With the phenomenal rise of TikTok has come another notable rise – that of the social media influencer. Business coach and social media strategist for the NRL, Emily-Rose Hills delves into the rise of TikTok influencers, and reveals some important changes coming to the rules around influencer advertising in the health and wellness sector in Australia.
Did you know that 167 million TikTok videos are watched every minute? With more than 3 billion app downloads as of January 2022 and more than 1 billion active users each month, the short-form video platform is outshining the social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Despite its popularity, TikTok’s rise hasn’t come without its share of controversy.
Cast your mind back to 2020 when former president Trump vowed to ban TikTok, as he viewed the Chinese-owned app as a national security threat over data privacy fears. Yet the proposal to ban it was found to impede freedom of speech. The Indian government also shared Trump’s concerns and yet the outcome for the nation resulted in a permanent ban from June 2021.
The history of TikTok
Prior to being rebranded, TikTok was launched in 2014 as Musical.ly. It mostly consisted of users, known as Musers, lip-syncing and dancing to popular songs. It was then sold to Bytedance, for a cool $1 billion and re-emerged on to the app scene with a makeover – introduced as TikTok.
Using artificial intelligence, TikTok’s algorithm takes into account the user’s preferences based on what they watch, to create an engaging feed designed to keep people watching for longer.
Currently, the average daily time dedicated to watching TikTok videos is 52 minutes a day. And with 90 per cent of users logging in each day, it’s little wonder we are continuing to see the rise of this platform.
From a business point of view, these are phenomenal stats and certainly offer ample opportunity to get in front of your niche following on almost a daily basis. But is it worth making the move to yet another social media platform?
Many business owners are under the misconception that TikTok is simply dancing and lip-syncing for Gen Z and millennials. But you don’t have to show the world you’re a managing director who’s got the moves like Jagger, because there is so much more to the TikTok universe.
No longer just a dancing app
Prior to the rebranding, Musical.ly was primarily designed for the teeny-bopping Taylor Swift groupies to have their five minutes of fame.
The rise of TikTok has seen the app diversify into storytelling, product demonstrations, tutorials and much more. This provides an opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to humanise their brand, get authentic feedback from followers, and conduct market research.
One of the most common ways for businesses on TikTok to further their reach and appear on the For You Page is to draw on the power of influencer marketing – TikTok users who already have an established following. If managed well, influencer marketing can have a profound effect on the growth of your brand by reaching target audiences that don’t know who you are.
Influencer marketing has powerful potential if used correctly – because these days everyone is becoming an influencer.
Why does it feel like everyone is becoming an influencer?
What happened to the good ol’ days? Back in the 1980s and 90s, kids still had career aspirations to be astronauts, doctors, nurses, school teachers and ballerinas.
When recently surveyed, an alarming 76 per cent of children wanted to grow up to be YouTubers. 86 per cent of young people see themselves having a career as a content creator or influencer.
With TikTok’s unique platform, there is scope for even your 83-year-old nan to go viral. Yet to call yourself an ‘influencer’ relies upon having an interactive audience and videos that have consistently high reach.
As people realise the power of influencer marketing and the potential to make an actual living from sharing your life online, this is spawning a generation who want to make their income from creating content.
17-year-old Charli D’Amelio takes out pole position as one of the highest-paid influencers with more than 136 million followers on Tik Tok – she has earned an eye-watering $17.5 million, while her older sister Dixie is the #2 top-earning TikTok influencer.
It’s little wonder today’s kids have their eyes set on becoming content creators over brain surgeons.
Important changes to health and wellness influencer marketing in 2022
As more people realise the potential to earn an income from content creation, business owners can’t expect to approach influencers and expect posts in exchange for products. It’s fast becoming a case of product and pay.
However, if you are in the health product industry, influencer marketing is about to become harder. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is regulating the promotion of medicines, vitamins, supplements, medical devices and general health products.
This means that under the new changes to the advertising code, influencers will not be able to accept money for health products. They can, however, still provide testimonials.
The other big change to influencer marketing is that those who promote themselves as ‘health experts’ – whether they have qualifications or not – are banned from endorsements.
Gym supplements to sunscreens fall under the advertising regulations which become law as of July 1, 2022.
Speaking to The Australian, wellness influencer Emma Muglca said the changes would impact her earnings as most of her income is derived from paid partnerships with protein, vitamin and skincare brands.
As one of the top marketing strategies to reach extended audiences, the changes to influencer marketing are bound to have a huge impact on businesses.
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