What is TikTok?
TikTok is a platform for creating short, entertaining videos between 15-60 seconds long. It’s a place to engage your audience in new and creative ways and participate in trending challenges and dances. It’s the fastest growing social media platform with over 700 million active users spending an average of one hour a day on the app, and 90% of them use the app daily. TikTok also has the highest engagement rate per post and gives content creators the most opportunities to go viral. The platform comes with many built in tools for creators to add effects and filters to videos.
Based upon user statistics, Gen Z is loving TikTok with 42% of TikTok users between the ages of 16-24 translating as a major demographic for potential and current college-aged students.
TikTok Trends: This app thrives off of challenge and trending hashtags. While these trends are usually fleeting, if they get picked up by the right people, they can last for months.
TikTok Duets: Duets are a popular collaborative feature on TikTok that allows users to sample another person’s video and add themselves to it.
React Videos: YouTubers pioneered the reaction genre, but TikTokers have perfected it. Under the share option of someone’s video, users can select React. They can record their reaction while the video plays, and position where they want their overlay video to play alongside the original.
Who belongs on TikTok?
If you enjoy creating short, entertaining videos, TikTok is a great platform to grow your audience. If your audience is primarily students and prospective students, TikTok might be a good platform for you to explore.
- Set up, save, and secure your brand page to start gaining followers — here’s everything you need to know about getting started on TikTok. This link walks you through updating your profile photo, changing your profile name, linking to your other social accounts, and how to make your first video.
- Research and strategize — as with any social media platform, it’s important to do your research on the platform before diving in. Remember, not all social platforms are the right fit for every brand. You want to make sure you have a good understanding of the time and bandwidth content creation for this platform will take before committing. If you decide TikTok is an appropriate platform to be on, work on developing a content strategy so your content has a clear vision and goals it's trying to accomplish.
Tips and Tricks
- Be authentic and creative — this might be one of the most important tips to follow. When creating content, it’s important to create content that’s authentic to your brand and resonates with your specific audience. While keeping up with trends is important, if you can’t find a way to organically make it work for your brand, maybe sit this one out. It’s also important to push your creative boundaries, TikTok is meant to be fun, light-hearted, and sometimes educational. Have fun with your content creation and remember to tap into students for help!
- Invest in your Audience — this is your reminder to meet your audience where they’re at and to include them in your content creation strategy. With students at the helm of TikTok’s audience, work to identify and create content that will resonate and engage your audience. Need help creating content? Don’t be afraid to have students help ideate and create TikToks for your account.
- Use hashtags and sounds — all TikToks have some sort of soundtrack (think songs and voiceovers). While it’s possible to create your own audio for your content, using trending soundtracks will help your content get discovered easier. As with Instagram, hashtags are an important key feature in TikTok videos. Using hashtags is how users find your content, absent of hashtags, your content will be tougher to gain exposure.
- Stay on top of trends — as we said before, TikTok thrives on trends, so you need to be prepared to stay on top of the ever-changing trends and challenges, which may be the hardest part about the app. With trends being at the helm of the app, keep in mind, if you’re having students help create content, your approval process needs to be quick and timely to ensure you participate in a timely fashion.
TikTok has shared an “Organic Content Creation for Brands” reference guide that we strongly encourage you to check out. If you still need some content ideas after that, here are just a few for Higher Ed brands:
- Student recruitment
- Showcase student life
- Entertainment — trends, challenges, duets, reactions
- Showcase and educate about your School/College/Department
- Don’t forget about faculty/staff
- Feature faculty/staff each week or month
- Announce promotion and tenure for faculty
- Highlight cool research
- Welcome videos