BY DAVID JAMES GROUP

Is TikTok Right For Your Association?

Is TikTok Right For Your Association?
Posted: 2 months ago
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In the past year, you may have heard about the social media platform TikTok and wonder what it is and whether it is appropriate for your organization or brand. DJG’s Drew Navolio sat down with Maxie Mottlowitz and Anna Souhrada to discuss what TikTok is and if they think it will be the next Instagram or just a flash in the pan.


David Navolio: Hello and welcome to another episode of Stir and Tell the official David James Group podcast. I’m your host, Drew Navolio. Our guests today are Maxie Mottlowitz and Anna Souhrada. Hello Maxie. Hello Anna.

Maxie Mottlowitz: Hello.

Anna Souhrada: Hello.

David Navolio: We are here to discuss the new and ever-growing social media platform TikTok. And for the sake of our discussion, I’m going to play the role of the aging and confused millennial and say I’ve heard of it and I don’t really get it. So explain to me a little bit about what it is and then we can get into how this applies to associations.

Maxie Mottlowitz: So, hi everyone. I’m Maxie. In my opinion, TikTok is the newest social media platform and app where little kids from ages, supposedly from ages 13 and up can go on and perform music videos, they can sing along with songs, they can do little funny skits, whatnot, and they’re up to 60 seconds long. But they say that they’re only supposed to be 13-year old’s or older. But my little cousin who’s six years old is on TikTok. So that’s pretty interesting to see. But it just all depends on what parents allow them to go on there. So there’s not really parental control, but they just have that say on their website when you look it up.

Anna Souhrada: Yeah. So TikTok actually came from musical.ly, which was a kind of dance video app that came after Vine. Are you familiar with Vine?

David Navolio: Yeah, because I was going to say the one that as I’ve seen it used, it most reminds me of is Vine and it has a lot of similarities to Vine, which I know is now no longer in existence. So what is it, and you say it derives from musical.ly, what makes TikTok different from a Vine or Vine, the platform?

Anna Souhrada: A lot. Musical.ly was just music and people going on there and lip-syncing and then TikTok took it to another level with little skits or-

David Navolio: The skits are people, so people do the skits.

Is TikTok Right For Your Association? - tiktok

Anna Souhrada: Yeah. So people do the skits, they do dances, they do challenges, they do whatever they want to do. I mean TikTok’s a thing where you can go on there and just do whatever and not be judged for it.

Maxie Mottlowitz: Or so you think.

David Navolio: Or so you think.

Anna Souhrada: Or so you think. Yeah. But I feel like people still don’t care. They just post whatever.

David Navolio: Right. So I’ve seen this, you mentioned challenges. There’s one right now where it looks like you throw an egg in the air and you look at the camera and-

Maxie Mottlowitz: It falls right on your face.

David Navolio: Well, you’re supposed to at the camera and you see who gets cracked in the head with the egg. They just did it on NBA tonight last night, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley did it, but they were like, “We’re doing this because it is a TikTok thing.” So it seems pervasive. And we were talking a little bit beforehand, what kind of audience size are we looking at here? Like what’s the user quantity?

Maxie Mottlowitz: So, for the ages, I would say it ranges. As I did research online, I saw that the most common age group is 18 to 24-year-olds. So it just all depends. And you know in terms of clients and stuff like who uses it, I’d say it just depends on who your audience is. So if you have an audience of one voice, then you can use it because it’s easier to have an influencer using that platform. But if you have like a company that has various voices, for instance, engineers and whatnot, you can have various voices and it’s harder to have that one influencer on TikTok representing that platform.

David Navolio: Okay. So, I mean the concept of the influencer is something that has been around for a while.  We’re kind of seeing a little bit of a saturation point where there are more influencers than probably is necessary to actually influence. But what is TikTok doing that makes it a game-changer?

Maxie Mottlowitz: Well, they’re getting kids of all ages, just like Instagram involved in TikTok, which is nice, but they add that little creative piece like challenges. So when we have hashtags, just like Instagram has, they’re a little bit different than Instagram hashtags. So for instance, if there are challenges, on TikTok, they use those hashtags for people to enter into a challenge. So let’s say if it’s a Maxie challenge, you just do #maxiechallenge and you’re entered into that challenge so people could find you, people can like you just like Instagram, they can like you and follow you, but you’re not submitted into the challenge. But for here you are. Also a cool fact, you can send emojis and whatnot to your favorite celebrities. So if you want to get connected or make a shout out to them, you can tell them that you’ve made this TikTok and send them a note. TikTok’s just more fun and exciting and creative, I guess you could say.

David Navolio: So is it like a mix? I mean I use Instagram more than any other platform and from my understanding, Instagram’s still I guess the predominant social media platform, or at least it’s up there with Facebook in terms of daily interactions, user quantity. Why would say with David James Group clients, we deal with associations. Should they be here? Should they just be playing in the TikTok sandbox because there’s all these people here or is there a legitimate way that it can be a tool they use to connect with members or promote their brand? My issue with these is their very time consuming if you’re going to do them right, and a lot of associations don’t necessarily have the staff to do it. So is TikTok kind of a flash in the pan? Is it something that could overtake Instagram? What are your thoughts, Anna?

Anna Souhrada: So TikTok is still growing in my opinion. I think there are companies on there doing ads, so when you’re sitting on TikTok and you’re scrolling through, there’ll be an ad that’ll pop up. But I don’t think for businesses like our clients at DJG, it’s ready for them. I don’t know where they would be able to fit necessarily. I think it’s a good platform to see what people are interested in, what people are wanting to do because then you can take those trends and maybe change them into something on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. I think TikTok is something fun and businesses shouldn’t jump into it just yet. Unless you want to put a sponsored ad on there or something or you have something that you would think would be creative.

David Navolio: Just because the audience is so big.

Anna Souhrada: It’s huge. I mean you have kids that are younger than 13 on there, but then you also have like grandparents-

Maxie Mottlowitz: 65-year-olds.

Anna Souhrada:  On there and it’s a huge platform to get a lot of people’s attention. But how you’re going to do that for your business is kind of tricky right now.

Maxie Mottlowitz: Yeah, and I would jump in there too. I kind of compare it to Snapchat because Snapchat is very hard and difficult for our clients or clients in general to have because you need that one person behind the screen to kind of man it. And then for TikTok, I think that it’s just another social media platform that’s there and given to us. And I don’t necessarily think it would hurt to get one, but then yet again it’s just adding more time and who’s going to manage it and it’s just a whole other job position to man that TikTok app. So it takes a lot of time and effort to achieve what everyone else is achieving. You know, you can look at everyone else and how they’re making their videos and creative things and you can use that for an Instagram story and stuff like that. But I don’t think that it’s necessary to have right now.

David Navolio: Sure. So we work a lot of conferences. A lot of our clients have conferences. Could you say, it might make sense because it’s a defined period of time? Like you have a challenge say at your conference and you run it through TikTok and that might be how you dip your toe in the pool is to isolate it and don’t overinvest. See how it does, use it as an engagement tool in maybe a confined area or an event, but don’t feel the pressure, the anxiety, at least right now anyway to over-invest in terms of staff time or spending money that might get allocated to something a little bit more effective for marketing dollars that could go a little bit farther.

Is TikTok Right For Your Association? - tiktok

Anna Souhrada: Yeah, it’s supposed to be something fun. So if you were to use it for your business, maybe it’d be a good tool to show off your culture for people to see like, “Hey, this is what they’re like in their business.” Just so people can get to know you on a more personal level. Like you’re not necessarily selling something to them, but at least they get to know who you are as a business, how your conferences run, how people are interacting at conferences. Like with WE19, for SWE, that would have been huge to throw on like, “Hey, we’re doing this challenge, see what you can do with it,” to throw it out there. I think those are great opportunities for businesses to use for TikTok. But other than that, I don’t think there’s much use for it.

David Navolio: And to frame it for the audience, SWE is the Society of Women Engineers. They’re a client for the David James Group and they have an audience that probably works because it’s half collegiates and it sounds like this has a demo that can skew even younger, but when you’ve got a conference that might have that 24 and younger making up a good portion of your attendees, might make sense to have a component or at least try a component of TikTok and just see what happens.

Drew Naolio: Similarly, how you had mentioned Maxie, Snapchat. It’s not something we see a lot of with our clients, or at least associations we’ve worked with have a very robust presence. But you know, we’ll do filters, we’ll have something in a confined set of time where you can kind of see the beginning and the end and can easily quantify the analytics to see what was the engagement and how it performed. So to wrap it up, the one thing you had brought up is, that I think was fascinating, Maxie, we had talked about this before the podcast started, is that the valuation for TikTok came up and you said it was at what?

Maxie Mottlowitz: Oh yeah, I saw the value of TikTok is $75 billion for 2019 and now keep that in mind that Uber is actually around $72 billion too, don’t quote me on that one, but that is just what I read as of this morning. And TikTok has only been around since 2017 so that’s pretty huge. And musical.ly, which actually is not up anymore, was up in 2014 and that was worth $1 billion. So within three, four years TikTok is literally rising in it’s top right now.

David Navolio: But musical.ly is gone.

Maxie Mottlowitz: Musical.ly is gone. And actually Anna has a fun fact about that.

Anna Souhrada: You can actually buy musical.ly’s domain for like $12 or $125,000 if you want to buy their domain.

Maxie Mottlowitz: Let’s add a little Maxie Mottlowitz on there too.

David Navolio: So there you go.

Anna Souhrada: Musical.ly doesn’t exist. If you try to search it on the app store, it’s like not there because they basically bought TikTok’s database and I’m not a tech person, but that’s how it became.

David Navolio:  Okay. Well, so what we’re going to do is a year from now we’re going to have TikTok Part Two. And we’re going to see if TikTok is even around. But if you have more questions about TikTok or things about social media and how you can apply it to your events or your organization, I strongly recommend you check out David James Group. Go to our website, you can reach out to Maxie and Anna. We’re happy to talk to you about the strategies we’ve seen or what might work for your organization. Thank you for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.


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