Higher Ed on TikTok

What do you think of when you hear someone mention the social media platform TikTok? According to TikTok’s 'about' section on their website, “TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to empower and share the world’s imagination, knowledge, and moments that matter. The platform is a home for creative expression through videos that create a genuine, inspiring, and joyful experience.” That sounds a lot like a resurgence of Vine (R.I.P!).Here at University Communications, we hope to create that same sort of experience for our students, prospective students, and alumni, but is TikTok the right platform for us to achieve that?

Weighing the Pro and Cons

The big positive we found to this debate is that it does captures raw, organic student life content. All posts would be created by students and would help capture the authenticity of what it is like to be a Husky.

Universities can also argue that another positive for being on any social media platform would be to social listen. If you haven’t heard of the term before, social listening is a way to connect and invest in learning more about the community around you through social media. TikTok's Discover feature allows users to see what's trending, but TikTok also has keyword search capabilities, which is useful to see what's popular around campus.

On the flip side, we found that there is not a large population of college students on TikTok, rather it is our future Huskies we would be targeting the content toward. Some may say this is a positive if you are looking at it from an admissions marketing standpoint, but others may say it'll take a lot time, resources, and a unique content strategy that could be going to other social campaigns that have proven to be successful.

Colleges Already on the Platform

Some of the universities that already exist on TikTok are stepping out of the box, highlighting the diversity of students, and are looking like they are having fun with it along the way. Here are two universities we believe are being creative in doing so:

Let’s take University of Indiana Bloomington for example. With 8,000 fans and more thank 125,000 “hearts”, their TikTok videos range from athletics, to the Git Up Challenge, to campus beauty. 

The University of Florida—which boasts 88,000 fans and over 1 million “hearts”— is incentivizing students for being on the platform by posting a video of a secret location where special limited edition buttons are located. They also claim to have the first university president (ever) to be on TikTok… and they’re probably not wrong.

Are We Sold on TikTok?

The question to TikTok or not comes down to a couple main questions:

  1. Should universities be relevant on every social platform available?
  2. Creating content for this platform takes time, resources, and a completely different content calendar. Is it worth it?
  3. Should universities have a presence if for nothing else, to social listen and keep tabs on what's going on at the university?


We're still up in the air, but not ruling out a UConn TikTok presence just yet!

Posted by Amanda Rizza

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