Just as we all were getting used to using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as marketing tools, we now have to find our way through another one. Fear not! TikTok is one of the easier platforms to use when it comes to marketing. You’ll just need some creativity and the willingness to follow the latest trends. Let’s dive right in: how to use TikTok for tourism marketing.
Just how popular is TikTok?
TikTok has exploded so quickly in popularity that you might not be aware of just how many users it has. According to Wallaroomedia, Tik Tok has over 1 billion users and has been downloaded 200 million times in the United States. For reference, Twitter has around 379 million users.
What makes it so popular?
There are a few aspects that really separate TikTok from other social media apps.
Unlike Facebook where you see the posts of your friends and family, TikTok automatically greets you with a “for-you-page” (FYP) which is customized by your interests and past likes. This means that every single user has a unique experience on the app and is only shown what they want to see.
Anyone can be an influencer
Originally just a dance and lip-syncing app, many of the most
The possibilities for content are endless. Just scrolling through your FYP for five minutes, you could see a variety of creative media from livestream debates between content creators, to a 2-minute crime video, to someone marketing themself with a “video resume”, and many videos of people dancing along to the latest dance trend.
A “trend” on TikTok refers to any specific sound being used repeatedly by users, a new dance move that everyone is attempting to perfect, or a specific format of a video. Users are quick to recognize new and exciting trends, which is why it is especially important for your business or organization to take part. They make your page more personal, relatable, and noticeable. The thing about trends, however, are that they come and go very quickly. You need to be on the lookout for what is new. Watching other videos and paying attention to what is appearing on your FYP can inspire new content ideas that will help your company gain traction.
How companies use the app as a marketing tool
As there is so much room for creativity and so many users to appeal to, some companies are ahead of the game when it comes to getting their name out on TikTok and following the latest trends. For example, Duolingo, the language learning platform, consistently posts creative videos of their owl mascot working in the office. Chipotle shows off workers creating special bowls or videos of relatable moments like the “when-your-best-friend-doesn’t- know-your-Chipotle-order” moment. Sports teams, such as the Toronto Blue Jays, use the app to make fun videos of their players and will often comment on other videos or respond to fans.
TikTok and the tourism industry
So, all this knowledge now leads us to the topic of the hour: how to use TikTok to promote tourism. With over 1 billion users, this is a perfect marketing tool for the tourism industry. Tourism sells a product, just like Duolingo or Chipotle. The amount exposure you can create, followed by people being inspired to buy products and visit places is incredible. For starters, the most followed destination on TikTok is Palm Beaches Florida with 92.3k followers!
If you scroll through travel or tourism hashtags, you’ll see lots of individual influencers promoting traveling through brand deals. Destinations and other travel-centered organizations are showing off their products through a wide array of trends or creative points of view. For example, hotels and resorts will often show the behind-the-scenes, or the different rooms and amenities they have to offer. If we are looking at a smaller company, the manager might do a “day-in-the-life” of their work routine. People, especially the younger generation, LOVE to see how other people spend their time at work. This also makes it more personal.
Here are some inventive examples of travel, tourism and hospitality companies that are already using TikTok:
This 59-second video explaining the Expedia Rewards Status with a few graphics and captions has 3.6 million views:
Visit London made this walk-through “Explore Westminster Abbey with us” video to highlight the iconic landmark with some pop-up facts about the church. This 15-second video has over 135,900 views:
Education First, a company that specializes in travel tours and studying abroad, has a TikTok account that highlights all the perks of traveling to a different destination with people your age. Recently this account has been highlighting different destinations through a trend with eccentric music and pictures that flash before your eyes. Take a look:
Hilton Hotels and Resorts show off the perks of their pet friendly hotels with this adorable video that encourages people to travel with their dogs:
Finally, let’s see what our friends at Palm Beaches, the most followed destination on TikTok, are doing to attract followers. This video is a day trip itinerary, in video form:
What all these companies have in common is that they are focusing on what their audience wants to see, and they participate in trends, no matter how silly they may seem.
Tips to using TikTok to your advantage
- Create brief 20-60-second videos that appeal to short attention spans.
- Work to translate your brand into this new channel in a way that is consistent with your company yet is able to be recognized by TikTok users, such as the Duolingo owl workplace videos.
- Find influencers to show off your product and company.
- Have fun with it! Pay attention to trends and challenges that you could apply to your business or organization.