TikTok for Schools: Should My School Be Using It?

minute read
May 15, 2023

TikTok has become an immensely popular social media platform in recent years, particularly among younger generations. As a result, many schools are starting to wonder whether they should incorporate TikTok into their school marketing strategies. While some argue that the app can be a useful tool for engaging students and promoting creativity, others might be worried about the potential privacy risks or other distractions associated with the platform.

The question of whether schools should be using TikTok remains a topic of debate. Keep reading for the pros and cons of using TikTok in schools, some of the key considerations that educators and administrators should keep in mind when making a decision about incorporating the platform into their marketing strategies, and ways to use the platform and your creativity to engage with students, families and your school’s community.

What Is TikTok?

TikTok is a social media platform that has taken the world by storm, with over 150 million users in the United States. The app allows users to create and share short-form videos, and it has become an incredibly popular platform for amateur creators to celebrities and influencers.

At its core, TikTok is a video-sharing app that enables users to create and share videos set to music or other audio. Users can choose from a wide range of sounds and music tracks, and then record themselves lip-syncing, dancing or performing a variety of other creative activities. The app's video editing tools allow users to add filters, text, and other special effects to their videos, making it easy to create fun and engaging content.

The app uses a sophisticated machine learning algorithm to recommend videos to users based on their interests and viewing history. Users can quickly discover new and interesting content that aligns with their preferences, which has helped to fuel the app's explosive growth.

Another factor contributing to TikTok's popularity, and potentially one of the biggest benefits for schools who utilize the platform, is its community-focused approach. The app has become a hub for creators to connect with one another, and collaborate on projects.

In addition to its social and creative benefits, TikTok also has potential educational value. Some educators have started to experiment with using the app in the classroom, using TikTok videos as a way to engage students in subjects like history, science, and literature.

By encouraging students to create their own videos on a particular topic, educators can help to cultivate their creativity and critical thinking skills while also teaching them important academic concepts. It’s important to consider your school’s social media policy when determining if this kind of activity is appropriate.

tiktok for schools

Should My School Add TikTok to Our Social Media Strategy?

Whether or not a school should use TikTok depends on a variety of factors, including your school's goals, target audience, and available resources. TikTok can be a valuable tool for reaching a younger audience and promoting school events, but it also requires careful consideration of privacy and safety concerns.

Using TikTok effectively can also require significant time and effort to create engaging content and keep up with the platform's trends and algorithms. Schools should carefully evaluate the potential benefits and risks of using TikTok before deciding whether or not to incorporate it into their marketing and communication strategies.

TikTok’s Focus on Local Content

TikTok uses a variety of algorithms and features to focus on local content and provide a personalized user experience for its users around the world. Here are some ways in which TikTok focuses on local content:

  1. Location-based content. TikTok has an "Explore" page that features local trending content from a user's region or city. This feature allows you to reach your local community more easily, based on your location and proximity to other users.
  2. Language preferences. TikTok's algorithm takes into account a user's language preferences and shows content in their preferred language. Users can also select multiple languages they want to see content in.
  3. Hashtags. TikTok encourages the use of localized hashtags, which makes it easier for users to find content related to their region or city. Popular local hashtags can be discovered through the "Discover" page, and incorporated a branded school hashtag can also be beneficial.
  4. User behavior. TikTok's algorithm analyzes a user's behavior on the app, such as their search history, likes, comments, and shares, to determine their interests and preferences. This helps TikTok recommend local content that is relevant to a user's interests. A parent that is searching for education resources in their area could come across your profile, or a potential donor sharing community events could see your videos and follow your profile.

Potential Safety Risks of TikTok

TikTok has faced criticism for its handling of user data and potential security risks. This may be particularly concerning for schools, who are responsible for protecting the personal information of their students. TikTok has also been criticized for its potential to expose young users to inappropriate or harmful content. Schools may need to monitor their content carefully and take steps to ensure that their TikTok presence is safe for their students. While ultimately the parents of your students will decide if TikTok is appropriate, here are some ways to keep your school safe on TikTok and other social media platforms.

  1. Establish clear guidelines. Before using TikTok, establish clear guidelines for content creation, including guidelines on appropriate language, behavior, and tone. These guidelines should also cover privacy concerns, such as not sharing students' personal information.
  2. Monitor content. Regularly monitor TikTok content to ensure it meets your school's guidelines and is appropriate for your student audience. Schools should also consider disabling comments on their videos to prevent negative feedback and inappropriate comments.
  3. Train staff. Educate staff members who will be responsible for creating and managing TikTok content to ensure they are familiar with the platform's features and safety concerns. Staff should also be aware of best practices for creating engaging content that resonates with students.
  4. Limit access. Limit access to TikTok to authorized staff members who have been trained and are responsible for creating and managing content. Avoid sharing login information and ensure that all accounts are secure.
  5. Educate students. Educate students about the potential risks of using TikTok and how to use the platform safely. Encourage students to report any inappropriate content or behavior they encounter on the platform, whether that's interactions they see on your school’s profile or their own profiles.
  6. Review and update guidelines regularly. Review and update your school's TikTok guidelines regularly to ensure that they reflect the latest safety concerns and best practices. Regularly review your school's TikTok content to ensure it is engaging and appropriate for your student audience.

TikTok for School Marketing and Recruitment

If you’ve decided that TikTok fits into your school’s social media strategy after evaluating the pros and cons, examining your privacy policy, and learning more about the app and it’s capabilities, here are a few content ideas to get you started. TikTok can be a powerful tool for recruitment and attracting new students.

  1. Highlight campus life. Use TikTok to showcase the different aspects of campus life, including academic programs, campus facilities, extracurricular activities, and events. This can help prospective students better understand what life at your school is like and what sets it apart from other schools.
  2. Feature current students. Use TikTok to feature current students and their experiences at your school. This can help prospective students see themselves at your school and get a better sense of what their own experience might be like.
  3. Highlight success stories. Use TikTok to showcase success stories of current or past students, such as accomplishments in academics, sports, or the arts. This can help build a sense of pride and excitement around your school and its achievements.
  4. Collaborate with influencers. Consider collaborating with TikTok influencers who have a following among your target audience to promote your school and its programs. Influencers can create engaging and creative content that can help increase awareness of your school among prospective students.

The modern school marketing plan includes targeting your audience through different media channels, which can include TikTok. If you’re not ready to commit to yet another social media profile, or if you don’t have the time or resources to do so safely, the team at SOLVED can help!

Let our social media experts craft a marketing strategy or content calendar for you, or perform a social media audit to determine your best-performing channels or opportunities to capitalize on. Schedule your free 15 minute introductory call today!

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