UNLV growing social media presence with student-run TikTok account

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Many UNLV students would be surprised to see a Tik Tok pop up on their feed from their college. 

Do not worry, it is not a fake account, it actually is the official UNLV Tik Tok account that is popping up on your feed and “For You Page.” 

The school made the decision last fall to add Tik Tok to its social media arsenal after seeing the rise in the platform in 2020 amongst college students. The videos on the account are aimed to highlight events happening on campus and inform their followers about what UNLV has to offer. 

UNLV social media strategist Mikaila Becze, who helps the students oversee the account, said the school felt this would be a good way to reach students and possibly garner attention from future students. 

“We realized that it would probably be important to stay with it and be current, Becze said. “So we decided to make a Tik Tok account. So that’s why a lot of our content is more targeted towards the younger generation.”

As Becze and her team worked to put together a plan for the account, one of their top goals was to make sure the people running the account and the people the viewers saw would be someone who could connect with students. 

“The faces on our account, we wanted to make sure that there were students as well so they could connect with the viewers and because most of the viewers are students or prospective students,” Becze said. 

There are currently three students who run the account, come up with content ideas and post videos. One of them is Kaitlin Agnew, a sophomore majoring in hospitality management. She noticed a video from the UNLV Tik Tok account on her Instagram stories and that piqued her interest. 

She was looking for a way to grow her social media skills as she hopes to showcase them in a professional setting, and has seen first-hand how much of a valuable experience this is for her and the other students. 

“It’s a great experience because running a verified university account as one of my first social media jobs, it’s kind of a big deal,” Agnew said. “And I know future employers would love to see that. It’s definitely a really good first step for me.”

As the page has evolved since posting its first video in Nov. 2021. Agnew made the first post about best study spots around campus, and since then she has worked with the entire team to incorporate more humor and trending sounds on Tik Tok to help create more engagement, which would lead to more followers to the account. 

Agnew was behind one of the account’s most watched videos, which featured a camel that was on campus for the Rebel Events Board’s Foodie Fest last March; the post has over 100,000 views.

The team worked on a plan to try and make a post about the event, and when Agnew saw the camel being featured on many of her friend’s Instagram stories, she knew what she wanted the post to be about. It took a little bit of convincing to Becze to have the camel be featured in the post, but it showed the unpredictability of what will be trending on social media. 

“I would say kind of a good lesson with that is that not everything that does well on Tik Tok has to be perfectly planned,” Becze said. “You just kind of have to be able to adapt really well.”

Agnew and the other students have also learned more of the science behind Tik Tok, and the algorithms behind the more trending videos on the site. The students have learned more people tend to be on Tik Tok in the evening and during the night, and that videos with comments tend to be featured more often. 

Another thing Agnew and the students have learned is to stay up with what’s trending, whether it be a trend or funny sound byte on popular videos. They have noticed that videos that generate a laugh are the ones students are more likely to engage with. 

“(College students) don’t like serious videos,” Agnew said. “They like things that are really funny and like relatable. And the more comments you get, the more Tik Tok is going to boost your algorithm which makes the video get more likes and views.”

So far, Agnew and the rest of those involved with the account have heard nothing but positive feedback from those around campus and on the interactions with the account. 

With the foundation laid down from this first year, the hope is to hit the ground running once the fall semester starts to show off the school and give students more opportunities with the account. 

“Some of the best experiences that you learned in college were hands on experience,” Becze said. And when you’re able to run a brand account, you get to see how it really works.

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