The Rise of Tik Tok in SA

By Nayaab Maharaj

The current digital landscape is fast-paced, inventive, and ever-changing with a new trend, app, and social platform taking over our lives almost daily. The current platform taking SA by storm is Tik Tok, the social media app that allows users to create and share short-form video clips using sound clips.

The app started to gained popularity over the lockdown period in March and has since garnered an estimated 6 million users, most of whom are under the age of 24. While major global brands such as Calvin Klein, Apple Music, MAC Cosmetics and more have jumped onto the app, South African brands are still cautious of the platform, with few joining in on the fun. One reason for this could be the relative newness of this apps popularity and also the fact that the app has fewer controls in place over what content is posted and who is posting.

The platform itself is simple to use with creativity and relatability at the forefront of the ingredients for a popular video. South African Tik Tok has a flavour of its own with dance, comedy, beauty and fitness being hot topics for creators as it showcases the diverse talent that exists within our county. The recent #SpiritsUP Battle which was launched in July showcased this with four category hashtags: #DanceUP, #HumourUP, #SwagUP, and #SportsUP. In just four weeks these categories generated over 186 million views. Our local Tik Tok stars are also gathering worldwide popularity with some of the most popular being:

1.      @wianmagic – 10.3 million followers

2.      @danielxv_ – 3 million followers

3.      @chanegrobler – 2.1 million followers

4.      @theonlymissballinger – 1.6 million followers

5.      @troysheperds – 1.2 million followers

Trending sound clips and ‘challenges’ are ever-changing. Current trends include: #FaceZoom, #MzansiDance, #MelaninChallenge, #MyHairMyPride and #IDontSpeakEnglish among many others.

You may wonder why Tik Tok is such a popular platform. Once could say It’s a haven for creatives of different skills and interests. The app allows users to own their content and share their life’s journey, whether it be personal or TMI stories, promoting their brand, taking part in exercise and dance routines, learning more about skincare, beauty and fashion or just having fun. So why not take the plunge and join the craze, even if you realise it’s not really your thing, you may come out with a new dance move or two.

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