TikTok. We all know what this social media platform is but we (or, at least I) didn’t start hearing about it until peak of quarantine in the beginning of 2020. It’s a relatively new social media platform but has become increasingly popular in the past year. To be more specific, it was the number one downloaded app in all of 2020. The latest TikTok statistics show that as of April 2020, the popular video app has been downloaded more than two billion times worldwide on both the Apple App Store and Google Play (Sensor Tower, 2020). TikTok is clearly a platform that is very recognizable, and suits brands and influencers who aim to go viral. The platform has been around for 5 years yet it only started really gaining traction over the past year — It took some time to gain credibility and users. TikTok’s quick videos that attract the attention spans of Gen Z have proven to be successful.“While you might not want to focus all of your social media resources on TikTok just yet, it’s a great time to familiarize yourself with the app and start experimenting with a few fun videos” (Bump, 2021). For now, it seems as though it’s fun and relatable videos are here to stay until the government comes in and shuts it down.
Although TikTok is a great example of a “new” social media platform that has become successful and has attracted thousands of brands, that’s not the case for every platform. Many social media platforms, like many new businesses, unfortunately fail. “Social media marketers constantly try to balance the proven practices on established social networks with strategic bets on the up and comers” (Tobin, 2021). So what should brands do when a new social media platform is introduced? Should they become the trendsetter in their industry and establish a community on that new platform? Or should they let the trendsetters be the guinea pigs, and wait it out until it’s worth while? There’s definitely pros and cons to both options, but I think most brands best bet is to wait until that new social media platform is proven successful.
Imagine the amount of time, energy, effort, and funds that could potentially be wasted on a platform that ends up having no exposure. Businesses are already starting to consistently implement social media marketers into their companies who spend hours upon hours creating content and establishing a brand voice specifically for social media platforms. This time and energy shouldn’t be wasted on newer platforms that we don’t fully understand yet. Brands should focus on what they do know, instead of what they don’t. Putting time towards an established platform that has research and analytics to back it up, is definitely the best use of time. Successful platforms provide businesses and users with many opportunities to help them excel in marketing efforts, that newer platforms don’t have at first. Successful platforms like Instagram and Facebook do just that: these platforms allow any type of user or brand to easily use their features, while also creating space for almost any type of community. Newer platforms don’t have an environment that relates to every type of user. Waiting until it’s clear that a platform is popular among many different types of groups and businesses, as well as being easy to use, is the route that I think is best for brands to go.
“As socially inclined creatures, human beings have embraced technology that connects us with others. Every year, there is an increasing number of people signing up for and using social media. What this means for marketers is that there is huge potential to reach a massive and engaged audience on social media. And that’s not just limited to the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram” (Influencer Marketing Hub, 2021). There is great potential for new social media platforms to emerge, and the data shows that new platforms are created every year. New social media platforms may look shiny and new, and in theory may work out “but just because something catches fire does not mean that its flame will continue to burn, nor does it mean that it’s applicable to every marketer” (Gil, 2020).