What longevity does TikTok have? How should businesses be using it? 

You may have seen in the news recently that Gen Z is now using TikTok as a search engine more than they’re using Google. Personally, I don’t understand how TikTok can compete with Google. In my opinion (contrary to what TikTok stands for) the platform is too slow to be used as a search engine. If you want a quick answer, Google will show you results within 1 second, and you can usually absorb that information equally as quickly. Whereas with TikTok, you’re required to  watch through videos which could be up to 10 minutes long, and may ultimately not even provide you with the information you’re seeking. My patience simply couldn’t handle that.

There is a huge audience for mental health and social media cleansing on TikTok (ironically). Videos explaining how detoxing social media has changed someone’s life, helped  them achieve their dream body, or earn £5 million overnight. These storylines, you may be surprised to hear, are not always true. However, there is a significant amount of trust that audiences put into what they read on social media (especially amongst Gen Zs). 

So by combining those two points, you could be onto a winning formula depending on your business objectives. You have a platform with an audience ready to learn, as well as one that trusts you. What more could you want? By creating content that is subtly informative, answers questions and is funny, you could be onto the perfect marketing tool for your business.

TikTok-ers are getting bullied & no influencer loyalty

By now, most TikTok influencers have been active on the channel since lockdown (when boredom and an abundance of free time led to a skyrocketing usage of the platform). With this comes a heightened expectation of content, an aversion to change, and potentially a few  heavy cases of jealousy. Three years is not a long time to build influencer loyalty when you think back to the likes of big YouTubers who we have watched grow over 10-15 years. It’s a fickle business to be in, and publish one wrong piece of content and your audience’s opinion can switch. This has led to numerous  influencers stepping back from the platform due to the bullying. The old saying, ‘Trust takes years to build, and seconds to break,’ has never been more  relevant than it is to social media platforms and the content creators who use them.

Touching on that loyalty piece (or lack thereof), this is a recurring theme across TikTok. If you create a viral TikTok, first of all – well done. Second of all, this doesn’t mean you’ve made it. Unlike other social channels, TikTok seems to have this incredible ability of creating a black hole of viral names, brands, and accounts that are forgotten as quickly as they went viral. If you want to succeed on TikTok, you undoubtedly want those big viral pieces but consistency is what will bring your brand out on top. Ryanair, Duo Lingo, M&S – they all are well known for their TikToks, but not every piece is viral. It’s all about giving it a shot, and unashamedly putting yourself out there (not something human nature particularly enjoys), but worth it for the business shot I would say. 

For this reason, jumping on the back of new trends and catching influencers when they’re new, popular and quite frankly still cheap is potentially the best way to play it. If you look at The Corn Song, currently trending on TikTok, just one charming interview, and that little boy is now working with Chipotle. You don’t have loyalty to him, he hasn’t had the time to offend or upset anyone, but 58 million people have watched it and 8 million have liked it – so a wise business move to raise awareness and hop on the back of someone else’s fame. The key there is knowing what’s relevant to your brand and as always with TikTok – an insanely quick reaction.


Dance trends are dying & leave out the forced fun

Interestingly, despite Meta having a long head start as an advertising platform, TikTok is not that far behind. TikTok may not be quite as sophisticated as IG & FB currently are, but it’s quickly getting there. The pure volume of people utilising the platform allows TikTok’s algorithm to learn faster than Meta had the opportunity to at the early stages of their establishment. However, trust takes time.So despite TikTok’s best efforts, it’s not quite the go-to platform for purchasing yet, but it is swiftly getting there. 

The dancing trends that propelled TikTok to the level it is at now have died out, and unless you have a big enough following it’s going to be incredibly difficult to catapult your brand forward using that method. Those videos have  gained a reputation for being slightly toe-curling, so unless they’re  seen as ‘random’, like an unexpected demographic doing the dance, it’s not going to settle well. Using trending sounds, however, is something that I cannot see changing for a long time. Brands such as Ryanair have catapulted their following into the sky by literally just jumping on the back of trending sounds, and having a bit of fun. 


The pretend, forced fun, is too transparent – and will be picked up by sharp audiences, which could be detrimental to brand identity. If you’re going to try for the forced fun route, you almost want to throw yourself into a ’The Office’ style filming, where it’s so painfully obvious it’s been made up, that it can’t help but be found funny. Or go down the M&S versus Aldi #freecuthbert route, and start arguments (even if they’re not real) for traction.

Something to think about.

This is where BeReal is going to be an interesting competitor for TikTok in the not so distant future. It’s no secret that BeReal has been rapidly growing – the authentic nature of the platform is what audience members are craving. As an advertising platform for businesses, I am still struggling to see how BeReal is going to scope that out, whilst still keeping true to its authentic routes. That said, TikTok’s strong rules around not allowing your ad to be an ad (as in as keeping it as authentic as possible), is obviously succeeding and growing currently. So I would imagine that BeReal is keeping a close eye on this methodology. It’s a really exciting platform to watch and there is an exciting twist to come fairly soon. Watch this space.

Author: Laura Bruce, Social Media & Content Manager