The future of TikTok in the United States may be uncertain at this time (the app’s been banned on government devices, and TikTok has reportedly paused its hiring process for implementing the final requirements of its potential security agreement with the U.S. government), but that hasn’t stopped users from flocking to the app for their content fix.
At the end of 2022, TikTok released its 2023 What’s Next trend report, taking a look at the way changing social and cultural sentiments will influence the way marketers approach their audiences on the app this year. TikTok’s predictions are backed up by global research and case studies, according to its report, and the platform expands upon them by offering advice on how to take action on the trends.
As is often the case, what is shared here has potential applications across other social media platforms and avenues of marketing, so a business need not have a large presence on TikTok to benefit from the information.
TikTok’s report focuses on three main trend forces for 2023: Actionable Entertainment, Making Space for Joy, and Community-Built Ideals.
With Actionable Entertainment, TikTok discusses the type of content on its app that inspires people to take action. The report points out that TikTok curates content based on what viewers find entertaining, capturing their attention and trust. “The attention comes from the quality of TikTok content,” it’s noted in the report. “Creators are gifted storytellers who understand the value of humor, perfectly timed audio, pacing, and helpful advice—so they’re able to quickly pull in their viewers. The trust is a result of who’s making the content. When a viewer sees a video from a creator they can relate to (like someone with the same hair type as them) or from an expert (like a hairstylist with 20+ years of experience), they’re more likely to take the information to heart. That’s why ideas take off so quickly on TikTok and give people the confidence to take action. They’re hearing compelling stories from real people.”
TikTok’s advice is to create content that shows rather than sells, using honesty and specificity along the way. For example, a creator who makes a tutorial using personal stories and fun, entertaining templates will connect with other users more than someone who strictly advertises their products. There are endless opportunities for jewelers here. According to the report, messages that are uplifting, funny, and personalized are the most entertaining, so it recommends action items such as syncing audios to transitions, adding text overlays, and using fun voice-over effects.
Making Space for Joy is the second trend prediction and comes from the collective burnout experienced by people the world over in 2022. “Despite all the self-care advice out there, people are still burning out. So they’re looking for meaningful self-care amidst an endless cycle of public health issues, work-life balance struggles, and personal hardships,” reads the report. “Everyday people are changing their relationships with their jobs and letting go of anxieties about hitting traditional life ‘milestones’ like getting married and having kids. They’re being more vocal about what true happiness looks like for them and making space for fun. Joy is a massive through line for TikTok videos, so the platform is a perfect place for people to discover unique forms of humor, relaxation, and other content that allows them to prioritize themselves in the new year.”
The report goes on to suggest brand messaging on TikTok should speak to this desire using levity, citing data that users prefer content that lifts their spirits and makes them feel positive. Memes are still hugely relevant, but other content that brings people joy while also serving brands include life hacks (ways to make jewelry wear easier that people might not know, perhaps) and everyday indulgences for all budgets (needless to say, this suits our industry quite well). TikTok suggests sharing your offerings through ASMR (a relaxing sound-on demonstration where the noises are meant to soothe); product demos (“getting ready” videos are a huge hit); and using green screen and voice effects to make your content more interesting.
Finally, with Community-Built Ideals, TikTok suggests connecting with highly specific groups through relevant content.
“TikTok communities are a cut above the rest because they’re specific—and that’s what helps them thrive at scale,” the report says. “The platform isn’t just a place to find fellow moms and gamers. It’s a place to connect with other #TiredMoms who face the same day-to-day stressors that you do and get inspired by #CozyGamers who prioritize laid-back, stress-free gaming. Hyper-niche interests help users bond with each other. From there, they broaden each other’s horizons. Maybe the #TiredMom on your FYP shows you a five-minute hairstyle she does on her daughter and you give it a try. Maybe the #CozyGamer listens to specific music while they’re playing, so you listen to those tunes too. Essentially, TikTok is not a town hall meeting. It’s a space where people can find new ideas on how to explore their passions and live their lives. And as people seek out ways to break the status quo, they’ll look to peers and role models who have the confidence to live life the way they want to.”
To connect with niches, the platform suggests exploring layered identities (i.e., #tiredmoms for targeting moms in their 40s) in an effort to understand the groups and cultivate honest conversations about the things they care about.
Download the full report from TikTok’s newsroom.
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