TikTok’s New Educational Initiative & What it Means for Small Businesses

By: Cori Widen, Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks

TikTok has recently announced a new initiative — to the tune of $15 million — to partner with educational experts and institutions to produce bite-sized educational content for the platform. Celebrities such as presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley and actor Sean Sagar, as well as organizations including the University of Cambridge and various historical sites in England will be participating.

With more than 2 billion downloads since 2017, TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms on the market. If you haven’t joined the party already, read our post on How to Use TikTok for Business to find out why you should.

This announcement is big news for a couple of reasons — and there are some practical takeaways for small business owners. Let’s take a look at what this new initiative means for the platform, and for small businesses trying to make a splash on TikTok.

A shift to more professionally produced content

With universities and organizations putting out professionally produced educational videos, we might see a shift in the character of TikTok content. While the trend until now has been for even big brands to put out more rough-around-the-edges, relaxed kind of content, we may see some more polished videos entering the mix.

With $15 million invested in these educational videos, they are likely to have higher production value than most of the stuff we see on TikTok today. These videos will be seen as “the real deal” because TikTok will be promoting them widely, and that may cause people to associate the high production value with professionalism and reliability. This, in turn, may lead big brands to up their TikTok video game, too — and soon, all businesses that want to be taken seriously may decide to shift to more professional-looking TikTok content to boost their brand credibility.

We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. But if you’ve been loving TikTok for the casual, fun feel and dread the idea of needing to invest more in your TikTok videos — don’t worry. Boosted has your back. Using the app, you’ll be able to turn your “raw” footage into more professional-looking video content in no time.

The micro-learning revolution

As technology has advanced and internet speeds have accelerated, it’s become so much easier to get an excellent education online. Online learning has already been around a while, with many colleges offering online courses and degrees, and major platforms like Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn attracting hundreds of thousands of learners looking to enrich their knowledge and even acquire extra credentials.

And with the explosion of popularity video has enjoyed on social media, we’ve also seen brands use video to bring educational value to their users — with explainers, tutorials, and other bite-sized educational videos designed to direct users into the sales funnel. More and more, people looking to gain a new skill are looking for instructional videos rather than articles. Experts have christened this trend “micro-learning.”

TikTok’s new educational initiative is the result of a marriage between these trends — boosted, of course, by the pandemic and the need it has created to transfer our social, professional, and educational pursuits online. TikTok noticed that users have been taking particular interest in educational videos: the hashtag #LearnOnTikTok has over 7 billion views and counting.

Here’s a taste of some recent #LearnOnTikTok content that’s been trending:


Tutorial Time… 🎉 Congrats to @bubblegum_grande for guessing how it was made! #tiktoktutorial #learnontiktok #behindthescenes #tutorial #magic

♬ Bullseye – Formz

What this means overall for small business owners is quite simple: educational content is hot! Producing educational videos has always been a good idea because it provides value to viewers and positions you as an expert in your field. But because of the younger demographic of TikTok, you may have assumed that that audience would be less interested in more serious educational content, and focused instead on the fun, silly stuff.

Well, it turns out that young people love to learn, too. TikTok users are actively seeking out this kind of content. Explainers, tutorials, and how-tos should definitely be on your social media schedule — and don’t forget to tag them with #LearnOnTikTok when you post them!

Action Items:

  • Keep an eye out for the new educational content and a possible shift to more professionally-produced content on TikTok. If you see that it gains momentum, consider polishing your TikTok videos as you would videos for other platforms. Once again — Boosted can help.
  • Jump on the micro-learning bandwagon! Produce plenty of educational content for TikTok, such as tutorials, explainers, how-tos, and tip videos.

Cori Widen is the Product Marketing Lead at Boosted by Lightricks. She has been leading product marketing campaigns and doing qualitative market research in the tech industry for 10 years.

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