How TikTok can transform events

Using the social media platform to increase event engagement.

TikTok Series: one of the ways for creators to share their stories, talents and creativity. TikTok is also gathering steam as a platform for corporate events in Asia.
TikTok Series: one of the ways for creators to share their stories, talents and creativity. TikTok is also gathering steam as a platform for corporate events in Asia. Photo Credit: TikTok

TikTok cemented its status as a powerful tool for events when it was chosen, for the second year running, as the official entertainment partner for the Eurovision song contest. One of the world's most watched non-sporting events, Eurovision took place last month in the UK, with TikTok’s contribution viewed as a game-changing collaboration for the event.


TikTok is also gathering steam as a platform for corporate events in Asia. As Ilma Afzal, strategy director at Jack Morton, Asia said it is the fastest-growing social platform in Asia this year, with the region accounting for 67% of the increase in social users globally, according to Insider Intelligence’s Asia-Pacific Social Media Outlook 2023.


“Seeing that it is an incredibly powerful platform to curate, share and connect with Zoomers, Gen Z and Millenials, it's no wonder that this channel can no longer be ignored for marketing/promotion/engagement for event brands and its industry professionals,” she said.


Afzal said while certain sectors, such as FMCG, are particularly receptive towards using TikTok, it was important to recognise that not all events can be broadcasted publicly to mainstream audiences, either because of guest privacy concerns, or because they may not be of significant interest for TikTok content - such as banking and finance closed-door events, or specific technology summits.


“The platform can definitely be used to generate buzz and excitement for events, as well as position event companies as great places to work in,” she says. “Our Asia teams regularly experiment with both LinkedIn and TikTok to not only help curate creative client ad content, but also behind-the-scenes interactive videos from permissible on-ground events.”


Lorela Chia, founder and managing director at GR8 Dreams, believes that TikTok is the latest craze among event professionals in the Asia Pacific. “Short-form video content is effective to hype up their events, from teasers and highlights of past events, previews of what attendees can expect at the event, to advertisements calling for sign-ups and registrations,” she said. “TikTok is also useful for engaging with attendees before, during and after an event, with fun challenges, updates and interactive gamification to keep attendees coming back for more.”


Chia added that TikTok can also be used to create exclusive content that takes attendees backstage to see how the magic happens, as was the case with Eurovision. From event setup and preparation, rehearsals, interviews with speakers, performers and exhibitors and collaborations with influencers, she said the reach and buzz generated on TikTok can be powerful.


“This behind-the-scenes experience creates an amazing customer experience journey for attendees, instead of a one-time experience, and it helps build loyalty and community around the intention and cause of an event,” said Chia.


For event attendees, TikTok can be a fun way to share their experiences, all of which helps promote an event's success or failings, highlights, attractions and overall vibe.


“Attendees can also connect with fellow participants by using hashtags, reposting and commenting on each others' videos, making the event a more social and even more interactive experience,” added Chia.


Oliver James, director of account services at Invnt, says event professionals in the Asia Pacific are viewing TikTok as a platform offering new avenues to promote exclusive event offers, drive relevant content and increase pre-event ticket sales.


“The trick is to stay authentic to your audience and create content that will truly resonate,” he said. “TikTok is great for event professionals as it provides an exclusive window beyond the event itself to showcase backstage content, post-event recaps, live-streamed content for those who can’t make it in person, and curated content from content creators with high reach.”


One of the most important things to note when using it, added James, is that TikTok needs to be factored into the event planning process from the beginning, and cannot be considered as an afterthought.


“And it’s not just TikTok content creators that can be the promoters of your event - user-generated content from event attendees is also a great way to capture and repost valuable content,” he said. “That’s why you need to make your brand experience space as vibrant as possible - anybody who has a phone has access to TikTok.”