We are constantly questioning whether short form video content, more in depth video discussions, or engagement through Instagram posts and stories are the most successful tools for successful influencer marketing.
There is no denying that influencers have a massive role to play when it comes to the success of social media today. Brands are continuously incorporating them into their marketing strategies to reach bigger audiences.
However, as digital evolves, choosing the right creators has become attached to choosing the right platforms – and when talking about Instagram and TikTok, this decision can have different impacts on marketing efforts.
The current landscape
There are over 25 million businesses on Instagram at the moment. Of these users, 89% are outside of the United States. Furthermore, 72% of teens around the world use Instagram, making it an excellent platform if they are the target consumer base.
In terms of demographics, 490 million users are male and 510 million users are female. Instagram is worldly known for its wide range of features, with Instagram Stories being incredibly popular: 500 million accounts check Stories on a daily basis.
TikTok in turn has 689 million users worldwide, 100 million of which are based in the United States. In Europe, there are 100 million TikTok users, with 17 million in the United Kingdom.
The revenue of the platform in 2020 was estimated at $1 billion, but its success can also be measured by its six billion lifetime registered downloads on Google Play and iOS App Store.
The focus on short videos led to the development of these platforms – and social media has changed as a consequence of this. The reason behind it is the audience’s behaviour: they are always on the go, consuming content under busy schedules. With a running length of minutes or purely seconds, short-form videos provide a very snappy way of creating, sharing, and inspiring viewers. For brands, the format turned into an exciting and effective way to reach new audiences and nurture relationships.
Although very similar, both Instagram and TikTok offer features with small but relevant differences that set them apart. Instagram Reels is a good example: the tool allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds, while TikTok users can record videos that last for 60 seconds. It may seem like a trivial variation, but when it comes to creating content, this length is key – and should be considered.
The power of Instagram
In the past years, creators have found a real home on Instagram. With a powerful combination of videos, images and GIFs, the platform offers the perfect landscape for influencers to leverage content production and humanise connection with followers.
The possibility of setting an official Instagram Creator profile has become a powerful option to differentiate those accounts from other regular users ones. Creators can then simplify direct messages, sell featured items in-app and understand their growth, as well as benefit from flexible profile display options.
Also, Instagram offers a great environment for collaborations – which have become an important strategy in the past years leading growth for brands, creators and the app itself. Partnering with businesses or with other creators can multiply the benefits of efforts when it comes to content production, along with reach and results amplification.
Aside from this, creators can make the most of direct messaging on Instagram. This feature is overlooked most of the time, but it turns out to be a potent communication channel to connect with followers and increase community building on a more intimate and personal level – an amazing way to help influencers stand out in the crowd.
The power of TikTok
TikTok delivers excellent results for creators today. Short videos combined with the power of music have transformed the way young users consume content – a solution that certainly led to the platform’s success among a specific age range.
Songs set the tune for all types of lip syncs, challenges, dances, and trends on TikTok, spotlighting creators’ creativity and designing a whole new environment for brands to gain traction with more flexible and fun communication formats.
There are some specific features on TikTok that attract creators and empower their performance – especially when partnering with brands. The possibility of creating their own custom audio inside the app is an example of an excellent branding tool to build more personalized and exclusive content. It requires the creator to download the audio and then edit it on TikTok, renaming it for search – a simple and efficient way of gaining more visibility on the channel.
Music is such a strong communication tool on TikTok that the app offers yet features for creators to use songs from other videos and adjust clips, leveraging vlogs in addition to other edition features mixing texts and filters.
Combining Instagram and TikTok strategies
Instagram and TikTok can be merged into an influencer marketing strategy if considering the right metrics for each channel. This is crucial not only to understand their current performance but also to make impactful changes for growth, establish assertive KPIs and go after innovative approaches.
Using data is actually an important part of social media marketing development as it sets a foundation for the decision-making process and decreases the risks along the journey, leading to more thoughtful strategies. The good news is that both Instagram and TikTok, as well as other social channels, have been updating their analytical features towards offering more precise insights for users – which gives brands and creators free access to essential metrics.
All of the great ways to combine these platforms in a strategy start with the marketing goals. While Instagram is a more mature channel, its social shopping capabilities have reached another level, helping creators lead more conversions. It also offers huge potential to showcase the branding culture and build a consistent audience base. Under the Facebook umbrella, it ends up gathering wider demographics with the benefit of being connected to the largest social company in the world.
TikTok complements this scenario by bringing reach and engagement. It’s fun approach is an appeal to Gen Z users as entertainment is still what rules this environment and creators tend to adopt the essence of the platform. Plus hashtags work pretty well as tools to enhance the audience impacted – they’re actually what links communities across the channel. In a nutshell, TikTok users are connected by their interests – a turning point in a digital landscape where followers and likes used to reign as the main KPIs.
In addition, Instagram and TikTok have something powerful in common: the opportunity for human connection. Influencer marketing strategies have stood out in the last years because creators help humanize brands therefore enhance their relationships with the audience.
Authenticity is the core of those social channels and the types of content that resonate in each of them need to be considered at the first stage of strategic planning. In other words: translating those platforms’ data into real and inspiring content addressed to each audience’s behaviour is key to make this match successful and effective.
*Sources: Business Insider, Business of Apps, Statista.
A TikTok trend where teenagers use tiny magnets as fake tongue piercings has prompted the NHS …
A TikTok trend where teenagers use tiny magnets as fake tongue piercings has prompted the NHS to call for the metal balls to be banned.
The viral challenge involves people putting two magnetic balls on either side of their tongue to give the appearance of a tongue piercing.
But accidentally swallowing more than one magnet can be life-threatening and cause serious damage within hours.
The NHS said there has been a rise in hospital admissions among older children as many have taken part in the online craze, leading the NHS to issue a patient safety alert earlier this month.
An 11-year-old is among those who suffered serious complications after apparently swallowing several of the magnets, according to Worcester News.
Ellis Tripp was rushed to hospital and forced to undergo a six-hour operation to remove five inches of his bowel.
His mother, Amy Clarke, pleaded with other parents to watch out for the TikTok trend.
“I’m in a nightmare. This TikTok craze could/would have killed him if left any longer. Please talk to your children and tell them how DANGEROUS THESE ARE,” she wrote on Facebook.
A 13-year-old girl is also reported to have had major surgery after trying out the social media trend.
Her mother, Faye Elizabeth from Rainhill, said her daughter swallowed 15 of the magnetic beads, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The tiny balls are less than 6mm in diameter and can be easily swallowed.
Once ingested, they can become forced together in the intestines or bowels, squeezing the tissue and cutting off the blood supply.
At least 65 children have been admitted to hospital in England for urgent surgery after swallowing magnets in the last three years.
Professor Simon Kenny, paediatric surgeon and national clinical director for children and young people at NHS England, has called for the magnets to be banned.
He said: “There is nothing fun for children or their parents about surgery to remove magnets that have been swallowed and become stuck together through different parts of the intestines, or the long-term physical problems and internal scarring that can be left behind.
“I would urge parents to be aware of the dangers associated with magnetic toys but ultimately, the only way we can prevent future incidents is to stop these items being sold altogether.”
The NHS said anyone who has swallowed magnets should not wait to develop symptoms and should instead go to A&E immediately.
TikTok Given EU Ultimatum Over Child Safety Concerns
Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘SOUR,’ the onset of the TikTok Era of Music
Rodrigo’s first studio-length album, “Sour,” was released May 21 to widespread acceptance and popularity amongst Gen Z-ers.
Olivia Rodrigo has become a name that everybody recognizes — whether you’ve spent hours watching TikTok videos to her debut single ‘drivers license,’ released earlier this year, or you’ve heard the song playing on the radio.
Her rise to fame seemed to happen overnight — Rodrigo went from being a Disney star that only pre-teens and some old-school ‘High School Musical’ loyalists would recognize from the Disney+ TV Series ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ to being #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 9 weeks straight in a matter of months.
While she is not the first Disney actor-turned-popstar, it is undeniable that she had an advantage that Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus didn’t have in the early 2010s: TikTok.
‘drivers license’ quickly soundtracked several TikTok trends: from dance challenges and dramatic cry-singing, to videos decoding clues that suggested the song was about her HSMTMTS co-star and rumoured ex-boyfriend, Joshua Bassett.
Gen Z’s obsession with Rodrigo’s relationship drama fueled the success of the song, but the raw emotion that seeps through relatable lyrics is what made the song a TikTok sensation. This relatability is characteristic of every track on her debut album, “Sour,” released May 21.
While the lyrical relatability and familiar radio-pop form of the song work well for 15 second TikTok videos, the problem arises with the TikTok Effect, which has spilled over into every corner of the music industry. For instance, ‘drivers license’ broke the record for most streams in a day on Spotify for a non-holiday song — even though it is arguably trite in its musical quality.
‘drivers license’ is a typical, formulaic pop ballad, far from innovative. While this does not seem like it would be immediately advantageous, social media has rendered it commercially successful (if not artistically). The majority of pop music’s consumer base has already been so conditioned to consume art that conforms to a basic melodic formula that predictability is rewarded disproportionately — which inevitably means that innovation is penalized.
This tendency for conformity is a problem that started before TikTok; a result of long-term conditioning by the most successful figures in music. But TikTok has catalyzed the process due to its increasing influence on the music industry, acting as a metric of success that disturbs the talent-reward ratio even more than before by increasing the incentive (and therefore, the pressure) to conform to the formula.
To gain fame through TikTok, the artist’s song has to become a trending sound, which usually happens through dance challenges, memes or even unrelated trends that use the song. This system is flawed in itself, because the success of music is now dependent on how danceable and ‘memeable’ it is — but it also further reinforces the formula, as the music most likely to conform to these standards is the familiar, cookie-cutter pop with catchy choruses and simplistic lyricism. This is the kind of music Olivia Rodrigo makes.
Another very obvious problem with TikTok — which also incidentally worked in Rodrigo’s favor — is the short-form video format of the platform. Videos can be up to a minute long, but the 15 second videos are the most popular. Again, only the very simplistic, very repetitive songs can conform to this reductive format without losing crucial elements of musicality.
In order to garner TikTok success, a song needs to instantly capture attention — something which familiarity helps achieve — but this leaves no scope for innovation. Just like the essence of a novel cannot truly be captured in a paragraph-long summary, the layers and complexities of a song that progresses beyond the monotonous radio standard simply cannot be captured in 15 seconds, and it should not have to. The fact that most mainstream music follows a similar pattern already inhibits listeners from actively engaging with a track, and shortening the length will reduce attention spans even further — making it that much harder for the non-conforming artist to get noticed.
The reward for those who do conform, however, is so bloated that the TikTok Effect is also seeping into the production of music directly. Rodrigo said in a video explaining her songwriting process that she deliberately added a cue into ‘drivers license’ that could act as a transition for TikToks. “And people did make TikToks like that so I’m really happy about that,” she said.
While 18-year-old Rodrigo used this strategy skillfully and successfully, others have attempted to do the same to little avail. Justin Bieber, for instance, went to great lengths to make his single ‘Yummy’ go viral on TikTok through its bubblegum-pop production, but listeners saw through his somewhat desperate attempt, some even condemning that the song was very clearly designed for TikTok.
But unlike Bieber’s futile attempt at TikTok trendiness, Rodrigo’s song still seems to have some heart: Its saving grace is emotional — not musical — authenticity. The underlying fact, however, is that commercialism is invading the creative process, and the art is being tainted. If artists are keeping the TikTok market in mind while creating music, we can expect this era of music to be marked by a further increase in standardization, a further loss in innovation. And the artists who resist the allure of the formula’s ensured commercial success will have an even harsher, more indifferent world to contend with.
Olivia Rodrigo, however, has merit to her success — she already had a Disney fanbase, and she is not without talent. She can be credited for a powerful voice and the smart business sense that allowed her to adeptly use TikTok and the formula to her advantage. But ultimately, it remains true that her immediate and unparalleled success in doing so has catalyzed the onset of a new era of the same, old music — robbing the music industry of the sanctity of the creative process. TikTok is the indicator of success in music now, and while it can be credited for lowering the barriers of entry in the music industry by giving musicians a platform to grow, the issue remains that it prefers homogeneity to originality, leaving many potentially talented artists disadvantaged. Like most systems that claim to be meritocratic, TikTok is anything but. It clings desperately to the familiar, and in doing so, actively hinders the progression of art.