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Govt agencies adopt new-age video sharing apps like TikTok

Even though some have taken the plunge to join these video sharing platforms as early adopters, similar handles that have viral value on platforms like Twitter and Facebook rose to popularity in the last three-four years.

Newly popular social media platforms such as TikTok and Likee are attracting interest from law enforcement bodies, government agencies and political parties, not as advertisers but as users of the platform with official accounts on the platforms.

Consider how in September this year, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) set up its official account on Likee, a short form video creation platform from Singapore firm BIGO Technology. Earlier this year, Kerala Police, Uttarakhand Police, Kerala Tourism and the National Skill Development Corporation of India joined TikTok, the short-form video creation app from Chinese internet company ByteDance.

Even though some have taken the plunge to join these video sharing platforms as early adopters, similar handles that have viral value on platforms like Twitter and Facebook rose to popularity in the last three-four years. For instance, the now famous Mumbai Police and Assam Police accounts first appeared on Twitter in late 2015 while Uttarakhand Police created its Twitter handle in 2018.

According to Omkar Joshi, ECD and business head, Schbang, a digital media agency, TikTok and Likee hold huge potential for government agencies because, “these platforms have had a phenomenal user growth story across the NCCS B and below audience in India”.

A majority of users of these platforms are known to be from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. It is the demographic of the users that sets these platforms apart from the now mainstream platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “There is quite a gap in the type of users one can connect with on these new platforms when compared to Twitter or Facebook. Plus there is a huge local language audience which is almost non-existent on the bigger mainstream platforms,” Joshi adds.

When AAP announced its Likee debut, Ankit Lal, IT and social media head for the party, indicated that the political party would like to mobilise youth following and volunteers by leveraging the reach of the video sharing platform.

The Kerala Police department claims to be the first law enforcement agency to open an account on TikTok. The department regularly uploads entertaining and informative vertical short-form videos that are customised to the TikTok video format. In one of the most recent videos, police officers are seen celebrating the birthday of a colleague.

Social media nodal officer and ADGP of Kerala Police, Manoj Abraham, says that Kerala Police has invested in building a steady stream of videos to educate citizens. “Our approach for the TikTok audience has been to post humorous content creating awareness about laws and legal obligations,” he says. Santhosh PS, a senior civil police officer, who is part of the Kerala Police social media team, adds that a large chunk of the audience that the department wants to reach out to uses these new-age platforms. Kerala Police has around 18,000 followers on Twitter versus three lakh on TikTok.

TikTok is very keen on having these government bodies use the platform. After all the bad press that the platform generated in the beginning of the year due to a ban on the platform, government bodies using the platform gives TikTok a signal of validation.

“Given the diverse demography of users, we believe TikTok as a platform can help law enforcement agencies and government bodies easily engage with the digital citizens,” says a TikTok spokesperson. The platform hopes to help these government bodies reach its 200 million users who are located in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities.

At the moment influencer-led marketing efforts have the most resonance on these platforms. In addition to posting videos to raise awareness among youth on various social and safety-related topics, TikTok also advises government bodies to “coordinate with creators who have become a sensation on TikTok to lend their messages an effective voice”.

Joshi advises that organisations understand each platform and its features, capabilities and specific audience behaviour. “Once this is understood, stay true to the platform and your content will be welcomed by users. If they use this as “one more platform to post on” then their efforts will fall flat,” he adds.

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Source: Financial Express