Gordon Templeman, Director of Commercial Operations & Communications at United World Wrestling (UWW), explains how their specific TikTok strategy helped boost them 2 places up to 7th in the SportOnSocial League Table 2024.

A massive congrats on your TikTok success, ranking 3rd on the platform in 2023. What were the main reasons for your success? 

Not being afraid to take risks from the outset. A stumbling block could have been selecting which of various new platforms to focus on. However, we took a step back and said this is just another opportunity.

We didn’t put unnecessary pressure or timeline for it to be a success but focussed on what responded well and what did not from a performance standpoint. We really did see it as a chance to connect with a new audience.

Do you have a specific TikTok strategy? If yes, how does it differ from your other channels? 

Our TikTok strategy is completely different to our other platforms as we realised early on that what works on Instagram or YouTube doesn’t necessarily work on TikTok.

We generally approach TikTok with a far more personal approach; we want our audience to know it’s an individual behind the account rather than a big organisation. We’ve found this approach has helped us cultivate a loyal and engaged following.

How is your internal team structured to effectively manage TikTok at the same time as your many other digital/social media channels? 

Where TikTok differs from the other social media platforms is that UWW’s Head of Creative, Josh Halvatzis, supported by the team, plays a significant role in the content we post on TikTok. I think the creative angle has resonated with the TikTok audience, resulting in high growth.

It’s important to know your audience and have a consistent approach. Having a smaller team focussing on TikTok builds a stronger connection with your followers. More than any other platform, you need someone on the team who understands the audience and the platform in general.

How do you plan to overcome the challenge of having limited video footage from the Olympics to use on social, especially TikTok? 

Preparation is key to using any archival video you have the rights for and putting together a narrative for the Olympics.

It is a challenge, but we understand the rights of the Olympic broadcast partners must be respected. It created an opportunity for content to be seen by a wider Olympic audience so we try and make a positive out of the limitations.

With all social media platforms, adaptation is key. Every month there’s a new trend or editing style so this will be no different for us. We’ll try our best to find what works.

What is one bit of advice you’d give IFs looking to improve their performance on TikTok? 

Consistency is crucial. When we began using TikTok, we would average around 600 views per video so it’s very easy to get disheartened and give up on it. TikTok can be ruthless, too: what you think might do well can in fact perform badly. It takes a lot of trial and error and consistency before you start seeing the benefits.

Think outside of what you may traditionally have done for other social media channels and complement that with the strength of past achievements. Find content that reaches a wider audience, whether it be to target the young, a theme that touches on lifestyle, or of cultural significance.

Lastly, there are specific details you must always have evolving with TikTok – once you believe you have the pulse of the platform, it can change! Know when to swallow your pride and make modifications to increase your chances of success.

Hear from other International Federations and discover more insights in the SportOnSocial League Table 2024.