TikTok, known in China as Douyin, is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, most well-known for its short-form videos of dance and comedy acts. However, today the social media platform is also proving to be an effective medium for visual artists to showcase their art and institutions to attract a Gen-Z audience through their doors.
But why would an ap that is more similar to the long-forgotten Vine, than the visually pleasing Instagram be a good place for an artist to boost their career?
Here we list the reasons why you should take the plunge and promote your art business on the Gen Z obsessed ap – TikTok.
It is extremely popular!
It is used in 155 countries, in 75 languages, gripping the hearts and minds of young people worldwide, with active users being primarily 16-25-year olds. Documents filed as part of a lawsuit against the U.S. government this year stated that the app has more than 100 million active users. Just a year and a half ago, it had only 26.7 million – showcasing that the platform has exponential growth – a lot faster than the initial growth of Instagram even. As their slogan suggests TikTok – trends start here, those who become popular can become an overnight celebrity due to their enormous following.
It targets your key audience
The TikTok algorithm works well at distributing your content to the right people consistently, something that is important when developing a community of like-minded people and engaging your fans. The hashtag “#art” has 97.8 billion views; “#artist” has 28.9 billion.
It is easily shareable
One thing that TikTok does better than other comparable social media platforms is offering the potential for virality with their simple video sharing ability. YouTube and Instagram provide the ability to upload and share videos too but the ease of sharing video content that is especially short on TikTok means it is more likely to go viral.
It performs better than the other aps
Today Instagram is not doing well when it comes to fair visibility, with the feed being heavily littered with paid ads and a disadvantaged algorithm. Facebook continues its steady decline for overall artistic exposure and Twitter heavily compresses images. So, no wonder artists are looking for alternative platforms to showcase their work. While Twitter, Facebook and even Instagrams audiences are ageing, the next generation of social media users are opting for TikTok.
It has the combined perks of sound & vision
Artists are able to find a fanbase on the platform through an interesting symbiosis of sound and vision. Music sets the tone for a piece of video content and relates to the viewer on an emotional level. And TikTok’s video format makes it an effective vehicle for showcasing art and an artist’s process, with their time-lapse software. This is because people love to see the artist behind the work and the process. An example of an artist that has gone viral on the platform is a lovable Japanese painting teacher named Harumichi Shibasaki, who has been compared to Bob Ross. Shibasaki has amassed his followers with his how-to art videos featuring a variety of materials including colored pencils, crayons, and watercolors. Before TikTok his followers on Youtube were more similar in age to the 73 year old artist. Since joining the new ap, his demographic and audience has grown with a younger audience looking for something creative to do during lockdown. “There’s a saying that art is long and life is short,” Shibasaki told The Mainichi, “I’m happy as my motto is to enjoy drawing, to provide easy to understand [instructions], and to work with everyone.”
It is also a great place for art institutions and museums
Art institutions are also reaching new audiences via thoughtful, dedicated programming. As pointed out by the New York Times’ Alex Marshall, there are 11 museums around the world with official accounts on TikTok. The Met being one of the first museums to launch an official account on the app launching art contests ‘in an effort to spark new creativity inspired by artworks in The Met collection’. Together with, TikTok they promoted their global challenges including #SaluteToClassics and #MetGalaStyle to spotlight last year’s Costume Institute exhibition: “Camp: Notes on Fashion”. Other institutions on the ap include the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which joined the platform in January this year and has attracted more than 300,000 followers by amusing their fan base with snail-based puns and jokes. This institution may not have a focus on the arts, but it certainly had an artful approach to building its TikTok following. Another unsurprising art institute to jump onto the TikTok bandwagon was the Uffizi Gallery – one of Florence’s most popular art galleries. The gallery decided to put out some fun video posts featuring some of their art treasures to see if they could attract a new audience. The museum’s management team suggested afterward that they have gone from being one of the lesser-known art institutions online to having a leading presence thanks to their policy of favouring TikTok over other social media platforms.