I can easily spend at least an hour scrolling through TikTok laughing at videos, learning about the newest drama and watching craft and cooking videos. My parents are tired of my sister and me starting our sentences with, “I saw this TikTok.” We are often met with rolling eyes when we talk about the social media app. To my parents and many others, TikTok may seem like an app where people waste their valuable time mindlessly scrolling. Many fail to realize that if used correctly, TikTok is a very powerful tool in the communications world. TikTok is not just a social media app, but the source of effective and successful advertising. It has been dubbed as ‘TikTok University’ by many users, who go there to shop and find product and brand reviews.
‘TikTok University’ is a term coined by users who have learned various skills and lessons on the app. These lessons range from cooking, skincare, school subjects and homework to languages, cultures, random tips and technology skills. Buzzfeed writer Angelica Martinez compiled a list of TikToks that she says taught her more than she has ever learned in school.
As a sales planning intern last summer, much of my job was on Microsoft Excel, a program I knew nothing about. I turned to TikTok to teach me different tricks and skills in Excel. By the end of the summer, I was learning how to code in Excel and teaching my team and boss some of the knowledge I had learned from TikTok.
Along with random users, TikTok can be an excellent tool for brands and organizations to educate target audiences about a variety of topics. This allows brands to meet consumers where they are and bring the knowledge to them in an engaging way through a channel that is already part of their everyday routine.
So many users have turned to TikTok to shop that TikTok has launched TikTok Shop, a feature that allows users to explore and purchase products without leaving the app. The abundance of reviews from influencers and regular users has created a trusted space for users to investigate and research products, services and brands before purchasing. An Adweek-Morning Consult survey reports that 49% of TikTok users have purchased a product after seeing it promoted, reviewed or advertised on TikTok. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok’s social commerce sales are rapidly rising and are estimated to reach $68.92 billion in the United States in 2023. With the opportunity to gain social commerce, brands may want to take another look at investing in advertising on TikTok. It is not just a silly app kids spend too much time on. TikTok’s shopping feature is a tool that has influenced many to purchase, including me.
As the fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok is a powerful tool in the advertising and communications world. TikTok’s features and abilities involve more than just entertainment and can be used to increase brand profits, awareness, reach and consumer base. It might be worthwhile to spend a little time on TikTok and explore the app through the eyes of the consumers.
By: Sydney Wallace, Alexandra Holley