TikTok's 5 Most Common Myths, and What's Actually True for Brands

Last updated on
September 12, 2022
Haley Thorpe

TikTok has earned its place at the top of marketers' minds (whether the thoughts are anxiety-inducing or not, who’s to say.) We've recently discussed why there are clear benefits to joining TikTok, at your own pace of course, but what are the common misunderstandings about it? Let's debunk them together.

1. TikTok videos and Instagram Reels are basically the same: False.

TikTok videos and Instagram Reels are often thought about or talked about interchangeably, with trending sounds, fast transitions, and text overlay all playing a heavy role. But many TikTok videos are more akin to an Instagram Story: talking-head style, casual, off-the-cuff, low stakes, un-produced. We’re seeing many high-growth lifestyle TikTokers post upwards of 5 times per day.

2. There's more to find beyond dancing and lip-syncing: True.

A common misconception is that every TikTok post involves a trending dance, lip-syncing, or comedy. While these are popular on the platform, there is plenty more to offer. As we like to say, TikTok is a multi-verse. These are currently the top ten trending categories on TikTok:

  1. Entertainment (lip-syncing, etc.) - 535 billion hashtag views
  2. Dance - 181b
  3. Pranks - 79b
  4. Fitness/sports - 57b
  5. Home reno/DIY - 39b
  6. Beauty/skincare - 33b
  7. Recipes/cooking - 18b
  8. Lifehacks/advice - 13b
  9. Pets - 10b
  10. Outdoors - 2b

If TikTok is a multi-verse and each of these ten hashtags is a universe, there are solar systems and galaxies of niches and micro-communities within them. Content that is centered in popular music or trending sound is only the tip of the iceberg. So if you haven't already, jump into a universe relevant to your brand to see what you discover.

3. Only teenagers are on it: False.

According to Pew Research Data, there is now some evidence that its user base is aging. People aren't just giving up on TikTok because they believe they have outgrown it. In fact, according to HubSpot, the number of adult U.S. visitors to TikTok has doubled in the past year.

According to Statista, Most US users are young, with 32.5% aged between 10 and 19. A further 29.5% are aged 20-29.

You can find a wide variety of ages on the TikTok platform. Just take a look at accounts oldgays, retirementhouse, or our new favorite term, 'grandfluencers.' As we said before, there's room for everyone here.

4. Branded posts require high-quality production: False.

Gen Z and TikTok users want to see low-fi content. What's that? No more filters, no more "escapist" social media. They want their content (and their influencers) to be real and attainable.

You don't necessarily want the content to be a mirror back to your brand - you want it to be a window. By allowing Gen Z creators to make content that feels natural to them, you're inviting a whole, trusting audience to peep through the window into the world of your brand. The audience can tell the difference.

According to a Nielsen Data survey, globally an average of 53% of TikTok users say they trust others to be their real selves on TikTok.

5. Influencer ads and sponsored content need to be hidden: False.

Full disclosure, embracing the sponsored content, and being upfront are appreciated by Gen Z. Sentiment about 'getting the bag' is a positive, uplifting celebration—there is solidarity in appreciating the investment in creative people.

The consumer to influencer relationship involves celebrating wins, and your brand is getting a positive halo due to your investment in creative, diverse, and talented people.

You don't need to be invisible for it to be influential: you're influential for knowing to invest there in the first place.

TikTok influencers are savvier about contract watch-outs, negotiation, and landing brand deals. They understand how the game is played, and they're open about playing it.

#InfluencerTips has over 285.5M views & #InfluencerMarketing has over 61.6M views

We have a few more misconceptions to share…

We’ve released a truly comprehensive TikTok marketing survival guide on how to navigate the TikTok universe, to better understand the niches and communities inside it, and help translate the cultural movements inspired by its users and creators.

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