How to Dominate TikTok… Without Dancing
This episode, we are talking with Jade Darmawangsa, an entrepreneur and digital strategist who started making YouTube videos in her garage when she was just nine years old. Since then she dropped out of school, launched her own company, and now her content exceeds 10 million views via YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok… All of this and she’s only 19.
Jade was an early content creator on TikTok, which has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with over a billion users. This is a huge HUGE landscape and as you’ll hear in today’s episode, it’s the wild west for companies and brands who want to stake their claim in the TikTok ether.
Jade shares some incredible insights into how to win with the TikTok algorithm, how you can market your physical products on the platform, and how NOT to stress about content creation and just… make it happen.
As always we hope you enjoy the podcast and if you do, please consider subscribing.
Oh, and here are some of Jade’s goodies – enjoy!
Last but not least… TikTok!
Short on time? Here’s a seven-point TL;DR version:
- If you want to learn, just start something. To find out what your learning medium is, you have to try a lot and fail.
- TikTok is one of the most underrated platforms for businesses but the number one platform for consumers.
- Most brands on TikTok don’t know what to post. If you’re struggling with selling physical products, leverage creators who can make your product more personable.
- Jade’s gut feeling tells her that TikTok’s algorithm only measures watch time and lookability.
- The biggest thing holding people back from publishing on TikTok is that they are creating to perfection instead of creating to publish.
- If TikTok doesn’t start providing more business benefits to content creators, they may soon migrate to a platform they can profit from.
- Ethics concerns and censorship will continue to be issues TikTok will face in the near future.
Start Yours is a podcast about ecommerce, dropshipping, and all things launching a business.
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David: So I wanted to ask you about yourself and, kind of, the brand that you’ve built up on your various platforms and with your agency. And one thing I think is interesting about this is that you dropped out of high school.
And that’s something that we’ve heard from a lot of Oberlo users and a lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs, is that they really just kind of had this… They were fed up with formal education and especially in the states, it’s expensive and people just kind of… They felt like they were ready to get going, that they weren’t gonna learn anything and that they definitely weren’t gonna pay to not learn anything.
And so tell me about your decision to drop out of school and what that was like and just kind of how you digested that, knowing that it wasn’t necessarily the conventional path.
Jade: So I dropped out of high school when I was 16 and I am currently 19, so three years ago. I can repaint the picture. Essentially what happened was…
David: You can do some math, that was good.
Jade: I know, right? Dropout, high school dropout can do a little bit of basic algebra. It’s great.
David: You’re all set.
Jade: No, but I believe that… A lot of people don’t know this, but my background… I was launching Shopify stores before YouTube. I had this whole ecommerce background where I had toys and I would sell them, and I would make videos about them. So content marketing has always been in my blood.
I’ve been making videos since I was nine on YouTube.
So when I was 16, it was not necessarily something that I was really, really afraid of, because I knew that… What else would I do, and when you feel… I really believe that… I also want to stay real with you guys, and not paint the picture that I was like this one millionaire, 16-year-old that dropped out of school to pursue… I don’t wanna paint that narrative because I know a lot of people have that facade of, “When I drop out of school, I can work from my laptop, travel the world and sip a virgin cocktail,” ’cause no underage drinking right?
David: Of course not. Of course not.
Finding Your Preferred Learning Medium
Jade: So I think that what I really just wanted to say was… It was not glamorous. What happened was, my YouTube started really picking up and I started to get more inquiries from brands to work with them, and that’s when I kind of started to…
Instead of building my own store on ecommerce, I was like, “I’ll help other stores.” So that’s kind of how the agency came through. But I just stopped. I literally just stopped showing up at school.
People asked if, I don’t know, signed a form. I just stopped showing up to school.
Now my parent’s reaction was another thing. They were weirdly supportive and it made me kind of scared because I was like, “Wait? What?” And then they were like, “Yeah. We kind of always knew you wouldn’t be good at school.” I’m like, “What?” So I was offended. Should I be offended?
David: “I’m going back now.”
Jade: Yeah, I know. I was like, “Wait a second, just kidding. You didn’t believe in me. Now I’m more aggravated.” No, I know I’m very lucky because not everybody has that same reaction to their parents, and I definitely think it’s also because I’ve been doing it since I was literally nine so before I could properly function, I think that they saw this is something I was passionate about.
But in regards to my journey and my advice, I guess, for people who find that education is not serving them in the current medium. You’ve heard this so many times. I feel like there is not just one form of education and I believe that education is necessary. But you can learn in so many other ways.
I have ADD. I can’t read in a lecture. I need to watch either Skim Read on 2X on audiobooks, or I have to just do it and something that’s so important to me is, some people learn by just starting something.
So just start something. Just do it and if that’s your learning medium, in order to find it out you have to try a lot and fail.
I think the reason why I knew school wasn’t for me, is although I was actually, not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at school. But I couldn’t pack my learning, just not in the medium that was taught to me. And it doesn’t have to be it.
Now if you don’t have the support from your parents and I think the narrative that I really see painted on social, is like when you drop out of school, it’s gonna be easy, and you can have a lot of time on your hands.
No, you’re just gonna sit and wake up ’cause you have freedom but then also question your life for like 20 minutes and then have a mental breakdown right after but then have a sense of light after watching a YouTube video. It’s this really big roller coaster.
So I think it’s super important to understand two things, which are to ask yourself, “How do you learn and is the way you’re learning right now serving you?” And the second thing, I also think is, “Are you prepared to have a bunch of unknown,” because don’t expect even a video or a podcast or anything, to tell you step-by-step. You’ll have to make mistakes.
David: And so when did you realize, or when did you know that the connection that you had built up with your audience on YouTube was something that you could monetize?
Was it when companies came to you and said, “Hey could you push this or that,” or was this something that you had your eye on much earlier?
Jade: I was put in a group of other entrepreneurs. That was really helpful. When you’re not… My school friends don’t understand anything that I do. But when you’re in a room of other people creating something similar and that sense of community really helps you realize.
So to answer your question, what happened was, I could connect the dots because A, I’ve been making money since I was nine with my store. So I was like, “Okay this internet thing is actually real.” But the real…
That’s a good question. I guess my realization was like I had this friend, it’s so cringy, please do not cringe, the group chat was called “Young Hustlers” with a dollar sign on the S. Please don’t cringe.
David: Oh perfect. Beautiful.
Jade: It’s like “Young Hustlers”, and every day, people would just kind of start to post about their hustles. So for example, this guy had his own dropshipping business at the time. This was 2016 on social, so less competition, I would say.
But like this… My other friend was a fitness coach, and then my other friend had this agency too. And it was just a mixture of people making money online. I just thought that if you’re able to do one thing and one thing only, which is to create something and then market it to people that need that need, you’ll be able to be successful. And I’ve been doing it since I was nine.
I just genuinely like content marketing, that’s why I love TikTok, that’s why I love social, because I just like reaching people, and if there’s a product behind it, then it’s even better.
So I really believe it’s seeing people literally do what I wanna do, and if you don’t see people that do what you wanna do, I feel like that’s a great opportunity to look up on YouTube, other entrepreneurs, watch other creators, listen to podcasts like the Oberlo podcast.
David: Good job, thank you.
Jade: And just learn from other people. ‘Cause there are people that look like you. Because my, I think, realization as well, just to add on to it, is I didn’t see people that looked like me. So I’m female, I’m younger, I’m also a minority, so I kinda was discouraged by that.
But then also it’s motivation where I’m like, “Well, I would love to be that person for other people.” So if you don’t see someone that looks like you, or you feel like it’s impossible, it could be also motivation to be that person for other people in the future. So regardless, I think the connection is either seeing someone else do it, or realizing that maybe I should be the person to do it.
TikTok’s Potential for Businesses
David: Nice. And yeah, just to double back to what you said about how it’s not always glamorous and it’s not always easy. You had a great quote on one of the YouTube videos I was watching, and you said,
“I made a ton of viral videos and I made a ton of shit videos that didn’t get any views.”
And so I think that I think you do a good job of striking this chord of, “It’s educational, it’s motivating,” but it’s also, you are very clear that it can get a little bit ugly sometimes. So that’s something that I think anybody who’s watching will appreciate.
I know that TikTok is its own thing, and I don’t wanna, to fall into the trap of comparing it to more familiar social media sites. But to kick things off here, I think it might be helpful to wrap our heads around TikTok by using Facebook and Instagram as a reference point.
So I think people kind of get Facebook and Instagram. Those have reached kind of a critical mass in a way that TikTok hasn’t just yet. So where does TikTok fit into the social media landscape in the context of these other platforms that people might be a little more familiar with?
Jade: So I believe that TikTok is one of the most underrated platforms for businesses. But it’s the number one platform for consumers. And this is the really interesting thing because we can’t wrap our head around to prioritize TikTok because it’s so new, it’s like this new dancing app.
Yet TikTok statistics show it’s a larger platform at least in regards to attention and watch time, screen time, and relevance to this day, which is kind of interesting. I think that in regard to your question about “How does this fit,” TikTok is a very, very short-form video entertainment platform. It’s supposed to not be sales-y, it’s supposed not be actually too deep, it’s actually about making people laugh and really just memes.
So the reason why I bring that up is that this requires brands or especially like businesses to kind of personalize themselves, which is the scary part. And I think that’s why we don’t prioritize it, however statistically right?
TikTok right now has a billion users. I believe the average watch time of TikTok is above four to five hours for Gen Z. For millennials, it’s different.
But 40 percent of TikTok users are actually above 24, so this is not a kids app anymore as well.
And people are spending more time on this app just because it’s the only platform where content is fed to you, you don’t get to choose it. I can go into more about the algorithm stuff, but I think people just spend more time in regards to their consumption of content.
Using TikTok for Business
David: You know what, let’s put a pin in the algorithm question for just a minute. I have some questions on that, ’cause I was a little bit perplexed when I first got on there. But you mentioned that it’s more about entertainment right now instead of business and I think that’s really interesting way to put it because, with Facebook and Instagram, I think these are business platforms, and we talk about it a lot at Oberlo, that when you’re launching a business, you’re gonna need to set up your Facebook Ads account, you’re gonna set up your Facebook Pixel, and that’s gonna feed data into your Instagram and into your Facebook and you need to have a Facebook page and etcetera, etcetera.
It’s really kind of achieved this conventional wisdom that Facebook and Instagram are where you wanna be for business and as you mentioned, TikTok right now doesn’t really have that reputation.
So I’m curious, what are the advantages of using TikTok for business, given that right now, it might be thought of as a little bit, that’s not its main purpose but it seems like businesses would be able to tap into that one way or the other, right?
Jade: Oh 100 percent. I mean going into ecommerce, I have a few examples. But TikTok‘s primary use case is solely impressions. Everybody’s familiar with CPM. I was familiar with that as well, back in my agency days.
But you can be spending, for example for a million views on Facebook, Instagram marketing, you can be spending thousands of dollars. But on TikTok you’re… In 40 minutes, I swear, some videos hit people’s For You pages, which is just kind of their algorithm, in a matter of a few hours. So I would say the biggest leverage is under-priced attention.
And secondly, when you think about it, the way that the platform is structured, is the more you scroll the more content is tailored to you.
So you’re gonna see if a user is maybe watching your video and TikTok kind of signals that they’re interested, they’re gonna keep pushing your video on the kind of algorithm.
And because of that, marketing is all about trust, and if you’re just popping up organically for free on someone’s page nine to 11 times a week, you bet that when you’re starting to go through your Facebook and Instagram or retargeting efforts, you’re gonna see a higher conversion, just because TikTok‘s kinda doing it for you.
And I have a few examples of that, but long story short, it’s just by logic. If you’re popping up more often then trust… You can’t measure… ‘Cause TikTok right now has very little analytic capabilities but they will start opening it up. I guess what I’m trying to say is if your goal is to increase your touchpoints and trust, TikTok is there for you. If your goal is to sell, you will find not much success just because it’s not designed to just sell and get the first conversion on the first try.
David: And so, would you say that a brand or a business that wants to achieve this face-time within the app that they need to really, really avoid that trap of getting sales-y? Is that kind of a death-knell to anybody that wants to get these impressions that you’re talking about?
Jade: It’s kind of impossible to get too, too sales-y. It’s so short-form content. I think the biggest thing is brands don’t know what to post because they see these personalities and they’re like, “Yeah, that’s cute and funny, but I’m not that personality.”
So, I really think it’s actually, “What is sales-y on TikTok?” I think that’s something that also hasn’t been very, very set in stone because it’s pretty apparent on Instagram if you’re being sales-y. It’s like your entire product or your page is your product.
But on TikTok, it’s like, “What does that look like?” So I almost have to say, no one knows what sales-y looks like. I definitely think that if you’re treating it the same way as Instagram, where you’re just uploading an ad, I definitely think it’s not gonna be the same.
But, I definitely think, also, there is not too… Just to be very clear, there are not that many brands on TikTok. So you can actually get away with, right now just because of the platform, posting anything and it will get views.
Businesses That Are Rocking It on TikTok
David: And you mentioned examples. Are there brands, there are not many brands, but are there some that you think are absolutely killing it at this point?
Jade: Yeah, I’m gonna write down, if you guys are looking for brands to follow, I have a few. They’re in the beauty space, just because beauty products are easiest because, on TikTok, people wanna see you apply stuff. There’s this huge trend of people just trying stuff out.
I would say, it’s just because people like the challenge, and they like the reaction. So that’s why beauty is a good example. We could apply it to other niches, but the first example is Fenty Beauty. It’s this cosmetic brand. And it is not a dropshipping store.
But even if you just look at the content that they’re posting on it, it’s a lot of, not tutorials, but 15-second challenges or, “I turn myself into this person for a day.” If you look at their videos it actually has no talking. It’s a lot of trendy music. So I would definitely study Fenty Beauty and the way they’re making content. What’s really interesting about Fenty is there’s no central host.
For example, the next type of example I have is called, The Washington Post. It’s a news company, but there are two types of brands or businesses that are posting. It’s like someone who is using user-generated content and essentially there’s no central face. But then there’s the Washington Post that has a central comedian/person that makes the content. And I can go into the pros and cons of each.
But I think that right now, it’s either you’re using other people’s content or you create your own. And I have seen both successes.
Fenty Beauty doesn’t create their own content, they kind of generate it from their users/customers. So I definitely think that those are two examples of brands you guys can study. And different content formats because you don’t have to be the character if you don’t want to.
Understanding TikTok’s Algorithm
David: Now you mentioned the algorithm earlier and I wanna dig into that a little bit. And I should preface this by pointing out that I was late to the TikTok party, and I have only been on for the last couple of months. But because I had a familiarity with other social media platforms and kind of how those algorithms work by feeding you what they think will keep you there. I really went out of my way to see what would happen if I didn’t give TikTok anything to go off.
And so I think TikTok would have some basic information right away, like my location, they know where I downloaded the app. They know that my phone is set to English, for example. They probably know, one way or the other, that I’m a guy. But I didn’t follow anyone. I didn’t like anything. I played it real, real straight.
And Jade, I gotta tell you, I was bombarded by videos of girls who were… I don’t know if they were actually models, but they were not the average girl-next-door types. And they were not dressed for church, let me tell you.
And so, it was the sort of thing that I wouldn’t feel real comfortable showing to my wife. And so I’m curious, when TikTok gets a new user, how do they trap them? What’s the… You mentioned dancing, entertainment, so I’m just curious in its most raw form, what is TikTok gonna deliver?
Jade: Now that’s an interesting question. So what’s really funny is our company was trying to manage other brand’s accounts. So I made the mistake… And the reason why I’m telling you this story is that I was kind of in a similar kind of curiosity, where I was like, “How does my ‘For You’ page look compared to other peoples’?” And if anyone doesn’t know, the “For You “page is the algorithm/main place to discover content.
So one of our content producers is from Brazil and her “explore” page was all Brazilian content creators. And when she was posting content, it was only to Brazil. Literally no one from the US showed up. So, you’re right, totally right.
Location has probably the biggest part, and also language.
And I guess what that means for a brand or a person, consumption-wise, is they’re really just trying to be relatable and put people that look like you. So honestly I’m surprised by the fourth or fifth swipe they didn’t change the content for you, David, that’s kind of interesting.
I would say when I first downloaded TikTok, they really incentivized different types of trends and music. And what I would say is what happened to me and what I think is the most interesting about TikTok, is they only measure off one KPI. And this is out of assumption. I have only just spent so much time studying it, but I was feeling that TikTok only measures on watch-time and lookability. So, if you are…
It’s pretty apparent if a user is staring at a video for the whole 60 seconds, TikTok is gonna recommend it. If you’re skimming over it, the algorithm does start to put different types of niches.
I feel like TikTok, right now, categorizes… If you go on the “Explore” page, which is kind of different from the “For You” page, what I feel like is they try to pull content from those different pools.
So there is food, there are challenges, there is dancing, obviously with the model one, and there’s like DIY crafts. There are so many. I guess what I’m trying to say is what TikTok is trying to do to lure people in is… it’s about your watch-time. So if you’re not having a high watch-time, you’re able to see other content.
Now, this is the most interesting thing, David, that I think is newer and I have seen no one talk about it. The way I think TikTok is making people stick is if you are a creator… This is a sneaky thing that I just wanted to share that I feel I wanted to share that I feel like TikTok is doing. And I have cleared it out with a few people, topic-creators and smaller creators on TikTok.
So this is what I’m assuming, okay? So when you get a million views on YouTube or TikTok wherever, you get that high of like, “Wow, I achieved something great,” right? And why is it that like for a lot of accounts, like for my account, when I…
The first day I’m on TikTok, my first storytime got 1.5 million views and I’m like, “That’s weird.” Then I looked at my other friends’ accounts who first started. Their first few videos get like, maybe not a million but the highest amount, and then it dips down.
What I really think TikTok is doing and they’re smart is… There’s a whole controversy around them so I don’t wanna go into too much, but I really think that they are pushing… They know what to push and hook, at least a creator in because if you’re getting a sense of high, “Wow, I’ve got to a million views,” I’m gonna keep making contact, I’m gonna keep going.
And I think it’s actually pretty periodic. I have a feeling where TikTok is like if they see lower activity, they’ll start to… Like for me it’s once a month. And I don’t wanna put this out there cause then I don’t want people to say like, “Okay, once a month I’m gonna get a million views.”
It’s just in my experience, I have seen a weird correlation to when my motivation goes down, TikTok starts to maybe push a few more viewers and that’s where my viral content really happens.
It’s typically either when you first start or once a month in my experience. Now, I really think that’s the key thing because I’m even looking at my friends, they’ll have businesses and they’re hooked because they have that high from viewership and attention that I think is so interesting.
Getting Content Creators to Stick Around
David: Just to be clear, are you saying that that TikTok has a preference for these videos and puts them in front of more people to rack up views or are you saying that TikTok, maybe I don’t know, plays with the odometer a little bit and tells you that you’re getting more views than you actually are?
Jade: I don’t know. I don’t think I could speak on that because I genuinely think that I feel like they’re putting on “For You” pages but like here’s the thing, I’m scrolling on TikTok and sometimes TikTok finds what I like, right? Whether it’s comedy or right now it’s this meme about Debby Ryan. Have you seen that?
David: No, no. As I said, I’m new. I’m very ignorant. I don’t know where the cool stuff is yet.
Jade: Okay, dang. Maybe I’ll help you change your “For You” page so you have that ’cause it’s so good when you find it. But anyways, suddenly they find what I like and randomly in my “For You” page this video that’s like two viewers pops up. It’s like a new page. So I definitely know that TikTok is pushing newer creators that haven’t had a chance to go viral just so they can have that taste of either… ‘Cause it’s definitely gotta add to my interest.
Like some of the videos on my “For You” page are like, “What are you doing here?” Because it’s like none of interest. So I know for sure that TikTok is just pushing content when they feel like it’s for the creators’ benefit to feel that stickiness of the platform if that makes sense.
David: Yeah, whatever they’re doing, it’s working. ‘Cause some stats have the average time spent on the platform at like 52 minutes a day. And so I think they’re good at it. They definitely are good at getting people what they want. And once I did start to like stuff and started to do searches, then I got the basketball highlights that I was looking for. So it got solved eventually. But yeah, when I got there I was a little bit startled with what I saw.
Jade: I apologize David.
Marketing Physical Products on TikTok
David: No, no, it’s all good. Not your fault. TikTok, as you said, it’s a new platform. They’re still figuring things out probably themselves. And so like you said, there is a bias towards entertainment. I think that virality is a big deal, there’s a real snowball effect that the more people that watch something, then the more TikTok’s gonna show it. And then that just spirals out of control.
And it seems like these particular features of TikTok wouldn’t necessarily be great for, like, a brand that’s selling a physical product. So if you have a kitchen item or some piece of clothing, for example, Facebook and Instagram seem to have a more native, “This is for advertising,” vibe to them where if you want to advertise something then it’s kinda set up for that and TikTok’s not.
Are there other certain things that somebody who has a physical product should be doing to try to gin up this interest that the TikTok algorithm seems to really appreciate?
Jade: Here’s the thing, I disagree. I’m gonna give you a huge case study. If you’re a physical product, let’s say here, you’re gonna like this. There’s this LED, I’m pretty sure it was a dropshipping company. It was not like this… It was like a Fenty Beauty of the world, right? Like a super costly product.
There’s this LED company. It’s literally just LED lights. You can go and check out and find it. They use TikTok as a place to use their influencers. I think it’s really just… So what they did is they contacted a bunch of top creators and if you know anything about TikTok, kids love LED lights and they’re dancing in their videos. So it was very, very fluid.
So they sent products out, gave affiliate links. And I kid you not that collectively in probably a week sending out to 20 influencers, they got over 20 million viewers and that drove traffic to their own page.
So that’s one example. If you’re curious about the content that they’re making, like the LED light content is essentially the creator setting up cool lights showing the room and then dancing to it with music that’s trendy. It gets so many views. There’s this girl named Selina Kyla, she has a… We work with her. She told me that the LED light company gave her the affiliate link and everything.
There are so many ways to make it very, very cohesive. And that’s one of the products where I feel like is yes, it’s a perfect fit, but I can give more examples. I think that if you’re using TikTok just on your own, it’s definitely hard because you need a personality. But everyone’s familiar with influencer marketing. You send it to a few influencers, drive traffic to your page and automatically you separate yourself into that niche.
The second way that’s a physical product is if you’re selling a hoodie… There are so many examples of this when you send the product out to the influencers. There’s this girl again, her name is Selina. So she sent out hoodies to top creators, to dance and wear the apparel. And then again, draw traffic to the TikTok page or the brand page.
And as of actually, recently, they just launched… TikTok launched linking features on their profile which they’ve never done before, ’cause initially, you couldn’t drive traffic to a website.
But now there is a way to go from TikTok to your ecommerce store profile and track that because they have this link feature now on the profile. And it’s very very recent.
So I think I disagree. You are able to sell physical products. If you have trouble with it, leverage other creators that are able to take your product and make it more personable and then you can use those user-generated content onto your… That’s just one idea.
I mean, I feel like right now that it’s very apparent that you can repost other things you see on Instagram to TikTok and there are so many things you could do physical product-wise. I wonder if there’s a niche where you feel like it’s not doable because I feel like there is a way.
Create to Publish, Not to Perfection
David: Cool. Hey, I’m glad to hear it. That’s good news for all our users. Now one of the things that you’ve talked about on your YouTube channel, which everybody should check out, there’s a lot of really actionable stuff about social media, of course, about TikTok.
You’re an advocate for this idea that quantity is more important than quality. And then, this is actually something that I read about in a book recently called Atomic Habits, which I know… A lot of people in the ecommerce space really lopped up this book. Again, a lot of just great tips about how to be productive and just dovetailed very nicely with some of the lifestyles of our users…
And so I wanted to ask you about this “quantity over quality” idea and to see what that looks like and the ways that you’ve seen an emphasis on just getting content out there and getting content created the way that that’s been more valuable than making sure that everything is just perfect.
Jade: So I’m a huge believer in quantity brings in quality. When you do it enough, you get really good at it. And I’m not trying to even talk about TikTok, but I’m even trying to think about as an entrepreneur and businesses, you learn by making small mistakes. Not fatal mistakes, but small mistakes.
And I’m a huge believer in the fact that if you’re able to do it enough, you get used to the platform, you are able to take risks, try trends out, experiment, try this product. It doesn’t work? Okay, let me try this marketing strategy. This targeting doesn’t work? Let me do this.
And I really think that quantity does bring quality. And the biggest thing that’s holding people back is people are creating to perfection, not creating to publish. If your goal is to really reach people, you have to have the mindset of “I have to hit publish.” And for all people that are perfectionists, this is a huge mental shift. So, just to touch on that, I really think that when you do it enough, you’ll get better.
Three Factors That Determine TikTok’s Future
David: I’m curious if you have any predictions for how TikTok is going to evolve and I wanna ask this because it’s always fun when we get to talk to people who were kind of early adopters of Instagram, for example. And they talk about how in 2016, it was this golden era when there was this very easy organic reach and it was easy to sell stuff and now it’s a bit of a pay-to-play situation where they can’t get the reach that they once had without forking over a little bit of money to get the eyeballs.
And so, do you have any thoughts on if TikTok is gonna head in that direction or is there anything else, just kind of, in general, what were you seeing, looking over the horizon about… You mentioned the links now, so it seems like TikTok is perhaps paying a little bit more attention to the affiliate into the ecommerce elements.
What’s gonna come of this platform over the next year or two?
Jade: Here’s the thing. I’m not a TikTok cheerleader. I just think it’s the fastest growing platform and no one’s talking about it on an ecommerce platform. So because of that, here is my point of view. What I think is gonna happen.
So because it’s a Chinese-owned app, TikTok is facing questions about censorship and data privacy. And what does that mean? I’ve literally seen people really hesitant to even use TikTok as a viewer just because of that.
Jade: I think also because of that, it’s affecting creators, where… TikTok’s not fair, there are ads getting placed right before creators video and no one’s getting the cut. Same as Vine. There was… They went… Disappeared because creators weren’t able to make money. So let me just talk about where I see TikTok in a year. If they… I believe it could go one or two ways. It’s bound to happen some time.
But creators are going to get tired of not getting paid and they might just migrate off a different platform like YouTube or a platform they can actually profit from.
The second thing is, I feel like users are going to start being more conscious about this, about censorship and data privacy. You know what, I don’t know what that means. I definitely think that it’s in my… I’m curious to know where it will be relevancy-wise because I think that would kill TikTok out of everything in regards to the platform ’cause Vine’s a really good example. You’re familiar with Vine?
David: Yeah, sure.
Jade: What happened was all their past creators left the platform. And when your creators leave the platform… They are the platform. So I feel like TikTok really does need to think about that strategy just because… I’ve talked to TikTokers that are millions of one of the top creators in the world and they’re legitimately mad and they’re driving their audience to other platforms. And I feel like this lack of loyalty could be a thing. Although there’s a ton of hype around it. That is something that’s huge and not too many people are aware of it.
The second thing also is because of that, I feel like on a business level, I think that there are gonna be some ethics issues.
For example, with the coronavirus, I feel like a lot of people are using TikTok to sell masks and they’re changing their business around, profiting off of that. And I don’t know how I feel about it just because now if you ever post anything about the coronavirus, TikTok censors it. They don’t push it, they flag it and they won’t wanna push it as much, ’cause they consider it as under misleading content. So going back to the censorship, I just definitely think that businesses will try to post content and it might get censored due to their own kind of rules.
And the last thing I have to say is in the future, I really think that there’s gonna be a new form of marketing. There’s this campaign with Ashton Kutcher and they’re using influencers to promote this product, it’s kind of in the works right now. So Ashton’s basically really prioritizing this new form of marketing, which is… No one wants to watch a PSA. No one wants to watch a public service announcement of selling your product. I think I mentioned this in the beginning and I never really knew how to explain it because it’s just so new. So what I really feel like is gonna happen is, instead of just, “Hey guys, this is the product,” or maybe just a photo that doesn’t really make people laugh or entertain, I think it’s gonna be important to make your product into a meme.
Jade: So make your product into more than just an announcement. Whether it’s a story, a meme; and this is familiar but I think with the rise of competition, you have to make your product different and no one wants to watch…
TikTok is training people to basically have a shorter attention span than normal.
David: As if we needed the training.
Jade: Right? So like, the way you’re poaching marketing is fine right now. But I’m telling you, your next generation of targeting… Say you’re targeting millennials or kids, like… It’s going to be a lot harder to sell. And I’m not trying to say sell, but I think you have to be entertaining, and a lot of brands are intimidated by it.
So you need to be able to be a meme because I really believe that without that, you won’t be able to capture attention. So I guess it’s three things. In a year, there are gonna be issues on the platform, totally… Something is gonna happen between the creator because I feel that people are not getting the money that essentially they want.
Jade: The second thing is, I think there’s gonna be some ethics concerns and censorship around certain topics, and that also makes creators and businesses madder. And the last thing I think is, on the good note, I think that it’s gonna leave a wave for new types of marketing and new types of innovation that I haven’t seen done before. And because of the lower attention span, I feel like to survive in the next generation of marketing you have to be funny, essentially, that’s what I’m saying.
Jade’s Content Recommendations
David: I’m curious for anybody listening, what is one or two things that they should definitely read, subscribe to, watch, download to basically… You said you’re a content hound, so dig into your content library here. Not your content, but anything that you think is really valuable that people need to check out.
Jade: So, if you’re an entrepreneur, my first book recommendation is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon and this book is literally the perfect example of why you don’t need to over-complicate starting a business. The title says it all, “Steal Like An Artist.” You don’t have to have all the ideas. You don’t even have to be the smartest. So that’s the first book I literally read going into my entrepreneurial journey.
Now, in regards to tactical tips about how to start all these things, whether it’s TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, all that fun stuff. My YouTube channel is Jade Darmawangsa. I have a playlist about TikTok marketing, YouTube marketing, and Instagram marketing, and I’m here to make it in a very relatable, easy way.
I have stories about other people also launching stores so check out my YouTube channel. And my last resource, I guess, that I have been weirdly… This is like, weird ’cause it’s a little bit less obvious.
David: We love weird, it’s all good.
Jade: Have you heard of Quibi?
David: I have not.
Jade: Really? So Quibi is this new… I’m not sponsored. It’s this app that’s basically trying to replace Netflix. It’s short-form content, but essentially they’re movies. So Quibi has this really interesting show, where basically… It’s called Murder House Flip.
I don’t know how this correlates to anybody, but if you’re curious to know how to essentially do two things: Create a brand/how to story-tell, how to tell a product in an interesting way, the shows they have on there are just so cheesy and interesting but it really gives you an example of how to story-tell.
I feel like a lot of the struggles that brands do have is being able to place their product in a way where people feel like they resonate with.
And there are a few shows in Quibi that are short-form, so if you’re a busy entrepreneur you can just watch it real quick. It’s vertical so you can understand the trend of how to crop videos to make sure it’s a vertical format on TikTok or wherever. And the third thing is also you just learn random stuff because I just think that there… If you ever wanna find out content ideas, like there are just so many videos that are underrated. They launched like a month ago.
So Quibi is where I’ve been researching actually. Like, a lot of the times when I’m trying to find out new trends, I go there to study like… “Okay, what are people wanting to watch? How do I story-tell better?” And, you know, “How are people optimizing the content vertically? What are the angles they used? What shots are they taking? What are the jokes they use?”
And it’s a little bit different but I definitely think that’s where I would also spend your time if you’re wanting to learn more about just content marketing in general.
David: So when are you launching your Quibi channel?
Jade: Oh, I actually am working on that. That’s something to know in the future.
David: Cool, we’ll have you back on to talk about that. But in the meantime, Jade, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Again, Jade Darmawangsa, an awesome YouTube channel, an awesome Instagram account, kills it on TikTok as well. So yeah, Jade, thanks once again. We appreciate it.
Jade: Thank you so much, David. I had a great time chatting.
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