In case you somehow missed it, TikTok is a short-form video app which saw its already increasing popularity explode over the course of 2020 as influencers and celebrities alike looked for new ways to engage and entertain their followers online. While it’s most popular among teenagers and young adults, the flourishing social media platform continues to gain users from all demographics. TikTok is projected to grow even further throughout 2021, possibly surpassing a billion active users before year’s end.
So… are you using this medium to connect with potential attendees and promote your events? Here are just a few free steps you can take to get started marketing your event on TikTok in 2021!
Create an Active Account for Your Event
TikTok’s continued popularity and projected growth makes now as good a time to launch your permanent presence here. With your event’s own TikTok account, you’ll be able to take advantage of the platform’s features without spending a dime. This includes opting into a free TikTok Pro Account. Pro features give you access to an array of insights about your posts and followers, and are available for any user to activate at no cost. If you’ll be using TikTok to engage with your fanbase, promote your events, and represent your brand, we highly recommend taking advantage of these data!
Get to Know the Platform
Possibly the biggest miss any brand can make when it comes to their TikTok presence is assuming it’s no different from other social media accounts, like Instagram or Twitter. TikTok is its own frontier, so when it’s time to launch your event’s account you’ll want to share platform-appropriate content to maximize your reach and avoid appearing out of touch. Take time to familiarize yourself with the platform, the types of content typically shared, and similarities between viral videos and popular accounts.
Start out by liking and commenting on posts that are relevant to your event, industry, or own interests. This active engagement feeds the platform’s algorithm and helps it to better curate your personal “For You” page, where new videos that match your event’s interests are constantly populated. This page provides you with relevant, popular content to analyze and build connections with influencers or other brands for potential TikTok partnerships.
Then, once you’ve completed this initial research and engagement period, start participating in existing video trends and tapping into popular hashtags to get your videos in front of as many eyes as possible. Thanks to TikTok’s unique algorithm, it’s possible for any video to go viral based on the user interests it appeals to, so even if you’re just starting out, it’s possible to take off overnight, driving awareness of your event through the roof!
Start a Hashtag Challenge
Aside from the “For You” page, one other primary way TikTok users find content that interests them is by searching for trending hashtags via the “Discover” tab. Hashtag challenges on TikTok typically involve a dance to a specific song, lip-syncing a famous piece of dialogue or music, or just about anything else that’s easily replicable while letting each user add their personal touch. When crafting a hashtag challenge for your event, try to imagine something that’s both relevant to your brand, and relatable (and exciting) for your target audience. For example, if your event is a comic con, you could introduce a #FavoriteFightScene challenge using TikTok’s Duet feature to place the user’s video side-by-side with a famous superhero movie scene, encouraging users to make it look like they’re in the middle of the battle!
This level of engagement encourages followers to participate, and makes it more likely they’ll share TikToks of their own, spreading the hashtag and, by extension, awareness of your event. That said, make sure the actual hashtag you settle on contains an unmistakable callback to your event so you don’t miss out on any new followers, connections, or ticket buyers this exposure may bring. #PrimaConChallenge or #PrimaConSuperDuel are good examples, but feel free to get as clever or punny as possible!
Identify TikTok Influencers to Partner With
One factor that continues to drive TikTok’s exploding engagement is the platform’s breakout influencers. TikTokers with local, national, and even international followings, not to mention those with industry- and hobby-specific content, hold the attention of tens of millions of users on a daily basis. That’s why, when it comes to marketing on TikTok, influencer partnerships have the potential to be incredibly effective. That said, it’s 2021, and influencers definitely know their worth! If you’re looking to strike up an in-kind partnership at no monetary cost to you, you’ll want to get creative with what you plan to offer in return, like event perks (free access, virtual meet & greets with a guest of their choice, etc.) or a shoutout of their own from your other social media accounts that may have more followers than your newly-launched TikTok. Of course, bear in mind that not every influencer will be up for such an arrangement (you’re unlikely to convince Charli D’Amelio to promote you to her 108 million followers in exchange for a free meet & greet!)
Now, how exactly can event organizers find influencers to partner with? First, try digging through the For You and Explore pages. By now, your comments, likes, and video views will have helped TikTok to curate a relevant For You feed, pushing popular videos relevant to your interests right to your screen. Use the Explore page to see what’s trending on popular relevant hashtags, like #cosplay or #comicbooks if you’re promoting a comic con. Use these methods to list out a few regularly active influencers with engaged followings, and simply reach out via comment or direct message!
The second ripe source your event may have for influencer partnerships comes in the form of your lineup. If your speakers, performing artists, or celebrity guests are active on TikTok, work it into their appearance contract that they promote your event via an approved video, directing users to your website or your TikTok profile.
The third option breaks our “free” theme, but it’s still important to mention. TikTok’s intuitive Creator Marketplace is a great place to locate and connect with potential influencers for paid collaborations. By harnessing the platform’s own first-party insights, TikTok’s marketplace is able to identify which creators and influencers mesh well with your intended audience, and put you into direct contact with them for business opportunities.