We launched on TikTok with the goal of building cultural relevance among our adult fans—while most adults have fond memories of Sesame Street from childhood, many do not engage with the modern brand outside of their capacity as parents. Thus, we set out to not only drive awareness and follower growth on the platform, but also engagement and user-generated content, in order to draw fans into active conversations on social.
Serving the Platform: In order to succeed on TikTok, and overcome viewer aversions to branded content, we knew that our content would have to feel authentic to the platform. Thus, we prepared for the launch by shooting a series of 40+ videos specifically for TikTok, featuring an array of our core characters like Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster. Many of these videos tapped directly into TikTok trends like outfit-of-the-day videos, or referenced popular subcommunities like "BookTok". Others playfully incorporated the works "tick tock" without directly referencing the platform. All videos were strategically trimmed to help maximize viewer retention and video completion rate, two key metrics for boosting algorithmic reach.
Serving Our Audience: With over five decades of history behind us, we also recognized the importance of tapping into fan nostalgia. Thus, we supplemented our original content with a library of fan-favorite clips from the show, including classic songs, iconic sketches, and fun bits of trivia (did you know Cookie Monster's real name is Sid?")
Driving Engagement: We recognized that fan videos could drive as much impact as our original content, and thus sought out every opportunity to boost engagement and encourage user-generated content. Many song and show clips were selected specifically because of their potential to become viral sounds, or to encourage fan stitches and duets. Our original content featured monologues with strategic pauses to encourage fans to mimic conversations, and dance moves that fans could mimic in duets.
Sesame Street's TikTok channel launched on August 22nd, 2022, and the response from fans was strong and immediate.
This success continued through the end of the year, especially in regards to key metrics like engagement and user-generated content: