THE 14TH ANNUAL SHORTY AWARDS

The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project

TEDToks

Entered in TikTok

Objective

TED is on a mission to discover and spread ideas that spark imagination, embrace possibility and catalyze impact. Our goal is to provide people from every culture with new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the world. We are passionate about spreading big ideas and creating a community both online and offline. TikTok has become a major part of our strategy for building these communities. As we continue to invest in our TikTok community, our 3 main goals are:

  1. To find new ways of reimagining TED content using formats and styles that speak to our audience, meeting them where they are;
  2. To help new audiences learn about TED and our mission and eventually take the conversation offline; 
  3. To grow a community of curious individuals, speak to their sense of wonder and inspire them to become their best selves in a constantly changing world;

To pursue these goals, we elected to highlight the most impactful ideas from TED speakers around the world and to speak with our audiences directly. We aimed to help our audience dig deeper, feeding their curiosity to learn more about the topics that mattered most to them, including the rise of artificial intelligence, art and design, climate change, space exploration and so much more!

Strategy

TEDToks aspires to educate, inspire and entertain audiences. We create content that is not just fun, relatable or inspiring, but helps start meaningful conversations and encourages viewers to share these videos with their friends and family.

In our second year of work on this platform, we found success in listening to our audience and embracing what they were telling us they wanted: A wider variety of TED content, crafted just for their tastes, and optimized to the style of storytelling that works best on TikTok. In embracing these points, we found massive growth in viewership and followers, reaching 2.2 million followers in the spring of 2023. 

Through the use of social listening, we helped viewers dive deeper into the topics they were already interested in, offering alternative viewpoints on trending topics of interest such as: Work-life balance, the concept of luck, the corn kid, the value of mentorship, the rise of generative AI and even TikTok itself! Each video not only entertained our audience, but invited them to think deeply about popular topics and fostered deeper community and connection -- with TED, our speakers, creators and each other.

When our audience showed interest in learning more about theoretical physics, we contacted speaker Chandra Prescod-Weinstein to answer their questions. We worked closely with speakers like Conor Russomanno to help the audience dive deeper into concepts from the stage. We experimented with new formats including concept breakdowns and demos, use of imagery to better illustrate concepts, reformatting our award-winning TED-Ed animations for short-form video, and even giving our audience a peek at how TED Talks are made with high profile speakers like creator Alexis Nikole Nelson and choreographer Ryan Heffington. 

To help reach more people where they are, we also teamed up with creators Agustina Panzoni  (@thealgorythm) and Darrion Nguyen (@lab_shenanigans) to explore topics around futurism and life science. And we invited popular creator Madeleine Chalk (@MadChalk) — who became popular for her parodies of TED Talksto our 2023 conference to give new audiences an inside look at what it’s really like to attend a TED event.

Beyond content creation, speaking with our audience across the app has been pivotal for our success. Whether it’s tagging us in an idea that the greater TikTok community thinks is worthy of being featured on the TED stage or showing us something funny (that’s how we learned about Madeleine’s videos and invited her into our community!), being active on the platform lets the audience know that we’re not just speaking to them, but with them, and we are here to help them connect with the best ideas to find a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. And we know that it’s working. TikTok continues to be one of our fastest growing platforms, and we regularly see real-world impact of our content, with many of our digital audience members joining in-person initiatives like attending or organizing TEDx events in their own local communities.

Results

TED’s TikTok account is growing at an astonishing rate — reaching 2.2 million followers in under 2 years and kickstarting hundreds of conversations with people all around the world. From August 2022 to July 2023, 15 videos exceeding 1 million views. Those videos covered a wide range of topics, including emerging technology, new visions of the workplace, personal growth, mental health, mind blowing science and more. Our audience is eager to learn and grow along with us. 

Here are some account highlights:

In the past year, we have shared groundbreaking ideas, inspired in-depth conversations and seen positive real-world impacts of our presence on this platform. Our followers started conversations about mental health and climate change with their own audience, organized local community events through TEDx and are deeply inspired by our speakers to spark meaningful change in their lives and in the world. This impact reverberates throughout TED, pushing us forward in our audacious mission to spread ideas and catalyze global transformation.

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

TED Conferences

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Entry Credits