As a Millennial-centric news site with a newsroom made up of young and budding journalists, our social media strategies are naturally targeted at the Millennial audience who frequent various platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In a bid to drive more growth on social media and to build our presence on platforms Millennials use and are familiar with, the audience growth team at Today reevaluated its social media strategy in 2020.
One platform that we reviewed was TikTok, which has over 3.4 million users in Singapore. We started a TikTok account in July 2020 and began posting videos of some of our team members trying out typical TikTok videos: lip-syncing, dancing, and other light-hearted content. We struggled to find a proper strategy for TikTok videos and output was minimal.
Seven months later, after noticing an increasing interest in news consumption in TikTok, we pivoted to feature news content instead. We started to post videos related to COVID-19 restrictions in Singapore, as well as speech excerpts from the prime minister and other ministers when they gave important updates.
We also kept TikTokers abreast of trending international news topics by posting videos relating to anti-Asian hate, the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as incidents that have garnered international attention, such as the ship blocking the Suez Canal, floods in Malaysia, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
Enjoying sudden growth
Since we pivoted to featuring news on TikTok, we have enjoyed healthy growth in video views, as well as a significant uptick in followers. By the end of 2021, our year-on-year growth rate in followers hit 790%. This was a huge increase in comparison to our rival Millennial-centric news site that saw a 124% year-on-year growth in followers.
On average, our news videos garner at least 100,000 views, with close to 500,000 views for some. Our feature videos and international news coverage get between 13,000 and 99,000 views on average. Our most-watched video to date has 1.5 million views. The engagement rate of our videos is healthy and ranges from 3% to 5%.
The data from TikTok has shown us that users on the platform don’t only consume light-hearted videos and there is room for serious or hard news pieces on TikTok. The high engagement rate is also indicative of how popular such news videos can be on the platform.
Leading a movement
For all of last year, Today was one of just four media outlets in Singapore that had a TikTok account. More media outlets have since joined TikTok. However, when Today first set up its account, we were the earliest mainstream news site to do so and to date, we are also the only news site that is enjoying consistently high video viewership on TikTok.
To top things off, Today’s TikTok activities were noticed by TikTok Singapore. Last October, we were also selected to be part of their news accelerator programme, along with other mainstream publications from the Southeast Asia region and the Netherlands. Today has also been cited by TikTok Singapore as an example of one of the fastest-growing news accounts on their platform.
Such positive feedback and results attest to how Today is one of the few popular Millennial news sites in Singapore that gives a voice to the youth and encourages public discourse by serving them with intelligent, insightful, and incisive news, as well as useful information to help them join the dots and make sense of the world.