When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, the world came to a stop. It completely shifted the way people were interacting with each other. As a society, we could no longer connect the same way in which we used to due to social and physical distancing rules. With the human race struggling to connect in this new and confusing world, people around the world turned to TikTok to fight their feelings of loneliness.
Although TikTok was founded in 2016, it gained major success during the 2020 pandemic. According to Music Business Worldwide, during the week of March 16, 2020 the app was downloaded 2 million times (an 18% increase in downloads from the previous week). The app additionally saw a 27% increase in the first 23 days of March compared to February with 6.2 million downloads. People turned to the app to connect with one another and navigate the loneliness they felt. But, what made TikTok more compelling than other social media platforms?
Unlike Instagram and Twitter, TikTok isn’t just a space to post but to rather engage in trends and express yourself creatively. Over the course of the year-long pandemic, people were able to connect by participating in a number of dance and sound trends. People across the globe had an intense need to connect and find a space in which to spend their unplanned downtime. It gave users a sense of a virtual community, making connections, and the ability to be inspired by those connections to create their own trends. It gave the world a chance to take a breather and to not think about how scary their current situation was, because they had an online community they could interact with and learn new things from.
Kevin Bubloz, a TikTok star managed by Find Your Influence, is a perfect example of utilizing the pandemic to his advantage. In an interview with Find Your Influence he noted that during the pandemic he needed something to fulfill his newfound spare time. He turned to TikTok, sharing videos of his therapy dog Ellie in hopes of brightening people’s days with his content. Since joining the app in March 2020, he’s been able to inspire others’ through his uplifting videos and gained 2.2 million followers. He was able to use the platform to his advantage by sharing videos of himself and Ellie’s challenge videos to spark joy in others.
What sets TikTok apart from other platforms is that the content you see is truly specific to you. Through the “for you page”, users are able to gain a unique experience that is highly entertaining. One video could be advice on how to deal with anxiety and the next could be a tutorial on how to make whipped coffee. Not only is it specific to you, but there is a wide variety of content, constantly keeping you entertained. That is why it grew so much with the pandemic. People were looking for the ability to connect with others, be entertained, and share the universal experience of being stuck inside at home.
TikTok additionally gives people the ability to go viral. Given the specific algorithm, it gives creators an equal playing field for the chance to get views and gain a following. This was especially seen over the course of the pandemic. Although social stars on the app were popular on the app before it started, with the increase of users, their success could only grow from there. For example, Charli D’Amelio, a popular dancer on the app, gained 60% of her following during March 2020. The public had the ability to develop a sense of a shared experience with these stars since they were too stuck at home.
Are you someone who wants to grow their popularity on the platform but you don’t know where to start? Reach out to our Influencer Management Team with your questions today. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freelance contribution especially written for Find Your Influence by Gemma Weinstein.