New Digital Era POVs

Today, engagement is driven through imperfection, not perfection

Written by Matt Powers

"Generation Z are detectives, they see everything and notice inauthenticities." - Andrea Okeke, TikTok Creator

In this new digital era, how can brands connect with young people on platforms relevant to their interests? If you've had eyes and ears in 2019, the platform to be on right now is TikTok. While Instagram has been the key millennial hub for years, it has since grown into a sea of sameness with brands and users alike posting the similar content for similar expected engagement. This has led to the growth of TikTok, where users celebrate their diverse, complex selves for a more community oriented entertainment platform.

As brands flock to this platform in droves, they need to make sure the strategy lets content creators tell the brand story on their terms. On TikTok, creators are expressing themselves, not conforming to social norms, and showing more vulnerability. This is a great opportunity for marketers as there is such a variety of content, and the distance between creator and audience is much shorter. Instead of having a spokesperson, you could have a true champion for the brand who can relate to your consumers on a personal level. 

"There's value in showing all facets of yourself." - Anna O'Brien, TikTok Creator

For Anna, TikTok has helped her find her voice as a body positive influencer, giving her the platform to express herself and freedom to create her own content. She has gone on to partner with popular beauty and grooming brands across multiple channels to expand the notion of what beauty means in 2019.

Today, engagement is driven through imperfection, not perfection. When there is more authenticity, and creators show behind the curtain of the perfectly curated aesthetic of social media, it creates a more personal connection with the audience. Millennials and Gen Z'ers alike are fed up of the 'Insta aesthetic' - evident with the 311k followers of Instagram account @insta_repeat, which highlights replicated photos and poses that influencers do to fit in with Instagram's norms.

While TikTok is still in its infancy, it is changing the way young people interact with each other, especially with other young people from different walks of life. It's imperative for brands to not just enter this space, but integrate with creators who exemplify their core business values. The buying power of Gen Z is at $44 Billion and growing, so time is of the essence.