Too old for TikTok?

Justin Bieber is almost 30. Let that sink in for a minute.

The baby-faced teen idol synonymous with youth culture and social media trends has settled down and set aside (mostly) his wild child ways. When Bieber burst onto the music scene with this single “Baby” in 2010, many sneered at the young artist and his horde of teen fans, referred to as “Beliebers.” But Bieber proved his staying power, riding the fickle wave of instant celebrity and maturing as a musician. He is now the youngest solo artist to have 8 number one albums, a record previously held by Elvis Presley.

And like Elvis, Beiber has grown older. So have the Beliebers.

The same fans who once needed a ride to the mall now have jobs, mortgages, are getting married, and…gulp…having kids.

And marketers who jumped on the Bieber bandwagon early are reaping the rewards as their target cohort has evolved from shopping at Forever 21 to buying Marc Jacobs handbags at Neiman Marcus. In fact, Generations Y and Z are much more likely to consider purchasing luxury cars than their parents or grandparents.

Anyone who once had a MySpace account is now in their 30s, and brands who recognized the shift and started winning on emerging platforms at the early stages and seeded for the future can now harvest a decade of data to reach their market.

Brand loyalty, legacy practices, and easy choices are dead, so we can’t afford to write off TikTok as too young or too silly. But how do we know where to start when viral content is no longer tied to celebrity endorsements and fame, or at least fame as we know it, is dying?

Anyone can be king of social media for a hot minute, but what has longevity? How do we increase the lifetime value of our customers when we can’t predict where the next trend will take the market?

It’s a valid concern. We cannot predict what the next trend will be. But we can recognize the shift and go where the eyeballs are.

Relying on outdated marketing strategies and legacy social media practices is like frantically waving our arms and screaming “look at me” in a crowded stadium of cheering fans. Yes, social media has now been around long enough to have outdated legacy practices that need to be retired. Posting brand-forward, consistent color-palette and logo-centric content at the same time every single day is not only useless, but actually harmful. You’re training the algorithm to suppress your reach because you keep giving it the same tired content.

Instead, watch what’s happening on TikTok. If you think it’s just teenagers dancing you’re wrong. Well, not totally wrong. There are a lot of teens lip-syncing, but there’s a whole lot of content that appeals to consumers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and older. If you can reorient your content creation process around researching what’s performing well right now, and then delivering your message within that context, you’ll start winning attention now and keeping that attention for the long haul.

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