The internet has had many plot twists over the years, with the advent of new characters who arrive (Facebook), stay (Instagram), disappear (Vine), reappear (Twitter), and then get forgotten (RIP MySpace). With new platforms (enter TikTok) come new users – and a slew of brands eager to hop on the trend.
As Sejla Rizvic writes in a piece for The Walrus, TikTok users have “embraced idiosyncrasy and irreverence over conformity and overwrought styling.” While millennials are caught up in authenticity (as well as Sejla quips, “immaturity and whining, their predilection for Harry Potter and BuzzFeed” according to their younger critics), their Gen Z counterparts are a group obsessed with individuality. And going further than that: embracing imperfections.
“What really makes TikTok unique – and what makes it especially appealing during a pandemic – is the feeling of intimacy and immediacy between users,” Sejla writes. Thanks to its largely Gen Z audience – who have always used the digital space to connect with people because it’s what they’ve grown up in – ”TikTok provides an uncanny feeling of closeness and camaraderie, like a FaceTime call shared with millions of strangers.”
But if we’re looking at it through the lens of marketing, the question should be less ‘how can we jump on the bandwagon?’ and more ‘what can we learn about this group of people?’ The real takeaway isn’t replicating TikTok challenges or resharing viral lip sync videos, but getting to know the people behind the screens. A generation that sees perfection as passé, values as vital and intimacy as intuitive.
“Tell Me Without Telling Me is the fastest way to give your writing or copy a living pulse. It’s the best way to paint a picture in the mind of the reader, to use action, senses, and feelings, versus basic, bloodless description. It snaps us out of our tendency to state things as we see them. And puts us into the mind of the audience: What’s it like? How does it feel?”
Taken from marketeer Ann Handley’s newsletter, Total Annarchy, discussing the viral TikTok challenge that actually improves your writing.
New York-based brand strategist, Aja Singer, is someone who’s well versed in marketing to different audiences. “You’ll see it in Tik Tok versus Instagram,” she tells us, “where the newer, younger generation wants things that are just a little messier, more honest and real and not overly polished or trying too hard.” We spoke to Aja about her newsletter, For The Love – one we dive into for all things strategy, startups and branding – which brands she’s looking out for and what ‘community’ really means.
Amongst the cooking tutorials and dance videos, beauty content is all over TikTok. Doe – who sells ultra-fine Korean silk lashes – is one of them. With over 86k followers on TikTok and 1.3m likes of sweetly-soundtracked how tos, hacks and glow ups. Land on their Instagram (@doebaby) and you’ll notice their pastely softgirl aesthetic, which comes through in their copy too. Their tagline? Soft as clouds, sweet like Doe. A newsletter CTA reads: “Join the exclusive Doe family and we'll write you really cute letters”, while product names range from Moonlight to Silver Lining (although watch out for the outlier, Fuccboi Repellent – less soft but in keeping with Gen Z attitude).
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