Today we’re going to be talking about the social media platform that everyone seems to be talking about – TikTok. But what exactly is it and is it worth considering for your school marketing strategy? We’re here to explain more and help you decide!

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What is TikTok?

So TikTok is a fairly simple concept. Changing from Musical.ly, it’s a short-form video-sharing app that encourages users to upload shorter videos. Users can upload videos of themselves lip-synching to songs, but the more enthusiastic members create videos of more original content that demonstrates their talents. 

Just like Instagram, there are filters, songs and effects to play around with, but TikTokers, are interested in originality and fun, rather than the quality of your videos.

TikTok is really making waves in the world of social media. Here are some quick facts:

  • It was the fourth most downloaded app in 2019, beating Instagram and Snapchat.
  • It’s been downloaded over 1 billion times.
  • It has 500 million active users globally each month.
  • Users spend an average of 52 minutes a day on the app.

Pretty impressive eh?

Who uses TikTok?

Now let’s take a look at audiences, this platform is firmly Gen Z territory, so teens and tweens or anyone from 13-24 years old. 

In comparison, Instagram caters to a slightly older audience base of Millennials or Generation Y. 

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How can you use TikTok?

So if you’re a brand, there are 3 main ways that you can market on TikTok:

  • Create your own channel and upload relevant videos.
  • Work with influencers, to spread content to a broader audience.
  • Pay to advertise on TikTok – it’s very early days for TikTok advertising and there certainly isn’t a market like there is for YouTube just yet.

Not all of these approaches are going to be relevant to you as a school marketer and the jury’s out as to whether this will directly influence your admissions. 

But if you were considering using TikTok, we’d definitely suggest using it to share student accomplishments and sports or arts-related content such as sports days or performances. 

For example, The University of Florida has over 83,000 fans and 973,000 hearts. Their account shares everything from sports hype videos to behind-the-scenes campus footage and dance challenges. In a recent video, they showed off one student’s invention.

Your school might also want to get involved in the infamous TikTok ‘challenges’ that often trend on this platform. Creating a challenge is a great way to spread brand awareness and encourage engagement. 

#scienceexperiment is a challenge promoting people to share DIY science experiments and it had 603.9M views!

#bekind was a challenge on Blue Monday that encouraged people to take part in showing a small act of kindness to make someone’s day. It had an incredible 288.4M views!

Should you use TikTok?

Now for a word of caution. Just be aware of what we call ‘shiny new object syndrome’. It’s so much better to use a few platforms really well than do them half-heartedly. Before you even consider another platform, do your research to see if having a TikTok presence even makes sense for your school and how you will measure the results. These are things you need to consider. 

We can’t get away from the similarities between TikTok and Instagram Stories or Snapchat, so would you just be doubling your efforts? But if you do have time to experiment, then why not give it go? Those numbers are certainly impressive and this platform only looks set to grow further this year. 

If you’re considering using TikTok for your school, then we’d love to hear more about how you’ve got on and feature you in an upcoming piece.

Bex – social media

ambleglow expert

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