Should tour operators use TikTok? Tourism

Unless you’ve lived under a rock for most of 2019, you’ve probably heard people talking about the social media phenomenon TikTok. You may have wondered if it is worthwhile to accommodate your travel company there as well. Sounds familiar?

A few months ago we wrote about the different social media platforms and whether they are worth your time. In this post, Stephanie said that she doesn’t think TikTok is worth your time. I do not agree with you. I say you should give it a try.

What is TikTok?

Tiktok is another social media platform available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. Users create short videos that typically include background music. TikTok was developed in Beijing by ByteDance and was intended to replace Douyin (a similar app from the same Chinese developers) in the outside world. Douyin was launched on the Chinese market in September 2016, but was not available to any other country due to the Great Firewall of China and only resulted in TikTok in September 2017. Two months later, ByteDance bought the Shanghai / California platform for $ 1 billion, which uses the young user base of the US digital platform.

How popular is TikTok?

In June 2018, there were 500 million active TikTok users per month worldwide, which increased to 800 million TikTok installations from October 2018 (excluding Android users in China). In the United States alone, there were 80 million downloads of TikTok with 40 million active users. TikTok was responsible 42% of the downloads in the app store of top apps (including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat).

Diagram with the number of monthly downloads of various social media apps in 2018

Who uses TikTok?

TikTok is often dismissed as an “only for kids” or “teenage phenomenon” app, but 60.1% of all TikTok users are reported to be 20 years of age or older. This means that of the 800 million users, around 480,800,000 would be adults. The graph also shows that there is a slightly higher male user base than the female user base, with the difference becoming clearer among the older generations.

In September 2019, the NFL recently announced a multi-year contract with TikTok to make its content accessible to a wider global audience. In addition to companies and sports organizations, Tony Hawk, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jimmy Fallon are other active users. In short, everyone uses TikTok, not just middle school students in the United States.

Diagram showing the percentage of users who are male and female in different age groups

Source: Ape App Lab

What can I do on TikTok?

To create a video in the app, you can choose background music from a variety of music genres, edit with a filter, and record a 60-second video with speed adjustments before uploading it to others on TikTok or other social platforms divide. With a simple purpose and user-friendly interface, using it couldn’t be easier.

TikTok has a variety of functions available. You can create videos (which you knew), send and receive direct messages (admittedly, this function is not as intuitive or recommended as on other platforms) and you can even download videos as GIFs.

@ericmichaelsavageMy New York City tour by helicopter. #MakeMoves #New York #newyorkcity #canoncamera #Helicopter♬ Original sound – ericmichaelsavage

TikTok also recently ran ads. It is too early to say how successful they will be. However, if you take the risk, you may get a big reward if you get in early. They currently offer in-feed ads and landing page ads. However, if you follow other social media trends, you will surely launch more options soon. Tour operators should consider using the branding feature or landing page display, which allows users to see a full screen for 3-5 seconds when opening the application. In this way, a wide audience in a specific location can specifically raise awareness of your brand if you are ready to try it out.

How does TikTok differ from other social media platforms?

While Instagram and Facebook are more focused on profiles, TikTok’s feed algorithm mainly focuses on content. Users are encouraged to swipe through related content and easily switch from video to video. You can share them with contacts through other platforms that are always available. The minimalist profile view shows a thumbnail profile photo, the option of a non-clickable website link, and a link to the user’s Instagram profile.

There are two main functions that distinguish TikTok from other social networks: the reaction and duet functions. React allows users to film their reaction to a particular video they are viewing on their screen and film their reaction in a small window at the top. “Duet” allows users to film a video alongside another video.

Should I sell my tours on TikTok?

It would be ridiculous to close the platform immediately due to the sheer number of users on TikTok, but keep in mind that content on this platform is consumed extremely quickly, which means that it has to be fairly light and airy. Fast, entertaining videos that immediately draw the user’s attention are essential. However, keep in mind that TikTok is not a platform through which you will sell directly, at least not yet. So don’t try it. The main goal is to build brand awareness and showcase your fun-loving culture and the personality of your company.

If you choose TikTok, here are some tips we can help you get the most out of TikTok:

  1. Hashtag your videos to the maximum.
  2. Set the scene using music with the right mood.
  3. Use your location for every post.
  4. Avoid advertising in the content you produce (note: just show them who you are!).
  5. Include your website and your link to Instagram in your profile (otherwise it makes no sense to do this, right?).

Take that away

TikTok could be a great platform to start marketing, but it really matters whether you or someone on your team is creative enough and has the time to generate this content regularly. If you have little time and your energy is concentrated elsewhere, Facebook is still the king of social media. At least for now …

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