Originally an app called Musically, TikTok is the newest social media craze to reach our screens. The app allows users to create and share 15-60 second video clips amongst followers. From dance tutorials to comedy, and everything in between, TikTok offers users some light relief; which is why its popularity has soared in recent weeks since the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus pandemic has rocked the arts and culture industry, with international lockdowns preventing consumers from visiting zoos, theatres, museums, and art galleries. With consumers online more than ever before, this is a great opportunity for organisations to connect with their usual audience and provide entertainment virtually. The Royal Academy of Dance are streaming online dance classes while the Dulwich Picture Gallery are providing virtual quizzes. These examples are just a few ways in which arts and culture organisations are connecting with their audiences while at home.

tiktok logo on a smartphone

What is TikTok?

Fundamentally, TikTok is a social media platform where users can create and share short-form video content. Video content that is created on this channel is primarily charming, lively, silly, joyous, and fun. TikTok doesn’t take itself too seriously which is why it attracts a huge number of young social media users.

Since it’s an establishment in 2016, TikTok now stands as the 6th largest social network on the internet, with an impressive 800 million monthly active users. The average user opens TikTok more than 8 times a day for small doses of short-form video content. Essentially, TikTok is an influential platform, especially amongst young people, so it is worth building into your marketing strategy.

TikTok downloads have soared globally since the pandemic and at 84.4 million, TikTok’s global downloads from 1st - 23rd March were up 5% compared to the same period in February. In Italy, where the country has been under government-mandated lockdown since 9th March, the app saw a 34% week on week increase and achieved its best month ever in February 2020.

But how can your arts and culture organisation use Tik Tok?

As we know, Tik Tok allows us to engage with our audience via short video clips, however, this platform is mainly used by younger people, with 66% of TikTok’s user base being under the age of 30. So, keep this in mind if your attraction is aimed at older age groups. Here are our top tips!

1. Hashtag challenge

35% of users have participated in one while 16% of videos on the platform are tied to them... The Hashtag challenges! These campaigns encourage TikTok users to create short videos using a specific hashtag while focussing on a particular song or dance move. Using the ‘For You’ page (which is launched when you open the app) you will be able to discover TikTok’s top creators and find out what hashtag challenges are trending. Encouraging your followers to participate in these challenges will help you connect with your audience and stay relevant.

Additionally, your arts and culture organisation could create your own unique hashtag challenge for your users to interact with. This will give your audience a more direct and personal connection via the channel while they have been told to social distance and stay at home.

Throughout this lockdown period, it is important to stay connected with your audience as much as you can to ensure they remember your organisation when museums, theatres or zoos are allowed to reopen. Hashtag challenges are an essential part of the TikTok community and a great way to connect with your younger audience – who have a lot of disposable income and have huge purchasing power over their parents.

someone filming a tiktok at a concert

2. Influencer marketing

Influencers are becoming ever more important in influencing consumer’s purchasing decisions, especially amongst younger consumers who are extremely active on social media. This demographic trust the opinion of an influencer more than traditional advertising campaigns such as TV or billboard adverts. The hashtag challenge on TikTok and influencers work nicely to increase user participation and interaction with your organisation.

Local or micro-influencers, although have a smaller following, have a much more powerful influence over their invested audience and have the potential to attract consumers to your organisation once lockdown is over. Actors, zookeepers, animal influencers, artists, and performers who have an influential following can all help increase engagement on your TikTok.

Originality rather than quality is a driving factor in success on TikTok. Unique and creative content that allows users to interact and connect with doesn't need to be super high quality (unlike Facebook or Instagram content) to make a real impact.

man filming himself for a tiktok video

3. TikTok Advertising

It is estimated that British TikTok users spent $4.2 million – accounting to 2% of worldwide TikTok ad spend. Although in its early stages, TikTok’s ad platform is a great way to encourage new users to find out more about your organisation while they are online more than ever before. There are four forms of TikTok ad formats that your arts and culture organisation can implement; in-feed native content, brand takeovers, the hashtag challenge, and branded lenses.

questionnaire of tiktok user behaviours

In-feed native TikTok content will be displayed in the users feed and can display an ad that features clickable links to your website or app download. The success or impact of the video is measured by the results of impressions, the number of clicks, CTR video views, play duration, and video interactions.

Brand takeovers are a category that can offer unique reach, impressions or clicks via clickable links. Brand takeovers can include images, animated GIFs, and video to grab the attention of new users.

The Hashtag challenges that we have previously spoken about can be sponsored and contain a link that directs the users to your page. These posts are measured by video interaction, clicks banner views, and user-generated videos in order to determine its success.

Branded lenses was a feature proposed by TikTok bosses as an initiative to increase engagement rates on the app. Much like Snapchat and Instagram Story filters, branded lenses aim to infuse similar features on the TikTok app.

image of ballet dancer in black and white

TikTok is certainly at the front of many marketeers’ brains, especially for those in the arts and culture industry who are looking to connect and entertain their younger audiences digitally during the global coronavirus pandemic! Are you interested in doing more to harness social media within your organisation during this time? After Digital work with an array of organisations within the arts and culture industry, so, if you are looking for more information on how we can help you do not hesitate to get in touch!

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