From singing duets to raising funds, TikTok offers an innovative way for charities to engage with young supporters
The popularity of social media app TikTok has rocketed this year.
It offers a mix of video content, aimed at young adults and teenagers, most notably lip syncing and dancing. The app is the topic of increasing discussion in the charity sector because it offers plenty of scope for interesting fundraising ideas.
We outline how to use the app and how charities can benefit from its functions and distinct features.
Firstly, some background into TikTok.
It launched in 2016 in China and a year later globally. Its content is focused on videos lasting from between three and 60 seconds. The short form nature of the video content has proved particular popular for young people, to tell the world or their friends about an issue they are passionate about or to show off their best dance moves, singing or lip syncing.
After growing in popularity in Asia, then the rest of the world, it has reached two billion downloads globally and in July 2020 its global monthly active audience, outside of China, was reportedly 800m.
In the UK it has 3.7m active users and has been download more than one million times a month. It is projected to reach 10m UK users by 2021.
The largest share (26%) of its users in Britain is 18 to 24 year olds, who are attracted to its focus on music and video interactivity, over traditional platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
To use TikTok, charities just need to download the app and sign up. A profile can be set up quickly and easily, and charities and their staff can begin liking, commenting and sharing relevant videos.
Following users who are aligned to your cause and ethos, including existing donors, supporters and volunteers, is key
Once set up, charities can start recording their own videos and there are a number of editing and effects tools to help.
The speed of the video can be altered to slow motion or speeded up. There is a beauty filter to hide any blemishes and smooth out skin. There is also a timer to auto-record if you want to record yourself hands free. Music, stickers and effects can be added too.
You can add a caption before positing as well as relevant hashtags and the chance to copy in other relevant users. The video can also be set and you can choose whether to allow comments.
Many of these features will be familiar to experienced social media platform users.
TikTok has distinct features that set it apart from other platforms. This includes a duet function, where a charity user can link up with a music video or another talented user for a short performance.
This has allowed lip syncing to explode in use among TikTok’s young audience, from acting out favourite TV and film scenes to singing popular or trending songs.
Hashtag challenges are another distinct feature. This is where charity users can create a unique challenge with its own hashtag for people to take part.
TikTok has a number of charity specific initiatives and features to help fundraising. This includes donation stickers. These are clickable fundraising buttons that can be embedded into videos. Users that click the button will be taken to a dedicated window where they can donate within the app.
The British Red Cross is among the first charities to successfully use TikTok.
It was one of the first charities to start using donation stickers earlier this year and has found it particularly useful to engage young supporters during the COVID-19 health crisis.
“From handwashing dance moves to showcasing our people working on the frontline, the British Red Cross has been using the TikTok platform to lift the nation’s spirits and share vital information about the virus.”
- Paul Amadi, Chief Supporter Officer at the British Red
The British Red Cross’s TikTok profile now has more than 380,000 followers and its content has been liked 6.3m times. As well as their fundraising efforts, the charity has been using TikTok to share information about its work as well as promote the good work and personalities of its staff and supporters.
For example in November the charity showcased a video called ‘Hidden Talents of our staff’ in which British Red Cross Emergency Response and Service Designer Charlotte sung a duet of ‘Man in the Mirror’ with singer Aiden Carson.
Another innovate use of TikTok by The British Red Cross has been educational videos. This has included content by Dr Dadha Modgil on the issues of loneliness, which is delivered with the social platform’s young audience in mind.
TikTok is keen to link up with charities and help promote good causes through its TikTok for Good initiative. This involves supporting charities such as the British Red Cross and helping them use its tools to promote fund and awareness raising.
Among its most popular charity focused hashtag challenge campaigns has been #EduTok, which encourages users to post educational and motivational content.
Animal charities have also been supported through the #Petbff campaign. For every video posted of an animal best friend, the platform made a donation to animal protection causes. So far using this hashtag almost half a million videos have been created, garnering 2.4 billion views.