TikTok Newsletter 32

The TikTok Seller University. Make-Up Activism. Complaints in Europe. Strategies for Media Companies

Hi subscriber,

this is Understanding TikTok your weekly infusion 💉 of TikTok related news. My name is Marcus.

If you are reading this newsletter before Thursday, Feb 18, 3 pm CET you will be able to see the german Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn in a TikTok Live with @Nikothec following the TikTok Live appearances of government spokesman Steffen Seibert and Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey. Talking of live appearances. Here is a review of Justin Bieber’s TikTok concert – made me want to become a Belieber again. You are welcome.

This week we talk about:

🎓 The TikTok Seller University
💄 Make-Up Activism
🇪🇺 Complaints in Europe
📡 Strategies for Media Companies



🎓 TikTok Seller University

You read about the eCommerce expansion here before (Newsletter 31). It is a key avenue for TikTok’s next evolution, writes📍Social Media Today, and a sustainable foundation for future growth. If its creators can make money from their on-platforms efforts they might stay and not leave to other social media platforms. Besides product anchors that link to corresponding product detail pages there will be an Affiliate programme linked to the Creator marketplace.

The latest development on this front is a new education portal called 📍TikTok Shop: Seller University, which TikTok is currently testing in Indonesia. The huge questions is: Will TikTok include all these embedded shopping opportunities in a way that feels natural and not as a distraction? Will the hyper-engaged Gen Z, as Vogue Business calls TikTok users follow?

The Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin generates the majority of its revenue from in-stream shopping. On the other side Instagram currently shows how to scare off people by turning a vivid community into a shopping mall. Check The Insta Case Study .

💄Make-Up Activism

Make-Up was, is and will be a crucial part of TikTok. Wether frozen or hot. Ever since the make-up tutorial by Feroza Aziz spreading awareness of China’s detention of at least a million Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang (Guardian, 27 Nov 2019) beauty videos have been used on the platform to discuss and spread political content. Dazed has a good article here:📍How Make-Up Tutorials Became Gen Z’s Favourite Form of TikTok Activism.

Some quotes by users: “Make-up is a great way to grasp people’s attention and spread messages. It’s a non-threatening and a non-aggressive way to speak to all kinds of people.” “I do my make-up to politically charged sounds because that essentially forces people to listen to the sound if they are interested in my make-up.”

“We do tend to get our information on TikTok, which I do think is because we feel more comfortable receiving information from people we can relate to.” “Unlike Instagram, which is very static – all you see is the end result, which can be judged as superficial, as women using make-up often are – TikTok shows the process and you can layer over context with these audios. It reveals how complicated and multifaceted we are, and that’s really empowering.” 

🇪🇺 Complaints in Europe

The European Consumer Organisation BEUC has filed a complaint with the European Commission and the network of consumer protection authorities against TikTok.

The complaints include claims of unfair terms, including in relation to copyright and TikTok’s virtual currency; concerns around the type of content children are being exposed to on the platform; and accusations of misleading data processing and privacy practices, writes Techcrunch. Details of the alleged breaches are set out in two reports associated with the complaints: One covering issues with TikTok’s approach to consumer protection, and another focused on data protection and privacy.

It is worthwhile skimming the reports to learn more about the age debate on TikTok or the whole notion of virtual gifts. Let´s see how the EU or national authorities proceed. Processes seem to be complicated, according to Politico: Europeans don’t know which regulator is supposed to investigate the Chinese video-sharing app. Even tough the Italian regulator invoked an emergency provision lately  that allowed it to deal with TikTok directly: TikTok is the latest target in Italy’s crusade against Big Tech.

📡Strategies for Media Companies

There will be more and more media companies setting up TikTok accounts. That is for sure. Some will do it on their own. Others will seek the help of studios and agencies popping up here and there. Besides checking out what is already out there for example using Francesco’s list: Publishers and journos on TikTok it might be a good idea to dive a little deeper.

Insider formerly known as Business Insider has an article including four little case studies with strategies for building an engaged audience on TikTok: 📍4 media brands that have surged on TikTok by studying the app's trends and making their employees stars. Including my well-beloved Planet Money account.

No big secrets here. But good reminders like “You've got to study the platform” / “Drive it more with the personalities” / “Just create a style” / “Play close attention to the topics in the news that Gen Z cares about”.

And maybe only maybe it will all work out fine. Some dancing might indeed help. Here is a german example.


That was that. Do world leaders and governments use TikTok? Yes. Was Rasputin a world leader? No. Do Russians use TikTok? Yes. 📚 Thx for reading. Bye Bye Besties. Marcus