TikTok as a Tool for Destination Marketing

Since its creation in 2016, TikTok has become one of the most widely used social media platforms whose popularity continues to grow and spread throughout the world. The app is currently available in more than 150 countries, has around 850 million monthly users and has been downloaded over two billion times worldwide. 

While many people assume that TikTok’s audience is younger, typically under 18, the app actually has a pretty broad demographic. In fact, more than 30% of TikTok users in the U.S. are ages 30-49 with another 7% ages 50+.

TikTok is not just for short comedic videos or skits and personal content. Businesses have begun using TikTok as a marketing tool, and it can work for many different types of brands. DMOs can use this app to their advantage to garner a captivated audience. There are two main sections to TikTok: the “For You” page and the “Following” page. If you’re just getting started and therefore do not have a large following, you need to appeal to the “For You” page, also commonly known as the FYP. Once your following has grown, you can start focusing on your followers more while also using the FYP to continue to grow your following. 

How It Works

TikTok has a pretty simple but very effective algorithm in place. By using hashtags and exploring different communities on TikTok, people can find niche content that they are highly likely to be interested in. Hashtags such as #Travel, #Destinations, #TravelHacks, or even a custom hashtag created for your destination can be effective for attracting people who are interested in traveling and might wish to find out more about your destination. The use of hashtags is crucial in getting your content seen. Many videos will include #fyp in the description to have a better chance of getting content on the For You page. And, while #TravelTok is not a huge community right now, there are still plenty of videos that showcase amazing destinations throughout the world and have definitely gained some awareness through TikTok.

Organic Content

TikTok is one of the few social platforms that gets frequently shared on other platforms so it is not uncommon to see TikToks on the Instagram Discover Page or posted on someone’s Facebook timeline. So, take a page from this playbook and share TikTok content featuring your destination on the other social platforms that your DMO is already using. You can display any content you want to show and it is completely free. Share content that highlights certain interesting things that your destination offers — a unique attraction, local food staples or just beautiful scenery. If people are intrigued by those offerings, they are more likely to check out your TikTok profile and possibly continue to your website (which should be linked in your bio).

@stephaniely

WAIT FOR THE DROP 😱 Nevis Swing 📍Queenstown, NZ @tanboowii #fyp #travel #adrenalinejunkies

♬ Tounge Tied – Tik Toker

Other Useful Tools

Some other useful tools that can be used on TikToks are “sounds,” live streams and Pro Accounts. 

  • SOUNDS: Many trends on TikTok revolve around popular “sounds.” This is the background music or commentary that is going on during videos that can be saved and reused by other creators. Many songs that are “Top Hits” in the music charts at the moment either moved to TikTok because of their popularity or became more popular because of their use on TikTok. Users can click on the sound of the video they are watching and view others that have used that sound as well. Take advantage of this feature by choosing a popular sound for your TikTok and you may increase your views by people who are scrolling through the sound list.
  • LIVE STREAMS: Though live streams are typically more beneficial for accounts with large followings, they can still be a useful tool for live interaction with consumers. You might want to live stream events happening in your destination or the opening of a new restaurant. These streams give you the option to interact and have a dialogue with your audience in real-time. 
  • PRO ACCOUNT: Create a free Pro Account under business in the travel category to access many helpful analytics. The Overview tab shows your video views, follower count and profile views for the past seven and 28 days. The Content tab shows your number of posts and your trending videos within the last seven days. Finally, the Followers tab will give you demographics on your followers such as gender, territory and amount of activity. Important to note: this feature is not unlocked until you have a minimum of 100 followers. 

In addition to organic content, TikTok offers sponsored content options as well. Similar to other social media platforms, the people who use it may view organic content as more genuine and trustworthy so, to prevent folks from skipping or scrolling past any sponsored content, make sure it’s authentic. Always aim to use one of the three main pillars for social media content: Keep it educational, entertaining or heartwarming. Do some research on TikTok about your destination to see if there are specific things that people (already) find interesting. Or search other locations that have existing accounts or hashtags that could give you content ideas and inspiration. Remember that every TikTok account (or the next social media opportunity that you choose to try) starts at zero. Don’t be afraid of the newness and fail to start. Commit to trying it out after some research and be prepared for some trial and error until you get the hang of it.

Now is actually a great time to start showcasing your destination on TikTok. People are getting excited to travel again once they feel it is safe, and they are looking for places to go while building their travel bucket list. You want to be on that list.

Posted in Destination Trend, Digital & Interactive, Insights, Marketing Strategy, Niche Marketing, Social Media, Videography Tags