What is the TikTok Academy ?
- TikTok Academy launched to help brands of all shapes and sizes understand what the platform offers and how they can better connect with their audiences.
- TikTok Academy is virtual, self-service, game-based and absolutely free to use.
- Currently on offer are two courses: the 101 Course on platform basics and The Small Business Course for brands who are at the start of their TikTok journey
The growth of TikTok in recent years has been nothing short of remarkable. Since it was launched in 2018, the short-form video app has smashed through the 1 billion user mark—passing the figure in 2021. To put it in context, TikTok already has more than one-third of the number of users that Facebook has—despite only being in existence for four years.
It’s incredibly popular among both Gen Z and Millennial demographics. According to the platform itself, 60% of users are between the ages of 16-24, while 26% are between the ages 25-44.
But it’s not just TikTok user numbers that are impressive—but the time spent watching TikTok content by its users. By the end of 2021, kids and teens around the world were watching an average of 91 minutes of TikTok every day—that’s 35 minutes more than YouTube, according to TechCrunch research.
Connecting with Gen Z
With a strong Gen Z/Millennial audience, who spent a significant amount of time engaged with the platform, it’s no wonder creators, businesses, and brands are keen to up their TikTok game and connect with audiences that have either already entered the workplace, or will soon and will dominate spending demographics.
It appears that TikTok has listened. With a platform that’s so important to users and brands alike, getting it right takes hard work and study. This is why TikTok has set up the “TikTok Academy”.
What is the TikTok Academy?
Think of the TikTok Academy like a school—but not the school you remember from your childhood. There are no books, no teachers, and no boring subjects. The focus here is purely on mastering everything TikTok has to offer.
As the platform itself puts it: “TikTok Academy is an always-on, curated learning experience designed to educate global audiences on how to best utilize TikTok for Business so that we continue to inspire joy and creativity around the world.”
This bio tells us a lot about what exactly users can expect from the TikTok Academy.
- It’s self-serve, virtual, and can be accessed at any time.
- It’s educational and attainment-driven—users complete courses on specific TikTok subjects for badges and rewards.
- And it brings together those groups—audiences and brands—with practical advice on TikTok for businesses but also inspiration on how to generate the most creative content possible.
Sounds more fun than a two-hour math lesson, that’s for sure.
Who is the TikTok Academy for?
The TikTok Academy is a training tool to help business-minded users create content that will inspire and connect with their audiences. This approach is broad enough that businesses of all shapes and sizes can get involved, and the content on offer benefits both junior and senior-level employees.
Smaller businesses and brands that are building out their social media strategies and developing their audience maps might find the overview of the app and what it offers a good starting place.
Larger companies with an established presence and strategy on TikTok might find the notes on trends and behaviors useful as they look to stretch their wings or roll out a new campaign.
TikTok Academy is useful as an internal tool too. Virtual rewards are given when individuals complete courses, which can be picked up selectively. This means companies can set their staff goals to improve their social media knowledge, and employees can use rewards for proof of new skills and development efforts.
What will users get from enrolling at the TikTok Academy?
Crucially, the TikTok Academy is free—so there are very few barriers to entry. The TikTokification of content has been undeniable in recent years. Trends kicked off by bitesize video creators like dances, lip sync challenges, comedy, magic, and historical deep-dives (the list goes on) have impacted content as we know it. TikTok clearly wants creativity to continue to pour into the platform, which is why programmes like the Academy are accessible.
That’s what’s in it for them. But what about users who complete the courses? The questions posed by the courses are relatively straightforward for anyone familiar with the platform (see below).
The real takeaway for users are the key insights that will help creators and brands boost their creativity and innovation on the platform. Having a wider technical understanding of the app, or discovering previously unused features, can open up new possibilities and help improve the performance of TikTok ads.
That said, this new appreciation for all TikTok has to offer should go hand-in-hand with a user’s understanding of what’s trending, how it relates to their brand, and how they can bring together platform functionality and what other users are doing in an authentic way—which will be enjoyed by their own audience.
The TikTok Academy has been designed to be easy and intuitive to sign up for and follow.
Here’s how it works:
- Users register for their desired course after setting up an account on the official TikTok Academy website
- This account requires the user to input their job title, company, and a verified email address—and that’s it. Users do not have to open a TikTok for a business account to gain access.
- Once set up, users receive an overview plan via email, breaking down exactly what each course offers.
- Once they’ve made their choice, users select the module they wish and receive more information about the virtual rewards on offer.
What TikTok Academy courses are available?
At the time of writing, there are two courses available as part of the TikTok Academy: The 101 Course and the Small Business Course.
The 101 Course (2-4 hours to complete)
The 101 course provides a general introduction to TikTok, aimed at newcomers who want to get a feel for what’s on offer with TikTok.
The course includes:
- A global overview of the product
- Why TikTok works for so many brands
- Best practices
- How to can keep your brand safe on the platform
The Small Business Course (one hour to complete)
The Small Business course is shorter, but perhaps more specific than its counterpart. It consists of four 15-minute lessons designed for small and midsize businesses without a TikTok footprint.
- How to create a Business Account
- Making engaging videos
- Connect with an audience
- Driving sales with TikTok’s tools, features, and advertising solutions
The easy-to-follow segments have been designed to encourage developing companies to dive into the platform and start making their mark, become more competitive, and extend their reach.
The TikTok Academy is already growing, with new courses coming soon. This includes a Commerce course, which the platform describes as a chance to “learn how TikTok communities are evolving the path to purchase and the suite of solutions we’re building to help brands turn their audiences into shoppers.”
What are rival platforms doing?
These are not the first educational resources set up by TikTok. Back in the summer, TikTok ran ‘Follow Me’, a six-week multi-channel educational experience for small-and-medium businesses that provided resources on starting out on TikTok, plus real-world tips from a selection of Small Business Ambassadors. No word on if the program will restart—but we sure hope so.
Follow Me was launched after the unveiling of the TikTok business center in March 2021—a catalog of 18 guides for businesses on how to create a social media campaign, monitor ad performance, and how to make the most of TikTok’s ad manager dashboard. These short videos can be used to supplement the resources used in the TikTok Academy.
The creation of the TikTok Academy continues a growing trend for social media platforms to provide users—specifically businesses looking to grow their brand and connect with audiences—with the tools they need to foster success on each platform.
It follows in the footsteps of Meta’s Elevate and Learn hub—a specially designed resource center for people of color to understand the digital marketing tools they might need to make their small businesses a success. Similar to the TikTok Academy, Twitter offers Flight School—themed lessons in which users can earn badges by getting to grips with guides on the platform’s ad manager, cross-border advertising, and advertising for creatives.
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