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Out of the mouths of babes: a lesson about TikTok

Out of the mouths of babes: a lesson about TikTok

The scenario was familiar, as it was one I had repeated dozens of times during the past two years. I was driving my twin 13-year-old grandchildren to the orthodontist. And both were staring at their iPhones.

This time, though, something was different. When I glanced at my granddaughter’s phone, I didn’t recognize the app she was using. Same thing with my grandson.

I was surprised. And chagrined. After all, social media is part of my job.

So I asked about it. “TikTok,” responded the granddaughter.

“Do you use that a lot?” I enquired. “Sure,” she said.

“And what about your friends?” I continued. “Is it popular with them?” “Yeah, everyone uses it.”

“What about Instagram? Snapchat? Do you and your friends still use those apps?” “Sometimes,” she replied, eyes glued to her phone and the TikTok video on its screen. As I watched, her lips curved into a mischievous smile.

At that moment I decided I had to find out more about this social media site.

Bringing the fun back to social media

So I checked out the numbers. As a video creation site, TikTok has attracted more than 500 million users. It was the fourth most downloaded app worldwide last year. And it ranked #3 in the first quarter of this year, topping the chart for Apple non-game apps.

A glowing 2018 New York Times article about TikTok claimed it had brought the fun back to social media. TikTok, wrote Kevin Roose, “doesn’t sound like much. But, somehow, it adds up to what might well be the only truly pleasant social network in existence.”

He said TikTok made him happy. “It’s a safe haven for people that are seeing the world on fire and being like, ‘I need silliness,’” he explained.

A social media network that spreads happiness? A social media network that provides a safe haven for a world on fire?

More about TikTok

Now I needed to know even more. And magically, links to a number of stories about the “refreshing outlier in the social media universe” began appearing in my inbox, each contributing a bit more information about this popular network.

First, I learned that it was no wonder it was my 13-year-old grandchildren who turned me on to TikTok. It is young people who make up the bulk of its audience. The median TikTok user hovers in the mid-teens, according to a March 2019 story in the New York Times. Which may be why “there’s a lot of bad language and racist language in the videos,” each of my grandchildren confided to me privately.

Second, I learned a bit of TikTok history – namely that Musical.ly rebranded as TikTok one year ago, after being acquired the before by Chinese company ByteDance, which describes itself as an artificial intelligence company.

Third, I read that “TikTok has stirred up a revival of short video clips—only now, it’s even more interactive, collaborative, and downright addictive.”

The company website explains it this way: “TikTok is the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos. Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter in everyday life. TikTok empowers everyone to be a creator directly from their smartphones, and is committed to building a community by encouraging users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos . . . To help users make the videos they’ve envisioned, TikTok developed a native text editing feature that creators can use inside the app.”

According to the New York Times, TikTok operates on a “simple premise” where “Users create short videos set to music, often lip-syncing along, dancing or acting out short skits. The app includes:

  • templates and visual effects to spice up the videos
  • a live-streaming feature that allows users to send virtual ‘gifts’ to their favorite creators, which can be bought with real money
  • followers, hashtags, likes and comments,
  • filters, as on Snapchat, etc.,
  • the ability to search for sounds to score videos,
  • encouragement to engage with other users through “response” videos or by means of “duets” where users can duplicate videos and add themselves alongside.

Who uses TikTok?

Here are some statistics and demographics regarding the platform:

  • TikTok has 500 million monthly active users.
  • TikTok boasts 26.5 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone, with nearly 40 million downloads since November.
  • The majority of TikTok’s users are young; 66% of those worldwide are under age 30. In the U.S., 60% of the app’s monthly active users are 16- to 24 year-olds, and 52% use iPhones.
  • Users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the app.
  • TikTok’s engagement rate is 29%.
  • Download figures for July 2019 show TikTok in second place, just behind Facebook.
  • TikTok has offices in Beijing, Berlin, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

TikTok and your business

The lessons here are clear. If a target audience for your business is a younger demographic, TikTok may work for you. So think about checking out the platform’s current ad products and find out how to post on TikTok via the HubSpot blog.

Although few brands use TikTok, Google used it successfully to promote its voice assistant, with its #HeyGoogleHelp campaign garnering 150 million views.

Macy’s used it for its “All Brand New Challenge.” The challenge urged mobile users to record videos and inspire others to share their style for the school year. TikTok’s hashtagged video challenges are hugely popular and have the potential to go viral, as users record themselves doing something odd and urge others to respond by adding their own videocreations

However, because TikTok has a high volume of both users and content, videos must be eye catching and super entertaining to stand out. Creativity and authenticity are also key.

Here’s a look at what you could see on TikTok, according to this video from the platform’s YouTube page.

Social media: What’s hot and what’s not?

Social media: What’s hot and what’s not?

Facebook is flat. Instagram is down. Snapchat is on its way back. LinkedIn is seeing more traffic. Tik Tok is a rising star. It can be difficult to know which platform to use to meet our content marketing needs. So let’s take a look at the findings of a few studies that show the rise and fall of social media platforms.

Instagram: up or down?

Engagement rates on Instagram are dropping because of the prevalence of sponsored posts, according to a study that analytics firm InfluencerDB shared with Mobile Marketer.

However, sponsored posts tend to generate higher engagement than those that are not sponsored. InfluencerDB gives two reasons for that. One is that influencers tend to create better quality posts. The other is that Instagram’s algorithms give higher precedence to sponsored posts.

On the other hand, engagement rates for influencer content are declining as Instagram feeds get cluttered with sponsored posts, according to InfluencerDB.

On the upside, since Facebook-owned Instagram launched Instagram Stories in 2016, that function has overtaken Snapchat in overall usage.

Facebook: flat or losing?

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted early this year, Facebook use – as well as that of other platforms — is flat among adults. However, Facebook still has around 2.4 billion users, and that number includes 69% of adults.

“The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are each largely the same as in 2016, with only Instagram showing an uptick in use during this time period,” according to the survey.

But just last week, Facebook boasted that it is now up to 2.4 billion monthly actives and its daily active users figures continue to trend upward as well. Its most significant audience growth once again comes in the Asia Pacific region.

Other reports take a different view of Facebook’s numbers. Here are a few:

  • The latest Edison Research ‘Infinite Dial’ report indicated that the platform has lost around 15 million active users in the U.S. since 2017.
  • eMarketer estimates that Facebook lost around 2.1 million users under the age of 25 in 2018.
  • Older studies show that found that 42% of Facebook users had reduced their daily activity and engagement and that Facebook has continued to lose popularity with teens.

What about other platforms?

  • LinkedIn reported in April that it is seeing “record levels of engagement” among its 610 million users.
  • Snapchat may be making a comeback. It is now serving more users than ever, some 203 million people every day.
  • TikTok was the 4th most downloaded app in 2018. It was #3 position in the first quarter of this year, topping the chart for Apple non-game apps.
  • Twitter is the top platform for government leaders, but user growth is predicted at just 1%. However, the number of daily users has increased consistently since 2016, with 9% more people using it each day.

Growth may be slowing

The previously steady growth in the use of social platforms in the United States during the past decade appears to be slowing, says the Pew report cited above.

While Facebook and YouTube have the broadest reach among adults, Instagram and Snapchat have a strong following among young adults. These findings illustrate the age-, gender-, and race-related differences in platform use that the survey documented, information we shared earlier this year.

For more, check out this infographic, “The Demographics of Social Media in 2019.” It comes from Jones PR and highlights some key social platform usage stats and how things currently stand.

We can help move the needle

If you’re wondering which platforms to choose to meet your company’s goals and reach your intended target audience, Triple Canopy Media can help. We can assist you in setting your social media goals and metrics so you can actually move the needle forward for your business.

Social media aligns connection, customer service

Social media aligns connection, customer service

Connection. That’s what social media is supposed to be all about, right? But if the research is to be believed, that depends.

When researchers surveyed undergraduate students, they got a different answer. Most of the undergrads said they used social media to alleviate boredom. Results from another survey showed that the emotion most often elicited by social media was envy, not connectedness.

A third study showed that people who had used Facebook felt less satisfied with their lives. The more they used it, the more their satisfaction dropped. Ouch!

Activity and engagement create energy for your business

Active Facebook users experienced the opposite. Those who engaged with content, left comments, and used the chat feature felt better, not worse.

What does this mean for your business? If you want to reach the mainstream and promote growth, provide entertaining content that encourages connections on social networks.

Because if we prompt our audience to become active, rather than passive, consumers of content, we will satisfy the needs of our own business and make our consumers happy as well. We create energy, rather than fatigue. We create followers . . . and they create followers, and the beat goes on.

So go ahead. Share content that promotes action. Promote your events. Create interactive user experiences. Provide information people can use. Then be direct in encouraging people to share it and to use it.

Remember the customer service angle

However, there’s another angle on this. And that angle is customer service. Customers who post questions to a business or brand via social media expect a response within four hours, according to some. But other research says that window is even smaller, indicating that whether a question is posed on Twitter or Facebook, users expect a reply within an hour. Yes, one hour.

That kind of response rate is rare. And as it turns out, getting a response at all is uncommon. That’s because companies ignore 70% of Facebook questions. Yep. Seventy percent. As hard as it is to believe, when Facebook followers post their questions online, only 30 percent of them get their questions answered.

When you consider that connecting with consumers is the goal of having a presence on social media, failing to reach out and answer the queries posted by consumers is self-defeating. Particularly when statistics show that customers receiving a response on Twitter spend 20 percent more and recommend brands 30 percent more actively

Stand out like Starbucks

With businesses failing so mightily at connecting with their consumers, it seems easy to stand out just by improving customer service. That means:

  • providing interactive, shareable content,
  • asking consumers to use it and to share it, and
  • answering customer service questions quickly and completely.

Take Starbucks, for example. The chain keeps its social media profiles ups to date, interacts with customers, responds to their every issue by delivering efficient and uninterrupted customer support, and considers meaningful feedback valuable. It even established a separate Twitter account with the handle @MyStarbucksIdeas to receive customer queries. It now has more than 51,000 followers.

Reap the rewards

Reap the rewards of social media platforms by connecting with your customers and improving your customer service. Deliver interactive and professional content; listen to your customers; build an online community by setting up a Facebook group for your customers to join; and respond promptly to their questions, reviews, and comments.

You’ll help generate revenue, improve your online visibility, and expand your customer reach.

From Gen Z to Boomers: Social Media Preferences

From Gen Z to Boomers: Social Media Preferences

You are putting together a marketing campaign. And because you are doing it right, it includes social media targeted to the market you have identified. That target market can be based on age, gender, location, language, spending power and patterns, interests, or stage of life – or any combination thereof.

Understanding the demographics of each social media platform is essential before deciding which platforms make the most sense for the market your brand is targeting.

If age is an important factor in determining your target market, there is plenty of information out there that will help you choose the platform or platforms that will get eyeballs – of the right age — on your posts.

Choosing social media platforms: What the numbers tell us

It’s important to choose the right platform for your social media posts because social media is not going away. By 2020, there will be an estimated 2.95 billion social media users. Of those, 78% will be in the United States, making the U.S. the largest social media advertising market in the world.

Six years later, by 2026, here’s how the numbers will break down by generation: The Silent Generation (those 74 and older and born before 1946) will make up 14% of the U.S. population; Baby Boomers, 66%; Gen X 65%; Millennials, 80%, Gen Z, 82%, and Gen Alpha, 43%.

Generational breakdown

Of the 2.95 billion social media users who will exist next year, here is how that number breaks down by generation, from Generation Alpha to the Baby Boomers.

Generation Alpha: Born 2010-2025

  • 2 billion by 2025
  • 5 million born around the globe each week
  • First totally digital generation
  • Immersed in technology since birth
  • Technology deeply integrated in everyday life

Gen Z: Ages 13-19 – Born 1997-2010

Millennials: Ages 23-38 – Born 1981-1996

  • 25% of U.S. population
  • Extraordinary buying power
  • Largest living generation in U.S.
  • Unmatched social media skills
  • Social Media Platforms: 70% use Facebook, 63% are heavy YouTube users
  • 43% want brand to reach them via email
  • Spend 8 hours a day online
  • Concerned with financial future
  • Generation most loyal to brands

Generation X: Ages 39-53 – Born 1965-1980

  • 6% of U.S. population
  • Smaller than any other age demographic
  • 58% of internet users in U.S
  • $200 billion in spending power
  • Social Media Platforms: 80% on Facebook and Twitter but only half use their accounts regularly
  • 76% of all online users will access social media in 2017
  • 68% make decisions based on reviews. Pay attention to online reviews

Baby Boomers: Ages 55-73 – Born 1946-1964

  • Spend 27 hours a week online
  • Social Media Platforms: Facebook preferred platform: 45% of 65+; 60% of 50-64; 15% spend 11-plus hours a week on Facebook; 13% use LinkedIn
  • 50% rely on credit cards for purchases
  • Responsible for 50% of total consumer expenditure
  • Most price conscious

Social media use overall — in the U.S. and beyond

When looking at social media use overall, the research shows that today about 70% of Americans use social media to connect with each other. Worldwide, there are approximately 3.04 billion social media users. About that same number actively access social media on their mobile devices. Of these, 90% reach out to brands or retailers.

In the U.S. 77% of people have at least one social media profile. And global internet users spend 135 minutes daily on social media sites.

What Research Tells Us About Social Media and Its Users

What Research Tells Us About Social Media and Its Users

Social media. Who uses it? How often do they use it? And what platforms do they use?

It’s essential to know the answers to those questions if we want to successfully craft targeted social media posts for our businesses.

The Pew Research Center survey

So let’s take a look at the latest research from the Pew Research Center, which routinely knocks it out of the park when it conducts surveys.

From Jan. 8 to Feb. 7, researchers in the Pew survey conducted telephone interviews among a national sample of 1,502 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Of the respondents, 302 were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,200 were interviewed on a cellphone.

What did the survey conducted early this year find? It found that despite privacy and other concerns, social media use by adults is basically unchanged.

“The shares of adults who say they use Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter are each largely the same as in 2016, with only Instagram showing an uptick in use during this time period,” according to the survey. (Note: There are no comparable 2016 phone survey data for YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp or Reddit.)

The previously steady growth in the use of social platforms in the United States during the past decade appears to be slowing, the report shows. While Facebook and YouTube have the broadest reach among adults, Instagram and Snapchat have a strong following among young adults. These findings illustrate the age-, gender-, and race-related differences in platform use that the survey documented, which we share below.

Evolving social media

But first a news update. Although social media use has remained flat, social media design – from its appearance to its features – continues to change – and here’s the latest on that. The Pew survey results hit April 10, less than one month before Facebook rolled out a new redesign for its app and website in late April.

The redesign gives both a cleaner look, more white space, more emphasis on groups, and prominent placement for “Stories” photo-sharing, according to such sources as Business Insider. Facebook says groups, which it counts at 400 million, are among the most “meaningful” ways people use the site.

Included in the Facebook news was a bit about Facebook Dating, which is set to launch in the U.S. by the end of the year. Also included is a new “Meet New Friends” feature. It will be interesting to see how these changes affect Facebook statistics when Pew conducts its next survey.

What the research shows

For now, let’s look at some statistics about social media users using the most popular platforms, as featured in the Pew survey and in an April 10 article and info-graphic on Social Media Today.

The latest survey is just one piece of useful research about social media that the Pew Research Center has conducted over the years, with the first in-depth studies on both adult and teen use of social media conducted in 2007. Find more here.

General social media statistics

  • Approximately 3.04 billion social media users worldwide
  • About the same number actively access social media on their mobile devices.
  • 90% of these reach out to brands or retailers.
  • In the U.S. 77% of people have at least one social media profile.
  • Global internet users spend 135 minutes daily on social media sites.

The platforms


  • 2.4 billion users
  • 69% of adults use the platform
  • 74% of users visit site daily
  • 50% visit several times a day
  • 63% male
  • 75% female
  • 70% white
  • 70% black
  • 69 Hispanic
  • 84% of 25- to 29-year-olds use it
  • 74% have incomes of $75K+
  • 75% have some college


  • 590 million members; 260 million users
  • 27% of adults use the platform
  • 29% male
  • 24% female
  • 28% white
  • 24% black
  • 16% Hispanic
  • 44% of 25- to 29-year-olds use it
  • 49% have incomes of $75K+
  • 51% have college+
  • 70% of users are outside the U.S.


  • 326 million users
  • 22% of U.S. adults
  • 24% male
  • 21% female
  • 21% white
  • 24% black
  • 25% Hispanic
  • 44% of 18- to 24-year-olds use it
  • 31% have incomes of $75K+
  • 32% have college+
  • 80% access it via mobile device


  • 250 million+ users
  • 28% of U.S. adults
  • 15% male
  • 42% female
  • 33% white
  • 27% black
  • 22% Hispanic
  • 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds use it
  • 41% have incomes of $75K+
  • 38% have college+


  • 1 billion active monthly users
  • 500 million are active daily
  • 37% of U.S. adults
  • 31% male
  • 43% female
  • 33% white
  • 40% black
  • 51% Hispanic
  • 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds use it
  • Dominated by those under age 35
  • Majority of users visit site daily
  • 60% of 18- to 29-year-old users use the platform several times per day
  • 42% have incomes of $75K+
  • 43% have college+


  • 255 million users
  • 24% of U.S. adults
  • 24% male
  • 24% female
  • 22% white
  • 28% black
  • 29% Hispanic
  • Majority of users visit site daily
  • 62% of 18- to 29-year-olds use it
  • 68% of 18- to 29-year-old users use the platform several times per day
  • 27% have incomes of less than $30K
  • 29% have some college


  • 9 billion users
  • 73% of U.S. adults use it
  • 78% male
  • 68% female
  • 71% white
  • 77% black
  • 78% Hispanic
  • 93% of 25- to 29-year-olds use it
  • 83% have incomes of $75K+
  • 80% have college+
  • 51% visit site daily; that figure was 45% in 2018
Content Marketing and Social Media: What’s In It For You?

Content Marketing and Social Media: What’s In It For You?

At Triple Canopy Media, we use Content Marketing to help monitor and maintain your company’s reputation online. This strategic marketing approach is focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, content that will attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Ultimately, this content also drives customers to take action that profits your company. Social media is one component of a content marketing plan.

Social media: an important component

Having a well-developed social media presence is critical in today’s hyper-connected world. Your customers, clients, and stakeholders live on social media, and so should you. Your presence on social media will help you actively engage in reputation management, broadcast (and narrowcast) your public relations messages, reinforce and build your brand, identify and attract new customers, and retain existing customers and clients.

At Triple Canopy Media, we know that social media is an essential component of every business’s content marketing plan. And about 90% of marketers agree. They say social media generates important exposure for their companies.

The benefits of using social media are so great that anyone not using it is missing out on a cost-effective marketing opportunity. It is cost-effective because setting up social media accounts is free. Plus, it only takes the investment of a few hours per week to increase brand awareness and enhance the reputation of your business.

Plan and publish

Simply having a social media page will benefit your brand.  And while it has never been easier to connect with your stakeholders, we strongly suggest that you have a plan before wading too deeply in these waters. It’s easy to make missteps on social media. Once it’s on Twitter, you can’t take it back.

But it is also important to provide updated content on a regular basis if you want to generate a wide audience for your business. As we like to say: Publish or perish. So while you want to update your website and blog content regularly, we recommend that you do the same for your social media accounts.

Figure out what to post

Feeling lost about what you should post on social media? Don’t despair. You’ll soon find your way. Here are a few good places to start.

What is your company’s story? What is its mission? What are its key messages? What makes your company stand out from the others? Craft your posts to convey this important information to your followers and those with whom they share your posts.

Vary your posts. Share links to information on your website, including any case studies you may produce. Broadcast links to new informative posts on your blog. Share news about your company, including links to coverage in media outlets. Share details of your events. Be sure to add visuals. Photos, memes, and videos add interest and variety.

Take a look at other social media pages and accounts — including those of your competitors — and make note of what catches your eye. What do you find interesting, informative, important, or amusing? Let those observations inform what you post on your business accounts.

Don’t forget user generated content. As Social Media Today reports, “the authenticity and influence of user-generated visuals are what people seek, trust and act on most.” Reviews from satisfied customers or clients are perfect, as are video testimonials from that same group. Such content proves you have a valuable product or service, according to the real people who use it.

Remember these two things: Eight-six percent of people say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. And 93% of consumers admit online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Both are good reasons for collecting and using user generated content.

Tag and hashtag

Remember to tag other businesses and organizations that you mention in your social media posts whenever possible. Such tags will encourage those entities to like and share your page and your posts, thereby increasing your audience and generating more awareness of your business.

Add appropriate hashtags that refer to the topic(s) included in your post. This will allow those interested in that topic to find your post by searching the particular hashtag. Example: #contentmarketing

Like and follow

Look up your clients and customers on social media. Find the accounts and pages of important civic organizations and others in your community. Like their pages. Follow them. Like and share their posts. Post positive comments. Write reviews. With any luck, they will do the same for you. All of that will increase your audience, your engagement, and your credibility.

What social media can do for you

Now that you have had a crash course in social media engagement, here’s what setting up and regularly maintaining appropriate social media accounts can do for your business:

  • Create and increase brand awareness
  • Build credibility and trust
  • Educate your audience(s)
  • Generate demand for your goods or services
  • Generate leads
  • Build loyalty and brand advocacy with existing clients/customers
  • Build an audience
  • Generate sales/revenue
  • Improve search engine rankings
  • Increase website traffic
  • Drive attendance to events
  • Support product launches

How does TCM handle content marketing?

  1. We assess your needs, determine which social media platforms will best serve them, and set up a regular process for sharing carefully crafted content about your business via selected platforms.
  2. We create a cohesive strategy and measurement plan.
  3. We integrate the plan across the organization.
  4. Finally, we use metrics to monitor content marketing performance and ROI.

Reach out for help

Trust us. Social media is a key element for marketing success. If you’re not sure how to do it, reach out to us. We here at Triple Canopy Media would be glad to show you how it’s done. Or do it for you.