During VidCon London 2020, TikTok UK general manager Rich Waterworth took part in a fireside chat to share some insights and updates on the platform.
Waterworth was joined by content creator Laura 'Laurbubble' Edwards to give an influencer's perspective on the app. The pair dug into the last year of TikTok and discussed developments, trends, and other plans that the company has to further support content creators.
What makes TikTok unique?
"I was seeing from an early stage how creative people were being on TikTok," Waterworth says when asked about what drew him to the app.
"People were creating and communicating in ways I hadn't seen elsewhere. There was a level of creativity and fun that I was inspired by."
Waterworth also commented on how TikTok quickly learns what a viewer likes and it can craft a unique and personalised experience based on the types of video each user watches.
And while TikTok has made waves within the GenZ audience, the app is starting to draw in a huge audience across multiple demographics.
"There's no one set formula to getting started on TikTok, people come from all types of areas," Waterworth explained.
"There's definitely trends to watch out for though. Authenticity is a bit of an overused trend, but people get a good reception when they express themselves as they are. Just be true to yourself and what you want to make and the TikTok community will respect it.
"A more practical theme we've seen success with is taking the time to understand the product. Staying up to date with hashtag challenges and things the community is enjoying.
"For example, KSI joined TikTok recently and came straight in with a hashtag challenge. It worked because he figured out how to engage with the community. Within two weeks he had 68m views and 1.2 million followers."
TikTok and creators
The land of TikTok is still ambiguous and difficult to navigate for some, but the company is working to establish a destination for creators to thrive.
"Creators are the lifeblood of TikTok. We have a team of community and partner managers dedicated to supporting them," Waterworth says.
"We need to cultivate a community that creators want to be a part of. We want them to choose Tiktok."
While TikTok is doing well in terms of growth and the platform it can offer to both new and existing influencers, Waterworth acknowledges that the platform still has a long way to go in providing monetisation options.
"We're early in our monetisation journey, but it's something we're very focused on. In the last couple of months we've launched the creator marketplace," Waterworth adds.
The marketplace is an invite-only platform that gives brands and creators a platform to link up and work on brand deals and campaigns."
Brands on TikTok
Waterworth assures that brands are open to working with TikTok and that many are experimentingg on the platform.
We need to cultivate a community that creators want to be a part of. We want them to choose Tiktok.Rich Waterworth
"The brands that we see succeeding tend to be the ones that take time to understand the community and how it works," he adds.
"Those brands figure out which creators to work with and then take time to optimise the creative. Understanding TikTok's ad format has been rewarding."
One particular brand going hard on TikTok marketing is US shoe company Converse. The brand recently hosted an event for creators and fans to attend. They also ran an in-app promotional campaign where TikTok-ers created their own customised shoes.
TikTok has seen a huge rise in music content on the platform. This was supported by a partnership with this year's BRIT Awards, hosted London's O2 Arena. TikTok took to the red carpet to give users a fresh insight into the event, and it was hosted by TikTok creator HollyH.
"TikTok is genuinely changing the way people discover music," Waterworth says.
"Music is a product feature within TikTok and artists being discovered through it. Artists and companies across the music industry are leaning into TikTok to promote or discover new talent."
"Another area that we're excited about is sports. We've seen amazing content coming out he platform, football has become big on TikTok in the UK specifically.
"Teams and players are on TikTok. Their content provides a different perspective to huge sports events and we're seeing huge stars creating in unique ways."