Welcome back to HotToks, where we explain 'the why' behind each viral TikTok trend, tap into key cultural moments, cover app updates, and share how to plan your TikTok marketing strategy. This edition we report on the Alix Earle and Mielle Hair Oil controversy, everything you need to know about the TikTok 2023 Trend Report, and a bonus peek into F*** You Pay Me's Best and Worst List of 2022.
Another day, another controversy. TikTok’s hottest new ‘it-girl,’ Alix Earle, now sitting at over 3M followers, is in the hot seat. Especially when engagement is lower than normal, everyone is talking about how Alix Earle became so viral so fast (2M+ followers in over a few months). Of course, the TikTok community is cooking up theories. Some people credit her growth to her natural authenticity, some say she feels like a BFF, and some say it’s simply because of her public breakup with baseball player Tyler Wade. She hinted at some issues in their relationship, announced their breakup on TikTok Live, and her followers supported her, proud of her for leaving him behind. Her extraordinary growth is not often seen; the first example is Charli D’Amelio’s rapid rise to fame.
Here’s the Mielle Hair Oil situation: Alix Earle recently posted a video, partnering with Amazon, on her favorite Amazon purchases of 2022, with Mielle Organics' Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil being one of them. Mielle is a Black-owned brand specializing in natural hair products made by Black women for black women. Enter the oncoming stream of (mostly white) creators testing out and reviewing the hair oil. This is being coined the ‘Alix Earle Effect.’ And there’s certainly an effect: the product is literally selling out, reducing Black and brown consumers’ access to an already dwindling selection of products formulated specifically for them.
While it’s nice that Mielle is getting recognition, long-time Black and brown consumers are anxious that the brand might raise their prices and change the formulas to suit their white consumers better. They’re also worried that there’ll be less and less of a product catered specifically for the Black community—one that’s already heavily underserved in terms of haircare. And those are valid concerns. Just look back at the 2015 Shea Moisture re-formulation that faced backlash from women with natural hair.
TikTok has recently released a 2023 Trend Report to gain more insight into what’s happening in this new year and a new era of TikTok. Here’s the download:
Trend Force #1: Actionable Entertainment
We will witness a move towards tailor-made content on the platform because they are the most beneficial in inspiring people to take action. TikTok-first entertainment will inspire people to test out new products, ways of thinking, and behaving.
Trend Force #2: Let’s Go For a (Joy-)Ride
With the help of TikTok advice, people are finding more ways to take care of themselves. In 2023, messaging in general (on- and off-platform) should speak to inspire and encourage people to give themselves more grace. People are looking for more meaningful ways of self-care to prioritize themselves and their health in the new year.
Trend Force #3: TikTok Communities Here to Stay
TikTok communities are relatable, spark joy, and add value to our daily lives, inspiring us to take action. It’s about finding people who understand each other and building safe spaces to connect. So much of TikTok’s success can be credited to it being unfiltered and real. It’s a place for people to ask questions, get answers, and spark discussions. Naturally, we want to feel aligned with the creators we watch, so relatable content is here to stay.
Influencer information-sharing platform F*** You Pay Me (FYPM) published findings on companies influencers liked and didn’t like working with in 2022. The study consisted of data from 7,285 influencers, and it’s a full-on tea ceremony.
The best companies, according to influencers, are the ones that “treat influencers like humans” and “invest in their relationships with these people,” says Lindsey Lugrin, the founder of FYPM, and they are: Adobe, Amazon, Michaels, BioGaia, Empress 1908 Gin, Hero Cosmetics, Bob's Red Mill, Samsung, CurlSmith and Fera Pet Organics. The worst companies, according to influencers, are those that “view influencers as interchangeable, easily replaced, and focus on output and acquiring creative assets for as cheap as possible,” and they are: Crown & Paw, Glamnetic, MVMT, VIVAIA, GOLI Nutrition, Revive Superfoods, Fashion Nova, Truly Beauty, NAKD and Daniel Wellington.
Takeaway: For influencer partnerships in 2023, brands should foster long-term, meaningful relationships with their influencers instead of treating influencers as if they were interchangeable, easily replaced, and trying to squeeze out as many assets for as little compensation as possible.
That’s all I have for now! TTYL <3
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