Building an engaged audience first is the only way people will listen when you really have something to say later.
That’s partially why the team behind the Futurism brand has been excited to be selected by TikTok as a partner in the TikTok Creative Learning Fund. During the month of June 2020, we’ve been working with TikTok, the social media platform renowned for dancing teens and weird video trends, to create educational content that has value beyond a few passive laughs to keep young minds learning throughout the global slowdown caused by COVID-19.
You might be reading this and find yourself wondering, why does it make sense for Futurism, a media brand built around science, technology, and the ideas that shape the future, to be making videos about blobfish and carbonating pickle juice on a platform known for dancing and lip-syncing?
It all comes back to the idea of building an audience.
As of May 2020, TikTok had 800M monthly users, putting it ahead of traditional platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and Pinterest in terms of audience size. According to Hootsuite, about 60% of TikTok’s 26.5 million monthly active users in the United States are between the ages of 16 and 24. According to TikTok itself, 34 to 45-year-olds are the platform’s fastest-growing demographic.
This represents a huge and diverse audience of people who may be curious about science and concepts of Futurism but who may not be the kind of people to actively seek this information out. By creating quirky science-themed content tailored to the platform we can attract attention, followers, and therefore dedicated fans who are willing to engage with us when we talk about less innately humorous ideas like the world’s growing water shortage or colonizing distant solar systems years from now.
TikTok’s user growth suggests it isn’t going away any time soon. By embracing the platform early and learning to distill our message into what amounts to a good user experience on TikTok, Futurism is positioned to be lightyears ahead of brands who may start to think, three years too late, that they should be on TikTok.
All good storytelling depends on crafting your message to your audience. If getting a younger generation interested in science and technology takes a little humor and lowering the barrier of entry, then that’s a dance we’re willing to dance.
Futurism is a digital media company focused on science and technology news. Futurism was acquired by Singularity University in 2019.