During the online WebSummit last week I watched Gary Vee being interviewed by Alex Kantrowitz about TikTok. I had met Gary personally last year in NewYork, about 6 months before the pandemic hit the world. So I definitely did not want to miss this live interview. For me, this was one of the highlights from WebSummit 2020
You find my selection of top-3 questions & answers here below. Happy reading 🙂
Has the uncertainty changed the way you approach the TikTok platform?
“Most people and companies still need to understand what social networks are, which is they are places where human beings’ intentions are stored for a certain period of time. I’m obsessed with communicating on TikTok because of the amount of attention and organic reach. Because of how underpriced the platform is and how well the creator and influencer ecosystem works there. I don’t know how to be emotional about something being here forever or going away. I just know that I want to be focused on where the attention is today. I can’t predict April, I can’t predict June. And so from my standpoint, it hasn’t affected it at all. If anything, I’ve been really happy about it because it’s slowed down other people. The ones that really have this misunderstood, have been slow, have not put out as much. It all comes down to fear. And that’s given me more time to extract the opportunities and the platforms for myself and for my clients.”
How did you feel when Vine was shut down by Twitter? You had invested a lot into it.
“I feel great about it. I personally wish every social media platform would have disappeared tomorrow because that would mean all that attention would go somewhere else and people would struggle to figure out where. And I’m very good at figuring things out. So for me, when things change, I’m at my best. I’ve extracted uncomfortable amounts of value out of Facebook and Instagram, but I never wanted that to be the only places I’m active on. I’m blown away and excited about TikTok, but can’t wait for the new feature that TikTok puts out. Or for the next two incredible young women from Kansas City or Kenya to start something that wins which I can then extract. This is real estate for me right now. I’m a real estate developer. I find new places that I think are undervalued, misunderstood, and I start creating buildings and then they get populated. The amount of times I refined my skills on TikTok already before people have even jumped onto it…
And so, you know, watching people move their behaviour more to TikTok – micro influencers on Instagram – because the organic reach and the community explosion made it better for them…. That didn’t upset me, even though I was winning on Instagram when this all went down over the last two years. That excited me because now I’m in pattern recognition and refined skill set. And I went and built a massive audience on Tik Tok for myself. You know, that’s just life. That’s business. If you want to freeze time, you’re a losing player. And so for me, I have zero emotion to things disappearing or becoming less important. I think accountability is something that no one’s talking about these days. Everyone’s scared that the algorithm is tricking them. If you don’t like accountability, then delete the app like it’s alcohol; don’t drink at all!
Who wins: Facebook, Reels or TikTok? And why?
“Tiktok, because it’s their actual thing and Reels is a just feature within Instragram. I think both get value out of it in different ways. But if you’re asking it the way I think you’re asking it, do I think Reels puts TikTok out of business or makes it disappear? No, they did an incredible execution on Instagram Stories and that didn’t put Snapchat out of business either.
Every minute you’re spending being scared about somebody else’s stuff is a moment you’re not spending innovating yourself. The audience that’s watching TikTok is already at such a significant scale that it would almost be scary to me if they had any level of true fear about it. We’ve got the history of the last 20 years teaching us this. They are at enough scale as long as they worry about innovating. And I’ll be honest with you, the observation I have is I think the Chinese DNA for TikTok is very, very powerful.
And I see TikTok innovating a ton. But to a point, I respect Facebook at the highest of levels. I also think if Facebook tomorrow launches a standalone app that is a monster competitor to TikTok, I don’t think either company actually would get affected. I don’t think people understand the abundance of time consumption that is out there. They’re not competing with each other. They are competing against Xbox five, Netflix, the New York Times, this interview right now,… There’s a lot more real estate to be conquered by the five to ten winners of this game. I think we enjoy the battle of the game. But if you take a step back and are actually thoughtful of time consumption, I would say Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat still have more land to grab around other platforms.”
Source: “TikTok’s unstoppable journey – today and tomorrow” (WebSummit, Dec 3, 2020) with Blake Chandlee (head of business solutions at TikTok) and Gary Vaynerchuk (internet personality, owner Vayermedia) being interviewed by Alex Kantrowitz (Big Technology)