It is safe to say 2020 has flipped everyone’s worlds upside down. But with 800 million views worldwide, TikTok may have best capitalized on the chaos. The Chinese-owned app, originally released in 2016, took hold of the social media reigns in 2020 with its short video content that has everyone and their mother (literally) addicted.
The app allows people to create dances and skits to put over songs and recordings. With users ranging from 12 to 75, the app’s popularity and quick ability to make one go viral has the world longing for TikTok fame. Many may watch tiktok or see a video and can’t possibly understand how a girl dancing to Cardi B’s music is in any way interesting or normal, and why would a tech public relations firm be remotely interested, but the app definitely has Gen Z’s allegiance. With these TikTok stars reaching followings of 30 million each, you can be sure brands and companies are taking their bite out of the crop. Seeing their success in brand partnerships, movie roles, and social media footprints, it is definite that TikTok has a huge grasp on our culture. For PR and marketing purposes, the vast majority of new mediums are relevant, if not crucial, to continued success and adaptation. Is TikTok one of them.
Tech Public Relations Shouldn’t Knock it ‘till They Try It
The question to ask is, do tech public relations firms have any value in TikTok? Public relations is the maintenance of a favorable public image of a company or other organization. Meaning, it is crucial to grab and sustain the attention of your audience, long enough to get them on your side. Adapting to new mediums, especially when they’re successful, plays into that effort. The question then follows: Is TikTok the future of news and information? Does Gen Z even follow mainstream news sources anymore? Do technology public relation firms need to reach out to different sources to relate to their current and upcoming audiences? While yes, TikTok is full of dancing kids and meme references, major companies are using it as a means to relate information and gain viewership.
Mainstream news sources will always be critical in the tech PR world—that’s a given. But perhaps delving into new media platforms is what the industry needs to keep up with the most relevant trends. Companies fight tooth and nail for the attention of their shared audiences and the ability to capture the attention of such a large number of people through these already established apps is the future of developing a flattering public image.
Tech public relations firms can benefit from opportunities like TikTok by promoting their clients in an informal and exciting way that draws viewers in, as opposed to baseline articles and news stories. The creativity and freedom that the app allows for technology PR is what these innovative companies need to express their work, and fits with the fast-changing culture we’ve all grown to know and love (or hate). Let’s remember to not underestimate the impact of a good viral video!