For too long charities have viewed Tik Tok as either a passing fad; only being for kids or only big in China. The numbers are now hard to ignore: the app reached a billion users more quickly than any other social media platform and was the most downloaded app on the App Store (iOS) in both 2018 and 2019. Now that more than 25% of adult Brits have downloaded the app, a range of advertisers from Sports Direct to Mercedes are diverting their marketing budgets into the platform and seeing click-through rates which are almost unheard of in social media. Even so, the app remains much less saturated with advertising than other social media, and only a handful of charities have dipped their toes in so far.
ByteDance (owners of Tik Tok) certainly have plans for continued growth in the UK this year. They launched a new UK TV ad last month which was clearly aiming to appeal to the masses. The ad claims Tik Tok as an app for “all kinds of people, united, making the most of right now” and features Gordon Ramsey, Little Mix, and Tom Daley amongst others.
The app presents charities with an opportunity to engage with audiences in an overwhelmingly feel-good online environment. For anyone yet to download – the platform feels like something between Snapchat and Vine, and hosts streams of predominantly positive short-form user-generated video content. Thankfully there are fewer edited gym photos than Instagram, fewer arguments about fake news than Twitter, fewer pictures of your long-estranged school friends’ dinners than Facebook.
Tik Tok has been dubbed the winning Social Media of the pandemic and it’s not hard to see why. Since lockdown began, most of us have more time to scroll but feel overwhelmed by the negativity of our news feeds. We’re also looking for things to do and ways to connect. On Tik Tok you’ll find the perfect antidote to these lockdown woes: people attempting silly dances, funny challenges, and harmless pranks. Charities can add to this light relief by getting involved with the latest trends and even creating their own: see Soccer Aid’s ‘Keepy Uppy Challenge’ for inspo.
Surprisingly you’ll find content from a hugely diverse range of people on Tik Tok. True: younger people do still post the majority of videos, yet this is changing in part due to Covid-19. Younger users are dragging their locked-in parents, bored neighbors, and nans along for the ride and into their videos (Judi Dench’s grandson’s account is a real winner).
There is a definite first-mover advantage on social media because it takes time to find your voice and build up an organic feed. As Tik Tok grows they are also likely to develop more products to help charities succeed. For example, ‘donation stickers’ launched earlier this year, which allow influencers to add a donate call to actions to their posts directing followers to a couple of select charities. It’s no coincidence that in the UK it was The British Red Cross and Help Musicians that were chosen to test this feature first: they had already begun to build their presence on Tik Tok (think handwashing dances and Love Island stars trying to sing…). Well worth the groundwork since Tik Tok actually matched funds driven via donation stickers for the first month.
Tik Tok Cost per Thousands is easily comparable to Facebook if you are buying their off-the-shelf in-feed video product, which is pretty accessible since agencies can run it self-serve with no minimum spend and it only requires a vertical video creative. If this works, you might consider upping your investment to test a more interactive format such as a hashtag challenge.
The most popular content on Tik Tok is led by influencers so building partnerships with content creators is a winning strategy. Charities can achieve this with or without a budget for ad spend by utilizing existing ambassadors and establishing relationships with influencers. Regardless of size, the most successful charities on Tik Tok will need to bring their organic, influencer, and paid-social teams together. Let your charities’ brand personalities lead and follow in the footsteps of users: Be positive, interactive, and relevant. Ultimately, have fun with it!