The Rise of Social Media Superstars

TikTok, a video-sharing social media platform, is currently the most popular app on the planet. It’s a big hit with younger audiences and its impact on culture seems to perplex the older ones. Its appeal, on the other hand, is simply undeniable.Regardless of public opinion, social media is experiencing a huge shift, as new platforms are capturing the cultural zeitgeist through new and interesting ways to interact.

If you notice, social media networks gain mainstream popularity in cycles. Starting with Myspace in 2005, Facebook in 2008, and eventually Instagram in 2014. Joining a new platform may not be ideal for many, but at the end of the day, the sheer popularity of these sites and apps eventually drives us to join. Just like how Facebook became a necessity for our day to day lives to communicate, do business, and keep ourselves informed, TikTok may soon find itself in similar shoes as it’s already influencing many aspects of the world around us.

TikTok is a site that combines music, lip-syncing videos, jokes, and microblogging material. It is not an easy platform to digest when you first see it. It even prompted the creation of Triller, a controversial platform that tries to divert some attention from the app. TikTok offers a look at what growth is in today’s hyper-connected society, and is very popular among individuals belonging to the Gen Z category.

TikTok’s History

In 2014, Musical.ly (pronounced Musical-ly) was the most popular social networking app among teenagers aged 13 to 18. Musical.ly’s major objective was to produce user-generated videos with popular music and videos that people had submitted (usually called Musers). Making movies of individuals matching lips and dancing is the most common usage of the software. By mid-2017, the Musical.ly app had surpassed 200 million users.

ByteDance, a Chinese software company, released Douyin, a rival to Musical.ly, in 2016. The app was previously only available in China but was later renamed TikTok to appeal to a wider audience. Within a year, the TikTok app had seen unprecedented growth with 100 million users on their platform. Musical.ly was acquired by ByteDance for $800 million at the end of 2017. In 2018, Bytedance merged Musical.ly and TikTok user accounts and merged both programs into one.

The app grew in popularity due to its product combined with the user base. Taking cues from apps of old like Vine and even Instagram, TikTok leverages the shorter attention span of younger generations and virality of content as their primary strengths. In early 2018, TikTok surpassed Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube as the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store. TikTok has had nearly 500 million entries in the Google Play Store since July 2019.

Importance of TikTok for creators

TikTok is a genuine virtual communication network for reaching out to high-profile audiences. It makes sense, given the popularity of devices such as iPhones and iPads. Brands have leveraged TikTok creators on the platform like Charli D’ Amelio to promote their products and services, making her a multi-millionaire at only 19. TikTok provides a framework that helps creators produce content with minimal effort. This allows creators of any age group to participate in the creator economy.

Importance of TikTok for businesses

TikTok has proven to be an attractive prospect for businesses seeking new ways to interact with customers, thanks to its enormous user base and concentration on amusing and positive content. It’s also largely ad-free, and because its ad types are all video-based, marketers can run campaigns alongside native content without interfering with the user experience.

Furthermore, the app’s strong engagement rates have attracted a slew of marketers, with firms ranging from Selfridges to Vodafone investing in unique content and campaigns for the app.

Notable creators on the platform

Charli D’Amelio

In late 2019, the Norwalk, Connecticut native joined TikTok, and in early 2020, she became the most followed user. She was a competitive dancer before becoming famous for her viral TikTok trend dances, including the “Renegade” dance.

Aside from her TikTok career, due to her fame, Charli has dabbled in various endeavors, like contributing her voice to animated films, making a personalized Dunkin’ drink order, and starring in a Hulu program with her family.

Addison Rae

The 20-year-old TikTok star is the app’s second-most-followed user, just after Charli. Addison was born in Louisiana and competed in dance before dropping out of Louisiana State University to seek a degree in sports broadcasting and coming to Los Angeles to pursue her social media career. With the help of her TikTok fame, Addison has now become an ambassador for American eagle, and she also has her own cosmetics line, Item Beauty.

Bella Poarch

The third most popular user on TikTok is recognized for her lip-syncing videos, which became viral in August 2020 and remains the most popular video on the platform today. Her material, which includes dancing challenges, gaming videos, and singing posts, continues to increase in popularity.

Zach King

Before TikTok became a major hit, the “magician” brought his Vine popularity to the TikTok scene in 2016. He won the YouTube NextUp Creators Contest in 2013, and he and his wife competed in The Amazing Race in 2015. The illusion where he rode a mirror broom is one of his most popular videos at TikTok.

Spencer Polanco Knight

The beatboxer and YouTube sensation, also known as Spencer X, built a reputation for himself on TikTok with his fast-paced videos with mellow music. With a history of collaboration with musicians like Sean Kingston and Alicia Keys, he has been highlighted on many different news sources as an influencer to look out for in the coming months.

The TikTok Creator fund

In July of 2020, TikTok announced the Creator Fund Program, which saw the company pioneering an initiative that incentivizes users on their platforms. The program promised to pay eligible users for their content, beginning with a $200 million fund. The requirements included being over the age of 18, having a minimum of 10,000 followers, and having at least 10,000 views in the last 30 days. TikTok stated that they eventually plan to grow the fund to a whopping $1 billion that will be paid out to users over the next three years.

However, a month after the launch of the program, users have expressed their immense dissatisfaction with how the program was being conducted. Whether their videos get tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of views, creators are complaining that they are only making miniscule amounts of income. This is in large part because Tiktok did not specify how they decide to pay creators. Users have since questioned if TikTok was intentionally reducing the reach of users that signed up for the program to limit how much they could make. It could be argued that this fund was a way for TikTok to keep its users from transferring to competing platforms like Instagram over time, but it may not be enough.

BitFans

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