Is TikTok just for kids and fun brands or can corporate PR use it?

TikTok for public relations montage

TikTok’s meteoric rise has accelerated during the lockdown. However, most of the examples I’ve seen of it being used for work purposes have been influencers or consumer brands. I wanted to share with you some of my favourite ‘non-typical’ uses including accounts by mainstream media, journalists, politicians, governmental organisations, charities and more.

BrandWatch TikTok statistics

TikTok is a short-form video-sharing app. It has a lot of similarities with Vine, Twitter’s short-lived six-second video app. It is owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance which also owns Douyin, which is the Chinese version of TikTok to comply with China’s rigorous censorship laws.

TikTok videos tend to be short and wacky with lots featuring memes such as dances and challenges (such as the stairs shuffle) that fit into the 15 second (or 60 seconds if you join them together) time limit. The app has lots of effect filters, stickers and text options. You can do basic editing, such as trimming videos, within the app. What probably sets it apart from other apps that let you share video (such as Instagram and Snapchat) is its extensive music library.

However, TikTok content can be anything you want so it’s quite possible to do short how-to, explainer or even news videos. The key is keeping an element of creativity and fun. There are lots of corporate, governmental and media TikTok accounts that use its video creatively for education, information, campaigning and promotion.

For this type of TikTok account, the one that I’ve seen cited most often is The Washington Post. It has been running its account for more than a year and although it has only amassed 526.3k followers it has more than 23m likes.

@washingtonpost

It’s our one-year TikTok anniversary! Thanks so much to all of our amazing followers. None of this would’ve happened without you. ##90sMovieTrailer

♬ original sound – washingtonpost

My personal favourite is Max Foster, CNN’s London anchor. What I love about Max’s approach is that it is clearly related to his work as a foreign correspondent and it feels authentic and natural. I’m clearly not alone as Max has 158.4k followers and 2.8m likes.

@maxfostercnn

♬ original sound – official_kingdcg

The World Economic Forum is often excellent at communication and adopting new platforms and its use of TikTok is no exception. Each video shares important facts and statistics. Recent ones have covered racial inequality in America and inevitably COVID-19. The WEF has 1.4m followers and 14.1m likes.

@worldeconomicforum

This park has an inventive way to encourage social distancing ##sanfrancisco ##newyork ##socialdistancing ##coronavirus ##coronavirusspreading ##covid19

♬ original sound – worldeconomicforum
A look at serious uses of TikTok wouldn’t be complete without Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Tim Pearce’s snail jokes. CMNH has 152.2k followers and 2.1m likes.

@carnegiemnh

A fact and a joke 🤡🐠 ##molluskmonday ##MuseumFromHome

♬ original sound – carnegiemnh

Another interesting account, although it’s still early days is Shelter, a UK-based homelessness charity. Shelter has done videos about volunteering, donating and ones around campaigning and awareness.

@sheltercharity

We fight homelessness in many different ways at Shelter 🏘 ##chooseyourfighter ##uktiktok ##nonprofitsoftiktok ##fyp

♬ ChooseYourCharacter – Jim Walter

More great corporate TikTok examples

Rather than embed too many videos this is a quick role call of some of my other favourite accounts:

One PR leader who has embraced TikTok enthusiastically during lockdown is Maxim Behar. Max is the founder and CEO of M3 Communications Group and has just been won the PRWeek Best PR Professional in Europe Award. Max only has 188 followers and 1597 likes, but that’s missing the point. He’s a PR leader who isn’t afraid to experiment, innovate and learn. He’s also following 682 accounts to get an insight into how the platform works, which was my original reason for creating my account two years’ ago.

@maximbehar

##basketball ##with ##jackrussel ##viral ##foryou ##tiktok ##besttiktok ##maximbehar ##trend ##super ##new ##ilikeit ##great ##tt ##follow ##followme ##great

♬ I’m Just a Kid – Simple Plan

Finally, it would be remiss of me to write a blog post about TikTok and not at least make the effort myself. I’ve had an account since 2018, but this is my first video.

@stuartbruce

Using ##TikTok for ##pr ##publicrelations ##communication ##communications ##worldeconomicforum ##worldhealthorganization ##unitednations ##maxfostercnn

♬ Communication – Spandau Ballet

One Reply to “Is TikTok just for kids and fun brands or can corporate PR use it?”

Please comment here as it lets everyone who visits my PR blog to see it rather than scattering it on other social networks where only some people see it.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.