Social media Tourism marketing with TikTok?
Since Euro 2020, one thing is clear: TikTok has become mainstream. As an official sponsor of the competition, this social media platform’s logo could be seen in all the venues for the games. Switzerland Tourism recognized the potential of the platform early on, and is being proved right with the increasing popularity of the #TravelBucketList hashtag.
Around 100 million people in Europe are now using TikTok each month. It is proving particularly popular amongst Generation Z. In Switzerland, 95.8% of survey respondents aged 12 to 14 had the app installed on their smartphone in 2020. For respondents aged 20 and above, the figure stands at 21.4% (Source: statista.com).
Switzerland Tourism (ST) spotted the opportunity early on to use TikTok to establish a connection with the tourists of tomorrow and beyond. In January 2020, Switzerland Tourism, one of the world’s first national tourism organizations, was the first to post a TikTok video. The short skating sequence on the black ice of Lake Sils instantly gained nearly 20,000 likes, and was viewed over 200,000 times.
To stay ahead of the game, ST brought in reinforcements in July 2020 in the form of four digital natives who applied for a position aimed specifically at the social media generation. The official Switzerland Tourism TikTokers are all in their 20s, and have a good idea of what sort of content might go down well in the TikTok community.
As a digital pioneer, ST is always testing out new technologies and sharing its insights with the industry. In the case of TikTok, tourist destinations and service providers, such as Graubünden Tourism and SBB (Swiss Federal Railways), have already benefited from ST’s expertise.
A clear demographic shift on TikTok
It is interesting to see that a demographic shift is currently taking place on TikTok, just like the one we saw on Instagram: USA-based users are getting older. This is shown by the latest Statista figures from March 2021 (Source: Omnicore). Only 47.4% of American TikTokers are aged between 10 and 29. In 2020, the figure for this age group was in fact 62%. In other words, over half of users are over 29. We could well see similar developments in Switzerland. At the same time we are seeing an ever-growing presence of companies, including those in tourism, on TikTok. One reason for this could be the greater financial potential of TikTok’s ageing user base.
Most popular hashtag: #TravelBucketList
Even though competition on TikTok has increased, the time for tourism marketing on TikTok is still right: lots of keen travellers are now eager to go on holiday abroad again now that travel restrictions have been relaxed somewhat in many countries. In this day and age, social media is a particularly popular source of information about travel. In an article (fee-based) from early July 2021, newspaper SonntagsZeitung referred to a study conducted by the data analysis company Morning Consult from the USA: nearly 40% of respondents said they would also use Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok to plan their upcoming summer holidays. The pandemic has heightened our need to keep updated about ever-changing travel circumstances rather than flick through glossy brochures.
Another sign of the increasing importance of TikTok to tourism is the fact that, since February 2021 alone, the hashtag #TravelBucketList, which only appeared at the end of last year, was used 400 million times. That figure is now 2.9 billion. In addition, more and more successful influencers, including some that ST works with, are now present on TikTok as well as on Instagram. This includes the Chinese expat Deshun Huang, who has over 960,000 TikTok followers. He was also one of around 30 influencers who took part in the Switzerland Tourism Influencer Summit this year (find out more about the summit at report.stnet.ch).
Due to the current situation, Connecta Bern will again be held as a digital event in 2021. Connecta is renowned for shining a light on the diverse nature of digitization and this year will be no different with content presented across the three formats of Connecta Blog, Connecta TV and Connecta Talk. Find out more here: www.swisspost.ch/connecta.
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