This University Course Teaches How to Make Money on TikTok

North Carolina Duke University has started offering TikTok classes to help students market their brands.

The university offers the ‘Building Global Audiences’ full-credit course in Durham, North Carolina teaching undergraduate students how to optimize their social media usage and presence.

Students who have taken the class have gained 145,000 followers and garnered more than 80 million views.

A sophomore in the class, Natalia Hauser has gained around 12,000 followers during the semester. Her TikTok account alone generates anywhere between $1,000 to $7,000 a month via partnerships with brands.

Hauser explained that the class helped her negotiate with brands and understand how much she should charge for her work. In a comment to Bloomberg, she said:

I don’t think people understand how much money is in this industry. It involves a lot of negotiation and business.

Professor Aaron Dinin who teaches the TikTok class holds a Ph.D. in English and has a background as a tech entrepreneur. The social marketing instructor had to convince members of the Duke administration to offer this type of class.

Dinin said:

There’s a sense from older generations that being an influencer is this superficial Gen Z type of thing. But the reality is that these media platforms are just the way the world is. There are a lot of entrepreneurial opportunities and a lot of reach.

In the TikTok class, students with about collectively 600,000 followers, compare analytics and goals for their accounts and discuss why certain posts perform better than others. Assignments and homework consist of using a TikTok trend as inspiration for a related video and sharing the end product with classmates.

Students can film their videos during class hours or spend time doing outreach to brands. Some have even managed to leverage their online presence to land jobs.

One of the students, Ben Chipman, recently landed an internship at LinkedIn in New York because of his experience in building a personal brand. Chipman stated:

I need a social media presence to get a job in places and positions I’m interested in. There’s an expectation I have something to show for myself.

More and more universities are taking note of the trends of the digital age and launching classes to help students cultivate their brands. Such universities aim to stay relevant at a time when a TikTok account is worth more to some than a degree. Along with Duke University, the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School and the University of Virginia also offer similar courses.

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