Posted on 26 Jun '24

Harnessing the Power of TikTok for Student Engagement and Recruitment

Love it or hate it, TikTok is one of the most-used social media platforms out there, attracting over a billion users globally every month, and rapidly becoming one of the dominant ways that younger audiences interact with the online world (a potential US ban would, of course, have an impact here – but TikTok is likely to stay very relevant in the UK market). This makes it a crucial lever to pull in your postgraduate recruitment efforts!

We’ve taken a look at some of the ways that UK universities are successfully using TikTok for student recruitment and engagement, and provided an early update on our own incorporation of the app into our student-facing marketing strategy.

#1 The University of Chichester

Ranked the top university account in the UK according to a 2023 report by Nonsensical, the University of Chichester’s TikTok boasts 26,500 followers and over 420,000 likes. With an impressive eye for recent trends, it features summer and study inspiration, self-deprecating skits about the day-to-day student grind, an unofficial mascot in the form of Lincoln the dog, and a running gag about how barely anyone has heard of Chichester.

#2 The University of Manchester

Taking itself a little more seriously than the University of Chichester’s (though still making room for light-heartedness), The University of Manchester’s TikTok account is closing in on 50,000 followers, and strikes a careful balance between information and entertainment.

Practical advice on topics, student discounts and local charity shops feature heavily, alongside less practical (but still essential) information on where to get your campus frog fix. The University of Manchester also makes regular use of student content creators to produce aspirational day-in-the-life content.

#3 Arts University Bournemouth

Arts University Bournemouth made a splash in 2022 with a viral TikTok video alleging that the university’s vice-chancellor is, in fact, anonymous graffiti artist Banksy. The video made local headlines and won a 2023 Heist Award – demonstrating just how much mileage you can get out of a well-executed joke!

No one-hit wonder, AUB has continued to deliver with sneak-peeks of the artwork produced by its students, including another viral sensation – the surreal yet oddly endearing Jammie Dodger Monkey.

#4 Newcastle University

Newcastle University’s TikTok is another combining informative tips and tricks with on-the-pulse Gen-Z-style humour.

One particularly successful series dubbed ‘NCL: Taylor’s Version’ features various Taylor Swift-themed videos, including a tongue-in-cheek reference to Newcastle’s Armstrong Building as its ‘Tortured Poet’s Department’. This video’s top comment is the ultimate endorsement of any university attempting to score points with a student audience:

Early adventures in TikTok marketing at FindAUniversity

After much deliberation, we finally jumped took the leap in March and created TikTok accounts for FindAMasters and FindAPhD.

It’s early days, so we’re yet to build up the following enjoyed by the universities we’ve featured above! But we’re already noticing some patterns in the content that viewers are most interested in – study abroad-related videos seem to be going down particularly well, for example.

In the future, we’re hoping to work with students to create content focused on day-to-day postgrad life, such as day-in-the-life and study routine videos. We’ll keep you updated on any tips and tricks we learn along the way!

FindAUniversity take pride in being experts in postgraduate education. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for regular insight, comment and case studies.

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