Journal

TikTok’s move into education

Posted by Molly Deegan Jan 19, 2021 10:20:50 AM

Topics: Social Media, Manchester PR Agency, TikTok

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What springs to mind when you think of the social media platform TikTok? 

Maybe it’s Gen Z performing crazy (slightly annoying) dances, maybe it’s the comedic content, or maybe it’s beauty videos. 

We’d bet good money that you haven’t considered education, but TikTok, in an effort to revamp its image, is about to try and change all that. 

Its campaign to push into the educational world started in June 2020 as the platform launched its #LearnonTikTok campaign, which saw them invest €13m Europe-wide to collaborate with public figures and media publishers to help users learn real-world skills in-app. 

This new craze saw a range of life hacks, science tutorials, motivational tips, cooking recipes and more be given pride of place on the feeds of TikTok users. The range of contributors was impressive, with the University of Cambridge, Craft Factory, and English Heritage, alongside individuals like TV’s mathematician Rachel Riley and clinical psychologist Dr Julie Smith, populating the app with content that pushed the boundaries of entertainment. In a move that TikTok described as “showing that entertainment and learning can come together through short-form content”.

But their efforts haven’t stopped there as they unveiled their first-ever brand campaign, dedicated solely to educational content. The ‘A-Z of Tiktok’ features user generated content, voiced by renowned academic Stephen Fry, from creators like ‘Take on Gravity’ who explores the physics behind aeronautics. 

More recently, TikTok has been trialing a Learn tab, sitting alongside its ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ in app feeds, to showcase education and how-to videos. 

Pressures from authorities on ensuring it has a positive impact during COVID-19, coupled with it’s aim to cultivate a more serious image, have obviously had a significant impact in the platform’s testing of this new Learn function. They’ve also been partnering with institutions and encouraging students and teachers to create educational content that provides a more accessible and fun way to learn. 

Additionally, it’s dedicating $50 million specifically to a creator fund to promote educational videos, and reportedly a $5 billion educational fund (in part to avoid being shut down by the US over national security concerns). 

Whilst this commitment to education may seem an odd move, it is in fact a natural step for the platform as Youtube has already proven what an excellent learning tool video is. Whether the reason for this move is nefarious or not, it’s a shift that those who develop marketing strategies must be aware of. 

 

And that’s it

If you would like to discuss your own PR and marketing activity and find a way to build brand effectively, get in touch with us at Roland Dransfield and we’ll be able to help you out.

And if you’re looking for a bit of escapism, you might enjoy our podcast, We Built This City.  In it, we catch up with notable Mancunians – born, bred or adopted - who helped shape the city we live in today, and find out how they have helped to put the heart into Modern Manchester.  Hopefully it helps inspire you. Listen live here and please do rate and review. Thank you.

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