Will Influencing Last Forever?

Will Influencing Last Forever?

This is a question that has been bouncing around in my head for a couple of weeks now, after I was ‘influenced’ to buy a mascara and guess what? That’s right…two days later the same influencer was promoting a DIFFERENT mascara on her story. What about the one I had just ordered? It was supposed to be the best mascara ever created.

This influencer completely lost my trust, I felt tricked and gullible.

Is it really all about money for influencers? Will they say anything if they are paid? It does prove one thing though, influencing works and it is not the first time I have bought a product due to a recommendation from an influencer, but it could be the last.

How can influencing go wrong?

Terrie McEvoy and Tower Jewellers

Irish influencer and blogger Terrie McEvoy partnered with the company Tower Jewellers; she rigged a sponsored contest so that friends of hers won the prizes — two bracelets from Tower. After the backlash on social media, McEvoy and Tower Jewellers apologized, and McEvoy deleted her Facebook account.

Scott Disick and Bootea

Scott Disick’s first Instagram post on behalf of Bootea products was a huge flop. He accidentally copied and pasted the campaign instructions from the PR firm he was working with as part of the post. The post read: “Here you go, at 4pm est, write the below Caption: Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”

Opps Scott, amateur move!

I simply, cannot leave out Fyre Festival, the fraudulent luxury music festival founded by Billy McFarland, CEO of Fyre Media Inc, and rapper Ja Rule. The event was promoted on Instagram by social media influencers including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski, many of whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so. Tickets cost up to $100,000 (£75,000) and guests who booked were promised luxury accommodation and “the best in food, art, music and adventure” in the Bahamas. Instead they turned up to mattresses on rain-soaked floors, meals of cheese slices on bread and their luggage thrown into an unlit car park. Hit up the Netflix documentary if you have not already.

The influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, up from as much as $8 billion in 2019, according to Business Insider. The industry has become so monetized, it’s possible there is an anti-influencer sentiment on the rise, many people are becoming less trusting of influencers and more careful of who they choose to follow due to the increase of dishonest practises. Instagram influencer engagement is nearing an all-time low as social media allows for more people to achieve fame and influencer status, meaning social media quickly has become oversaturated with influencers.

Tips for working with influencers

  • Influencers need to display authenticity, likability, and authority to create trust with followers. Brands need to be careful who they choose to represent them, the best practice would be partnering with influencers who have used and liked a product or service before even entering an endorsement deal, but at the very least, marketers should make sure they partner with influencers who have authentic connections to their brand.  
  • Some influencers have inflated followings, with very little engagement which is why it is great (and cheaper) for brands to work with micro influencers. The authenticity of common interests between a micro-influencer and their followers evokes a credibility that a large influencer cannot replicate.
  • Tik Tok made me buy it… Following in the footsteps of Instagram, Tik Tok is set to become a major player in the influencer space with 41% of users aged 16-24.

Will influencing last forever? I cannot see it slowing down anytime soon. But I can see it changing at a rapid pace, brands will have to choose meticulously each influencer they work with ensuring they are ethical, honest and create authentic content in order to be successful working with influencers.

Will I be influenced again? Probably…

Cliodhna Donnelly is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram

Confessions of an Online Shopaholic.

Confessions of an Online Shopaholic.

‘Your order has been shipped’. If I had to choose five words which kept me going during during lockdown it would be these.

 In a world where every social media site or news source was flooded with the latest Covid-19 statistic or isolation horror story the home pages of my shopping apps felt like a safe haven with the only reminder of reality being a patterened face mask. My frequent shopping habit was problem enough as it was before lockdown but the pairing of hours spent scrolling through ASOS and Zara’s ‘New-In’ section along with increased disposable income now there was no outtings and you had yourself a dangerous combination.

What doesn’t help is that we live in a generation where looks and aesthetics are more important than ever before and especially among young women; being seen as fashionable can be viewed as a very valuable currency. A largely followed Instagram page for girls these days can be the goose that lays the golden egg, because along with clout comes opportunity and even more conveted is the seemingly endless stream of free stuff. While ‘OOTDs’ and ‘Look Books’ were previously confined to Instagram and Youtube the spillage onto TikTok was detrimental to my bank account. Every third video seemed to be a different variation of the same types of outfit, flared trousers with chucky trainers and an oversized jumper, a tennis skirt with a sweater vest and collar and then a strappy mini dress with a leather jacket and Doc Martins. Despite everyone seemingly having the same rotation of outfits, this new style seemed to require a lot more items and therefore more shopping. ‘Basic’ style is basically blasphemy in todays world of online fashion, long gone is the reign of the old faithful skinny jean and nice top combo, and the irony of it is, is that standing out has never looked more like fitting in. Unknowningly once again it seems, it is the same outfits just in different fonts.

There is comfort however in knowing that there’s many of us in the same boat, even if it is one that’s sinking. A common trend on twitter during lockdown did seem to be the on-going joke that many people started to get on first name basis with their delivery drivers. It’s hard not to love seeing them coming when it was one of the few things to look forward to during lockdown. While buying something physical instore is a rush, there has to be something said for the process of online shopping and how each stage provides its own release of satisfaction; ‘Your order has been processed’, ‘Your order has been shipped’, ‘Your order is out for delivery’ and then waiting feverishly for the driver to arrive only brings greater enjoyment to finally having the parcel in your hands.

One of the worst parts of online shopping however is how easy they make it to buy things you know you shouldn’t. Buy Now Pay Later is a cruel mistress and one not to be played with. Students are typically well used living beyond their means ‘loans in, wits out’ a phrase used far too often by people living large during freshers week and then scraping by until the next payment comes in, but now with the likes of Klarna this doesn’t apply to online shopping. Klarna is just one of many online financing services which allow you to pay in installments or at a later stage. While it’s well and good to use it once in a while when you’re short on cash and need something for an emergency it should be used with caution. All too often I have had friends become trigger happy with it and then been hit with reality when a hefty bill eventually comes through.

Unfortunately it seems that 2021 will mostly be a case of ‘all dressed up and got no where to go’ so here’s to hoping for the health of our finances that the fashion gurus won’t go changing up styles anytime soon.

Sophie Fox is studying BSc Hons Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. You can contact her on Twitter and LinkedIn

TikTok is thriving, but have you got what it takes to go viral?

TikTok is thriving, but have you got what it takes to go viral?

It is no secret that the social media platform has taken us all by storm over the past year, but what sets TikTok apart from all the others and where does your brand fit on the platform (if at all)?


Let’s go back to the start. Vine has been and gone, the mums/Karens have taken over Facebook, Instagram is full of advertising and irrelevant content. It’s 2019. (Brighter days might I add). You see your 13yr old cousin performing some strange form of dance whilst recording themselves on the latest iPhone they got from Santa, while lip-syncing at the same time. You ask them what they’re doing. “Making a TikTok” they respond. This is a foreign phrase to you at this stage, but you’re intrigued. You type ‘Tick Tock’ into your search bar on twitter, your go-to platform these days when you unlock your phone, to find not much more than a Rolex advert and a few dodgy memes. You go about your day all the same, unphased.


Later upon opening Facebook, you come across a sponsored article posted by LADbible- ‘How TikTok Is Making Teens Thousands Of Pounds For 15 Seconds Of Lip-Syncing’. You think to yourself, ‘was my phone listening to my discussion earlier?’ You click to open the article wondering is your cousin making thousands of pounds from what she was doing earlier. You come to learn that TikTok is an app which allows for 15sec videos of dance, lip-syncing, comedy, creativity, tricks and the list goes on. You decide to download it (but vow you will NEVER post) and suddenly you find yourself down a rabbit hole of hilarious, engaging entertainment 4hours later sat in the same position as when you downloaded the app.


And we’re back in 2020. Although TikTok was founded in 2016, 2019 was when it started to really gauge traction and recognition, priming it for the success it possesses today. Since then, the app has evolved massively by listening to its consumer and improving features such as- allowing for better quality in-app editing tools, longer recording times and overall has become more accommodating and complex. It might be difficult to get a grasp of the app from a brand perspective, but if TikTok is something you’re thinking of getting on to then you must read the room first. Will TikTok reach your target audience? Do you have the budget for their pricey paid content options? Are you going to learn the latest trending dances and include product placement in your clip? There are so many things to think of before jumping on the band wagon. Hopefully I can give you advice here, as someone who’s video went viral with over 20million views while working for a popular beauty brand (shameless plug I know, but I like to think I know what I’m talking about).

You may be reluctant to join, yet there is indeed room for everyone on the app, as long as you remain true to brand tone of voice. For example, if you are a high fashion brand, it may be too cheesy and irrelevant for you to jump on the latest trends to get noticed. Instead, you could gift clothing to some of the leading ‘creators’ on the app that fit with your brand, or hone in on the creativity aspect of the app and show how some of your pieces in their journey from a design idea to a finished good. The key is to remember that you need to have your own voice/USP and to refrain from copying what the other brands are doing. I have highlighted two successful examples of viral content from completely different brands below.

  • Chipotle: With 1.3million followers, the American food chain have gone viral gaining millions of views on a single post, numerous times. Their USP is very much so humour, as it only takes a quick scroll through their videos to have you giggling. They create and partake in trends that are relevant and re-post humorous videos created by other users. They’ve ran their own #GuacDanceChallenge and more recently they launched a collaboration with an American TikTok house (house full of TikTok creators) to promote their new group ordering feature on their app. They ran a competition with the hashtag ‘#ChipotleSponsorUs’ in which users would create a video explaining why they should win a free takeout using the group feature, with 5 winners. The challenge received an overall reach of 38million, which is great for an organic, unpaid challenge on the app.

  • The Washington Post: Similar to Chipotle, TWP use humour to engage their audience. A further USP for the American Newspaper is that their staff feature in almost all of their videos, to the point they are recognisable and almost ‘influencers’ in their own right. This is a really good example of showing a more personable side to a brand that consumers wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Their content may not be heavily branded, but they have definitely succeeded in reach with over 750k followers. This is also proof that TikTok is a way to engage with consumers that may be outside your target market, as Gen Z may not physically go out to buy a paper, yet they will engage with the brand on social media.

From the examples mentioned and a quick nosey at other brands on TikTok, it is clear to see there is space for every type of brand on TikTok. The app in itself is very light hearted and this is the approach that all viral brands have in common. It’s important to think outside the box and take a risk with your content. It may flop, but it’s often the underdog videos that end up viral. My three main takeaways I will leave you with if you’re thinking about getting started on the app would be; don’t take it too seriously, get creative with your content, and stay true to your tone of voice. Go get ’em!

Grace Blaney is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.

HOW TIKTOK SKYROCKETED SALES TO THE ‘LITTLE’ MOON

HOW TIKTOK SKYROCKETED SALES TO THE ‘LITTLE’ MOON

It is becoming more apparent each day that traditional media platforms are taking a back seat in the marketing world. Although newspapers, radio and television are still prominent features within the household, the instantaneous nature of social media takes preference in delivering information to society.

Whether it is a swipe up on Instagram or a scroll down on TikTok, we are constantly being influenced and a lot of the time, we don’t even realise it. The global pandemic has introduced many new trends into society, including home workouts, banana bread and TIKTOK.

Would I be correct in saying this time last year, you had absolutely no intention of downloading TikTok? “It’s a children’s app” you laughed. “Not for me” you urged. Just wondering what your TikTok screen time is now?

Nevertheless, as COVID spread across the globe, we all became desperate for an escape from the deadly news and isolation boredom and TikTok provided just that. Initially, we all learned a dance or two, tie-dyed our jeans and made whipped coffee. The popularity of the app became apparent very quickly, with unheard songs going to number one after a dance trend and normal people becoming mega influencers, with millions of followers LITERALLY overnight. Addison Rae, Charli D’Amelio and Noah Beck… to name a few.

Many platforms seen a surge of interest throughout the pandemic, including Etsy, online fashion stores and most predominantly, TikTok. Currently TikTok boasts an incredible ONE BILLION monthly active users in contrast to 680 million users in late 2018. These avid scrollers spend on average 52 minutes everyday on the app, with the most popular age group of users, Generation Z scrolling for up to 80 MINUTES. Bearing in mind most videos on the app do not surpass 15 seconds, so that is a LOT of scrolling.

The popularity of the app resulted in plenty of ‘TikTok made me buy it’ moments – including North Face puffer coats, Juicy Couture tracksuits and most recently LITTLE MOONS.

Little Moons were created in 2010 by brother and sister, Howard and Vivien Wong who were keen to introduce the world to the delicious Japanese treat, Mochi. Brand awareness has undoubtedly skyrocketed for the sibling duo all thanks to the exciting algorithm of TikTok, seeing their sales increase by an incomprehensible 700% with their predominant suppler, Tesco.

HOW – you might ask? #LittleMoons

The instantaneous popularity for Little Moons has resulted in mass sell-out, making the sweet treat GOLDDUST and virtually impossible to get your hands on. This search process has become a trend in itself, with many TikTok users sharing their experience on the hunt for the treasured desserts, visiting endless ‘Big Tesco’s’ in their area. Therefore, you can guarantee those lucky enough to get their hands on them are going to take themselves to TikTok to do the all important ‘Taste Test’, contributing to the trend, generating views and popularity for both themselves and for the brand.

Win-Win situation – you get 100k views on a TikTok video and Little Moons get £100,000 in sales, seems fair… right?

With 55 million views on the #LittleMoons hashtag, simply from consumer involvement, this ultimately begs the question, do we still need to spend a huge chunk of our budget on marketing and brand awareness tactics?

The recent success of Little Moons did not involve a big billboard in London or an extortionately funded Instagram campaign. It involved the importance instilled in young people to jump on trends to stay relevent, the influence of user-generated content on the consumer and creative, inviting video marketing.

Unfortunately, I have not been lucky enough to get my hands on the sweet treats. I thought my job in Tesco would make the hunt slightly easier, but OH BOY was I wrong? Recently, I have noticed the freezer isle has become particularly popular with young people, hovering just incase the bare shelf will be restocked. I live in hope that someday soon, there will be a box left over by the time I finish my shift. I highly doubt it though. Eagle eyed individuals have even noticed some Tesco employees (not me Tesco) have been hiding the desserts behind other items to snag after work – and in true TikTok style, have taken to app to snitch on these workers, showing viewers all the hidden nooks and crannies to check before they admit defeat. It really is an extreme sport.

Selfridges in London were ahead of the hype, boasting a Little Moons counter, where you can choose numerous favours – like a Mochi Pick n’ Mix. Current government restrictions have allowed Selfridges to open their food counters, for takeaway, which, yes you guessed it, EVERYONE is taking advantage of. Videos on TikTok have exposed the huge queues gathering at a social distance outside the London department store, with newly hired security guards to control the demand.

SECUIRTY GUARDS for Little Moons? Can you believe it?

Although trends come and go, it is clear if the organisation get involved and push to maintain their popularity, it doesn’t have to be a one hit wonder. Little Moons were straight on the ball, jumping on the TikTok trend, creating their own videos, as well as promising to increase their supply to meet demand.

The million-dollar question is, WHAT OR WHO IS NEXT? As I scroll down my TikTok, which I admit, I do a lot *facepalm* there is a newfound rising popularity surrounding weighted hula-hoops, and feta cheese in pasta. Even in the early stages of popularity, I have noticed feta cheese is becoming sparse on the shelves in Tesco. The sheer power that TikTok holds over modern society is mind blowing and it is extremely important that organisations recognise this influence and begin to navigate this new wave of marketing effectively.

Ellen Turbett is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram and LinkedIn.

The Rise of Veganism – Is Veganism Taking Over?

The Rise of Veganism – Is Veganism Taking Over?

We are seeing vegan options being added to the menus of most cafes and restaurants, and the introduction of vegan brands to nearly all supermarkets. Some examples include Wicked Kitchen in Tesco, Plant Pioneers in Sainsbury’s and Plant Kitchen in M&S. With over half a million people in the UK pledging to go vegan in January, let’s explore why veganism is taking over? 

First of all, let’s look at the trend of going vegan in January, also known as Veganuary, which has been growing in popularity in recent years. According to charity Veganuary, 582,538 people signed-up to take part in a challenge to go completely vegan in January 2021, compared to 400,000 in 2020 – exceeding the charity’s 2021 target of 500,000. Due to the rising popularity of the challenge, Veganuary drove supermarkets to increase their vegan range with most supermarkets now offering a full section dedicated to plant-based alternatives. For example, in Tesco, their meat alternative range is based at the end of one of their meat aisles to encourage meat eaters to have a nosey when they reach the end of the aisle and see the alternatives on offer.

But why are people turning vegan? The BBC reported on a survey carried out by Mintel of 1,040 British adults and asked the reasoning behind people eating less meat and I have included the results below:

49% of those interested in cutting down on their meat intake said they would for health reasons, with over 50% of those who are non-meat eaters stating their biggest reason is for animal welfare.

You can read more on this here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44488051

In addition, a growing number of celebrities are announcing they’re vegan including Beyonce, Madonna, Ariana Grande and Zac Efron. There are also a number of YouTube stars and influencers are also vegan including Lucy Watson and Fearne Cotton. 

The popularity of video app TikTok has also encouraged increasing numbers of young people to make the change to veganism as there are plenty of videos of recipes to illustrate how easy it is to make that change. If you want to explore how TikTok is doing this then read this great article from the Independent explaining how vegan influencers are helping others to make that change: https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/sustainable-living/vegan-based-tik-tok-plantboiis-b1795724.html

So, is veganism taking over? Veganism is definitely gaining more popularity with over 580,000 people across the UK pledging to go vegan for at least a month this year. Furthermore, research on plant-based meat alternatives conducted by investment bank UBS found that the number of people who tried plant-based meat alternatives increased from 48% to 53% between March and November last year. Of those who tried plant-based alternatives, approximately half said that they would continue to eat them at least once a week.

The amount of people taking on the vegan lifestyle in the UK is increasing every year and exceeding expectations. Would you be interested in going vegan? With the growing number of vegan options, it’s probably easier than you think!

Niamh Deeny is currently on her work placement year for BSc Communication Management and Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Rise of TikTok – Influencer Marketing

TikTok calls itself ‘the destination for short-form mobile videos’ – essentially a 2020 ‘Vine’ (in fact, many of TikTok’s biggest creators started on Vine like David Dobrik). TikToks range from five to sixty seconds and trends can be based on just about anything.

The beauty of TikTok is the ability to go viral at anytime. TikToks algorithm is the key to the app’s success, giving every TikTok user a curated ‘For You Page’ (FYP) with content directly tailored to them based on interactions. Users can still follow creators; however the ‘For You Page’ is definitely where users spend their time scrolling.

What is Tiktok?

There is no one way of using TikTok. From dance trends to clothing hauls to lip syncing, the content on TikTok is endless. I would compare it to YouTube, but more convenient and far more addictive.

Videos can be uploaded or created in-app with effects, filters, audio clips and plenty of other fun tools. Aside from videos, live streams are increasingly popular for TikTok creators… and plenty of money can be earned from them.

Trends are the heart of TikTok and creators have literally earned a living off viral trends. Trends typically involve a hashtag or a viral audio clip and that is just about it. Users jump on trends to try and go viral, it is just that simple.

TikTok Marketing

With over 800 million active TikTok users, the platform has quickly become the most popular social media app making it a highly valuable marketing tool for brands.

There are a range of marketing methods on TikTok.

  • In-feed Ads
  • TopView
  • Brand Takeover
  • Branded Hashtag Challenge

Given how much of an impact TikTok has had on music streams, it is no surprise musicians have used TikTok to market their new releases. Creators often get paid just to use a 15 second clip of a new song.

TikTok has been quick to identify the app as a huge marketing platform. TikTok recently launched a Creator Marketplace to connect brands with content creators. It allows brands to find creators based on performance data and analytics and create collaborations together.

In-feed ads typically get the best results from small businesses. Other Ad’s on TikTok are usually only open to large companies with bigger marketing budgets.

Influencer marketing.

Nearly 86% of marketers have used influencer marketing to boost their brand awareness and sales.

Asking a creator with a large following to review your brand or product on TikTok allows for exposure, and can be done very cost effectively. The key to successful influencer marketing on the app is to target influencers whose following resembles your brands target market.

Influencer marketing on TikTok is likely to be the most effective marketing method due to not having to worry about the negatives of ads and you don’t have to think about building an audience yourself – the audience is already there with the influencer promoting you. Influencer ads work the best when the creator is given creative freedom and the partnership is disclosed. Brands can see the success of the collaboration by viewing insights and analytics.

There are several sites to help brands identify and select the right TokTokers for their brand collaboration.

  1. Julius – Julius enables brands to look through a database of over 100,000 creators. With many filters, brands can narrow down the large pool of creators to find some that suit their target market based on a number of criteria.

2. FanBytes – FanBytes is the first dedicated platform for finding TikTok creators and has over half a million influencers listed. FanBytes runs its own TikTok influencer campaigns making the platform a very reliable source for brands to utilise.

Are you ready to market your brand on TikTok?

Now you know the ins and outs of TikTok marketing, you are ready to launch your own TikTok ad campaign.

Will you use TikTok as a way to market your brand? Let me know!

Elise Ralph is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn

Is All Press Still Good Press in an Era of ‘Cancel Culture’

Is All Press Still Good Press in an Era of ‘Cancel Culture’

I’ m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “All press is good press even bad press” before. And if not, it basically means as long as your name is in the press, your being spoken about.

But in the age of ‘Cancel Culture’ can this still be the case?

Cancel Culture seems to have taken over the internet, you never really know what who’s is getting cancelled next…

But let’s begin with what ‘Cancel Culture’ is; it is when those who are in the public eye are denounced by the society that follow them, for making racist, sexists or just generally offence remarks. We have entered a whole new era with ‘woke’ audiences, who have decided that they are not letting celebs and influencers get away with offensive remarks or actions scott free.

It can happen in an instance, one-minute people are using your song in every other tiktok the next it’s like it’s disappeared out of thin air, because your racist comments from online chat rooms where found. (Doja Cat).

But can Cancel Culture have a serious impacted on a person’s career?

Many celebrities have faced the raft of cancel culture between 2019-2020. As the internet continues to expand and our society becomes less tolerant towards racists and homophobe’s, there is no were left to hide. It seems celebrities past comments and mistakes are being found one by one. While some have made a recovery from their time in cancellation, others have lost job opportunities, followings and the publics respect.  

Kevin Hart

A great example of Cancel Culture damaging a person’s career is Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart made the decision to step down as the Oscars host in 2018, due to backlash from old tweets from 2011 making offensive homophobic jokes. Hart refused to make any more apologies about the topic but insisted that he would step down to avoid any distraction from the event. However, this is not worse a case scenario. While he may have to step down from his Oscars role, since the incident Kevin Hart has still managed to maintain a successful career and has appeared in many films.

Shane Dawson

If your looking for worst case scenario, look no further than YouTuber Shane Dawson. Dawson has participated in many YouTube drama and feuds over the years. But the nail in the coffin for Shane Dawson, was the old videos of him making inappropriate jokes towards a young 11-year-old Willow Smith and videos of him doing blackface. The online community decided that they were done with his actions, Shane lost a million subscribers in the two weeks following the controversy, according to Social Blade and YouTube demonetized three of Shane Dawson’s YouTube channels. From July 2020-Late October 2020, Shane Dawson wasn’t heard of and with his returned to YouTube video, Dawson decided not to speak about any of the previous controversary. So, for now there is no telling whether or not Dawson’s career will ever make a great recovery.

A New Cancellation Platform?

These days, the press is not the younger generations main source of news, especially when hearing about the latest scandal. Social media is. Tiktok whilst mostly being a platform for funny videos and 60 second dances, has recently been took over by cancel culture. It’s no longer the public using this platform to call out and cancel influencers and celebrity. Famous TikToker’s and Youtubers, are using this platform to cancel out each other.

Charlie D’Amelio’s, a 16-year-old TikToker with a huge following of 95million as of November 2020, has recently been a target of a tiktok cancellation/call out. A short clip of D’Amelio was aired, where she was seemingly complaining about her food made by a private chef and not being at 100 million followers yet, spark angry amongst Tiktok users. However, this situation was then blown up by another huge TikToker Trisha Paytas decided to call D’Amelio out herself. This act resulted in Charlie D’Amelio getting tones of hate, death threats and 1 million followers. This has also led to what seems to be a cancellation war between the D’Amelio’s, Paytas and Youtuber James Charles, who called Trisha out for her actions.

So, is all press still good press?

Personally it’s a no from me. The public are now watching celebrities every move, it’s almost like people are waiting for them to trip up, say a word they shouldn’t, for the chance to take them down. And the crying apology videos are becoming less and less sympathetic as time goes on. Not to say there’ll never be a recovery from a public cancellation. But any Celebrity who may find themselves in the midst of a cancelling situation, is going to need to give their publicists one hell of a pay rise.

Keela Costello is a third year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at LinkedIn.

The impact of going Viral on Tiktok for a Small business

The impact of going Viral on Tiktok for a Small business

While Tiktok was launched in 2016, it has recently become extremely popular, and this popularity has allowed it to become a great advertising method for many small business who cannot afford to pay large amounts on advertising.

Time and time again, we see small businesses on Tiktok going from reaching an audience of sometimes less than a hundred people to reaching thousands of people and selling out their products. This has been an extremely successfully method for people who are selling art, clothes sellers, jewellery and makeup, including eyelashes and lipglosses. I have even bought jewellery of a seller after seeing their products advertised on Tiktok, as I liked the look of their handmade earrings, and I never would have purchased from that seller if I hadn’t seen the business on Tiktok.

Many of the small businesses who advertise on Tiktok focus on Customer Service and add an extra touch to their packages such as personalised thank you notes, packinging and treats such as scrunchies or sweets. This helps them stand out to consumers even if they are selling the same products as larger businesses, and usually at a higher price than those same businesses as their customer service allows them to charge that extra bit. Many businesses also show themselves packaging people’s parcels if requested and these videos alone are capable of reaching tens of thousands of people, and some people buy with the hopes of getting their product packaged on Tiktok, as they are interested in the experience of buying from these smaller businesses.  

A Small business I have seen apply these tactics is an American brand, is Beauty_holics who sells an assortment of products including  a bundle which is two pairs of eyelashes, and applicator, a spoolie and a scrunchie for $30.00. This item is regularly sold out despite being very expensive compared to competitors.

Examples of packaging brands like Beauty_holics use

This is mainly because of the packaging – the products are put into a miniature suitcase instead of a box which is fun and exciting to people and makes them want to buy the product. One of her videos has received 9.1M likes and has been viewed by 62.1M people which is an astonishing reach for someone running a small niched business out of their home, and immediately following this video going viral she completely sold out on her website.

Another reason a lot of Videos from small businesses go viral on Tiktok is because people are generally interested in a glimpse of other people’s lives and businesses and this is why brands that do ‘come to work with me’ or show people how they make some of their products are so successful.

A small business near me, XXI ice in Dundalk, reached an audience of 5.2 million people on one of their 1 minute long videos showing how they make their strawberry rolled ice cream, and has reached a similar audiences on more of their videos, and this advertising reaches places all over the world – not just in Ireland, and has left an impression on all of them from watching such a simple video. There is very few Social Medias which let you easily gain 5.2 million views, as easily as can be done from going TikTok viral.

Chicken Nugget ice Cream from XXI Ice Tiktok video

 The account also makes ice cream with other stranger items such as chicken nuggets which is controversial enough that it helps keep people intrigued as to what they will do next, and so people will be encouraged to follow them on Tiktok.

Many people who promote their business on Tiktok also offer a personal touch such as a mystery pack option. People like these products as it is exciting to get a package in your style but you don’t actually know what you’re getting. The business asks for a few of your likes or dislikes and works from there to personalise your product. One brand who does this well is ‘hissyfitclothing’ who has different kinds of mystery packs, such as pastel, dark, and rave themed ones, her brand is sold out of the mystery packs on a regular basis because they are so popular. The brand is also very responsive on tiktok so it is very popular for their customer service, and she is very open about how she sources and makes the clothing and so it popular for her ethical clothing. She was also able to turn a customer compliant into a viral video, she had a customer go viral by making a video complaining about how the 3 items in her mystery pack didn’t go with each other – which they hadn’t been marketed to do. In response to this she made a video called ‘styling that mystery pack’ where she styled the items from that pack in many different ways.

There is, however, is a downside to Tiktok as a marketing device as while you may get a lot of attention for a while after going viral, it is a very fast moving app and you need to work very hard to keep the attention as the spotlight is very quick to move onto the next viral videos and so it is very difficult to receive sustained attention, and you have to be prepared for the constant up and down of views and sales you receive from advertising through Tiktok.

Aoife McCreesh is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter and LinkedIn.

My name is Emily and I’m addicted to TikTok…

EM5

About a month ago I was off work sick spending the day in bed scrolling through social media when I came across a compilation of funny videos with the source listed as ‘TikTok’. At this point I’d never heard of this app but having exhausted all of my social media already and needing more of a distraction from my illness, I decided to download it and see what it was all about.

At first I was apprehensive and it seemed like the whole app was just a bunch of pre teens lip syncing or dancing to random songs and the odd funny dog video. But the more I scrolled through the app the more I realised there was actually a wide range of content on it from all ages and I found myself enjoying the short funny videos. In fact it was quite refreshing compared to the usual scrolling through pictures on Instagram or watching long YouTube videos. Now here I am a month or so later and I’m officially addicted, and I’ve got loads of my friends hooked on it as well.

I’m so addicted to it that its now my most used app on my phone with the screen time tracker telling me I now spend an average of one hour per day on it compared to just 20 minutes on Instagram and fifteen minutes on twitter. Then recently I watched a TikTok that said the app recently passed 1 billion users worldwide and it got me wondering, where did this app come from and how has it got so popular so quickly?

I did some research and found out that TikTok came about due to a merger between the Chinese app Douyin (branded TikTok for the western world) and the app Music.ly which became popular in 2016 and was an app where users could create short 1 minute lip syncing music videos.  Then when Bytedance, the owners of Douyin, bought Music.ly in November 2017, they realised they could easily expand into the US teen market which was already dominated by Music.ly.

The ‘new’ TikTok however, is a lot more than just music videos with users uploading a wide range of content including prank videos, storytimes, cooking videos, life hacks and comedy re-enactments – all under one minute each.

The growing popularity of this app, not just among  a teenage audience but expanding into young adults and beyond, shows the shift in how we like to engage in social media content as a society. We like short, to the point, varied content that we don’t have to read. That’s the beauty of TikTok, its very easy to consume, the app automatically sends you a feed of videos on your ‘For You’ page that are popular on that day in your area and it also learns what type of content you enjoy based on the videos you like and the accounts you chose to follow.

According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, TikTok ranked third in the world in November 2018 for the amount of downloads and the app was downloaded more than 104 million times on Apple’s App store during the full first half of 2018.

EM6

Celebrities are getting involved now and there are even some users considered ‘TikTok’ famous with millions of followers now organising meet and greets and doing paid sponsored posts. I’ve now started to see it all over LinkedIn where everyone is saying that ‘TikTok must be a part of your marketing strategy’ and I’m starting to think we may have another Vine on our hands and TikTok could just be another social media app with a very short lifespan.

I think that if suddenly TikTok is just saturated with paid content and sponsored posts, people will lose interest and trust in the people they’re following.  I mean I’ve only been on it a month and even in the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed an influx of ads in between the videos! The ads are easy to scroll past but it is frustrating especially because the complete lack of ads and sponsored videos is what made it so easy appealing when I first joined the app. But I suppose with such growing popularity, its not surprising that brands are taking advantage of the app but I am very intrigued to see how the app grows in the coming months and whether or not it will last.

Source: The Incredible Rise of TikTok – [TikTok Growth Visualization] – influencermarketinghub.com

Emily Spackman McKee is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter @_spackman and LinkedIn Emily Spackman McKee