BookTok has become one of the most expansive TikTok niches and has spawned an entire class of so-called “BookTok influencers,” whose content revolves around reviewing and recommending books. So when Penguin Random House was looking to revamp its social media strategy, it turned to two BookTok influencers to shape its neglected TikTok presence.
The publishing giant brought in Kimberly Nwokorie and Simone Siew in late 2021. In under a month, one of Penguin Random House’s TikTok videos had already received 4 million views, far exceeding the company's previous peak viewership of around 100,000. The duo drove significant growth on Penguin Random House’s TikTok channel throughout 2022, increasing the company’s average views per video by 120 times compared to 2021 and boosting its TikTok engagement—including likes, comments and shares—100-fold.
“TikTok has now become our top platform for reach and awareness,” Alyssa Castaneda, associate director of social media at Penguin Random House, told Ad Age. “[Nwokorie and Siew] have helped us approach TikTok in a way that resonates with the consumer. It’s not us guessing what matters to consumers—they bring in a level of creative expertise we would not have without them.”
It has also become an important vehicle in the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Penguin Random House will launch its “I Am La Cultura” book club this summer, which will be housed on TikTok and spearheaded by three soon-to-be-announced Latino BookTok creators.