TikTok vs Instagram

Who doesn’t know TikTok. Owned by the chinese giant Bytedance, TikTok has grown into the fastest growing social media app in the world. Overtaking Instagram as the most downloaded app of the year on both apple and android systems. Now a question arises among business owners:

which one is better for my brand?

Before we dive deeper, let’s not forget that at the center of every brand, is the people, your audience, your potential customers. So let’s see from their perspective. First there is Instagram.

People go to Instagram for social updates. They want to see pictures of what their friends are doing in their life. Instagram is built that way. It’s a social network, that’s why it works on a ‘following’ basis. Basically, in Instagram, you only see what you’ve ‘approved’ you want to see. The algorithm only rearrange content from accounts you follow.

For brands, this means several things.

First, you have limited reach to the audience because your content is only visible to the people following you or in the relevant search page.

Second, since there are not too many people browsing the search page on Instagram, the only efficient way to get a following is through referrals (influencers and re-shares).

Lastly, Instagram is built for pictures, still images. When you log in, the first thing you see is pictures. When you go to other pages, you see pictures. Even though it has video features, it is never really a video platform. Stories go away after a day, and nobody really watches IGTV. This means, the only way to grab people’s attention is to have beautiful images and beautiful pages, especially if you are a brand. Summary: It is a lot of work building Instagram.

Now what about TikTok?

TikTok is different. People don’t go to TikTok for social updates. They go for the For You Page (FYP), purely for the content being offered to them by the algorithm. It’s not really a social network, that’s why TikTok heavily relies on their algorithm for the app to function. TikTok basically reverse engineered Instagram. Instead of making people search and wait for interesting content to pass through their insta story, TikTok pushes the content to the right people.

For brands this also means several things.

First, it is easier for brands to reach audience. Due to the algorithm, brands can reach massive audience without depending on influencers or shareable contents.

Second, it's easier to build a follower base on TikTok because who they follow doesn’t matter much. In the end what they see is based on the algorithm.

Lastly, you can have better engagement. TikTok is built for video, and by now you should’ve understood that video has better engagement than still images. The short video formats make it even better. You don’t have to have beautifully produced contents to have good content. You can grab people’s attention not only by visuals, but also by sound, and the content itself. with the algorithm, this is just great.

TikTok sounds better, should I just focus on TikTok?

Absolutely not. As a brand, you should be on both platforms. TikTok and Instagram serve 2 slightly different purposes.

Since Instagram works on a ‘following’ basis, people are more aware of who they follow. It is harder for people to follow on Instagram, so when people do follow, you know they are interested, unlike TikTok where your following is much less important. This makes Instagram a great place to build long term relationships with your ‘committed’ audience, build your brand image, and make a community.

TikTok on the other hand has this magical algorithm that really helps brands to reach out to massive audiences who might be interested. This means TikTok is a great place to spread brand awareness and gather an audience, who then can be directed to your sales page, or your Instagram page for long term relationships.

Finally, TikTok has only been booming for less than a year now. Who knows what the future of this app could be. But right now, let’s not miss out on the momentum. Read more about TikTok and why it matters for your brand.