What the hell is Tik Tok? How you can leverage it for MAJOR sponsorship returns.

Nick Lawson
Sep 9, 2019 · 6 min read

Great…another social platform we have to learn.

I know, I said the same thing about Tik Tok. Just when it seems we’ve gotten a handle on Snapchat we’re thrown another social platform that is grabbing attention.

This phenomenon, by the way, will happen into eternity. It will happen at a much faster rate than past media like the radio or TV.

What excites me about Tik Tok, and any other platform that pops up, is the fact that you can gain huge influence and views in the early stages of these platforms.

This reach allows you to build inventory on a digital platform that brands and sponsors love… the best part is any team can do it…no matter your budget, time, or size

This week on The Inches Rich and I dove into how you can utilize Tik Tok to build powerful sponsorship inventory that brands will love.

You can listen to the full episode HERE…but I go through the main points below.

Before we dive into Tik Tok…I want to show a pattern for social media platforms

The first thing here to understand is this is not just a Tik Tok strategy…

To understand how to take advantage beyond this platform and into the future, we need to understand how social media platforms mature.

When a new platform comes into the mix and the goal for them is to get as many users as possible. With the main point of social media platforms revolving around engagement.

This means they over-promote engagement on the platform and your reach is HUGE.

Early Facebook days, the reach was huge. Early Instagram, the reach was huge. Early Twitter, your reach was huge.

And this reach isn’t funneled to just your community or friends. Early on to push for engagement these platforms will give you visibility to people outside your following.

Basically they give you reach with new people and potential customers. In business & sports…this is massively valuable.

Then….the ad platform comes. And your reach starts to dwindle and dwindle as the platform wants you to buy ads.

This is why getting on new platforms early is extremely important…simply put, you get free publicity and reach.

Soon, Tik Tok will put ads on their platform (they already have for big brands like Nike) and reach will drop.

Luckily, right now, you can still get that reach for free. And the reach is mind-numbing.

Also here…although the cat is out of the bag… a lot of organizations aren’t on there.

As a smaller team, you can get the reach that rivals your larger teams in your city ecosystem.

Overall, as Tik Tok matures, a new platform will come out… and another one after that. Your team strategy should always be “get on” early and often to gain big reach.

Even if the platform fails…you can build major brand leverage for the other mature platforms.

Ok, what the heck is Tik Tok?

Tik Tok is a social video platform that lets people upload short-form videos and add music tracks to them.

If you remember the social media platform Vine (may it rest in peace), think that but with music tracks. TikTok has enticed and captivated consumers with a proclivity for binge-watching video content.

The age range right now is 14–23 year-olds… so younger demographic…but as we know with Snapchat, the kids who grew up with this will be older very soon.

Overall, it has over a billion downloads in 2019. Here are a few stats.

  • More than 500 million people globally use TikTok monthly
  • 26.5 million of the 500 million monthly active users are from the U.S.
  • TikTok’s user base is largely based in India at 43% of all users (Hello new global fan base).
  • 66% of users are younger than 30-years-old.
  • Users typically spend around 52 minutes per day on the app.
  • 29% of monthly users open TikTok every day.

So you can see, the reach is there for you to do some major damage here.

Ok, but how much reach can I get? A quick D3 basketball program story.

Usually, when I see a new platform like this I try and set up the biggest stress test I can for the reach…so I turned to my alma mater Willamette University, a Division 3 college athletics program based in Salem, Oregon.

I’m good friends with Kip the head coach for the men’s basketball team. Kip is the type of guy who will try things to stand out for his program…especially if it can give him any sort of edge in recruiting.

So after messing with the platform myself, I told Kip to download Tik Tok and post a video…just see how the platform performs.

Kip posted a simple rebounding video. It was perfect content for the platform and age range.

(I’m not going to post the video here. In an attempt to make you download Tik Tok and hopefully post a video…if you want to see the content & views…you have to download the app and look up @willamettembb….sorry.)

Remember…nothing against Willamette…but it is a program that has only 714 Twitter followers for men’s basketball since 2012.

Kip posted the video and within a week his video got:

-350,000+ views,

-Over 18,000 likes

-56 replies.


The most intriguing thing is during the same time period it outperformed an NBA post with Stephen Curry shooting in views.

That’s right, a Division 3 college basketball program video outperformed the National Basketball League in views.

This is the power of new social platforms. The algorithm does not yet care who you are. If the content is good…it will show you to the world.

How can I get started?

Luckily content platforms like this are MADE for sports. We have it way easier than if we were a say plumbing company.

To gain a huge following all we have to do is point, film, and post.

Pre-game, during the game from the sideline, post-game, practice, anything the fan doesn’t get access to is what you should post.

The insight into the guts of the organization is what every fan craves.

To get started just create an account, film things, and post them on the platform. Once you build up a suite of videos see how they perform, tweak, and post new content.

How do I build digital sponsorship inventory with it?

As you probably guessed…the views are your main leverage. The number of people you can get your sponsors in front of his huge.

Rich and I went over a few ideas. I think integrating the sponsor into the content is key as you build your sponsored content.

Imagine a Chipotle Challenge where a player takes a burrito and tries to flip it into another players mouth with their hockey stick.

Then ask fans to try themselves with the hashtag to create more content you can repost.

Or film pregame on Tik Tok brought to you by McDonald’s. Corporate would be happy to get 350,000+ views on authentic content.

I know what you’re thinking… how would that ever work with my team? It doesn’t work well on Instagram.

Again, the reach here is huge….you get way more at-bats than on Instagram because the algorithm hasn’t adjusted.

This is a sellable, digital asset that you can gain major revenue from your sponsors with. All because you understand where the value and attention is.

Overall, take risks on these new social platforms

There really is no excuse not to in our business. The content is so easy to produce and many times we already have done it for Snapchat or Instagram Stories.

It is just another platform for you to post with the content you already have.

The value though is huge if you are an early mover. Entire companies have been built because people were on Instagram early on.

For “smaller” teams you absolutely can use Tik Tok to become a nationally known organization. You just have to post.

Willamette is doing it and gaining followers from across the country. If they are, you can too.

First step, download Tik Tok and post a video. That’s all you need to make a major change to your team.

Do it today. Don’t be the team that says “I wish I would have”.

If you are looking for digital inventory for your team check out . We’ve helped teams drive sponsorship revenue in the 6-figures with our mobile contests…we’d love to help you as well.


Ideas, thoughts, and advice on sponsorship from the creators of SQWAD.

Nick Lawson

Written by

CEO SQWAD Sports Inc. We turn scoreboards into an engagement & sponsorship activation machine during breaks in the game.


Ideas, thoughts, and advice on sponsorship from the creators of SQWAD.

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