WHAT MAKES TIKTOK TICK FOR TOURISM AND TRAVEL BRANDS
With nearly 383 million first-time installs and an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending in the first half of 2021, TikTok has become one of the world’s leading social media platforms, and there’s no doubt that the app is here to stay.
TikTok Global Downloads by Quarter | Source: SensorTower
It’s no surprise that travel brands are increasingly turning to the platform to reach new audiences, especially Gen Z who are the most avid users. TikTok is no stranger to travel content - in summer 2019, the platform launched the #TikTokTravel campaign to inspire users to share footage of their holidays an initiative sponsored by several tourism boards such as Los Angeles, Dubai, Seoul, and Japan.
"TikTok's global reach enables people from any region to share their favourite local gems in creative and unique ways," said Stefan Heinrich, Marketing Director of TikTok US when the campaign launched.
There’s no question that TikTok is an influential platform for travel and tourism brands but getting started on a whole new social media channel can be a challenge. So how to make it work? Here are our top 3 tips.
On-trend organic content
The essence of TikTok is real time marketing in its purest form. The platform’s community is relatively young and is very responsive to trends, which is why keeping an eye on what’s popular on TikTok, whether it is a viral music tune, filter or a dance, is essential. However, brands need to interpret these trends in their own way to avoid getting lost in the depths of social media content.
As trends come and go, it’s often a challenge to create engaging videos in a timely manner. But TikTok is not an app which promotes sleek, professionally produced content. In fact, mobile-shot videos or intelligently repurposed imagery and video footage from an existing content bank are often a way to go, and brands like Ryanair have nailed it.
Source: @ryanair via TikTok
Viral sounds and video memes, which happen to be two of the most powerful ingredients needed to deliver a well-performing piece of content on the app, have been at heart of Ryanair’s TikTok content strategy and it’s been paying off since day 1. By allowing the personification of their airplanes and being particularly active in the comments section (in comparison to most corporate accounts), the brand generates further engagement which has helped Ryanair successfully ride the TikTok wave and gain over one million followers to date.
Besides ongoing content creation and account management, utilising influencer partnerships can also play a vital role in short-team campaigns, which is why our team at LOTUS turned to TikTok creators when launching the new AIRE Ancient Baths in London earlier this summer.
By curating a bespoke visitation programme for the brand and securing visits of top online personalities such as Melissa Tattam and the creators of Pretty Little London, LOTUS managed to firmly put AIRE’s name on the London’s wellness map. The activation resulted in dozens of quality social media posts, including a viral TikTok video published by Emma Cooke (@petite. Blondine) which has already been viewed more than 2.5 million times (click on the image below to view).
TikTok has no mercy for those who think they would be able to build their TikTok brand by repurposing content taken directly from other social media channels, namely Instagram. The platform follows its own very own rules not just in terms of trends but also the format of the content.
For example, the so-called challenge videos, where users encourage each other to participate, are an effective engagement driver and work on TikTok like on no other platform. If TikTok challenges are done right, they can be an effective way to build awareness, generate user-generated content (UGC), and drive TikTok following. And in 2020, the social media team at Visit Estonia did just that.
To face the challenges of the COVID-19 global pandemic and capitalise on the popularity of dancing videos on TikTok, the tourism board of this small Baltic country encouraged users to “dance the tough times away” with their TikTok dance challenge by performing a modern take on the Estonian folk dance known as Kaerajaan. Despite relatively small number of followers on their TikTok account at the time of the launch, dozens of TikTok users got involved in the campaign organically and the original campaign video posted by Visit Estonia remains the most popular piece of content of the tourism board’s channel, proving that the power of content relevancy on TikTok.