Should art galleries and museums get on board with TikTok?

What is TikTok?

Even if you haven’t heard of TikTok yet, I would bet that you have seen a video created on the platform in the last few months. TikTok is fast becoming the most popular social media platform in the world. With 1 billion active monthly users, it has taken over Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Uber and Amazon in terms of app downloads this year. TikTok is based around short looped videos, usually accompanied by music, with filters and stickers added in. Like Instagram, hashtags are key to the videos being found, shared and copied. It’s funny, it’s silly, it’s viral, and it’s dominated by the under 25s.

TikTok is best known for its challenges, which is when everyone on the platform tries to attempt a version of an original video, but it’s also used for other types of contents: storytelling, dance videos, sketches, and much more. TikTok’s video editing tools are pretty extensive, but also user-friendly, which makes it addictive to beginners as much as video addicts.

If it looks a little familiar, that’s probably because it will remind you of Vine (RIP), or its predecessor, also owned by the same company, Bytedance. TikTok originally took off in China where its name is Douyin, before launching in the rest of the world.

Whenever anything platform takes off, it’s not long before businesses try to work out how to get a piece of that pie. While retailer brands can do so fairly seamlessly through influencer marketing, others can look a bit cringe.

Art galleries museums tiktokHow are museums and art galleries using TikTok?

Currently, there appear to be very few museums and art galleries on TikTok, though this is likely to change in the months to come. Art, however, is central to several existing challenges on TikTok. Take for example @lastmanstanley, whose eery video in which he replicates expressions taken from paintings, quickly went viral, with others taking on the challenge:

Other users frequently create videos in museum or gallery spaces, though not always with proper credit to the venue in which they are in.

The few museums and galleries to have experimented with TikTok have gone for a similar challenge approach. The Metropolitan Museum of Art collaborated with TikTok for example to launch two challenges #SalutetoClassics and #MetGalaChallenge. Through this, they encouraged the TikTok user base to engage with their collections and flagship event.

Is TikTok suitable for your museum or art gallery?

Who should be on it? Any business interested in having a conversation with a younger demographic. If you are already getting good results from Instagram stories, then the transition shouldn’t be too arduous


Who shouldn’t be on it? Businesses that are more comfortable talking at their audience, especially in traditional formats. This isn’t the place for your press releases and business jargon. At least not yet.

At a minimum, there is no harm in registering your business name on the platform, even if you don’t intend to use it until later. If you already have an account, do follow us at @articheck and we’ll watch the evolution of your posts with great interest!