These past few months, we’ve seen a shift in the social media landscape. Users are craving community and turning to trusted influencers to find solutions to their everyday challenges, such as cooking every meal at home. The popularity of relatable, behind-the-scenes content is up, while tolerance for highly curated, inauthentic content is down. Enter TikTok, the platform that answered the call for less-curated content and saved many of us from quarantine boredom in the process.
TikTok has streamlined and democratized the process of video creation and sharing, allowing users to record short-form content, edit, and post all within the app. This gives influencers a chance to connect with their audience in a more immediate and casual way. As CookIt creator and early adopter of the platform Yumna Jawad (@feelgoodfoodie) puts it, it’s “less about the aesthetics and more about the [value] of that content.”
As we enter a post-pandemic world, TikTok’s user base, which has surpassed 800 million active users, shows that it continues to resonate with people. And this growth hasn’t just been among the teen and tween audience the platform is known for. The number of US adult TikTok users grew 5.5 times in less than 18 months, with 24-35-year-olds now making up about a quarter of its user base.
4 Secrets To a Successful TikTok (and what they mean)
TikTok’s continued growth can tell us a lot about the types of content users want to see at this moment. Here are four ways that Yumna and other early adopters of the platform, like CookIt creator My Nguyen of @myhealthydish, have found success—and what they indicate about what types of content will resonate in a post-pandemic world.
- How-to content: Yumna confirms that TikTok is making a concentrated, “effort to build content that is more tutorial and instructive in nature.” She explains, “TikTok has created a Creative Learning Fund, selecting 75 creators, like myself, to create educational content that teaches, inspires and informs about a wide array of topics like cooking, DIY projects, exercise, mental health and fashion.”
2. Relatable content: The connection between the “everyday” feel of TikTok videos and the platform’s growth isn’t an accident. “When browsing TikTok, you mostly feel as if you’re around ordinary people with ordinary everyday content that doesn’t feel too highly polished,” says Yumna. And that’s a good thing—“it shows that people are more interested in behind-the-scenes, raw, unedited content that gives them some type of value.”
3. Highly-engaging content: TikTok has been branded as a highly addictive platform, and it’s easy to see why. The format allows users to scroll seamlessly between videos, making it harder to capture attention. But TikTok has solved for this: The platform “rewards completion of a video more than likes and comments,” says Yumna. Successful content will, “provide entertainment and value while keeping things concise.”
4. Community-building content: TikTok has the highest engagement reach per post out of any social platform. In addition to encouraging hashtag use, TikTok inspires people to come together in a number of creative ways. Creators can participate in challenges using a specific hashtag, or respond to each other’s videos through duets, like this recent video by @feelgoodfoodie and @myhealthydish.
As TikTok finds its place among the giants like Instagram and Facebook, these growth areas indicate that the trend toward social media as a place for connection and accessible, relatable, and expert content users can learn from may be here to stay.
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