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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fanzo

What Marketers Can Learn From TikTok (without making a single video)

TikTok took the social media marketing world by storm in 2019 with more downloads than Facebook and Instagram causing many to jump on the app and many others to bash the app because they don’t like change...

Social Video Panel Discussing TikTok at Social Fresh Conference

As a digital futurist, when I initially joined TikTok my goal was simple - connect with the Gen Z community so in 3 to 5 years, when they take the jobs that my current advocates have, I still have a job.

But as time went on, I started spending more and more time on the platform. I eventually started replacing the time I used to watch Instagram stories by watching TikTok videos. And it looks like I am not the only one. Based on a recent eMarketer report the data currently shows that people are spending up to 50 minutes a day on the platform.

There is so much to learn from TikTok, but before I dive into that I want to make a disclaimer.

I am NOT here to try to convince you to start using TikTok for your business.

Instead, I want to encourage you to spend time observing TikTok and understanding what makes the platform so engaging.

TikTok takes social media back to the basics

If you’ve ever been on the TikTok app and played with some of the features, you might think I’m crazy, but believe me - TikTok is an old school in their vision of social media.

The app is built around the idea of being social on social media.

You have to have fun

I recently moderated a panel on the power of social video at SocialFresh and had the chance to chat with Dave Jorgenson who runs the Washington Post TikTok puts it best, he said, “you have to be able to make fun of yourself, you have to be able to have fun, you have to be able to laugh at yourself and be able to laugh at others without judging others.”

Today we are surrounded with fake news and bad news. Everything is so serious. I think it’s safe to say we are all looking for ways to have fun.

Your content has to be shareable

TikTok is the only app that allows you to easily share your platform to ANY platform. How good are you at making things that are easily shareable? Other platforms suck! They all make it very hard for each other’s content to be shared on different platforms.

TikTok Phone Screenshot Sharing

Not only does TikTok make it easy for you to share your own content, but they also make it easy for you to share other people’s content. All videos downloaded and shared from TikTok are watermarked with the user’s handle to ensure credit is given where it is due.

TikTok taps into everyone’s creativity

The second I showed my 9-year-old daughter TikTok, their wheels started turning. The only thing they saw was an opportunity. They saw the opportunity to try something new, to show off something they already knew, to do something with their voice, without their voice and so on.

The more I watched my girls ideate, the more I thought about the hype when Snapchat stories came out. We were all so excited because we were able to create these 10-second videos that had the feeling of jump cuts when they were pieced together and WE DIDN’T HAVE TO EDIT ANYTHING!

It’s amazing what a few more functionalities can do.

TikTok’s algorithm helps you find your tribe

Unlike any other platform we use today, TikTok is constantly showing you content from people you’ve never connected with previously.

Just like any other algorithm, TikTok’s algorithm takes note of the content you interact with and from that they serve you content. However, the entire main page of TikTok is serving you content based off of this data WITHOUT worrying about who you are already connected with (because there is another page for that).

It’s so fun to go through and test this. I tested it with “jeep life.” Where I watched a bunch of videos about jeeps and commented on them, then I posted a video using #jeeplife. From then on out, my “For You” page was flooded with jeep videos, car videos and mechanic videos.

I did the same with cooking and found my new favorite cooking hack! I did it with entrepreneurs and found some amazing speakers whom I’ve never heard of before. The more I did this, the more I realized the value.

TikTok is bringing people together more than any other platform by simply making the content shareable and by encouraging people to be vulnerable and creative. That is why the platform is so successful and growing so quickly.

So I encourage you to check it out and see what your business can learn.

As a digital futurist and inspirational keynote speaker, I work hard at shifting the perspective around new trends and technology linking them to business value while also helping brands and leaders embrace change.

Check out my podcast below and if you'd like to have me speak at an upcoming company or association event please visit my speaker site at

See also this great infographic from MediaKix for additional data and insights on the growth of TikTok.


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