Time For TikTok: Connecting Art Organizations With New Audiences


This week on ArtEvolve, we were joined by Taylor Alber, a content creator, social media strategist, and creator of the MuseumTikTok account. We talked about how art organizations can join in on TikTok and start engaging with new audiences.


What makes TikTok different to other social media?


Launched in 2016, TikTok is a relative newcomer to the social media scene, but its impact has been massive. It’s now the fastest growing social media platform of all time and the idea of communicating and consuming content via short-form video is now a part of many people’s daily routines.


  • Short-form video only. TikTok is famous for quirky, short videos set to music and sound effects. The choreographed dance routines, tutorials, viral life hacks, comedy skits, educational how-to clips, and so on, are the quality content that drives high levels of engagement.
  • Precision algorithm. The TikTok algorithm determines which videos appear in the For You page, which is unique and highly personalized to each user. The algorithm takes information, such as what accounts, videos, sounds, etc a user has interacted with before (and how), and uses them to recommend more content. And, compared to other social media platforms, it’s very accurate, which is has helped make TikTok so addictive and popular.


Why is TikTok a good platform for the art world?


    • Content is more improvised and less polished. This might seem counterintuitive, but it actually allows for more flexibility for budgetary issues and time constraints, something art institutions are sometimes familiar with.
    • For You page is super accurate. Because TikTok’s algorithm is so accurate, it means what interests a user is put in front of them. Museums, galleries, and other art organizations and professionals don’t need lots of followers to get their content seen by big audiences.
    • The right platform for creative content. As art professionals, we have a wealth of knowledge about our favorite artworks, collections, and our roles in the art world – the things that really motivate us and excite us. We’re in prime position to communicate these ideas, particularly on a platform that favors creative videos with a storytelling element.
@blackcountrylivingmuseum 2 rooms for 12 people? Noiceeee 😙✌️#fyp #fypシ #foryou #learnontiktok #history #museumtok ♬ Nobodys Fool – Seven11

How has TikTok changed how audiences interact with art on social media?


  • Engaging with new and younger audiences. A poll by Black County Living Museum – which, during the pandemic, became the most followed museum in the world on TikTok, overtaking more famous institutions – found:

“80% of the people that we are talking with (on Tik Tok) are under 30; 50% of our followers haven’t visited before, and 80% of our followers said interacting with us was the first time they had interacted with museums on social media at all. So we are talking about a young, less culturally engaged audience – that’s like museum gold dust!”

  • Showing the relevance of institutions and the art world in a new, light-hearted way. TikTok-style content can be tricky for any brand at first, even more so for long-established, institutions that are less used to communicating in an informal way. Accounts such as the Uffizi or the V&A, do a great job of adding a dash of irreverence to art history while staying on brand and educational.


@vamuseum How do you clean a 3800lb Chihuly chandelier? Watch to find out how it is done. #learnontiktok #vamuseum #cleaning #clean ♬ original sound – V&A Museum

Who at an institution can create or run a TikTok?

  • Conservators
  • Curators
  • Art handlers
  • Anyone – TikTok is not just for social media managers!

Consider the stories, knowledge, and interesting info that could be shared by any of your colleagues and turned into short-form content. Some ideas include a behind-the-scenes look at conservation treatment, showcasing the weirdest item in your collection, and explaining art history in an accessible way by using trends ­– what would the ‘outfit of the day’ be for a particular artist or the subjects of a painting, for example?

@uffizigalleries You’re beautiful mama👩‍👧#kids #fun #mommydaughter #beingamom ♬ original sound – Aymie and Family


Thank you to our guest, Taylor Alber of MuseumTikTok, for joining us!