Gen Z Looks for Authenticity in TikTok Viral Marketing, Says Creative Agency CEO

December 28, 2020
In a few short years, TikTok became one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, surviving a messy U.S.-China trade war that threatened to shut the app down in America and helping revive short-form video content after the collapse of Vine in 2016. 
Now the app is changing the face of social media marketing as well, according to Movers+Shakers, the creative agency behind several TikTok campaigns for companies such as Amazon, CBS, and e.l.f. Cosmetics.   
"What TikTok got right is they really understand what consumers are looking for right now, and consumers have been looking for something as an alternative to the big incumbent platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube," CEO and co-founder Evan Horowitz told Cheddar. 
He added that TikTok has forced marketers to place a greater emphasis on authenticity. This stands in contrast to apps such as Instagram, where there is sometimes pressure to refine and edit images to meet a specific standard of quality, he said. 
TikTok's more freewheeling style suits Gen Z, which grew up with "their camera in their hand, snapping photos and videos in a very authentic and raw way," Horowitz said.  
Movers+Shakers has also taken into account that younger social media users are more discerning and skeptical about traditional forms of advertising, which forces brands to think more creatively about outreach.  
"Anything that's trying to be an ad, they tune it out," Horowitz said. "But they also love brands. They love brands that engage with them in a way that feels authentic to the way that they actually talk to their friends, and they love these influencers who are recommending products."
Brands that are "self-aware" and "not trying to be sneaky" are more successful, he added. 
One concrete example of this approach is the rise of social media "challenges," where brands invite users to participate in a campaign by creating their own content. Movers+Shakers, for example, helped e.l.f Cosmetics launch a TikTok reality show called Eyes.Lips.Famous that invited users to basically submit their own audition tapes via the platform 
"That level of participation is what gives brands this opportunity to really nurture your community in a way that's never been possible before," he said.
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