How TikTok Has Changed the Way We Do Public Relations

hand holding iPhone. Phone home screen displayed, TikTok app being selected.

TikTok has transformed the media landscape. How does this affect public relations? (Image- cottonbro via Pexels)

TikTok has been taking the world by storm within the past year, and many creators have figured out ways to use the app to their advantage. Creators have been using this app to promote themselves and their future projects. These videos of self-promotion then pop up on many people’s “For You” pages within the app, and gain a lot of likes, comments and shares, which then get shared onto other social media sites like Instagram and Twitter. There are two different creators that I will point out who have done this: Charli D’amelio and Dan Povenmire.

Charli D’amelio is one of TikTok’s most popular creators, with over 84 million followers as of the beginning of September. On September 2, D’amelio announced that her signature drink is now available at Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s called “The Charli” and is a medium cold brew with whole milk and three pumps of caramel.

When she put out the TikTok promoting her drink, “The Charli” was trending on Twitter, and there were so many people recording themselves going to Dunkin’ to try the drink for themselves. People seemed to really like this drink, and it has gone viral thanks to the amount of active followers D’amelio has. This was incredible PR for not only Charli D’amelio, but for Dunkin’ as well.

Dan Povenmire is one of the two people who created the famous Disney television show, “Phineas and Ferb” and is also the voice of one of the main characters, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. In May of 2020, he took to TikTok to begin promoting his new movie coming out in August called “Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe.”

In the month leading up to the movie’s premiere on Disney+, Povenmire would post videos called “Doofenshmirtz says what you tell him.” His followers would comment things that they wanted to hear Dr. Doofenshmirtz say. He would get dressed up in the signature outfit (a white pharmacist jacket with a black shirt underneath) and respond to his comments in previous videos. This provided his audience with a nostalgic feeling, and his audience shared these videos on other social media platforms so others could see them.

On August 28, the day of the movie launch, the movie was the top trending topic in the United States on Twitter. By giving his audience content that made them feel nostalgic and happy, this made them want to share it and thus, giving Povenmire (and Disney+) free PR for their movie.

Other creators have done this on TikTok as well, and the app itself has completely changed the way that public relations can be executed on social media. PR practitioners should definitely be paying attention to this app and what they could do with it. TikTok could really help them out in the future with word-of-mouth promotion that works extremely well, especially if they have a young target audience.


Christina BillieChristina Billie is a junior at Temple University. She is majoring in public relations and has a minor in digital media engagement. She serves as the secretary of the Temple PRSSA Chapter, as well as a junior account executive for PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s student-run PR firm. She is also a marketing and media intern for Campowerment, an organization who holds retreats and events for women. In her free time, Christina enjoys swimming, writing, and babysitting.

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