The age of admiring celebrities from afar is dead and gone. Anyone can interact with anyone they want with a simple social media interaction, including celebrities. This has given social media a level of personalization that was previously thought to be impossible. TikTok gives users yet another medium to play with and interact with their favorite celebrities, in the form of short videos. We didn’t see too many celebrities on Vine, even though it was pretty much the same grand concept. So why are celebrities rapidly creating TikTok accounts and producing content?
What is TikTok?
TikTok is an iOS and Android social media platform for filming, sharing, and watching short videos. As of October 2019, the app has been downloaded about 80M times in the US (800M worldwide). TikTok used to have another mega sister company, Musical.ly, that was merged with TikTok in November 2017.
What’s the appeal?
TikTok is a platform that allows users to create and share short videos, and browse other users’ content. This kind of social media is popular mainly because people are obsessed with consuming media in the easiest and most convenient way possible.
Vine was popular because modern attention spans are short, and a 6-second video held our attention long enough so the creator could get their point across. After that, we scrolled on to the next one. TikTok has the same concept but allows for much more versatility in video creation and sharing.
For instance, TikTok users have an array of editing options pre-production. They can layer filters and effects, add sounds, change filming speed, and most importantly, vary their film time up to one minute.
There is plenty of post-production editing options as well. TikTok also has the unique “Sounds” database where users may browse different sounds from videos, or select a particular sound to use on their own videos. TikTok also has a unique AI feature where videos on users’ homepage are personalized to their likes.
The general appeal of TikTok is that it’s a more versatile and personalized version of its beloved predecessor Vine. It’s almost comically simple to create, share, and browse content, which is why it’s so popular. This is a large, and maybe the biggest, part of why celebrities are flocking to the app.
Why are celebrities flocking to TikTok?
Celebrities, political officials, companies, and more have more control over their content than ever in history. This is all thanks to their social media platforms. TikTok is proving to be no exception to this.
This one-to-one interaction originally began with Facebook, where users could “Become a Fan” of or later “Like” a celebrity’s page, and they’d be updated with posts, photos, and videos.
Next came other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, which became popular among a younger crowd. The idea behind celebrities creating these social media accounts was to stay relevant and to allow their audience to keep up with them.
Even further, social media platforms have transformed how we’re receiving advertisements. This is especially true when accounts with large followings are able to partner with brands in a ‘paid parternship’ scenario, giving celebrities the opportunity to directly target their fans with their favorite items. A mutually beneficial relationship, users are now able to have a direct pathway to their fave celebs clothing or skincare regime or handbag, and celebrities are able to generate incomes for themselves with the sales they’re driving for the brands they partner with.
Now, celebrities are beginning to make TikTok accounts for the same reasons. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk are using the app to participate in current trends, in an attempt to try and connect with not only their current audience but to gather more followers. This is a brilliant idea, whether its the celebrities’ decision or their PR team:
- TikTok was the third most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2019 (SensorTower, 2019)
- In the 3 years since its launch, TikTok has 500 million active users worldwide (Datareportal, 2019)
- In the first quarter of 2019, TikTok was the #1 most downloaded app in the iOS App Store (SensorTower, 2019)
TikTok itself has basically gone viral. Most of the users on the app are aged 16-24 years old (GlobalWebIndex, 2019), which makes their largest age group some of the most prone to influence. It would be, to put it bluntly, foolish not to take advantage of these statistics and disregard TikTok as just another social media app.
It all boils down to one thing – Celebrities need to stay relevant to a young and ever-evolving audience. Young people are moving away from sites such as Facebook, much preferring to consume content and media through condensed forms like the 280-character limit of Twitter, the photos and videos-only format of Instagram, or the video-only format of TikTok.
Celebrities need to not only keep up with current trends but stay ahead of them to be able to stay relevant in today’s climate. Making TikTok accounts, participating in trends, and staying active on the app allows celebrities to keep (and grow) their audience.
Social media has evolved over time, just as any technology will. We’ve gone from simple blogs to sites like MySpace and LinkedIn, to today where we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and dozens of other social media sites for sharing and consuming content. Celebrities have been using various forms of social media since the term first came out, to connect with fans and to gain more popularity. Celebrities need to evolve with technology, and TikTok is a product of that evolution.
The app is rapidly becoming more and more popular among a younger audience, which is exactly why celebrities are flocking to it. The goal is to go to where the people are and use the app to stay relevant. TikTok isn’t just another social media app that’ll lose popularity anytime soon, and celebrities and their PR teams recognize that. They only have to use it to their advantage.