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TikTok for charities: A beginner’s guide

Media Trust explores the value of TikTok for charities, and shares its top tips for success.


Person views Media Trust's TikTok page on their smartphone

With over 3.7 million monthly active users in the UK, TikTok has become the go-to destination for people looking to connect, discover something new or share their authentic selves. Yet more than half (56%) of charities say they are poor at keeping up to date with digital trends and platforms such as TikTok.


This is no surprise for those of us in the charity sector, where resources and time are often stretched thin and it's easy to overlook newer platforms. However, TikTok isn't just about following trends; it's about using short-form video to maximise your impact.


What is TikTok?


TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create, share, and discover short-form videos, typically lasting from 15 to 60 seconds. The platform is particularly popular among Gen-Z. Although Gen-Z makes up about 60% of TikTok’s user base, it’s important to remember that anyone can use TikTok to create impactful and engaging content.


The platform is known for its highly effective algorithm, which simply put, is a video recommendation system. This allows users to view videos that appeal to them, with content ranging from dance trends to tips on buying your first home.


Reasons your charity should be on TikTok


TikTok’s easy-to-use video editing tools ensure that charities of all sizes can create impactful and creative videos. It offers charities a unique opportunity to tell stories, raise awareness, inspire donations and empower action in a highly visual and engaging way.


Things to consider before creating an account


Who is your target audience?


Consider which audiences you are trying to reach with TikTok and ensure that your content is crafted with these audiences in mind. What do they care about? What do they find interesting? What needs do they have that your charity can meet?

 

How much resource can you give to posting on TikTok?


Is your charity able to shift staff time and resource from one platform to another? Particularly for charities with one or fewer members of staff working on social media, consider if you have volunteers that you have the time to develop and oversee.

 

What research do you need to do? 


Do you have a staff member or volunteer already on TikTok? Exploring the platform and researching different trends is a great way to start thinking about how your charity can stand out from the crowd on TikTok. If you haven’t got the time to keep up yourself, follow people on LinkedIn or other social platforms who specialise in creating charity TikTok content.

 

Can you get colleagues and volunteers involved? 


It’s difficult when all the filming is left to one person. Consider ways to collect footage or time to train staff to film themselves, giving clear guidance on what you’d like to see.


How will you deal with trolling? 


Like any social media platform, charities sometimes receive negative attention and difficult comments. Consider how you might deal with trolling or negative attention, as well as which staff or volunteers will respond to comments, and what processes are in place to support staff and volunteer wellbeing.

 

Tips for success


Consistency is key


Regular posting helps maintain audience engagement. Don't be discouraged if views and engagement are low initially. Need some inspiration outside of TikTok? Take a look at these content inspiration top tips.

Engage with your audience


Reply to comments, like, and share content. Building a community is essential.

Experiment


Don’t be afraid to try new things. TikTok thrives on creativity and spontaneity.


Keep up with trends


Stay updated on trends but don't stress about being perfectly on time. Authenticity is more important.

Be accessible


Use captions and voiceovers to make your content accessible to all users. Ensure music and other sounds do not silence important messages.

Build TikTok into your existing strategy


Haven’t got a communications strategy yet? No problem! Get started with Media Trust’s Communications Strategy Workbook.

 

We hope this guide helps you start your TikTok journey and explore its potential for your charity. For more support on getting started on TikTok, head to Media Trust's Resource Hub.

 

As well as the Resource Hub, we have a full calendar of free and low-cost training courses available. And if your charity needs specific communications training, we can create something bespoke and tailored to your goals. To find out more, contact Nicola on nicolap@mediatrust.org

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