Deepashree Banerjee

“Short, organic video content is here to stay”: TikTok

Accomplishing the "60 seconds of fame" was never this easy until China’s ByteDance video sharing app, TikTok found its way to the Indian shores.

But the platform has been grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons mostly.

From enjoying the netizen's unwavering attention to rattling the government, which has called its content controversial, the last few months have indeed been a roller coaster ride for the app.

In a desperate bid to secure its consumer-base in the Indian market, the app has rolled out its first campaign titled, #WaitASecToReflect, urging people to take into account the possible aftermath of any piece of content before uploading them.

We also spotted a print ad in one of the leading dailies, apart from a series of three short films, which have been released across the app's YouTube and other social media platforms.

The recent print ad
The recent print ad

We spoke to the brand team about their influencer-heavy social media effort...

As a platform that is growing in India and as a company that is committed to this market, the brand considers it their responsibility to do their bit in promoting safe usage of online user generated content platforms.

With increased access to internet and user generated content platforms, TikTok acknowledges that there is a genuine need to sensitise and educate users about responsible online behaviour.

“Through this campaign, we want to spread the message that users have the power to help make internet a safe, positive and enriching place for all,” says the brand team.

“In addition to the campaign, we also launched a radio jingle and an in-app challenge that inspires action, with a contextual adaptation of a culturally relevant phrase - 'Bura na post karo, Bura na share karo, Bura na comment karo' [Post no evil, share no evil, comment no evil],” they add further.

The team regularly learns and understand from their users as to what is trending, what they would like to be a part of and what would be of interest to them. “Recently, based on the overwhelming response for our ongoing campaign #EduTok, we observed that our users like educational and content focused on personal development. Hence, we have now taken it to another level with theme specific campaigns in an attempt to provide a better user experience,” explains the team.

TikTok recently has teamed up with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to organise a series of workshops with students and professors of the educational institute across its six regional campuses over the next two months. The initiative is part of TikTok's '#WaitASecToReflect' ongoing campaign to promote responsible online conduct in India, their largest user base with nearly 300 million users.

TikTok has had its share of flak too. In April this year, the Madras High Court passed an interim order banning the app’s download in India, following reports of cyber-bullying. The ban was soon revoked on conditions of strict community guidelines.

The workshops will primarily stay focussed on promoting responsible usage and combating misinformation on the internet.

“We are also conducting offline panel discussions in several educational institutions in Mumbai to encourage the students to share their knowledge on TikTok, which will benefit the entire TikTok community,” the brand informs us.

The Chinese short-form video platform had earlier partnered with Uttarakhand and Kerala Police to help those organisations connect better with citizens.

The brand elaborates, “These product features and local initiatives are part of TikTok's ongoing efforts to understand and listen deeply to our users in India. With the help of our local teams, we will continue to further upgrade the platform to help users generate engaging and creative content using in-app features and tools.”

The popular video platform recently announced the launch of another safety feature,‘Device Management’ to ensure netizens have complete control of their account.

The said feature is an addition to its existing set of 13 safety features (which include age gate, restricted mode, screen time management, comments filter, and safety centre to help users safely showcase their creative expression) designed to protect the users.

“Safety has always been a key priority at TikTok and this feature was just another addition,” sums up the brand.

But, what's in store for the Indian brands to use TikTok?

In the past, we've seen promotions for the movie Gully Boy, where the lead actors Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh, urged users to download the TikTok app. Are there more such brand tie- ups are in the pipeline?

“TikTok is constantly working towards creating a better in-app experience for our users and at the same time, we are also experimenting with advertising models that leverage TikTok as a viable promotional platform for brands. As a marketer, it is vital to ensure that your brand is effectively connected to your audience, which makes them to start looking at platforms such as TikTok for the innovative digital advertising solutions being offered,” shares the brand.

With users across Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities, TikTok enables digital advertisers an opportunity to connect with deeper sections of society. “We want to continuously provide fresh features on TikTok and serve our creators and partners with an excellent online experience,” the team tells us.

They also point out that with TikTok, brands are slowly uncovering the true potential of the Indian market as TikTok might be the first content creation platform for a lot of new internet users in the country. “This allows partner brands to connect with their audience across the length and breadth of the country, in an interesting and innovative format. We've partnered with brands in the e-commerce, education, BFSI and travel space.” adds the brand.

Most marketers these days pay a hefty price to get a millennial's attention. Taking the cue the team states, “TikTok understands that the Gen Z likes S-I-N-C (Short- form, Influencer Driven, Native and Co-Created content) and hence the platform has always integrated this approach in all our campaigns. We believe that short, organic video content is here to stay and that it will continue to grow as users are looking for creative, snackable content online.”

The brand has opted for a 360-degree approach for the recent campaign simply to ensure that they reach out to India’s growing internet population. “The core message will be amplified in local languages nationally and is targeted at every social media user across the country.. essentially, consumers who are active on user generated content platforms or is a first-time internet user,” the brand tells us.

According to the team, what sets them apart from the crowd/potential rivals is how everyone on TikTok is making every second count. “Users are either exploring interesting and trending challenges or even going ahead to create new ones. Spending a few minutes on TikTok can leave one feeling rejuvenated and refreshed and now also provides and opportunity to learn,” the brand source says.