What is TikTok and why has it become all the rage?

Breanna KimSocial media

Over the years, we have seen short-form video apps come and go. Vine arguably began the popular trend of creating short videos for entertainment, with many other apps following suit. From Vine to Dubsmash, people have fallen in love with the short-form video. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that similar platforms are making their mark.

What is TikTok?

When Vine became defunct, several new platforms specializing in short videos began to emerge. TikTok, a Chinese-based application, was created a few months before Vine was discontinued in 2016. In the beginning, its popularity paled in comparison to Vine, due to only being available in China. After musical.ly was bought in late 2017 by TikTok’s parent company, the two platforms were merged together. This saw a rise in the number of users on the app. By October of 2018, it had become the most downloaded app in the United States.

TikTok has taken the best features from several short-video platforms and has integrated them into its own app. On TikTok, you’re able to create a short video that can feature music in the background, be sped up or slowed down, and even edited with a filter. While the 15-second limit may seem like such a short clip, users have gone on to create impressive music videos and comedic sketches. The app has also implemented a feature called Duet that allows TikTok creators the opportunity to collaborate with each other at different times to create the final product.

Why is it so popular?

Like its predecessors, Vine and musical.ly, TikTok provides users the opportunity to be simultaneously creative and odd. Users are making Vine-style type content, without the limitations that Vine had. While on Vine, you had to have a good idea and execution to get a high follower count, but on TikTok even the poorest quality lip-sync video can garner thousands of views. Without a doubt, it can be extremely entertaining for those using the platform for viewing purposes. There are a lot of different “genres” that each video can be classified into, and there’s certainly something for everyone on the platform.

So, how can you market your business using TikTok?

How is this relevant for businesses, if the majority of users on the app are members of a younger generation? When TikTok started growing bigger in the United States, brands took notice. Like Instagram and Snapchat, TikTok can help boost awareness of your brand through advertising or collaborations. If your video is deemed to be high quality, managers of the app will actually move your post to the top of users’ feeds. You can also issue “challenges” to users of the app, as Guess has done. By collaborating with TikTok, Guess encouraged users to utilize the hashtag #InMyDenim. The challenge was the first promoted hashtag challenge and popular TikTok content creators participated in the challenge. By using TikTok for exposure, whether by creating your own hashtag or releasing entertaining videos, you’ll be able to reach a younger audience than on other social media platforms.

Are you a frequent user of the app? If so, send us your favourite TikToks on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!