Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
A constant topic of discussion that comes up for me among the colleagues and partners I work with is whether they are “too old” to get on TikTok. My answer to that question is: No one is too old to get on TikTok.
Given the general increase in user adoption, I expect that TikTok will become a platform that everyone — of all ages and walks of life — will eventually be on. This means business leaders, especially those in creative industries, stand to gain a wider audience and enhanced brand recognition from joining the platform.
Right now is the best time for business leaders to create a TikTok account and actively develop content. In my experience, most people in their mid-20s and above are primarily browsing the platform rather than creating content, which gives you a great opportunity to stand out from other people in your category. We’re seeing that videos aiming to teach and offer information are actively being sought out and featured on TikTok from “older” creators at this very moment, but it likely won’t last forever.
I believe that business leaders — regardless of age — should consider joining the platform to enhance brand engagement.
The Upsides of Joining TikTok
In general, there are some basic benefits and upsides of joining TikTok. Here’s how you should frame your mindset before joining:
Don’t think of it as a fad.
People have been fighting the Musical.ly and TikTok train for years, saying they’re a flash in a pan. I’ll say the same thing I did when Musical.ly launched in 2015: It’s here to stay. The sooner you understand, the sooner you can start making the most out of the platform. Think of this as an opportunity to explore to carve out a space in this new landscape for your brand. You’ll need to reframe your mindset to tap into this potentially lucrative opportunity.
More time on a platform equals more time to gain followers.
It’s pretty simple math — the more time you are on a social platform, the more time you’ll have to collect followers. Some people have so many more followers than others because they’ve been on the platform longer. This is why it’s crucial for business leaders to get on the platform at this opportune moment to reap the benefits of being a long-standing brand with an established following.
A video-centric platform caters to a different type of person.
Let’s face it: Photos are great, but they’re not for everybody. We’ve seen a huge shift toward video content over the past few years, meaning a video-centric platform seems like a sound choice in today’s market. Sometimes video is a nice alternative to posting photos because you can deliver your message more clearly or inject more personality that helps better portray your brand.
It isn’t going to feel like it’s all teenagers forever.
It may feel like a young person’s app right now, and that may be accurate at this moment, but there are a few things I want to point out here about TikTok. TikTok was formerly the platform Musical.ly, which had a children/preteen audience when it launched. With the pivot to TikTok, now there is a much more diversified and “older” audience. Remember when older generations flocked to Facebook and eventually Instagram? I think we can expect older generations to end up on TikTok one day too. It’s just a matter of time. This means that establishing your presence on the platform now could open you up to a much larger audience later down the line.
Are you sold yet? If you are, you might be trying to figure out how to get started.
Developing a Creative Strategy for TikTok
After setting up an account and filling out the profile section, my recommendation for business leaders is to follow at least 20 people right off the bat and dig into the trending topics. One brilliant thing about this platform is that it practically guides you on ideas for what type of content to create, which changes on a daily basis. Browse through the top 10 trending topics to get inspired for what kind of video you’d like to make. Seeing what’s already making the rounds can help you understand what people are looking for and how to stand out from the crowd.
I recommend trying out a variety of videos to start with: education videos, storytelling videos about how you got started, introductions to different team members, or product demos. The important thing is to try several styles and formats to see what sticks to the wall for you or your brand because what works on TikTok is different for everyone.
Be warned: There is a slight learning curve to using the tools and editing features. Dedicate an hour to make your first video — that should give you enough time to click around and really understand the tools. If you’re nervous about posting it, you can always save it to “drafts,” which makes it so that only you can see it. You can then choose to post it later or not to post it at all. View this as an exercise in learning how to create a TikTok rather than creating the most viral piece of content of all time.
To sum things up, it’s really not a matter of if an older audience will get on TikTok; it’s just a matter of when. The sooner you onboard the platform, the easier it will be to start gaining an audience. So, what are you waiting for?