TikTok may have started off as a platform to create viral lip synchs of top 40 hits, but this social media channel also may be the next big thing for event marketing.
TikTok, a wildly popular video sharing app where users can create and share 15-second videos on any topic, may not seem like a no-brainer for event marketing. But it may just be the latest and greatest way to reach potential attendees — especially now that users can record their reactions to videos and share their favorites, both within the app and in other popular platforms such as Instagram. With more than 500 million active users, 80 million of which are in the U.S. and 90% of which are on the app every day, it’s a high-engagement app event marketers can’t afford to ignore.
Here are 5 ways to market your event using TikTok.
- Jump on a viral TikTok challenge (or invent your own). When Jimmy Fallon created his #TumbleweedChallenge, which asked viewers to video themselves rolling along the floor like a tumbleweed, more than 8,000 fans posted their videos, which garnered 9 million views, within just a few days. Most of the TikTok challenges are more of the show-off-your-dance-moves/lip-synchs (here are some that are popular right now) that entail asking viewers to post videos of themselves putting their own spin on your challenge idea.
As with all social media memes, if you can find a way to attach your event somehow to one that’s already getting lots of hashtag love, that’s a great way to get instant event marketing splash. But if none of the currently popular challenges mesh with your event’s goals, objectives, attendee demographics, etc., feel free to start your own.
For example, check out what Elf Cosmetics did with its “Eyes Lips Face” challenge, which spurred three million users to upload their take on an original song the company created for the challenge. Your event’s theme song could be the next viral TikTok challenge hit — just invite your attendees to upload their most awesome moves and feature them on your event’s website, and invite them to share with your event hashtag on all their social channels as well. Just don’t forget to share which hashtags you want them to use.
- Ask your TikTok influencers to jump on the bandwagon. Just as you invite your top influencers on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media platform to spread the word, add TikTok influencers to your social media VIP list. While it’d be great to get a celebrity like Jimmy Fallon on board — and you may have access to some hot celeb TikTokkers, depending on your attendee base, speakers and entertainment — you’re best off finding active influencers in your event’s area of expertise. Just be sure to vet them carefully to make sure they truly do have the reach you’re looking for and, even more importantly, that they aren’t affiliated with anything your organization would prefer to steer clear of.
Of course, unless they’re already rabid fans of your event, there has to be something in it for them. As part of your social media partnership, give them some VIP love such as free tickets or exclusive access to top speakers or other event VIPs.
- Create a TikTok contest. Similar to a TikTok challenge, create a contest where you invite potential participants to bust a move, lip synch, interact with your brand, even roll like a tumbleweed if that has any relevance to your event, and offer prizes to the top entries. Just be sure to follow all the legal giveaway and contest guidelines that could be applicable.
- Promote your own event kickoff video on TikTok. Like all social media, TikTok is social, so your organization does need to develop a presence on the channel and interact with others by following related accounts, commenting on others’ posts, and being authentic in your postings.
Once you have that community engagement, develop your own fun, potentially viral event kickoff video and invite your followers to engage with and promote it. It could be part of your TikTok challenge, or it could just be cool, funny clips promoting early-bird specials or other exclusive offers. While you could depend on the site’s algorithms, your influencers and blind luck to spread your event marketing videos, you also can pay to use TikTok Promotions. Just as you can pay to “boost” a post on Facebook, you can do something similar on TikTok, either allowing the platform to choose who to boost it to, or setting your own custom audience goals.
- Don’t let the fun stop once the event starts. When you’re on site, don’t forget to have TikTok stations (or maybe a sound booth) where attendees can video themselves interacting with your event’s sights, sounds and experiences. Just as you likely have selfie stations users to interact with your event branding and post to their other social channels, invite your event’s TikTokkers to go crazy with a #youreventtheme hash tagged experience and post it for their followers to see — creating both FOMO that should create advance buzz for your next event.
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