Summer is generally a quiet time when it comes to news from social platforms, with employees taking advantage of their vacation days, and the dearth of major holidays between July 4 and Labor Day.
The summer of 2023 is proving to be an exception to that rule, however. Elon Musk continues to dismantle Twitter, literally and figuratively, which led Meta to smell blood and accelerate its rollout of Threads, a stand-alone text app from Instagram. Threads debuted July 5, and it had been downloaded more than 150 million times at the time of this post.
Now it’s TikTok’s turn to poke around in the space, as the video creation platform introduced the ability to create text posts earlier this week.
This new format not only mirrors Twitter, Threads, and other similar platforms (Bluesky Social, Hive Social, Mastodon, Post, T2), but also brings to mind the use of Instagram Stories for text-only fare.
By its nature, TikTok is a visual platform, so these new text posts can also include stickers, background colors, and sounds/music, with TikTok creators having the ability to add hashtags and tag other accounts.
TikTok wrote in a blog post introducing the update, “With text posts, we’re expanding the boundaries of content creation for everyone on TikTok, giving the written creativity we’ve seen in comments, captions, and videos a dedicated space to shine.”
Starting this week, when creators access the application’s camera page, they will see options for photo, video, and text. Selecting the latter brings them to a text creation page, where they can add their content and customize it using the features mentioned above, along with allowing Duets and enabling comments.
Just as with video and photo posts, creators can save drafts and decide whether to edit them further for sharing or delete them altogether.
Whether or not text posts on TikTok catch on, the move seems like a no-brainer for both the platform and its users.
Adding text posts was likely a light lift for the engineers at a platform that already supports video, images, and sounds/music.
And creators can experiment with text posts and see what works and what doesn’t, investing far less time than is necessary for videos or images. Much like Threads, their existing follower base will be exposed to their new content, but unlike Threads, they do not need to install and learn a separate app.
WE’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE
TikTok made a similar addition to its video roots when it introduced Photo Mode last October, giving creators the option of adding up to 35 images to a carousel-type post, along with captions of up to 2,200 characters.
Popular uses of the feature include using several images of an animal, celebrity, or other character to illustrate a day in the creator’s life, as well as doing so via photos of the creator taking viewers through their day.
The format also lends itself well to brands in sectors such as fashion, home goods, and travel, enabling brands to mix product images with commentary from creators.
Will text posts on TikTok find their niche in the brand and TikTok creator marketing communities on the platform? There’s only one way to find out: Experiment with different approaches and see if any resonate.