Engaging TikTok Audiences


The social media app TikTok has turned into a launching pad for plenty of new digital celebrities and brands – some are even using the app to create full-blown businesses. However, the growth in popularity of the platform hasn’t only been benefitting the newcomers, as plenty of traditional media companies have also benefited from TikTok.

Companies such as Yahoo News, The Washington Post, and many others, have started turning to the app in very successful attempts to reach new audiences. Many brands have been following suit by adapting the existing content into short-form videos that can fit the app’s format and culture.

Some businesses have decided to tap into the existing trends of the platform, which includes using popular songs in the video content, or even having TikTok influencers appear in the videos. Meanwhile, other companies have focused on creating personality-centered content by having an employee work as a brand ambassador on the platform. Finally, there are companies that directly engage with the target audience by communicating with users in the comments section of the videos.


In just one year of creating and publishing video content on TikTok, ESPN saw an increase of millions of new followers. The company managed to do this by studying various platform metrics, monitoring the newest trends, as well as comparing the performance of shared videos to other platforms.

According to the sports media conglomerate, the social media team utilizes multiple accounts to be able to see multiple types of videos that the platform’s algorithm promotes to different users on the “For You” page, aimed at content discovery. That way, ESPN is able to keep an eye on different sports fan types, tweak the social media approach accordingly, and make sure that the target audience has a positive experience.

Barstool Sports

The company managed to build an audience of over 12 million followers on TikTok alone, through sharing content that’s already popular on the platform. Plenty of other companies have taken an opposite approach, focusing on content that’s already been created, and figuring out ways in which the same content can be repurposed to fit TikTok’s culture and audience.

However, Barstool Sports decided on this different approach, of analyzing the platform itself, and the audience that uses the app, and then creating and publishing content that fits what’s already popular instead.

Planet Money

The blog and podcast produced by NPR managed to create an audience of hundreds of thousands of people in the short time sharing short-form video content on TikTok has been around. The team decided to go with a different approach, focusing on repurposing the podcast’s already produced content, and turning it into short and entertaining explainer videos about economics.

The team behind the podcast first did a lot of research on the app, to find out what was missing in terms of content based around economics, to find the particular niche, and start creating and repurposing content. Aside from the informative videos, the team also communicates with the audience through the app’s comments, which has also contributed to the exponential growth of audience numbers.

Ronn Torossian is ceo of 5WPR, one of America’s leading pr firms.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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