TikTok is the new kid on the block that’s already causing a huge stir in the world of social media. With over 500 million active monthly users worldwide, the most downloaded app on the App Store appears to be here to stay - so how can you utilize this to your advantage?
Well, today the digital marketing experts over at Land Digital are showing you exactly that, offering up a handy and easily digestible step-by-step guide on how to use TikTok to promote your next event. From jumping on viral trends to a considered and effective video strategy, here you’ll find everything you need to fully understand how the app operates and, as a result, what it means for the digital advertising of your next event.
So, first things first - what is TikTok?
To understand how best to adapt your event marketing strategy to this new medium, it’s key to first understand what it actually is! So let us explain…
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform that focuses on video content, enabling users to post and interact with short, 15 second user-made videos. The interface works much like you’d expect from any social media platform - with the ability to like, share and comment on posts from friends, influencers and celebrities alike. Feeds are populated with content from the accounts users follow, as well as the most popular videos from the latest video trends - meaning the platform is perfectly designed to promote both viral organic reach and small community interaction alike.
Why is it so popular?
Though originally launched in China in 2016 under the name ‘Douyin’ (with its rebrand as TikTok for an international market coming a year later), the app experienced a significant surge in popularity in 2019 following, amongst other things, American talk show host Jimmy Fallon’s use of the app to issue the #TumbleweedChallenge on The Tonight Show. With over 8,000 submissions and 10.4 million views, people across America (and indeed the globe) looked to participate in the viral trend by getting creative with TikTok’s unique and diverse video editing features.
Indeed, there’s no doubt that it’s the app’s unique features that make it so popular. From recording capability using audio from another video or song thanks to the Musical.ly app integration to the ability to record your reaction while watching another video, TikTok boasts a whole variety of fun editing features for users to experiment with.
So how can you use TikTok to promote your event?
As you’ve probably already concluded, utilizing TikTok for event promotion requires a creative, unique and innovative approach to event marketing. It’s worth first considering whether this platform is going to lead to conversions in the form of attendees, and this very much depends on the target audience of your event.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the teen demographic dominates the user audience, with a mammoth 41% of TikTok users being aged between 16 and 24. That’s not to say that this platform is useless if this isn’t your primary audience, however. On the contrary, in the USA alone the amount of adults using the app grew 5.5 times in just 18 months. If you want to become a promotion specialist, then the first step you should take is to carry out market research on your target audience to gauge a better understanding of their interactions with apps and, ultimately, whether they can be effectively targeted using TikTok.
Method 1 - Jump on a viral trend
If you’ve concluded that TikTok is a good way of reaching your target audience, there are various methods you can implement to best utilize the app as a means of promotion. As previously mentioned, a large part of TikTok’s appeal is its promotion of viral trends. As such, a great way of increasing brand visibility and subsequent event promotion is to get involved!
On the app’s interface, you’ll see a topic feed that enables users to filter content by a chosen topic or hashtag.
When a viral trend emerges, the attached hashtag will appear in this topic feed, moving higher up the feed as it gains popularity. This of course means more users will be engaging with this topic or trend and, as such, the view count of your video is likely to substantially increase. This video shouldn’t be created with the aim of promoting your event per se, but should instead focus on fun and creativity as a means of creating engagement - in turn, this will increase the awareness of your page.
Posting a video and getting involved is pretty straight-forward:
To record, simply opt for a 15 second or 60 second clip and press the red button! Fun editing features can be found to the right hand side of the screen, including options to set timers, apply filters and even slow or speed up the recorded clip. Alternatively, you can upload a pre-existing video by tapping the small upload button in the bottom right corner, that will enable you to access your phone’s image and video library.
Once you’re happy with your video, it’s time to upload! Those familiar with Instagram’s interface will find this pretty simple due to the distinct similarities in the upload process. Simply add your caption to the ‘describe your video’ box, being sure to add the relevant hashtag to the viral trend you’re partaking in. From there, press the ‘post’ button - and just like that, you’re live!
Users searching the relevant hashtag will then be fed your video and, if you’ve gained their attention, they may click through to your page - where you can host event information through promotional images and bios. To reiterate, this method isn’t about promoting your event through the video content you produce, but rather creating a presence for your brand and event through capitalizing on a means of high engagement.
Method 2 - Create your own hashtag
Rather than partaking in a pre-existing trend, why not look to create your own by creating your own hashtag challenge? By coming up with a fun and creative topic for a video that your audience wants to get involved in, you’re essentially creating brand ambassadors from your own followers, who’ll post videos using your hashtag that will expand your reach to all of their followers, too. With this in mind, it’s best to make this hashtag challenge relevant to your event. For example, if you’re putting on a music event, you could create a dancing challenge to one of your headlining act’s songs.
Of course, this requires you to have somewhat of a pre-existing audience, so be sure to promote your challenge across all social channels. To do this, hook up your Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and share by checking the relevant icons on the upload page. For added incentive for participation, perhaps offer a prize for the best entry - this could be free tickets for your event or, if the winner is already planning on attending, a free upgrade or merchandise.
Method 3 - Create a TikTok strategy
For the most effective means of event promotion on TikTok, you’ll need to create content that directly advertises your event, rather than just relying on increased page exposure to do the job for you.
The best way to kick this off is through a hype video announcing your event. Again, innovation and creativity is key here to really generate buzz - being sure to add essential details such as ticket links in your video description.
With 29% of TikTok users opening the app daily, look to pair this with a longer-scale upload strategy that keeps users checking back in on your page. This could be videos that release the line-up of artists or guest speakers, or slowly releasing teaser information about your event as you get closer to the day. Of course, for the most effective means of promotion, you want to encourage interaction. To do this, be sure to enable comments on videos, which can be done on the upload screen as shown in the screenshot below.
Additionally, be sure to regularly check-in on your messages, as people may reach out to your TikTok page for further information after seeing your content. Your inbox can be found across the bottom of the interface, as shown below.
With the right know-how, TikTok can provide a creative means of event promotion that breaks the mold and really stands out against a crowd of traditional marketing methods. It’s all about creating fun and engaging content that captures the attention and imagination of your target audience. When paired with the correct use of hashtags, social media promotion and awareness of the latest in viral trends, TikTok can be an effective way of driving attendees in the form of ticket sales and organic promotion online - especially if your event is tailored to a younger audience.
Jon Leighton is the Director of Land Digital, a full-service digital agency providing made-to-measure marketing, design and development solutions to help businesses in the UK solve their commercial problems.