TikTokHow universities can use TikTok – your questions answered (part two)

How universities can use TikTok – your questions answered (part two)

Universities use academic content to promote their institution on TikTok

Creating #LearnOnTikTok content, increasing your reach, analysing data and more

Following on from part one in this series, TikTok answers more questions about how universities can make the most of the platform to produce compelling content and promote their institutions.

How can institutions ensure that TikTok videos reach their intended target audiences?

Via the “For You” feed, TikTok’s recommendation algorithm shares universities’ content with audiences who are interested in similar content. Read more about how TikTok recommends the videos in its “For You” feed here.

Usually, universities’ target demographics will already be viewing content similar to your organisation’s, and, therefore, your content will also be seen by those audiences.

Anglia Ruskin University adopted a “trial and error” approach to its content. “When we started in February 2020, we had about 220 views across all of our videos at the end of the month. And by September, some of our videos were achieving over 150,000 views on their own,” said Jaymie-Leigh Baker, a social media officer at the university, speaking at the inaugural THE x TikTok masterclass.

Do you recommend making #LearnOnTikTok videos longer than the 10- to 15-second recommended length for TikTok content?

Yes. We have noticed that #LearnOnTikTok content that is 20 to 40 seconds long performs very well, although we would always advise users to keep videos as short as possible because the aim should be to get viewers to watch videos to completion.

TikTok recommends that universities create longer content if they feel that the subject matter requires it. The key is not length, but rather how well a video can keep the audience engaged throughout.

What is the best way for universities to gain followers with topics that aren’t trending?

Ensure that your videos are as raw and authentic as possible. TikTok users automatically move away from heavily branded and produced content. We find the quirkier and more random the topic, the better the video is likely to perform.

What data analytics does TikTok offer?

TikTok offers a suite of analytics in-app that can be accessed from the accounts profile page. This includes data on video views, profile views, comments, likes, shares, the geographical breakdown of your audience, gender, what time they interacted with content and both the average and total watch times.

The University of Cambridge uses TikTok analytics to confirm that it is reaching its target audience. “We are reaching a largely female audience. So we are inspiring young women, hopefully, to consider science subjects, which is really important for Cambridge,” said Anu Hautalampi, the university’s head of social media and AV, at the THE x TikTok masterclass.

Should universities use subtitles on all TikTok videos?

For educational content, it is advisable to use text as it makes it easier for the audience to understand the subject matter. Another great use of text is to “signpost” during videos so viewers are always aware of what is being spoken about.

Can universities undertake paid advertising on TikTok? What benefits does it offer compared with non-paid content?

Yes, universities can undertake paid advertising on TikTok, and many are already testing TikTok’s paid opportunities. TikTok offers a range of ad products; however, universities will typically utilise the platform’s in-feed ads.

In-feed ads offer the most targeting and optimisation capabilities. They can be activated via the TikTok ads platform and require no minimum spend. Running paid ads enables a university to set and achieve specific goals including reach, frequency, video views, traffic and engagement.

Universities can also layer granular targeting to their paid TikTok advertising, including age group and interest, to ensure that ads are reaching their target audience.

Running paid advertising also enables universities to learn which targeting and creative approaches get the best reaction from their audience.

What are the best ways for universities to increase the reach of their TikTok videos?

When it comes to organic reach, it is important to understand that TikTok’s algorithm is powered by a content graph rather than a social graph, making it an entertainment platform.

All universities, therefore, have the ability to appear in a user’s “For You” feed. It doesn’t matter how many followers a university’s account has. Instead, organic reach will heavily depend on the content posted.

TikTok suggests downloading the app and using it to get an understanding of which popular creative ideas might be relevant to your university. Read more about how TikTok recommends videos in its “For You” feeds.

To guarantee the reach of organic content, universities have the option of boosting content from their business account with paid advertising budgets. Boosting videos can be a great way for universities to understand how viewers are interacting with their content because it is coming from an organic profile.

What kind of content resonates with university students?

This varies from individual to individual and depends on whether students are looking for a university or are already enrolled at an institution.

A good mix of content that showcases student experience and tips for students – for example, DIY hacks, study hacks, student meal ideas and career advice – should do the trick when it comes to engaging a broad cross-section of students.

Sign up for TikTok here and find out more about the self-service TikTok Ads Manager platform.

Read part one of the series.

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