TikTok has taken social media by storm since its launch in 2018, and has over one billion monthly active users as of 2022. With more than half of TikTok users being between the ages of 18 and 24, news outlets have made it a focus of creating content on the app to target younger audiences.
With the Online News Association’s conference being held in person for the first time since 2019, we had the opportunity to launch the Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab’s first TikTok account. Over the course of the conference’s four days, we learned about what it means to report for an audience on TikTok.
In our first three days, we published nine TikToks and experimented with the use of popular audios, tags and type of content. In three days we gained 27 followers, 179 likes and 3,761 views.
Videos that followed popular trends on the app seemed to get the most views. In one video, for example, one of our journalists did a “haul” of free items she got at the conference. These haul videos are incredibly popular on the app, with the category amassing nearly 75 million views, according to the app.
TikToks that did not use trending audio or hashtags did not perform well. Our post with #Networking, #BusinessTips and #fyp received 65 likes and over 850 views, while a TikTok without any hashtags received only 2 likes and 9 views.
With what we learned, it is clear that organizations have an opportunity to capitalize on the popularity of the app, but it must be done right. The Washington Post, for example, has a massive following and uses humor to engage with its audience, breaking down important news to make it more digestible and fun for its younger audience.
Here are our top three videos from the conference: