Is TikTok Right for Your School?

School Marketing Special

By Dr Patrick Lee (views are the author’s own)

Tik Tok is currently the fastest-growing social media tool.

For those of you who don’t have teenagers at home, it’s a video-sharing platform that encourages users to record, edit, and share short videos with a focus on trending topics.

As of 2021, TikTok is the most downloaded and top-grossing non-game app.

It has surpassed 2 billion users and it is available in more than 75 languages. Very much like other platforms, you can follow hashtags, explore new content, like, comment, and share.

TikTok is particularly popular with Generation Z - about 61% of the users are between 10 and 29.

This makes perfect sense as Generation Z is the first generation to grow up online. They are engaged in social media, want to be entertained immediately, have a mobile-first mindset, crave videos, and have a short attention span.

These all fit into TikTok’s target audience and users.

So, is your school ready for TikTok? Ask yourself these questions:

1)    What are our goals for social media?

2)    Who do we want to engage with to meet these goals?

3)    Are we already using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn?

4)    Do we have the capacity to use an additional platform?

If your answers are:

1) Generating leads, brand awareness, create traffic to your website, to engage current and potential students to be aware of our school’s culture and education.

2) Generation Z, teenagers and millennial parents

3) Yes

4) Yes

Then your school is ready to add TikTok to its list of social channels.

TikTok can provide schools with a unique opportunity to pull staff and administration closer to Generation Z as well as families.

One of TikTok’s most popular functions is TikTok Challenges where users create videos of themselves performing (silly) routines to a specific song. This offers a great way for teachers and administrators to engage with students in a playful way. Some teachers have been successful in utilising TikTok to engage students in actual lessons. TikTok may not be a useful tool to disseminate your school information but it can be helpful for you to connect with current and potential students.

If your school already has a solid social media presence and is familiar with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, then TikTok is worth considering as an add-on to your social channels to capture Generation Z and the young audience.

However, if you have not been using the major social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), then TikTok may not be the right introduction to social media platforms as it requires more finesse because of the highly visible nature of the short video.

TikTok, like any other social platforms, has its risks.

Privacy is one.

There is also the issue of a student making an embarrassing post that follows them for the rest of their lives. If you choose to use TikTok, please remember that you are not only validating the platform but you are also encouraging the whole school community to use it.

TikTok has great potential to be a connective tool for schools. When it is done right, TikTok can be an excellent tool to recruit and nurture the younger demographics - especially for international schools.

By Dr Patrick Lee (views are the author’s own)

Patrick is experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. He is a Co-Founder of Whitehead, Lee & Associates, a consultancy providing expert advice and guidance to international schools.

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The Teacher’s Guide is getting around!

Seen here in Thailand with a happy reader - and his new best friend. When we said ‘a companion to your international adventure’ we didn’t quite mean that kind of companion!

Grab a copy to take on your own adventure or listen to a short sample here (4 mins).