Check out Hayden's spotlight segment on TikTok in "The State of the American Traveler: Technology Edition" webinar.
TikTok is the seventh most used app in the world, and with 732 million monthly active users globally, the app has done what Facebook did in seven years in five. In the United States alone, more than 138 million monthly active users spend an average of 52 minutes a day sifting through their For You Page.
The For You Page creates a magical combination of videos unique to the user based on their likes, shares, comments and follows. Therefore, it is imperative as a brand to get on TikToker’s For You Pages as much as possible. Getting on the “FYP” can be so influential that certain popular Booktok books will show up in the “TikTok section” at Barnes & Noble and in the “As Seen on TikTok” shelf at Trader Joe’s. It has even started influencing the music industry!
But is TikTok for your brand? The current age breakdown on the app is 10-19 – 32.5 percent, 20-29 – 29.5 percent, 30-39 – 16.4 percent, 40-49 – 13.9 percent and 50+ – 7.1 percent. People of all ages use the platform, but not many are using it for travel planning (according to Destination Analysts), so how can brands tap into them?
1. Spend time on TikTok & pay attention.
The platform has a very specific rhythm to it, and to understand it, someone needs to be watching the app for up to an hour a day to see current trends, which viral music needs to be used and how the hashtags are flowing. Brands should use a mix of hashtags with what is trending and what applies (for example, a video of the Appalachian Trail should include #Hiking, #AppalachainTrail, #AppTrailHike, #ATThruHike, etc.). Music should be coming from the Viral TikTok Playlist when a brand goes to upload their video.
For example, Visit Montana used a viral sound for 651.1 thousand views and 86,000 likes.
2. Plan, plan, plan! But leave room for experimentation.
When beginning a TikTok account, we recommend that brands have at least three months’ worth of content filmed. The app is fast, and they need to post consistently — once a day is truly best. But with that, there needs to be room for experimentation in case a trend pops up that fits the brand perfectly. And remember, brands should consider winter activities in late summer/early fall and summer activities in late winter/early spring.
While the platform always has a new trend (as of publishing, it’s the Minions' new movie), some evergreen options consistently do well. Think over-the-top adventure POVs, natural beauty and hidden gems.
Visit used this mountain biking video for 222.1 thousand views and 16,000 likes.
South Dakota received 95.5 thousand views and 18.9 thousand likes on this natural sunset video.
And Vegas received 2.2 million views and 135,1 thousand likes on their unique findings TikTok.
Another way to get ahead in a brand’s editorial calendar is to have influencers create content for them on their TikToks, just like any other social app.
A Taste of Koko got Panama City Beach 66.8 thousand views and 1,989 likes.
Three vertical short-video platforms are active now — TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. All three have different market shares and millions of monthly views. TikTok typically begins the trend then those videos show up on Instagram Reels about three weeks later. So, when brands are spending the time (and money) to make TikToks, they can take those to Reels and YouTube Shorts as well. And they should! Plus, don’t forget to use user-generated content as much as possible to lighten the filming load.
Visit Florida used this video and received 128.8 thousand views and 8,797 likes on TikTok and 57,000 views and 3,801 likes on Instagram Reels.
Visit California used @Yogerina’s Instagram Reel for 12,300 views and 576 likes.
Bonus: Have fun!
TikTok can be incredibly intimidating, but there is room for everyone on the app, including:
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife who has 73,000 followers, and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cleveland which has almost 600.