TikTok for Event Pros: Is it Worth the Time?
TikTok continues to grow in popularity with more and more brands turning to it as their new favorite social media marketing channel. Hell, even Meta realizes the power of TikTok and copied it for Instagram Reels, which are now the post du jour of the former photo-sharing platform.
However is it TikTok that really needs to be your focus as an event professional? Or is it short form video as a whole that should be included in your strategy?
Let’s dive in.
To answer whether you it’s worth your precious time to create content and grow a following on TikTok, you really only need to answer one decisive question:
Where does my target audience spend their time?
Don’t be distracted by the new and shiny. After all, look how quickly event pros flocked to Clubhouse when it came out and just how quickly the novelty wore off. Entrepreneurs spent hours upon hours in those rooms only to lead to…..yep, precisely nothing. No data, no tracking, no conversions. A lot of interesting conversations, but not a whole lot more that can necessarily justify the amount of time spent there.
As with all areas of marketing, successful social media is all about delivering the right content for the right audience at the right time where THEY spend their time, which may not be the platform where you (as the business owner or social media manager) love spending time.
Different generations use social media differently.
If you are targeting mid-30s to 50s entrepreneurs, middle managers or corporate executives you will find them on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, but not TikTok as it is primarily made up of young Millennials (i.e. under 35) and Gen Z.
Looking to reach Boomers? Head to Facebook and, maybe, LinkedIn. This group will spend their workday (if they aren’t retired) on LinkedIn and social time on Facebook. Even though they came to the social media party later in life, they ARE using these platforms to stay in touch with family and friends.
The right kind of trend to follow.
So now that we’ve established TikTok is not right for everyone, let’s address the second question posed originally:
Should you just be focusing on short form video content as a whole?
To that I am going to answer yes. Emphatically YES, in fact. As much as we love to look at pretty pictures, the pandemic has taught us all how important face-to-face, even when not in-person, is to our businesses and our relationships as a whole. We want to see people in action and this is even more so when it comes to service providers who aren’t your traditional e-commerce buy, pay, receive product transaction.
As event pros you are working with your clients for months if not years at a time to plan their event. Wouldn’t that entire experience suck a lot more if you couldn’t relate to or vibe with your client? Same goes when they are looking to hire you. They are searching for someone who understands them, their vision for the event, the goals it needs to accomplish, and brings the expertise to the table.
Video is the best way to convey your message and vibe as a professional in a shorter time than words or photos can display. They will either love what you have to say or realize you are not for them and move along. Either way, it’s a solid lead qualifier.
Secondly, the videos need to be short for a reason.
Yep, the pandemic robbed us of our attention spans too. (Though honestly, did we really have them to begin with??) With the rise of TikTok and Reels, we as consumers became so voracious to these short snippets of entertainment that anything longer (i.e. more than a minute) gets scrolled right on passed more often than not.
Trending audio and challenges are your friend for growth.
The next trend to follow (behind short form video) for Instagram or TikTok growth is that of trending audio and challenges. Time and time again Instagram publicly tell us directly from their @Creators account that Reels are where it’s at for now and the foreseeable future on the platform. This is their way of competing with the innate popularity of what TikTok has already proven to work well.
Both platforms want to keep users and creators alike spending as much time on them as they can. Makes for better revenue after all when advertisers are told they can reach X-number of people for X-amount of potential minutes of exposure per day. To really capitalize on growth with either Instagram or TikTok though, tap into what they are telling you flat out is popular by creating the type of content they want to showcase.
Take it even further and jump on the bandwagon of the trending challenges and popular audio available. While there are no guarantees for growth, these trends tip the scale in your favor as the algorithms favor what is current, entertaining, and getting wide engagement.
I hope after reading this you are a bit more clear on whether TikTok is right for your brand/company. If you are a solopreneur in particular, please don’t get bogged down in the “it’s one more thing I have to learn” mentality. Skip it…for now at least. When you have more resources (time or a SMM) you can expand but focus on at least one social platform and do it well. Instagram is still the most popular for event profs.
If you do choose to move forward with TikTok, remember that while jumping on the trend bandwagon can pay off from a growth perspective, staying true to your brand values and image is more important. Followers are just that, followers. They are not customers until you move them offline and convince them to like and trust you (the last two parts of the “know like trust” marketing principle) and that’s a whole lot harder to do if you’ve abandoned your brand voice and values for a trend.