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Over the years, TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. Many schools now need to develop a strong TikTok presence in order to reach their prospects, but learning a new platform can be a bit of a challenge to some. Here, applying the right strategies and following the right TikTok trends in schools can make a big difference. 

TikTok for schools can be a powerful tool, helping your admissions team connect with interested prospects in fun and more meaningful ways. You can rely on TikTok content trends to strengthen your inbound marketing efforts, enhance community engagement, and share informative yet enjoyable content that boosts your school’s visibility. 

Here are some TikTok content trends that your school can try.

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1. Short-Form Educational TikTok Content is on the Rise 

Short-form content performs particularly well on social media, and it can be an effective way to capture your prospects’ attention. This type of content is extremely digestible and easy to navigate—especially in our fast-paced digital world. According to HubSpot research

59% of short-form video content is watched for 41 to 80% of its length, and 30% of these videos boast an average watch rate of over 81%. 

This goes to show that embracing a TikTok school challenge that forces your team to create short-form content can be beneficial for your school. In fact, you can use it to share short-form educational content—a trend referred to as micro-learning. 41% of survey participants say that short-form content allows them to discover new topics, 26% say that it’s easy to absorb, and 14% say that it fits well into a busy schedule.

Your prospects may want to learn more about a topic but cannot dedicate the time or attention for a deep dive into the research. Through these videos, you can create relevant educational content that links to your program offerings while simultaneously presenting your school as an industry expert in a fun and accessible way. TikTok users seeking to learn something new or make a change are likely to connect with your school and its subject matter experts. In doing so, you can provide significant value to your prospects.

Example: Haufe Akademie developed a TikTok advertising campaign that relies on content with an intriguing component and an informative focus. The institution integrates facts, useful information, and interesting topics to capture the attention of its audience and spread its message. The content reached 1.8 million users, generating over 8.5 million video views and 160K engagements.

TikTok HA Ads

Source: TikTok

Schools don’t need to rely on ads to create and share short-form educational content. You can brainstorm topics that interest your prospects by reviewing your student personas and addressing their motivations and concerns. Juno College takes this approach by creating a short video that debunks three common myths about the tech industry—where many of the school’s students turn to find work after completing their programs:

TikTok Info Vids

Source: Juno College – TikTok

2. User-Generated TikTok Content Gains Traction for Schools 

A big TikTok trend in schools is producing user-generated content (UGC). UGC is becoming more important than ever, especially when authenticity and community are key aspects of a strong social presence. Many users gravitate towards UGC more than official content, making it extremely valuable for schools. It ultimately allows you to continue providing fresh content to your prospects while expanding your existing content strategy.

User-generated videos can be used by schools to transform prospects and students into loyal supporters and brand advocates. These videos feature real people and real members of your school’s community, which TikTok users can see and trust more easily. Showing off your staff, faculty, and students can also be a way to build your school’s sense of community and personality. It can help boost your community engagement, leading to a high return on investment.

The growing importance of UGC has led to the development of UGC creators, individuals and influencers who make authentic-feeling content to help brands promote their products or services. In education marketing, these UGC creators can be your student ambassadors. Your student ambassadors serve as representatives of your school, and they can post social media content that showcases their personal experiences at your school. This can be a short video that shows the student experience in class, on campus, and even at various departments or student services. You can also promote “Day in the Life of” style videos as part of your UGC TikTok school challenge list in 2023.

Example: High Point University shares a video on its TikTok account that captures a day in the life of a current student. The video shows the school from her perspective as she meets up with a roommate to grab some food, go to class, and relax at the end of the day:

HPU Student Ambassador

Source: High Point University – TikTok

Posting these types of UGC can boost your TikTok content strategy. Remember, you’re not limited to student ambassadors. You can contact student volunteers and your staff or faculty members for contributions, potentially making it a TikTok teacher challenge.

3. Content Promoting Tight Micro-Communities Generates Results

As TikTok shifts to support smaller creators and feature them more often, brands are anticipated to collaborate more with micro-influencers and seek out micro-communities. These micro-influencers have nurtured a small community that makes its members feel more at ease and able to connect more strongly with a content creator’s messaging. Schools that take this approach can begin cultivating a stronger sense of loyalty within their audience.  

Many prospects on TikTok are looking to learn more about your school and form connections, finding something that resonates and aligns with their specific needs and interests. Once they stumble onto a tight-knit community, they can begin to experience the loyalty and trust you’ve cultivated in your audience. By browsing through your content, they can feel understood and inspired to take action and join your followers. That’s because the community you’ve developed will share the same interests and priorities as your prospects, drawing them in.  

Schools looking to boost community engagement will benefit from creating content for specific niches and catering to smaller groups with highly relevant and valuable content. Focusing on the community by sharing student voices and authentic student stories or experiences can be a big step forward. Choosing to promote a TikTok challenge in school is also another approach. Here, you’ll want to go beyond producing entertainment and seek to generate conversations and interactions with your school’s content. 

Example: Cambridge University’s student-run media site, the Tab, has posted a video on its TikTok account that reveals how many hours students typically spend studying in a week. The video shows the diversity of the students while also opening up a conversation, generating over 100 comments:

CU Community

Source: Cambridge University, The Tab – TikTok

Other video content ideas can include inviting members of your community to share what makes your school unique. You can also highlight areas where your school excels and invite prospects to learn alongside your faculty—becoming part of a journey that solidifies their ties to your school.

4. Social SEO for TikTok School Content Becomes More Important 

The TikTok 2023 What’s Next Report reveals that the platform is 1.8 times more likely to introduce users to new topics they didn’t even know they liked. It’s quickly becoming the place to go for deeper explorations into a specific topic. So much so that the platform is set to introduce better search features—such as predictive text and prioritizing local content. 

Many Gen Z prospects use TikTok or Instagram as search engines, with nearly half using these platforms instead of Google to find information. Both Instagram and TikTok are such visual platforms, adding to their charm and allowing their users to glean more visual information about topics, products, and services that interest them.  

To stay competitive with your TikTok education content, you’ll want to consider SEO as something that goes beyond web content. The new TikTok trend in schools is using social SEO effectively, and that means incorporating the right keywords and social media hashtags into your content production efforts. Once you figure out the right keywords, you’ll want to use them in your captions and voiceovers, ensuring that they align with your chosen hashtags so that you can boost your school’s visibility.

Ready to work on your social media efforts, including SEO and content production? Reach out to our team of inbound marketing experts to discover how you can generate the results you need for your school.

5. TikTok Ad Content Grows More Popular for Schools

TikTok has grown rapidly over the past few years, and with it, advertising on the platform. According to eMarketer, TikTok ad spending is expected to reach $8.75 billion in 2023, which is a 47% increase from 2022. By using TikTok advertising, your school can better reach its prospects in an incredibly competitive digital marketing landscape.

Unlike ads on other social media platforms, TikTok ads must use the same style and tone as regular TikTok content to be the most impactful. Because they wouldn’t look like typical, rehearsed ads, they are more likely to be well-received by prospects. You can also apply a TikTok trend for schools in your ads to make them more fun and engaging. This also makes them feel more transparent and authentic, ultimately making it easier for them to be embraced by a Gen Z audience.

Example: The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow uses TikTok’s In-Feed Auction Ads, which integrate natively into the For You feed, to boost brand awareness. These ads looked like any other TikTok video and were bolstered by precise targeting that allowed the school to reach the right audience.

US TikTok Ad

Source: TikTok

The campaign generated over 1.47 million impressions and delivered over 14000 clicks, indicating prospects were interested enough to learn more. The campaign was a high return on investment, producing these results at a £0.09 cost per click (CPC).

6. A TikTok Trend in Schools Emphasizes Joyful Content

Successful content on TikTok is generally entertaining, making it fun and engaging to watch. The idea behind this type of content is to create a space for joy on the platform—typically sharing self-care tips, fun facts, and life hacks that are meaningful and positive. These videos can uplift and incentivize your community and prospects, making them a valuable TikTok trend in schools. 

At your school, you can consider sharing study tips, student insights, application advice, and other similar content in a fun and personable way. You can also use this as an opportunity to boast about your school and its top features and unique selling points, using humor and uplifting music to get your message across.

Example: Trebas Institute Toronto shared a short TikTok video that showcases all the great things on campus that may interest prospects in a fun way with upbeat music. These types of videos spread cheer and can be a great way to attract prospects to your school:


Source: Trebas Institute Toronto – TikTok

The power of joyful content should not be underestimated, especially on TikTok after the pandemic. TikTok’s 2023 What’s Next Report reveals that 90% of its users who took an action off-platform because of TikTok said the platform makes them happy.

Humor can be a strong asset in your content development efforts. When used correctly, it can act as a tool to bridge the distance between your school and its prospects. Consider using humor and joyful approaches to share relatable feelings students and prospects may have during their college career as well as stories, opinions, and memes on relevant subjects. 

The University of Limerick shares a brief video that embraces humor, sharing memes that can resonate effectively with physics students:

UL Joy

Source: University of Limerick – TikTok

You can use TikTok challenges for schools similarly to drive joy within your community and boost your engagement on the platform. The key is considering your content’s entertainment value while factoring in your prospects’ needs and interests.

7. Honesty and Authenticity are Essential for a TikTok Trend in Schools

Authenticity allows schools to establish trust with their audience—and it’s this trust that motivates prospects to convert. Prospects want honest and transparent content that gives them an idea of what they can expect from your school. Your authentic TikTok content should help them with this goal, enabling them to discover your school’s community and brand personality. 

To do this, you can feature your school’s staff and faculty in your TikTok content. This way, prospects get to know the people behind the scenes—the ones who will be overseeing their applications or teaching them in class. Being this transparent can solidify a sense of loyalty to your school and make it more compelling for prospects to explore.

Another idea is to share “behind the scenes” content so that prospects can learn more about what goes on at your school and get an insider perspective. This can be done through a video that shows what the teaching process is like at your school or what the admissions team is doing behind student recruitment efforts. In fact, that’s exactly what the University of Limerick does in the following TikTok example, revealing behind-the-scenes footage of one of its virtual tours:


Source: University of Limerick – TikTok

Integrating authenticity in a TikTok trend in schools can be a strong way to establish a deep connection with your prospects. It can even be applied to some of your school’s marketing strategies in 2023, making them all the more impactful. Using these TikTok content trends can help you fortify your social media presence and improve your student recruitment efforts.

Contact HEM today!