In this blog post, we’ll explore what higher education marketers need to know about the TikTok ban and what steps they can take to adapt to this changing landscape. So let’s dive in!
What is TikTok?
If you’re not familiar with TikTok, it’s a video-sharing social media app that allows users to create and share short videos set to music. The app has established itself as one of the top online platforms for teens, with over 800 million active users worldwide and more than 150 million in the US. TikTok is known for its viral challenges and dance trends, which often go on to become cultural phenomena.
One of the unique features of TikTok is its algorithm. The app uses machine learning to curate content for each user based on their viewing habits and engagement. This means that users are constantly exposed to new content that’s tailored to their interests.
TikTok’s rise in popularity has caught the attention of many higher education marketers, who see it as a potential new channel for reaching prospective students. Some institutions have even started using TikTok to showcase campus life and engage with their student body.
The app is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, and there are worries that personal information and private data could be shared with the Chinese government, threatening national security.
Start Preparing for a TikTok Ban
So what can college and university marketers do to prepare for a TikTok ban? Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
Diversify Your Social Media Strategy
While TikTok has certainly captured the attention of many young people, higher education marketers need to remember that there are other social media platforms out there. By diversifying your social media strategy, you can ensure you’re still reaching prospective students even if TikTok isn’t available. Here are a few ideas for diversifying your video strategy:
Youtube has been around for over a decade and has become one of the most popular video-sharing platforms on the internet. With one-in-five teens saying they’re on YouTube “almost constantly,” you’ll want to consider YouTube as a video channel for your higher education marketing efforts.
Instagram is also a popular social media platform that allows users to share short videos called Instagram Reels. This feature is similar to TikTok’s short-video format, and with 62% of those 13-17 saying they use Instagram Reels, this could be a good alternative for higher education marketers.
While Snapchat is primarily known for its disappearing photo and video messages, the platform also offers features for sharing short, creative videos. This could be a good option for reaching a younger audience.
- User-Generated Content
Another way to diversify your video strategy is by encouraging user-generated content. This involves asking current students or alumni to create and share videos about their experiences at your institution. Not only does this help promote your brand, but it also provides an authentic perspective that can be more engaging for prospective students.
Focus on Owned Channels
Rather than relying solely on social media platforms, consider investing in your institution’s owned channels, such as your website and newsletters. These channels allow you to have more control over your messaging and reach your audience directly. Depending on your audience, you could shift your focus to:
Your institution’s website is a crucial owned marketing channel that you have total control over. Consider creating video content for your website that showcases campus life, student experiences, or highlights academic programs.
A blog is a great way to showcase thought leadership and offer perspectives on current events or trends. Use your blog to keep prospective students informed about your institution’s response to the latest topics of interest for your prospective students.
Email newsletters can be another effective owned marketing channel that can be used to reach prospective students and keep them informed about your institution. Use email newsletters to promote your video content and other institutional updates.
Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular among younger audiences. According to a study by Ipsos, 48% of teens aged 13-17 listen to podcasts. Consider starting a podcast to discuss a range of topics related to your institution, such as student success stories, student support services, academic research, and more.
Monitor the Situation
It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments regarding a potential TikTok ban. By monitoring the situation and staying informed, you can make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.
While the future of TikTok remains uncertain, higher education marketers can stay informed about updates or changes regarding the app. Here are a few strategies to consider:
- Follow Social Media Trends
Pay attention to how people are talking about TikTok on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This can give you a sense of how popular the app is among your target audience and whether there are any emerging concerns or trends related to the platform.
- Join Higher Education Marketing Groups
Join online communities or groups where higher education marketers discuss current trends and best practices. These groups can provide valuable insights into how others are adapting to changes in the industry.
- Monitor Competitor Strategies
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing in terms of their marketing strategies. If they are shifting away from TikTok, it may be a sign that you should do the same.
Use Analytics to Evaluate Social Media Performance
If a TikTok ban becomes imminent, higher ed marketers will need to evaluate their social media performance on other platforms. Analytics can help them track and measure the success of their social media marketing efforts on other channels. Here’s how:
- Set Clear Goals
Define what you want to achieve through your social media marketing efforts. Examples include increasing engagement rates, driving traffic to the website, or generating leads. Be specific about your goals and make sure they align with your overall marketing strategy.
- Identify Metrics and KPIs
Decide which metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will best measure the success of your social media marketing efforts. Metrics may include reach, impressions, view rate, engagement rate, and click-through rate, among others. Determine which metrics are most important to your institution and use them to track progress over time.
- Utilize Social Media Analytics Tools
Use social media analytics tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Google Analytics, or Facebook Insights to measure the performance of your social media campaigns. These tools can provide insights into metrics like reach, engagement, audience demographics, and more.
- Analyze the Data
Once you have collected the data, analyze it to gain insights into what’s working and what’s not. Look for trends and patterns that can help you fine-tune your social media strategy. For instance, if you notice that posts with certain hashtags perform better than others, consider incorporating those hashtags into future posts.
- Adjust Your Strategy
Use the insights gathered from your analytics to adjust your social media marketing strategy. For example, if you notice your audience is more engaged with video content that is greater than 30 seconds, consider incorporating more longer form videos into your marketing strategy.
Stay Informed, Adapt Quickly, and Embrace New Opportunities
Higher education marketers can still effectively engage with prospective students through various digital marketing channels, social media platforms, and owned marketing channels. By diversifying social media strategies, focusing on owned marketing channels, monitoring the situation closely, and using analytics to evaluate social media performance, they can continue to reach their target audience and promote their institutions.
The key is to stay informed about the latest developments, adapt quickly to changes, and keep an open mind about new marketing opportunities. With these strategies in mind, college and university marketers can prepare for a TikTok ban and emerge stronger and more effective than before.
At New Path Digital, we understand the challenges that higher education marketing teams face in today’s ever-changing digital landscape. We are committed to helping our clients stay ahead of the curve by providing them with innovative solutions and cutting-edge insights.
Whether you’re looking to diversify your social media strategy, optimize your owned marketing channels, or take advantage of emerging technologies, our team of experts is here to help. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.