What can L&D learn from TikTok?

How can L&D teams leverage TikTok's engagement tactics to captivate learners? 

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

What can L&D learn from TikTok?

I don’t know about you but TikTok has become a bit of a guilty pleasure, and it turns out I’m not alone. Downloads for the app started peaking in March 2020, with a huge 75.5 million downloads, 30% more than their record month and now it’s the most downloaded non-gaming app there is.

If you haven’t been sucked in yet, TikTok is the social network app for sharing short, user-generated videos. Originally created for users to dance or lip-sync along to popular songs, it’s taken the world by storm and become so much more with 68% of marketers stating it’s the most entertaining and creative channel there is.

So, what’s so addictive about it and how can learning & development teams leverage TikTok’s winning engagement tactics to captivate their own modern learners? 

Better than bite size

Believe it or not, TikTok is packed with educational content that teaches people something new whether it’s life hacks, how-to videos or demonstrating a new product.

In fact, the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok has gained over 7 billion views with over a million videos. It’s been so popular that TikTok is now launching their own educational platform for users, but what makes it so addictive? 

It’s more than microlearning. Each video filmed within the TikTok app is only 15 seconds long. It doesn’t seem like a lot to work with, but actually the time limit forces you to strip out all the fluff and focus on the key practical outcomes of your message. This step-by-step video of how to make a lava mug cake is a great example proving you can do a lot more with a lot less, even when it comes to teaching hard skills. 

So, when planning your next piece of user-generated content, consider how you can break it down and leverage short bursts of video stating your key takeaways.

One thing to keep in mind is how important those first few seconds are to captivate your audience. With shorter content, you have even less time and attention span to work with, so make it count. TikTok will even penalise videos with low completion rates which means if your video is skipped it has less of a chance of being seen.

Harness the power of user-generated content

User-generated content has become the accepted norm in our everyday lives and we’re seeing more and more L&D teams recognise the importance of a co-created, social learning culture which relies on learners being teachers.

Your learners are already harnessing apps like TikTok to share personal content, why not leverage their foolproof video and editing tools for the workplace too? Not only does it make everyone an impressive content creator but being in front of the camera is second nature for your learners now, especially since Covid-19 where technology has been the only option for human interaction.

One of our clients, DECIEM The abnormal beauty company, recently ran a TikTok takeover campaign through THRIVE. It clocked up over 55 videos of employees sharing their product knowledge and expertise with the wider business. 

And before you say “it’s just for millenials” only 41% of TikTok’s users are aged 16-24 and fun fact for you the oldest living person on TikTok is actually 116. 😆 So, make sure you use your audience, encourage them to leverage the special effects and editing tools freely available and let their unique storytelling and innate creativity captivate your learners attention.

Machine learning is central to any platform 

One of the most common challenges we hear from speaking with new prospects is that they can’t continuously engage their learners. We believe this can be solved with the tools they’re using. 

Employee expectations have changed, your learners seek consumer-grade experiences everywhere they go, including the workplace, and that means your traditional LMS isn’t cutting it anymore. 

There are plenty of features TikTok leverage which you should be looking out for in a learning platform too, here are a few examples: 

  • Engagement and social interactions – True social learning requires collaboration. The ability to comment on relevant content and ask questions in real-time is essential for your learners to get the full picture and for your teachers to feel valued. 
  • Machine learning – TikTok gives content a much longer life cycle in comparison to other social platforms. Machine learning considers a range of factors including behaviour, completion time and interests, and resurfaces relevant videos regardless of shelf life. For your learning platform, that means your content is always valuable and will be served to the right person, at the right time they need it.
  • Ease of UX –  A simple to use platform is powerful. It shouldn’t need to come with an instruction manual, you should be able to pick it up and get sharing within seconds. 

Want to hear even more? 

The list goes on but we’re leaving the best bits to last and sharing the rest of our TikTok wins for learning and development teams in an upcoming webinar on June 29th at 2PM, don’t miss it! 

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