Is 2020 the right time for council’s to start using TikTok for marketing and resident engagement? The short answer is a definite yes but let me explain more.
At Liverpool City Council we first toyed with using TikTok back in May 2019 but at the time it just didn’t feel like the right platform for our content so we parked the idea. Fast forward to December when we started to review the year that was (as you do) and it had largely been a really positive year – our reach grew, engagement grew, we launched a successful podcast but one thing that jumped out to us was we failed to reach a big audience and that was young people.
So we asked ourselves, where are all the young people? With 1.5 billion global users, 40% of which are aged 16–24 and with ever growing popularity in the UK it was clear that TikTok is where they are so that is where some of our content needed to be.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is the culmination of all social content platforms leading up to today – it’s mobile first, short form videos, with a heavy emphasis on music, comedy, dancing, intimacy, and trends. You can follow people, you can browse popular videos, and you can explore hashtags. Simple.
We have spent 4 months on TikTok and are very much still finding our feet but have generated 500,000 video views and 50,000 ‘likes’ in that time. We have gained 4,500+ followers and while that number isn’t huge it’s clear the majority are under 21 and local. Our mantra for this year has very much been it’s not about reach but who we reach, so while the numbers aren’t huge they are the right kind of numbers and going in the right direction.
It’s not about reach but who we reach
What I would say if you are starting out on TikTok is don’t get too discouraged if you feel the numbers are low to begin with. A video can go from having 10 views in 2 weeks to 10,000 in an afternoon. TikTok’s official wording is that users watch “a personalized video feed based on what you watch, like, and share” according to the app’s iOS page. Not exactly a thorough description, but you can assume that TikTok is tracking what people are watching on the app and referring people to what they think they will be interested in.
On TikTok you don’t need followers to go viral. You don’t need existing clout, or distribution, or anything. On TikTok you can record a 15 second video and you will start getting views, likes, comments, and followers.
The audience on TikTok is still a young one but those demographics are changing month by the month. That’s precisely how Facebook started but throughout the years the demographics widely changed. Now Facebook is playing catchup and is desperate to try and recapture the audience that TikTok now has.
The same happened with Instagram.
The same is going to happen with TikTok.
The demographics are going to shift, older people will start using the platform and those who are building their audiences now are going to be better equiped to succeed in the future.
Monthly Active Users – TikTok has about 800 million monthly active users.
Total App Downloads – The TikTok app has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times worldwide
Average Minutes Per User – TikTok users love the app. They spend an average of 52 minutes per day in the platform.
Opens – A user opens the TikTok app 8 times per day.