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May 9th, 2023

Trending on TikTok.

In part two of our “Tapping Into TikTok” series, we take a look at the rise of TikTok Agents and (De)influencers, exploring what they mean for traditional feedback-channels and the leisure and hospitality industry.

Two things to watch out for in 2023 as a B2C marketer.

Since TikTok’s launch in 2016, there have been several new intuitive features introduced to enhance the user experience, but like anything, there is still room for further expansion and the popular social media platform has proven the opportunities are endless. Once branded as a silly dance video fad, TikTok has now become arguably the most prominent, trusted and technically sophisticated social media platform we have available to us – with new trends and content formats popping up all the time.

Here are two things to watch out in 2023 as a B2C marketer…

Introducing TikTok Agent: The Decentralisation of Leisure & Hospitality?

With the rise of #TravelTok and searches for travel itineraries on the platform having increased by over 72%, TikTok is becoming the go-to destination for holiday inspiration and all-things travel – bringing us into a new age of Travel Agency. Whether you’re on the ‘hunt’ for a restaurant recommendation or a complete holiday itinerary, TikTok has it all. We say ‘hunt’ but this is exactly what TikTok doesn’t make you do! At the tip of your fingers, a user can learn all the ‘best bits’ from a location anywhere in the world from a trusted voice – sometimes, all in one video up to just 10 minutes long. The content of ‘TikTok Agents’ better responds to our seemingly ever-shortening attention spans and preference for how we consume information online which is moving away from time-spent trawling the internet – because why do this when it could all be done for us! And, perhaps rather strangely, despite the thousands of views, shares and likes on a video from a TikTok Agent, the user still feels like the experience is personal, exclusive and unique – as if they are the only one to have access to these planned out trips and ‘hidden’ gems.

The beauty of TikTok is that everyone and anyone can create content and not just leading brands, global conglomerates and paid influencers, making the information in these types of videos far more trusted. A user who has created a TikTok video to tell fellow travellers about their experiences and a taste of what to expect in their personal opinion is far more credible than a brand, travel company or individual that benefits financially in some way. Combined with the fact that that “90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text”, its no surprise that short-format personal account videos are so sought after – making TikTok an incredibly effective platform to “sell” an experience.

TIKTOK AGENTS FEED HYPE CULTURE.

As well as promoting for city breaks and package holidays, this new form of marketing and promotion has been particularly effective for destinations that are slightly off the beaten track and are struggling to attract visitors that cannot afford to spend thousands of pounds on advertising!

Hype culture is a term that has been coined within the last decade and can used to describe a common obsession over finding and/or experiencing the next big thing, inciting high levels of excitement and adrenaline in the process. This could range from a trainer drop, fashion collab or a new store opening, to a leisure activity, or even your local chip shop…think Binley Mega Chippy. More recently, the idea of needing to find or experience the next best thing has TikTok to thank – for the most part – with hype culture filtering into the travel and tourism scene via the rise of TikTok Agents. Users see the videos of other users and creators visiting destinations, making them want to experience these destinations themselves and share their experience with others (on TikTok), creating hype for the destination and subsequently causing the destination itself to become busy – further boosting its popularity and hype.

The state of the destination’s exclusivity comes full circle. At first it feels exclusive because very few others have experienced it, but its virality on TikTok can cause the destination to become incredibly busy and/or booked up, with desiring customers having to wait months, sometimes years, to be able to experience it. Humble Crumble is a great example of this. If you were to search on TikTok, “Things to do in London”, or “Restaurants in London”, Humble Crumble is sure to pop up. What started as a ‘humble’ dessert stall at a local farmers market has now gone viral for its ‘delicious’ on-the-go or take home ‘artisanal crumble’. Much like waiting in a mile-long queue for hours in the anticipation of a trainer drop, Humble Crumble fans are prepared to wait over an hour to experience the ‘World’s first crumble bar’… and yes, it is worth the hype!

(De) influencers: The New Feedback-Channel

#TIKTOKMADEMEBUYIT

A successful product marketing campaign on TikTok will usually consist of a brand employing an influencer to feature and actively promote a product in a video, or series of videos, on their platform. If this influencer campaign is successful, the brand will see a spike in engagement and product sales. But if the influencer campaign is REALLY successful, other popular content creators might buy the product to try it themselves, consequently creating a snowball effect that sends the product viral, often picking up the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag – causing a further wave of virality and soaring sales.

A de-influencer is a fairly new term in the social media and marketing world used to describe someone who either uses their platform to actively smear the reputation of a person or brand, or discourage people from using (and therefore buying) products and/or services. A stark contrast to the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend!

DE-INFLUENCER CONTENT: #TIKTOKMADEMENOTBUYIT!

The content of a de-influencer presents in a handful of ways. A creator might record a montage of clips of them trying a range of products that claim to make the process of doing something easier and devaluing these claims through video demonstration. Other creators, or ‘de-influencers’ might choose to create #GetReadyWithMe style videos here they invite their audience to watch them try products, usually clothes and make-up, for the first time, with the creator reviewing the product as they go. This might be a live video or a pre-recorded video and the results really can go either way – will they love it or will they hate it? Other De-influencer content uses the plethora of filters and features that the platform offers – from its Green Screen effect filter which enables the De-influencer to expose the flaws of a person, brand or product by showing evidence that dismantles their claims in the form of articles/studies, headlines, images, screengrabs and videos, to the Stitch filter mentioned earlier which allows users to add a video to the end of another users video as a way of holding a brand or person to account.

THE NEW FEEDBACK CHANNEL

De-influencers are rarely disgruntled customers acting on emotion (although some are) but rather they are someone who makes this type of content as routine and as part of their own personal brand. Alongside the fact that this type of content is very popular, typically gaining a high volume of views and engagement, these content creators might identify as social or eco warriors who are fed-up with mindless consumerism and the spread of disinformation and greenwashing among some brands. Others are simply the ‘Robin Hood of Reviews’, ensuring that the platform has a sense of balance and truth, not only making TikTok a more ‘socialist’ place to be – two out of three young people would prefer to see a more socialist approach to our society – but an authentic, albeit sometimes savage, feedback channel rivalling the more traditional reviewing platforms of TripAdvisor of Google Reviews.

In May, we explore why you should be leveraging TikTok throughout your entire marketing operations, both online and offline.

 

Part One: TikTok: Under The Spotlight

Part Two: Two things to watch out for as a B2C marketer (You are here)

Part Three: How to beat the algorithm & win on TikTok

Part Four: Leveraging TikTok Offline: A New Era Of “Phygital”

 

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We understand the importance of responding to the future of retail and keeping up-to-date with the latest social and digital trends to create best-in-class brand experiences and customer journeys.

Every trend has an opposite, a counterpart that is its antithesis, and these ‘design dualities’ is precisely what our latest insight report explores. Delving into these dualities is not merely about style; it’s decoding the unspoken conversation of fractured communities, seeking pathways for bridge building through forms that reflect our division. Request the report!