Should Your Association Be on TikTok?

Not every social media channel is right for every organization, and you may have already written TikTok off as a trend better suited for Zoomers (aka Gen Z) or quirky corporations like Wendy’s. But TikTok has evolved from silly dance videos and memes to encompass a range of diverse content, and you might be missing out on a key audience if you ignore it.

Currently, TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users, with over 138 million of them in the U.S. While it is still most popular with Zoomers, it’s making gains in other demographics. According to Marketing Charts, 36% of the app’s users were between 35 and 54 in 2021, compared to 26% in 2020. Users also engage longer on TikTok than most other social media apps. Average TikTok sessions exceed 10 minutes, compared to about three minutes per session on Instagram, for example.

Part of the reason TikTok is successful at keeping users engaged is that its algorithm recognizes what content interests them and recommends related posts—including posts from brands, nonprofits and other organizations.

If your association wants to capitalize on the TikTok audience, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Adding TikTok to your social media strategy requires dedicated time and resources.
  • Just like with any other channel, you need to post regularly to TikTok. Start with at least once per day, and work up to four times daily as you get more comfortable with the platform. Analyze your posts’ performance with TikTok’s internal analytics to see what days and times your audience is most engaged.

You don’t have to be funny, but you do have to be engaging.

The Washington Post has seen success on TikTok because video producer Dave Jorgenson and his team bring humor to news stories, but not everyone has their on-screen charisma. Instead, your videos can be:

  • Educational: Are there things you can teach people about your industry in quick, easily understandable ways? Or can you ask and answer questions from your audience?
  • Exclusive: Can you offer behind-the-scenes looks at your staff, events or projects, so your audience can get to know your association on a more personal level? In turn, this can help when you’re recruiting or asking for donations.

Add value, not noise.

It can be tempting to jump on the latest trends in an attempt to remain relevant, but ask yourself if it makes sense for your association to join the newest dance craze or meme. Research hashtags or popular video trends that suit your content rather than trying to force yourself into the arena. Similarly, if a trend feels oversaturated or cringy, it’s OK to skip it. Your audience will thank you.

Social media users value organizations that fit into a channel’s vibe, and that includes TikTok. If you think your association can make users laugh, teach them something or speak to them on a personal level with videos, go for it.

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