Should You Use TikTok for School Marketing in 2022?

As one of the most recent social media platforms to emerge in the last few years, there’s no denying TikTok has become very popular, especially with younger generations. Incredibly, TikTok has 50 million monthly active users in the U.S.

TikTok marketing can be a great channel for your school, especially since TikTok has proven to be a useful tool to connect with parents and students who have been feeling especially isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Depending on your school’s resources, TikTok may be a good addition to your social media marketing toolkit. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, much like Snapchat, not all social media networks work well for school marketing.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app. The idea behind TikTok encourages people to create and share 15-second, 1 minute or 3 minute videos. TikTok is a very creative app, offering creators a variety of sounds, songs, filters and special effects. Videos are easy to shoot and upload right from your phone.

TikTok increased the social aspect of their platform by adding a “reactions” feature in May 2021.

TikTok Uses a Local Focus

A key driving factor in TikTok’s popularity is its focus on local content. It uses local hashtags to capitalize on local trends, contests and challenges. The app uses local trending hashtags to suggest content creation topics to its users. TikTok also sends personalized recommendations to each user, ensuring TikTok users are always updated on the latest trending videos, inspiring new ideas for video creation.

TikTok for School Marketing

Posting on TikTok can be a powerful way to connect and engage with current and potential families. Using this platform can be a way for your school to show its personality and increase enrollments by showcasing what makes your school unique from your competitors.

TikTok is a great tool for sharing information about your school through engaging formats. What makes TikTok especially powerful for schools is how the app uses a precise algorithm to find and show content based on a particular individual user’s interests. For example, not everyone will see the same content, even if it’s popular, because not everyone shares the same interests.

Parents are the Gatekeepers

Before we delve into how to use TikTok for school marketing, it’s important to recognize the important role parents play. Today, TikTok is being used by all age groups. As a matter of fact, 29 percent of TikTok users are parents with children between the ages of 6 and 18 years. Parents look to TikTok to learn more about what is happening in their children’s world and discover new products and services for their families to enjoy.

TikTok Tips for School Marketers

Here are 12 tips to help schools get started using TikTok for marketing.

  1. Hashtags

Like other social media platforms, TikTok encourages the use of hashtags. In general, you should stay within the range of 3-4 hashtags per video and use hashtags currently performing well. Try using a TikTok Hashtag Generator tool, like InfluencerMarketingLabs tool to discover trending hashtags.

  1. Leverage student-generated content

Younger Gen Z creators are the real stars of TikTok; seeing students similar to your target audience (or their youngsters) will help with authenticity and reliability. Be sure to secure written permission from underage students’ parents before publishing.

  1. Use popular songs and sounds

TikTok features popular songs and sounds. Using them will help boost your content in the algorithm to help your content get seen by a broader audience.  You can also try creating your own sound profiles or record students singing your alma mater and encouraging them to repost and share.

  1. Be strategic about on-screen text

Don’t let your TikTok fail due to mechanical errors. The TikTok navigation screen may prevent some of the video footage from being seen. To prevent this from happening, use the preview function to see how your video will look once published. Be sure to add text overlays in an area of the screen that won’t impede people from viewing your TikTok.

  1. Publish the right type of content

Think about the type of content people are interested in. Epic athletic, dance, dramatic, cheerleading and other performances will always stay on trend. Tell an interesting and compelling story about your school. These are the types of content people love and may even go viral.

  1. Share tips, advice and educational information

People love learning on TikTok so you can create videos to help people learn. Bullet points work well, with text over the screen guiding the user through the mini-lesson.

  1. Use a strong call-to-action

When you publish an interesting video, people will like, comment and follow it. When that happens, the TikTok algorithm will amplify it to more people. For this reason, you need a call-to-action (CTA) so people know what you want them to do, like “Follow for More” or “Like for Part 2”. Make sure the CTA be at least a few seconds long to give people time to take action on the CTA.

  1. Take advantage of trends

Trends are constantly changing. Some are random and don’t make a lot of sense. This occurs because anyone can post content and it doesn’t have to be high-quality. Follow @trendtokapp on TikTok to stay up to date with the latest trends.

  1. Choose a niche

Find a niche and focus on it. Followers want relevant content that meets their expectations of what your channel will offer. For example, some schools dedicate their TikTok account to sharing videos about their sports team and facts about the athletic department. Another school might choose to focus on college readiness and tips about preparing for college. Just like you should keep your school’s branding consistent, your TikTok content should reflect your school’s brand and unique offerings.

  1. Be authentic

TikTok is all about authenticity and transparency. It’s OK to produce a lot of content, but quality is always valued more than quantity.

  1. Publish content regularly

Creating and posting content on a regular, consistent basis is key to gaining a following in TikTok. This is where an editorial calendar will help to plan out ideas far in advance. Also, you can upload videos and save them as drafts, which means you can record and schedule videos in advance, allowing you to prepare and stay on track with your content creation.

  1. Keep your videos short

Keep your clips short and to the point. The TikTok algorithm compares the length of the video to watch time as a measure of quality. You’re much more likely to have people watch 7 seconds of a 9 second video than 49 seconds of a minute-long one.

Final Thoughts

TikTok is a low cost, high engagement platform you can use to showcase your school. Plus, you can learn more about what works and what does not, so if you do decide to invest in TikTok ads, you will be better prepared. Be sure to answer questions parents and students have about your school and what students wish they knew before enrolling. Be sure to open a Pro account (it’s free) so you can access your dashboard and analytics. This will help you gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Don’t be in a big hurry to start running ads. Take your time and show the best parts of your school through the eyes of your students.

Is your school publishing content on TikTok? What is working for you school? Please share with the school marketing community by commenting below…

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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