5 Reasons Why Universities Should be Using TikTok

My friends got into TikTok during the big lockdown rush of 2020 when visits to the app grew by 600% compared to the year before. I was sceptical. Lip syncing and dance videos? I sneered at the thought; does not sound like my kind of thing at all. I later came to realise this feeling was down to the unpleasant idea that strangers could see my awkward, uncoordinated dancing on the internet more than anything else…


Turns out, I was quite wrong. TikTok, while having began as a musical performance type platform back in 2017, has since grown to showcase videos on literally anything you could ever imagine – which luckily for us, includes university-based recruitment content!


1. Audience Engagement

The TikTok user demographic is perfect for universities to grow an audience and engage with potential new students. 41% of users are between 16 and 24 years old, so are of the age that they’ll be thinking about Higher Education. The average user opens the app 8 times a day, overall spending about 45 minutes scrolling through content.


20% of Gen Z however, spends more than 5 hours a day on the app!


So, there is plenty of opportunity to catch your audience’s attention.



2. Showcase your campus

TikTok is known for its short, snappy videos lasting anywhere between 15 seconds and 3 minutes. Universities can utilise this fast-paced content to show off elements of university life in an exciting, engaging way. For example, a campus tour that might usually take a while to complete or normally only happens in person: why not film it and speed up your footage to showcase the best parts of student life on campus in just 60 seconds? While incorporating fun transitions that keep the viewer’s brain engaged and a trending audio track to ramp up the atmosphere?


3. Ambassador Programmes

There is also a great opportunity for universities to engage with students through ambassador programmes.


55% of TikTok’s daily users also create their own content.


Creating a programme for students to sign up to means they can make their own content for the university, showcasing their daily routine as a student, their favourite clubs and societies, and all the great things that life on campus has to offer. Potential students will appreciate information coming from people who have recently been in their position and may trust these more personal videos over university branded content.


Our Head of Knowledge & Learning Dr Hilary Young conducting a TikTok workshop with the University of the Highlands and Islands

4. #LearnOnTikTok

As I mentioned, there is an area of TikTok for everything. This means, you can also learn just about anything and the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok is a great example of that. Universities can advertise their exciting courses by making snappy educational videos that show off elements of what students will be learning. The quirkier and the more random the educational content, generally the better it performs. This could be an excellent way to build a reputation as a fun place to study and encourage people to apply.


5. Personally engage

Human centred content usually does better across all social media platforms and TikTok is no exception. Chatty videos that engage directly with students and answers their questions is something that universities can do either through videos or in the comments section to build a rapport with their audience. Settling fears and concerns of starting at a new university, discussing what should be on their packing list, and pointing them in the right direction for info on scholarships are all perfect topics for TikTok. The app is obviously a more informal means of communication compared to a university website or email, so it gets students to see how friendly and welcoming a university and its team can be!



And that’s just our short list - there are still so many reasons why TikTok is a great platform for universities to be engaging with and there are some great examples out there to show just how successful it can be. Once you’ve downloaded the app, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content on there (I wouldn’t blame you) and you’d like some pointers, 448 Academy run great workshops for educators on how to utilise TikTok.


For more info, feel free to contact Dr Hilary Young, 448 Studio’s Head of Knowledge and Learning at: hilary.young@448.studio