention – it’s all about fun, exciting and fresh content. For brands, be sure that the challenges you decide on are worthy of trying. With Kroger, the #TransformYourDorm challenge appealed to those who had started university and encouraged them to go to the grocer to purchase goods for their dorm rooms. This is a creative challenge that gets a niche audience involved in the process and gets those who may not be old enough to go to university yet, excited for their own dorm experience.
Users on TiKTok appear to enjoy the content that’s not polished, perfect or well-curated; they’re after something a bit corny and a lot of fun. Funky music, dancing, happiness, and being ‘yourself’ is the content that shines throughout the app. “Ultimately content must be personalised and relevant to each individual to truly unlock the value of social and achieve ROI beyond marketing,” said Ms Cook.
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