TikTok has been in the news a lot lately, yet not many entrepreneurs have figured out what this platform is really about. To most, it seems a goofy place for teenagers who like to make fun videos with their smartphones and share them with friends. That may be part of it. Yet with 800 million active users worldwide, the platform offers immense promotion opportunities.
It may not be the right online venue for all types of businesses but if you are selling e-learning, this is a place where you can reach a very large and dynamic audience. As for setting an account and using it, it’s simpler than you might originally think.
Here are a few tips on how to use this new social media to promote your online course:
1. Spend some time on TikTok
Just as you would walk up and down the physical street where you were thinking of opening up your store, you should get on the platform and familiarize yourself with it. By studying what sort of content works and how the users respond and interact with each other you can learn how your own business can fit into the setting in a natural-looking way.
Even though the point of the videos is to stand out, you do not want to do so by being obviously off the mark. You will soon notice this is not the place for overly serious sales pitches. However, there is a young and very diverse audience you can reach by speaking their own language and blending in the online surroundings.
2. Post engaging and fun videos
Unlike the high-quality video content you have to create for your courses, TikTok videos are the easiest to make. You don’t need special equipment or to fumble a lot with setting and lighting. A smartphone’s camera will do, as long as you have a good idea.
The key to making videos that get noticed is to be creative and demonstrate a sense of humor. It’s very important though to keep that humor mainstream and make sure that what you publish is not offensive to any category.
Also, if the courses you are promoting have very serious subjects, it’s all right not to go in full wacky mode – find an appropriate balance between fun and business-like.
3. Reach out to and work with TikTok influencers in your niche
As with all other social media platforms, TikTok has its own ‘who’s who’. If you want to benefit from the full potential of the platform you should get acquainted with the ones who seem to be able to draw crowds and deliver what they are looking for.
You will notice that there is a significant difference between TikTok and influencers and more ‘traditional’ ones. That’s because the demographic that is mainly here (Gen Z) blatantly opposes obvious and targeted marketing campaigns.
Yet if you partner up with the right people you will establish a very valuable connection to your younger audience. You just need to be flexible.
4. Employ TikTok advertising
Even if initially it didn’t offer any such options, once it grew and got to a significant enough audience, TikTok introduced several paid ad options.
For big businesses and established brands there is the option of a day-long takeover: lenses, gifs, links to landing pages, and hashtag challenges — all featuring the one brand — can be found all over the platform for that particular time frame.
For smaller business there is the option of in-feed native content – an ad that is very similar to those on Snapchat or Instagram story ads, supporting website clicks or app downloads. Branded lenses are also available and can go a long way in terms of getting noticed.
5. Launch a hashtag challenge
You can either do this by paying for a TikTok supported challenge or do it on your own – the first option requires money, the second more effort on your part. What you have to do is encourage users to create (or recreate) content and add your branded hashtag to it.
In order to get people engaged it either has to be very much fun or offer some incentive. For example, you could ask your existing customers to post videos of when they finish your online course (you might want to put something worth seeing at the end of your online materials – a fun animation, fireworks on the screen, some noteworthy congratulatory message).
The sky is the limit when it comes to how creative you can make these challenges. The point is to stay on top of it and put in your best effort to make it go viral.
Even if you think that you already have enough social media accounts to manage, you know very well that the online environment is so dynamic that you can’t afford to overlook the new opportunities. And TikTok with its hundreds of millions of young users is just reeking of possibilities.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.