by Lindsay Nead, CEO, Parker Management
Just a few weeks ago, the world of TikTok was still somewhat of an anomaly for the majority of the post-college aged population. As the fun video snippets and viral dances made the slow trickle to Instagram stories, TikTok was becoming more visible to social media consumers in recent months, but the platform was still largely chalked up to being a space almost exclusively for Gen Z.
This all changed with the arrival of COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing measures around the world. Shelter-in-place directive driven boredom combined with a need to balance the world’s weighty issues with light, fun and uplifting content translated to an almost immediate rise in TikTok usage across all demographics. Much like Instagram stories offer an avenue to less curated expression, TikTok takes it a step further: it’s a playful space where being silly is celebrated, and where content doesn’t need to have an ulterior motive behind pure entertainment.
The opportunity for influencers to utilize TikTok is incredibly present, and growing. Whether influencers are eager to highlight different, more relatable aspects of their personality and struggling to find the appropriate space on Instagram, or seeking a new platform to expand the reach of their niche expertise, now is the time for them to capitalize on TikTok’s rise in popularity.
TikTok doesn’t need to be all goofy videos, though. Many influencers have been using the platform in a very specific, education-driven way. Food bloggers have been sharing quick recipes and kitchen hacks; beauty bloggers have been posting makeup tutorials and product reviews. Some influencers have even been using the platform to share social tips and strategies with their followers, like everything you need to uplevel your at-home selfie game, or hacks with Instagram stories you never knew existed.
At Parker Management, I encourage all of my talent to pursue TikTok with the same considerations they’d apply to starting a new Instagram account. Figure out the “why,” identify your target audience, and shape your content to appeal to the platform’s unique attributes.
One of the best things about TikTok is that it’s so new that the algorithm is incredibly generous. TikTok doesn’t care who you are or who follows you. The algorithm is extremely friendly to new users; how content shows up is consistent and predictable, and most people discover new accounts from the main page. Follower count isn’t really a consideration at this point.
Beyond that, it’s easy to secure rapid growth on the platform. One of my influencers was sitting at around 3,000 followers three months ago, and today she has an audience of one million. The key is posting regularly; at this point, TikTok most favors accounts that have a steady flow of content.
Brands, too, are beginning to recognize the value in TikTok and integrate the platform into their marketing and partnership strategies. At this stage in the game, product-driven brands are the ones who are showing up most, via TikTok tutorials and influencer endorsements. Brands who have traditionally executed story-only campaigns, like CINEMOOD and FabFitFun, are realizing the rates for engaging influencers on TikTok are typically less than other platforms, for essentially the same content. I predict that as the platform’s popularity continues to skyrocket, we’ll see brands across all sectors including food, home and—hopefully, one day soon—travel, show up in their own unique TikTok ways.
So much of social media is driven by cultural climate, so it makes perfect sense that right now, people are seeking raw, uncurated, and low-pressure content. And it appears we’ll be navigating these new waters for at least the coming months, if not longer. For influencers wanting to change up their day-to-day, or brands eager to reach new audiences, the time for TikTok is now.
About Lindsay Nead
Lindsay is the founder and CEO of Parker Management, a leading talent agency specializing in the travel, home, lifestyle and wellness space. In just three years, Lindsay has built a talent roster boasting more than 20 million followers spanning digital creators, influencers, models, lifestyle and wellness experts. Her client base features top brands like Disney, Amazon, Samsung, Columbia Sportswear, New Balance and more. Under her leadership, Parker Management has tripled in size, boasting 120% year-over-year revenue growth. Parker Management has effectively adapted the traditional agency infrastructure to better suit today’s top influencer talent, bridging the gap between brands, influencers and social media platforms. Outside of the office, Lindsay is a mom to her five-year-old son and spends her time enjoying the greater Portland area and staying active. Lindsay and her husband were recently featured on HGTV’s popular “House Hunters” program, where the couple shopped for a new home in Portland to raise their family.