If your trade show or association has a young professional outreach program that needs a boost, keep reading! TikTok might be the perfect tool for you.

This social media platform launched globally in 2017, and currently boasts over 1 billion users, a majority of which (63%) are under 29 years old. However, although Gen Z and millennials make up the majority of TikTok users, they are not the only demographics on the platform. Hundreds of millions of people (18% of all global internet users ages 16-64) across all continents, age groups, and socioeconomic backgrounds have TikTok accounts.

Digital drawing of a hand holding smartphone recording a dance video in the application.The great thing about TikTok is that content creators of all kinds can achieve success on the platform and get their content in front of their target audience. The TikTok algorithm does not prioritize videos based on their creator’s follower count; instead, it boosts great content that users engage with.

For example, a trade association might have only 1,000 followers, but if it makes a very engaging, insightful, or relevant video on the latest industry trends and uses a popular sound, the video might go viral – reach thousands or millions of new viewers, and thus, increase the association’s audience (and follower count) manyfold.

The key to growing on TikTok is creating content that your audience loves. Now, it might be difficult at first to reach your target audience, but you can do it by consistently creating on-topic videos, using relevant hashtags, and following other accounts in your industry. TikTok will collect all this information and use it to not only show your relevant videos, but also categorize your content and display it to people who are more likely to be interested in and engage with it.

TikTok is a great tool for increasing brand awareness, reaching new audiences, nurturing leads, and garnering conversions. Sixty-eight percent of TikTok users find unique advertising content here that is different from any other platform. About 9 out 10 users discover new content on TikTok, and approxhimately half of the users discover new products. Most importantly, 92% of users globally take action after watching a TikTok video.

TikTok marketing strategies to consider:

Group of divers underwater with scuba equipment and two of them with action cameras.

  1. Influencer marketing – working with industry influencers to promote your brand (trade show, association, or event) to their followers
    • Example: A scuba diving association partners with a prominent industry leader or scuba diving business that has a strong TikTok following. The scuba diver posts “TikToks” about the benefits of this trade show, thus, building the trade show’s brand awareness among the industry.
  2. TikTok advertising – TikTok uses a bidding model for advertising, similar to that of Facebook and Instagram.
    • In-feed ads – the account owners create these themselves
      1. Image ad – equivalent to a billboard
      2. Video ad – equivalent to a commercial
    • TopView ads – this ad appears when a user first opens the TikTok app, and it cannot be skipped
    • Spark ad – this is organic content (either your brand’s or a partner’s) that is boosted, so that it appears as either a TopView or an in-feed ad. This approach combines the reach and scope of ads with the creativity and versatility of organic content. Users can interact with the ads as they would be able to with normal organic content (like, comment, share, duet, stitch, etc.). But, similar to a regular ad, it is possible to add a CTA button to this video that will drive users to a landing page.
      1. Fun fact: Spark ads have a 43% higher conversion rate than in-feed ads, so they are definitely worth adding to your TikTok tool box!
    • Branded hashtag challenges – create a hashtag that is tied to your brand and pair it with an engaging challenge that encourage users to participate. (Think the ALS Ice Bucket challenge that went viral over the summer of 2014.)
    • Branded effects – stickers, filters, etc. that are tied to your brand

Young African man sitting at table with modern laptop and recording video on camera that fixed on tripod. Male blogger creating content for his social media.

3. Content creation – create a business TikTok account and post videos on topics that are pertinent to your industry, allowing your association to establish itself as a legitimate authority on a certain topic and build a loyal following who trust and turn to your association for future information. Some tips include:

  • Post regularly
  • Participate in popular trends (but put a unique twist on them – something that reflects your brand/industry)
  • Use trending sounds – TikTokers LOVE sounds
  • Interact
    • Duet – add a reaction video to an existing video
    • Stitch – add a “sequel” to an existing video
    • Respond to comments

Hopefully, this debrief has given you an understanding of how your association can use TikTok as a tool, and, perhaps, given you inspiration to go out and build your own TikTok following.

Let us know if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss how TikTok would fit into your trade association’s marketing strategy.

Written by Yaroslava Kuzina, Digital Marketing Specialist