TikTok’s global influence and popularity are undeniable. In 2020, the average time spent on TikTok surpassed YouTube for the first time, showing a shift in behavior with people preferring spending time watching a lot of short videos rather than a few long videos.
TikTok is not just about dance videos though; it’s becoming one of the key online destinations for people to learn. Videos tagged with #LearnOnTikTok have amassed over 230 billion videos, and #EduTok has over 140 billion views! The appeal of edutainment- education through entertainment- has grown over the past few years thanks to TikTok’s growth in users and content creators.
For educators, this is a new outlet to connect with learners in a fun and creative way that grabs their attention. With TikTok showing so much engagement with millennials and Gen Z, it poses an immense opportunity for entrepreneurial educators- edupreneurs- who want to connect with existing learners as well as build a credible brand to expand their learner audience.
How TikTok works
On the app, creators make a variety of short-form videos on everything from cooking hacks to dance moves to comedy sketches to magic tricks and math skills. This content is viewed on what’s known as the “For You Page”– you might have seen #foryoupage or #fyp in some video captions- which is the feed users land on when you first open the app. The content is served through an algorithm that predicts what users are interested in based on their engagement with the content on TikTok.
Who uses TikTok
While most users are 16 – 24-year-olds, this is quickly changing as millennials and lifelong learners are spending more time-consuming content on TikTok.
How to increase content visibility on TikTok
TikTok has several features that, when used well, can help increase the discoverability of content and overall visibility. Below are a few key features every TikTok creator should use to enhance the visibility of their content:
- Hashtags – Use relevant hashtags as they categorize your content and will help the algorithm show your videos to users that are looking or actively engage with similar content, giving your content relevant exposure and engagement.
To figure out which hashtags to use, do a bit of research into both the learners you want to engage with your content, as well as other content creators posting similar videos. Look at the hashtags they use and take from them what fits your personal brand and the content you have in mind for your page.
- Music – Music is at the heart of TikTok; picking a popular song can be the primary reason a video goes viral as the algorithm pushes content using trending sounds to more users. When choosing a background music track, check how others are using it for inspiration. Some trending music tracks are mainly for dance moves for example, so users expect that when browsing videos with that music. It’s also important to pay attention to the lyrics as it can affect how users perceive educational content. There are many instrumental tracks available as well. It’s also important that the music track volume isn’t too loud so that users don’t have a hard time hearing voiceovers in the video; balance sound levels using the adjustment tool within the app.
- Effects – TikTok has a wide selection of effects available and, like music, they’re also essential to the TikTok experience and are favoured by the algorithm. Effects are a great way to add some personality to video content and make it more entertaining. Some effects end up trending, so if they are relevant to the content in mind, make use of trending effects to drive more visibility.
- Text & captions – Attention spans in the digital age have dramatically decreased, so make use of the in-video text editor to let viewers know what the video is about. Add a catchy title (for example, “3 study hacks for exam prep” or “Life as an educator pt 1” if it’s one of many upcoming videos in a series), and experiment with fonts, colours, text placements and how long it’s visible for within the video duration. A common mistake is placing text in the bottom third of the video, which results in the text being covered by the caption and illegible! Place text and captions within the videos in the middle or upper third of the video.