Focussed marketing – Going on a TikTok tangent

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Focussed marketing – bringing it back to basics when you’re presented with ‘shiny object’ syndrome and loads of opportunities…

Do you suffer from ‘shiny object’ syndrome? Apparently it’s deeply ingrained in the psyche of the entrepreneurial mindset, so I must have it in spades.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what ‘shiny object’ syndrome is. It’s certainly not an affliction among the wider workforce. In fact, it’s probably something that is viewed with sheer terror by the majority who find comfort in routine, consistency and the status quo.

‘Shiny object’ syndrome is the desire to chase something new – a new idea, a new process, a new strategy, a new business venture.

It is particularly heightened in entrepreneurs because they are energised by new developments, new challenges and new technology.

If you can imagine a child or cat chasing after the shiny object that comes across their path, you can imagine an entrepreneurial spouse, partner or friend doing the same with ‘shiny’ new ideas.

Quite often, once these ideas have been leapt upon, the child, cat or entrepreneur loses interest or steam pretty quickly and moves on to the next new shiny object. Sound familiar?

So, why am I talking about this?

We hire smart people with degrees and years of experience to fulfil marketing roles within our organisations. We expect a lot from them. We rely on them for strategic insights, planning and seamless implementation.

This week, my greatest marketing insight came from a 12-year-old.


Learning a new skill

After being inspired by a Gary Vee podcast to explore TikTok seriously, I thought who best to show me the inner workings of this social media sensation that is taking the world by storm than someone underaged?

A good 20 minutes of the half-hour ‘tutorial’ was taken up by ‘Why would you post this?’, ‘Why would you watch this?’ and ‘What’s the fascination with lip-sync teens and ice-cream throwing challenges?’

The remaining 10 minutes blew my mind. I felt like a time traveller coming back from the prehistoric ages and seeing Piccadilly Circus lit up. The 12-year-old flicked up, down, sideways, zoomed-in, out and grabbed filters here, there and everywhere, etc., creating content at the pace of Japanese bullet train.

Of course, I tried to recruit her. What could be better than having a 12-year-old ‘experiment’ with a Big Ambitions travel-related TikTok? I promise child labour was the furthest thing from my mind.

Out of the mouths of babes, her first words were: “Who do you want to reach? What do you want to achieve with your posts? You need to have a clear view of who you’re speaking to and what you want to say. There’s no use in being on TikTok just to be there.”

Oh dear… rendered speechless by a tween.

Here I am banging on about asking yourself ‘who it’s for?’, ‘what it’s for?’ and ‘what is the benefit to them?’ when you do ANY marketing and a 12-year-old has just turned the tables on me.

I’m so impressed, I want to sign her up here and now.

Focussed Marketing - Chess Pawns

RELATED CONTENT: The ‘real skills’ you need in travel marketing.


Focussed marketing

Here’s the nub. TikTok is a new shiny object. It may not be useful or relevant for my customers or their customers’ customers, but my gut tells me travel is visual and since TikTok is visual it has to be a match made in heaven. It’s shiny, yes?

Plus, kids are increasingly becoming the decision-makers and one day they will grow up. Facebook used to be something only young people used. As the same 12-year-old pointed out in our 30 minutes together, Facebook is now for old ‘people’.

She also said, and this is what I love, that TikTok content has to be original. There’s no space for being inauthentic on TikTok like there is on other social media platforms.

Those perfect, posing shots of travel destinations and influencers on Instagram are outright rejected by the TikTok following. She pulled a face at the mere thought of it. I believe it was one of sheer disgust and disdain.

TikTok users, and this generation, are looking for catchy, clever and authentic. They’re looking for challenges that go viral. And they’re flicking through the content with absolute lightning speed. You’ve got about two seconds, maybe one, to get their attention.

Perhaps ‘shiny object’ syndrome isn’t the exclusive domain of the eternally bored entrepreneur.

The takeaway of the week (thank you Noa) is, no matter what platform you choose to ‘market’ yourself, you need to employ a focussed marketing approach and answer these questions first:

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s it for?
  • Why is it important?

And if you think that you’re going to build a loyal following by ‘selling’ to people without being clear on the above or trying to add real value to their lives and their experience online, you’re going to get swiped up… within seconds. True story.