TikTok, established just six years ago, has more than 1 billion monthly users surpassing both Snapchat and Instagram to become the most downloaded app worldwide in 2022. The big tech brands are now paying attention to TikTok because of its explosive growth in popularity. While global tensions over data security and privacy remain high, technology companies cannot ignore the platform’s impact on viewers.
Over 8.5 million people have liked Google, Apple, and Microsoft combined. Apple has more than 1.3 million fans on the platform, compared to 403,000 and 143,000 for Google and Microsoft, respectively. However, unlike Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites where these businesses are also present, TikTok helps to promote the brands in different ways than traditional advertising.
Gen Z does not like ads
“The younger audiences often exist in ad-free environments.” said Hanna Kahlert, an analyst with the research and analysis firm Midia Research, where she focuses on marketing and advertising, social media, and cultural and consumer trends. She notes that exposing Gen Z to tech brands like Microsoft is challenging.
“Where else can you reach these younger consumers and raise some awareness, then, is the question.” stated Kahlert. “Technology companies use TikTok because it’s the best way to reach them.”v
TikTok has a ready audience for big tech firms
Big tech firms are increasing their participation on TikTok, indicating a broader societal shift. Brands cannot exist in their original form anymore. Kahlert says, “They need a user interface that allows for audience interaction. Viewers are becoming more accustomed to communicating with the creators of the content they enjoy.”
Having a relationship with consumers is also crucial. Kelley Myers, director of social media for consumer brands at Microsoft, says, “Social media is a place for us to be more personal, to be more relevant, to be, in some respects, more candid.” This is because we are almost exactly in the space our audiences have decided to be for themselves.”
Big technology firms producing personable content that adheres to current trends tied to corporate humor and sound business advice are having success on TikTok.
Generation Z and millennials, a group that may or may not be interested in particular goods or services, are more receptive to content.
The challenge Tech brands face when joining TikTok
Brian Easter, a co-founder of Atlanta, Georgia-based marketing firm Nebo Agency, says, “Many tech firms focus more on the product and less on the message. While that is ok, Gen Z is more interested in the details of the product.”
Pulling these firms out of that and trying to convince them that going to TikTok and simply bragging about their technology wont give them much attention is one of the obstacles. What they need to do is figure out how to be human and tell tales at the same time.
“The usage of videos to promote engagement happens when brands create personal connections,” he added.
Why Tiktok is a better platform for Big tech brands
With more people now using TikTok, Easter warned that if big digital companies don’t spend money on content production, they risk losing out. For example, it would be negligent of Google to overlook a younger-skewed audience. It must ensure that it’s growing and winning over hearts and minds wherever its users are.
The number of users on services like Google search engine is declining. According to Cloudfare, a web hosting company with its own TikTok account, TikTok.com was the most popular domain in 2021, surpassing Google.com, Facebook.com, Microsoft.com, and Apple.com in popularity.
Haley Filippone, a social and public relations strategist at Nebo Agency, says that while big tech companies, like any other brands, compete for viewers on TikTok, it’s simpler for these well-established businesses to stand out from the crowd.
Large brands like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter are capable of commiting more time, energy, and resources to the platform. But producing videos for smaller brands can be time-consuming and expensive.
TikTok’s current popularity could shrink in future
No one knows how long TikTok will remain famous and influential. But Easter believes Tiktok has everything it needs to maintain its popularity.
According to Kahlert, a single platform in today’s digital culture cannot entirely disrupt the social media market. Facebook was the first social site to shake up the game, then Instagram and Snapchat. She claimed that each platform introduces a new element or function, but TikTok might be yet another in the mix.
“TikTok might be the one that persists, but another company might step up and do it. We won’t likely observe just one being everything, according to Kahlert. “We’re always going to see at least a few of these apps concurrently becoming extremely important.”
The Big Picture
While Kahlert agreed that large tech should be on TikTok, she also noted that unlike traditional advertising, not every exposure and publicity on social media results in more significant sales or favorable recognition.
Success on Tiktok is a delicate balancing game. According to Kahlert, you’ll have one post that goes viral for positive reasons and another that does so for negative ones. Therefore, you must be on TikTok but when it comes to this kind of fame, be careful what you wish for.