October 3, 2022

Thought leadership on TikTok: making an impact in 60 seconds

Maya Guevara

Marketing Intern

Thought leadership, believe it or not, is the #1 way to go viral on TikTok. Thought leadership is also the #1 thing your marketing team is probably nagging you about. So, how have young TikTokers harnessed the skill of thought leadership, and what can we learn from them? 

As a Gen Z-er, I believe that most business articles about TikTok are dismissing not just Tiktok’s purpose, but TikTok’s opportunities as well. TikTok is too often seen as a platform made for dance trends and memes when, in reality,  business minds can learn a lot from the unique skills and talents of the app’s many influencers.

I first downloaded TikTok in December 2019 after a video I made on a friend’s account went slightly viral (emphasis on slightly). While this sweet taste of fame didn’t usher me into a life of content creation, I did begin following different accounts that interested me. TikTokers taught me how to cook a meal for cheap, how to style outfits, and took me through their days as if I was a friend. As it turns out, hundreds, then thousands, then millions of people around the world felt the same way as I did about these kinds of accounts. With traction like this, these humble creators quickly made the jump to “micro-influencers”.

Too often, what people don’t understand is that these micro-influencers didn’t rise to popularity by following trends. Keeping “fresh” is still important, but what matters now is diving deep into a niche area and educating people. Businesses are starting to realize that consumers want to be educated and engaged, not sold to. In today’s social landscape, new ideas and inspiration matter most – and oftentimes – TikTok is ground zero.

Why does thought leadership work on TikTok?

You might laugh at the suggestion, but TikTok should be the top choice for your next thought leadership piece. Here’s why.

You’ll know when people like your content.

You make a video, you upload it, and in a few hours there are either 2 likes or 200. With TikTok, you’re able to test different types of content and adjust your strategy in real-time. 

TikTok finds your audience for you.

TikTok knows how to show consumers the content they want to see. With an algorithm that decodes every like, scroll, save, and comment, TikTok is able to identify exactly who would be interested in your video and show it to them.  Slap on the right hashtags and you’re good to go. 

Your content doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – long.

Traditional thought leadership takes the form of articles, podcasts, and long-form blogs. On TikTok, however, the longest piece of content you can create is a 3-minute video (and even that is seen as extra). Niche brands and brief content thrive on TikTok.

You can do  anything and everything.

TikTok truly gives you the space to share original and unique thoughts. Whether you’re giving business advice or peeling an egg (yes, this is something people dedicate accounts to), there is someone out there who will want to watch.  

Authenticity > Curation

TikToks, unlike other forms of content, don’t require your entire production team. The best content is created on phones – which lends itself to authenticity. And, authenticity is the secret ingredient to both racking up views and inspiring the masses.

What does this mean for you and your brand?

While we already know that marketers and brands need to provide thought leadership to stand out and stay ahead of the game, the difficulty comes in finding the time and capacity to actually produce ground-breaking content. The traditional thought leadership style can be overwhelming and slightly (okay, very) intimidating due to the pressure to consistently share provocative ideas.  When managing a brand is difficult enough as it is, the idea of adding extra responsibilities that take creative energy can seem impossible. 

Thinking about thought leadership as a TikToker would, however, change the game entirely. You don’t *need* to wait 10 years until you feel like an expert.  You don’t *need* to invest hours into perfecting a thought or crafting the perfect article. Because if you do, it might never get done.

Thought leadership, in its simplest form, is authentic and educational – something for which we all have the capability. That’s why we at Curiosity are breaking down mental hurdles and ushering in a new era of thought leadership – one that taps into experts of all ages and experience levels. Besides the TikTok content we already make for clients like Brooks, Donatos, and Altafiber, be on the look for the launch of our own channel this month. Here’s a sneak preview.

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