It’s almost the weekend, so I thought I’d embark on a different challenge today for the blog. Something to make us all feel happy as we head into Friday! TikTok’s influence is astronomical. The app’s popularity has grown exponentially over the last few years, fuelled by lockdown boredom initially and more recently by the desire for better social media experiences than Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
Any marketer can see the potential such a platform holds, but I thought it might be nice to do a round-up of some of the absolute best times that I’ve seen TikTok work its magic. Instances where its influence has been so great that it has changed lives forever.
‘BookTok’ has become a force of its own, so much so that if you walk into any Waterstones, The Works or WH Smiths nowadays you’ll more than likely see a ‘TikTok recommends section’. But the social platform has not just propped up already established authors, it’s also helped create them too. Turning dreams into reality… Literally.
- One of the most recent examples is TikTokker Marguerite Richards turning her dad’s decade-old novel into an overnight sensation through just one video that went viral. The clip, which now has over 40 million views sent Marguerite’s Dad’s book, Stone Maidens, into the charts 10 years after its initial release. The overwhelming response to a simple yet emotive video goes to show the influence that organic content can have – with the right messages and just a little bit of magic. Richard, who is just the cutest soul, told the BBC: “last week has been a whirlwind experience for me, truly mind-blowing. However, I earnestly believe that it is most important for a writer to never take no for an answer, to persevere, and never, never give up.”
- Another that any TikTok aficionado would recognise is Alex Aster, author of Lightlark. The now-novelist posted on the app a few years ago about her ideas for a set of books (I remember seeing the original!) about a mythical island that only appears every 100 years. After being initially rejected by several publishers, her video went viral and this resulted in Aster being offered a six-figure advance book deal from Abrams Books. The first novel has now been published, with others to follow.
- And finally, it’s not an ‘overnight sensation’ story like the others, but author Colleen Hoover, dubbed the Queen of ‘BookTok‘, would certainly have to attribute a large portion of her popularity to the app. Her book ‘It Ends With Us’ was one of the inaugural ‘BookTok’ recommendations, and when Hoover herself become really active on TikTok, her fame only increased. Now, her novels are commonplace in most bookstores, with large collections being on offer (she has a lot of books) and many ‘BookTok-kers’ still recommending her works. In fact, Colleen Hoover attributes her success so much to TikTok that last year, she released a sequel to ‘It Ends With Us’ that she said she thought to do to thank her loyal followers.
Though ‘BookTok’ is incredibly influential, it’s not the only niche of TikTok. As with Instagram and other social media platforms, health, beauty and lifestyle are also other popular genres on the app. There’s been plenty of opportunity to go viral organically in this space since TikTok began getting really popular, and many small businesses have grown to great heights because of this.
- Delhicious, an award-winning Ayurvedic skincare brand really demonstrates the value of TikTok fame compared to more traditionally successful routes, such as appearing on TV. Zara Saleem, who founded the business, actually appeared on Dragon’s Den last year (not winning an investment, which, FYI dragons was a MISTAKE), but her brand really took off anyway thanks to her TikTok channel. At the end of 2021, it was reported that the business hit six-figures and ended up with a 20,000 person waitlist after going viral several times. Since then, Delhicious has only gone from strength to strength. From being kitchen-manufactured, to having a full production line. There’ve also been several new products launched by the brand too. I’ve followed them since very early on, LOVE their stuff and so the story sits really really right with me. It’s a classic example of how TikTok can transform a life!
- If you’ve ever seen the trend of icing your face on TikTok, then know that a lot of this can be traced back to an Australian-born business, The Contour Cube. After one video getting 6m views, the female-founded company sold £20k worth of stock according to the Female Start Up Club podcast. I don’t have much health and beauty content on my feeds, but I did pick up on this trend at the time and when researching extra ideas to bulk up this blog, I was delighted to come across this story.
Everyone’s FYP is different, but I’d bet you that most people have food videos pop up on their app at least every now and again. One business went viral though not for its irresistible food (though I don’t doubt it!) but instead, its impossible earworm of a song.
- You knew it was coming… Who took themselves off to Binley Mega Chippy last summer (I’m not judging you… I am)? The unassuming Coventry chip shop ended up with queues out the door and down the street after a jingle about it went viral! 🎶 If it’s in your head now, I’m sorry. According to Sky News, the owner Kamal Gandhi said his overnight fame was crazy, but he was so grateful for it. This is definitely one that has me questioning my peers that travelled miles and miles for a chippy (reportedly, even some from overseas?!) but at the same time, it’s great to see yet another small business thriving thanks to TikTok fame.
- The self-proclaimed ‘CEOs of SweetTok’, I was obsessseddddd with Candy Works’ videos during lockdown. I still get a serotonin rush when they pop up on my FYP even now. So, when looking around for this blog, I was delighted to see that the business is still doing super well, even nearly 3 years on from its initial rise to fame. The company was created by Sophie and Ryan Taylor, who put about £400 into it and a lot of time on TikTok. Now, it has a reported £1.4m turnover and 1.7m followers. Amazing stuff.
Thank you as always for reading and for supporting me, and always happy to continue the conversation on my socials. Read my other blogs here whilst you wait for the next one.