A TikTok presence creates a greater chance for success


Photo by Emily Henbest

Because of the causal nature of TikTok content, brands and creators who join the platform take the opportunity to show candidness.

Emily Henbest , Reporter

There is a lot to reminisce about in the days preceding the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, and there are very few things in this world that remain the same as they were before. However, one thing that is entirely different, thanks to the pandemic, is our collective attitude towards the now monumentally popular social media platform, TikTok. Once looked down upon for the cringe-worthy content it encouraged in its sound-based nature, TikTok is now a hub of information, creativity and internet trends—drawing in users with its seemingly mind-reading algorithm.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok has boomed into a vital platform for any brand, organization or company that wants to increase audience awareness and have a social presence.

On TikTok, everyone’s “For You” page is different. This is good news for creators and brands trying to grow their social platforms because the algorithm will find the audience your content caters to for you. On a platform where becoming internet famous overnight is entirely possible and happens often, there have been countless influencers and companies such as Duolingo, Scrub Daddy and Sour Patch Kids that have successfully brought their brand’s awareness to the next level by utilizing the opportunity that TikTok provides. 

Senior Xanthe Schaub is pursuing modeling and creating her own social media presence, while also working as a college marketing representative at Sony Music. Schaub, who has nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram and over 500,000 on TikTok, joined TikTok during the pandemic. 

“I would say I was using TikTok for seven months before I started getting a lot of views and likes, it was fun to do from time to time with friends,” Schaub said.

It seems as though TikTok has always been a forum to post fun and candid content, a stark contrast to the overly curated profiles we spent years building on Instagram. This appeal was only amplified during the COVID-19 lockdown, which made “Instagrammable” moments hard to come by.

“‘Fear of missing out’ is a common way to describe how social media can make people feel like everyone else is part of something—a concert, a secret beach, a brunch—that they’re not. A new wrinkle in this concept is that sometimes that ‘something’ is a social media platform itself,” John Herrman said in an article from The New York Times.

As a result of this FOMO, users joined TikTok to take part in the fun of being themselves. 

“I use TikTok more as a way to get to know me, I guess, because [on] Instagram you just see a glimpse,” Schaub said. “On TikTok, it’s more of a creator-based platform. I would say everything’s sort of like on your own, you’re making the ideas that you want to post and doing what you want to do.”

Being informal is a quality that TikTok consumers demand from their content. Even when it comes to multi-million dollar companies, there seems to be a new expectation for them to display humility through their social presence rather than just keeping it strictly business. I believe this is reciprocated by companies looking at potential employees as well. Knowing how to have fun on social media could be very telling about how one might fit into the workplace environment.

“The job that I have now working for Sony Music, they found me on social media,” Schaub said. “Being on TikTok and being on Instagram, you’re able to get connected to a lot more people that you didn’t know existed in your field of expertise, or so forth. I feel like it’s like another form of LinkedIn kind of, but for our generation, I would say.”

California Lutheran University is also taking advantage of the opportunities and connections TikTok can spark when it comes to informing and attracting prospective students. Giana Gutridge is the social media specialist for Marketing & Communications, and she leads the team who runs the Cal Lutheran TikTok account. Gutridge said that she and the team are just excited to show off Cal Lutheran. The university’s TikTok presence boasts over 400 followers and posts content multiple times a week.

“When I first got hired, [TikTok] was one of the things that the university as a whole wanted. The entire communications department and marketing department, they had seen how well TikTok was doing, how it was popular among prospects or current students and how powerful video is in general,” Gutridge said.

Even though it can be hard to define success in social media marketing, creating content on campus and having a presence on TikTok is most definitely a positive factor when it comes to students getting more involved with the Cal Lutheran community.

“We’re excited to be on TikTok and to create videos and we’re excited when students comment, like, ‘Oh, this is so awesome,’ like this video. And now that we’ve launched our TikTok, student gov. now has a TikTok and Student Life has a TikTok because there’s been a lot of content creation on campus as a result,” Gutridge said.

Following social sites like Facebook and Instagram, TikTok is the most recent platform that has seen success in drawing in individuals, brands and organizations from all corners of the world.

“They say a picture’s worth 1000 words. I believe video is worth way more,” Gutridge said.

If you’re creating TikTok content with the intention to drive up awareness, consistency and being up to date with trends will increase your chances of success. However, being in the TikTok community is important because, above all else, it is an opportunity to show the real person or people behind a picture or company logo.