The importance of being active on social media as a business in Higher Education is more crucial than ever. With millennials saying they spend around 5.2 hours each day consuming content through a mobile device, and Generation Z spending around 5.9 hours a day on their phones. This equals to around 25% of an average Gen Z’s day spent on their phone. Thereby, the value of understanding how social media works, especially for universities, can be crucial in getting the attention of young people to engage with your business or product.
“25% of an average Gen Z’s day is spent on their phone”
One particular social media has dominated the space in recent times. This of course is the app, TikTok. As of 2022 TikTok has become the most-downloaded app in the world, surpassing social media giants, Twitter and Instagram. Nearly half of people in the US between the ages of 18 and 30 are using the app daily. With 16% of teens using TikTok ‘almost constantly’. With so much usage and engagement, to not be on the app would result in a huge hole in your marketing campaign by excluding a large number of prospective students.
So, why is TikTok so popular?
The ever increasing popularity of TikTok can be down to a multitude of reasons. For one, they have a specialised algorithm that displays selected videos on a users “For You” page that are particularly targeted to that user and their interactions within the app. The algorithm tracks a person’s likes, comments and scrolling time to cultivate a perfectly suited video feed that will keep the user engaged and on the app for hours. For example, if you enjoy cat videos and you like or ‘heart’ a video of a cat, TikTok will recognise this interaction and consequently push more cat content onto your own “For You” page.
This is ideal for HE marketing as your videos can appear on prospective students For You pages, assuming they are searching and engaging with similar topics to the ones you are putting out. This could be topics such as; the university application process, general university life, or top universities in a certain area to name a few. Thus allowing a direct link to the target audience and their interests in regard to their future in higher education.
Another factor in the popularity of TikTok is the super fast short form content uploaded to the app. Our attention spans have significantly decreased with the average user attention span in 2022 being just 8 seconds! Declining from 12 seconds in 2000. TikTok caters perfectly to this, as stated earlier the videos uploaded are short, sweet and to the point. Leading users to scroll from one video to the next seamlessly. This along with the content matched to users preferences leads users to consistently return to the app. This can work wonders for HE marketers due to the short form content being uploaded to TikTok, which allows for the creation of short, snappy videos to be made en masse and uploaded directly to the app. Quantity over quality is generally awarded on TikTok. However, this does not mean you can film any old thing and upload it. The videos must still be engaging and provide answers to the questions students may have, as you want the algorithm to place you onto their For You pages. It is shown that the more videos you post, the more engagement you will receive. TikTok recommends posting 1-4 times per day. For many this volume of video is not possible due to busy schedules and general creation of content ideas.
There are a couple of ways to go about this:
- 1) Create a solid, well thought out, professionally shot video and generate multiple ‘social cuts’ from this. A good example is a video we shot for ICLMS, a new maths school for Imperial College Business School. We shot multiple interviews and cutaways at the school, then edited them together to create one polished and professional video.
We then created multiple social cuts from this video to be posted to TikTok, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts. This method is great for short form content as you have guaranteed material in your main video that you can cherry pick to then post the best clips or best interview one liners for your socials. Following the nature of TikTok, these short, to the point videos will thrive on the app.
@iclmathsschool Do you love maths? Then maybe Imperial College London Mathematics School is the sixth form for you! Admissions are now open! #maths #SixthForm #STEM ♬ original sound – Imperial College Maths School
This video made more than 50k views and hundreds of comments in 48 hours!
- 2) Generate a multitude of content ideas that are quick and easy to film and edit. This is the fun bit. There is an abundance of topics to choose from in regards to higher education (we will be posting an article in the future with some fun, quick TikTok ideas for universities!) The main aim is to engage with your primarily young audience. A more user-gen, relaxed approach is favoured here as your content does not need to be polished and professionally filmed. However, it can still include your desired messaging and branded content. This is where different content can be used for different platforms. For example, a university would upload a video to Youtube that offers a more long-form approach, with in-depth information as opposed to TikTok, in which a university would use just the important information or highlights to then post to the app.
A few examples:
@markwellsauthor #cambridgegothic #collegeofshadows #authorsoftiktok #readersoftiktok #librariansoftiktok #cambridgeuniversity #stjohnscollegecambridge ♬ W.A.Mozart, Lacrimosa from Requiem – AllMusicGallery @imperialcollege WATCH UNTIL THE END! As England get ready to take on the USA tonight, we asked our students who they’re supporting in the World Cup! Which team are you rooting for this year? ⚽️ #ImperialCollegeLondon #ImperialCollege #OurImperial #Football #WorldCup #WorldCup2022 #Football #FootballTikTok #FYP #ForYou #ForYouPage #myristorantecreation ♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio
- 3) Alternatively, get your students to film the content. As 60% of TikTok users are Gen Z which is the majority of university students, it makes sense to utilise their knowledge of the app. You come up with the idea, or build a team of content creators that will come up with their own ideas, they film, then they return the content to you to add any extra messaging, captions, logos etc. Then once you are happy, you post the video directly to the app. This way you can combine the knowledge of the younger students with the current TikTok trends, music etc and still include the university’s desired branding and messaging. Additionally, this can give you a chance to subtly show off your university’s facilities such as the campus, lecture rooms, local study spots etc. If you’re trying this for the first time, it can sometimes be a little tricky to keep the students on brief to get the video you need. We help a number of institutions manage the creation process with their content creators team using our h10 studio app – so you get quality results.
Why is TikTok perfectly suited for HE marketing?
Many universities make the mistake of dismissing the power of TikTok. With Cambridge University gathering a staggering 91.8K followers in 2022. One of the main reasons universities can gather such a large number of followers on TikTok is due to the age of the target audience. As 60% of active TikTok users are between the ages of 16-24 upcoming and current university students are the main age group that will use TikTok consistently. So to not be on the app would be closing a door to a wide group of your audience, which would deny a vital connection that can help you understand students’ opinions and views. Thus improving your university marketing strategy.
“60% of active TikTok users are between the ages of 16-24”
We work creating social content with some of the UK’s leading universities. From training teams and students; managing the content creation process; our h10 studio app so student led video; consultancy and much more! We will also be providing similar articles to help guide you through using TikTok, TikTok for Higher Education and TikTok content ideas.
Want to create more effective and engaging video for your institution?
At h10 agency, we specialise in creating video content for higher education marketing. This ranges from higher end promo videos, through to user-gen and social.
Click here to find out more about our unique h10 studio smartphone filming application, designed specifically to create controlled and quality UGC video content. You can also check our more of our work here.