Influencer marketing is having a moment on TikTok, which is permeating culture at the speed of light. During the pandemic, TikTok nearly supplanted TV’s place in the center of the media ecosystem, competing with many streaming services for our free time, and often winning.
Part of TikTok’s appeal is the discoverability of something new. Upon logging in, users are greeted with an assortment of new accounts, often ones that fit within niches you might not have gone looking for otherwise. TikTok is home of acknowledging that weird noise Jennifer Aniston makes before every sentence, but also deep-cleaning-during-the-pandemic videos.
As such, it’s changing the brief for influencer marketing.
TikTok’s Authentic Aesthetic
The idea of “selling out” is a wearisome influence on TikTok. People have seen previous endorser platforms (for example, Klout) peter out and prove that commodifying such influence is distasteful to many. Instagram may be an exception to this rule, which now draws an estimated 22% of Facebook’s revenues, according to the Wall Street Journal, and remains a hot spot for traditional influencer marketing.
If there’s a formula to success on TikTok, it’s ordinary people who know how to add entertainment value to their postings.
That’s an entrée for creative agencies. Take Korean Dad, for example. Nick Cho is a creator who has amassed a huge following by bringing people together. Perhaps Korean Dad’s next move is to answer followers’ questions and give advice, Dear Abby style, with suggestions backed by brands or products.
Creator Content that Works Hard for Brands
No doubt there’s a wariness among consumers about influencers. Over the years, this type of social activity has bred cynicism among the public. Similarly, influencers have to be on their guard as well, remaining selective about the companies and causes they partner with.
The brand-side influencer work that attracts the biggest audiences is deeply collaborative between creative agencies and influencers. The personalities have a strong sense of what will bring entertainment and value to their followers, and marketers have the strength to build the idea for broader appeal.
The agency’s responsibility is to help build a message and oversee communications to ensure that messaging adheres to an overall brand positioning. Working together, both can anticipate what their audiences want to see next and provide value to the communication. By leaning into TikTok’s unique discoverability functionality, brands can broaden who they consider an influencer and bring them along in the creative process.
Coming out of a complicated year that unfolded largely on social platforms, we witnessed TikTok’s climb from an app dedicated to tweens to a powerhouse that spread throughout culture. The creators who have defined the space are giving marketers a refreshed perspective on what the future of influencer marketing could look like.
As TikTok continues to take center stage and the public moves away from slick advertising and toward emerging platforms, agencies can help influencers understand their appeal and why people engage with them.