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What TikTok taught us about EQ

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Too old for TikTok?

It’s easy to dismiss the follies and trends that capture the imaginations of young people, especially when you’re not in that demographic any longer. I try to check myself when ‘it was better in my day’ rolls off my tongue – that’s a one-way street to turning out like my dad.

But I realised I’d fenced off TikTok in my mind as a social media platform where the target audience is kids who poorly lip-sync songs and play pranks on people.

And I’ve never even used it.

That’s low EQ behaviour, and it comes from a primal response to fear the unknown.

I decided to fight against this instinct and force myself to look a little deeper. I hadn’t considered that brands could be using TikTok for business so creatively.

Here are three things I learned about emotional intelligence from TikTok.

1. Why so serious?

Self-awareness is one of the four key skills of high EQ individuals. This can be linked to the ability to laugh at yourself and generally not take yourself so seriously.

The playful nature of TikTok and how it guides the users to become creators of, and not just consumers of original content is very powerful.

Given just how difficult it is to gain attention these days, especially online, a playful and creative nature is going to help you to build stronger relationships with your audience. It should be a cornerstone of your marketing strategy.

We all spend countless hours online just looking to be entertained, so wrapping up your content in a playful frame, injecting humour or performance is a powerful way to break free from the monotony of self-indulgence that fills most of our feeds. It’s more than just ‘funny videos’ – it’s about entertaining people and giving them a real reason to stop and notice your message.

2. Don’t bore us. Get to the chorus

The modern audience is impatient and hungry – desperate for the next fix of killer content to consume. High EQ brands realise this and give without asking, knowing that being in the conversation is their best way to grow. More so than ever, you must get to the point very quickly. Attention is hard-earned, and repeatedly spouting the same old story isn’t going to wash.

The title above, taken from Roxette’s Greatest Hits album released in 1995, reminds us that nobody’s got time for B-sides and filler tracks any longer. You need BIG HIT after BIG HIT. People won’t wait 4 minutes for the Slash solo to kick in on November Rain any more – get straight to it.

TikTok marketing, when done brilliantly, is short-form and high-impact – Just what people are looking for.

3. Standing on the shoulders of giants

One thing I love about TikTok, which, to be fair, I feel started with Vine a good few years ago, is how quickly trends and memes are born.

One silly video inspires thousands of others to replicate and evolve the idea. Collectively these sit together as one larger piece of content, and micro-communities and sub-cultures are born in an instant.

Mirroring behaviour and acknowledging others shows signs of a high Emotional Quotient. Without realising it, people are looking for great content that they can remix, evolve and remake themselves – adding to the conversation.

Smart brands are creating ‘copyable’ content to rapidly get people hooked on their idea. It’s a low-key way of getting eyeballs because it is never a hard sell – it’s promoting fun that anyone can get involved with. In a way, the audience BECOMES the content, which is a really exciting concept.

How can you inspire other people to interact and help spread your idea? Maybe that question could be the frame for your next marketing campaign?

Like it or not, TikTok is probably here to stay. It’s unashamedly a platform for younger generations, but that’s bound to change over the coming years.

As more brands become hungry to get to the millions of users on there, there’s sure to be an upturn in the number of ‘older’ users signing up. Generation Z can’t hog the spotlight for too much longer.

As I continue to work on my emotional skills, who knows, maybe I’ll be part of the next wave.

For more about Emotional Intelligence, read my last blog:
👉 3 things I learned in my first month at EQ.

Need to get some emotional intelligence into your marketing?

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👉 thinkeq.co.uk/what/marketing/

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