We can hear the sound of eyeballs rolling as you open this. You’re probably sick of hearing about how traditional advertising is dead and TikTok is the only way to reach Gen Z’ers and their ilk. You may be wondering what on earth TikTok actually is and what the hell you should be posting on it anyway?
Well, what if we told you that whilst most companies are jumping on TikTok like a trampoline, very few hospitality brands have cottoned on to the fact that it’s the perfect platform for showcasing their brands, and even fewer are doing it well.
First things first: what is TikTok? In a nutshell, it’s a social app for sharing short-form video content where you’ll see some of the most creative, hilarious and sometimes bizarre output of any of the platforms. Most famous for challenges and lip syncing, this social media channel has evolved with a new focus around education and inspiration and also has a real social conscience. Moreover, TikTok has become the pioneer of trends; from the music we dance to, DIY tips, must-see places, to impulse TikTok buying #TikTokMadeMeDoIt – there are no limits to what this platform can do.
If you’re planning on building your TikTok account organically, which is what we’re focussing on here, we won’t lie; it will take a time investment from you to reap rewards.
Who’s On It?
“Is it worth it?” we hear you ask. Well, the app has over 1 billion active users and counting. (At 1.386 billion users, Instagram is no longer that far in front.) And TikTok is only going to grow from here, with over 1 million downloads each month in the U.K alone.. So, we’d say YES it’s worth it.
It should also be known that, though the majority of users are 29 and under, nearly 40% of users are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and yes, even beyond that! So if Gen Z are not your target audience, there’s plenty more fish in the TikTok sea. It’s also a highly engaged audience – the average TikTok user opens the app up to 8 times a day and can spend a daily average of 52 – 80 minutes on the app.
TikTok is a very different animal from the other platforms. Like with most things though, it’s not rocket science to unlock the benefits. It’s a mother sauce of strategy, a healthy serving of perseverance and a liberal sprinkling of patience. It also doesn’t hurt to have a basic understanding of the platform itself.
Who’s Slaying It?
We won’t name names but there are some huge hospo brands with huge followings on Insta that have barely broken 3,000 on TikTok. This is mainly because they haven’t developed a proper TikTok strategy. As with all effective marketing communications, solid strategy is fundamental – you can’t simply throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.
On the other side of the coin is Chipotle, the original F&B TikTok slayer. They have their content strat nailed down – dances, challenges, influencers and just a lot of great, genuinely funny content, that speaks to their target audience and cements who they are as a brand.
If you have access to a decent media budget, there are a wealth of tools for you to take advantage of, from paid ads and brand takeovers to access to the Creator Marketplace, TikTok’s official collaborative platform that connects brands with creators. In other words, TikTok’s own influencer marketing platform.
But even if you have a limited budget, you should join and start to build your account organically. This is where we can help, so read on dear friends and let’s discover how to tame this beast together.
For your starter tonight – The TikTok Rules:
- Get a feel for the app by checking out the Discovery page. Seek inspiration by checking trending hashtags and the most popular videos by category.
- It’s all about viral content – even accounts with few followers can accumulate millions of views on a video if it strikes the right chord.
- Original, creative video concepts work well but the best performing TikToks are ones easily replicated by users or even just an addition to an existing trend. Top tip though? Make sure to research the trend to avoid any… embarrassing misunderstandings.
- Rewatches, full video completions, shares, comments, likes plus the performance of individual videos, rather than the account itself, will earn exposure. Basically, as long as the content is genuinely interesting, you can gain likes. Videos that use trending sounds and hashtags will also increase your visibility.
- TikTok content should be unique to the platform, however it’s worth cross-promoting it on Insta. Though IG will not hugely push anything with a TikTok watermark, it does mean that your existing IG followers will see that you’re on TikTok. Double win.
- Remember that other people will be tagging you in videos of their own experiences. Content for free? Kaboom! Looking through these can also be a huge help when dreaming up new content as they literally tell you what they like about your brand.
And for your main, a gorgeous plate of Best Practice.
- Reactiveness is key – identify trends quickly and adapt as necessary. The same goes for trending sounds.
- Engage as much as possible. Like Instagram, TikTok rewards time spent in the app so comment, like and engage with other people’s posts. Remember to thank creators and reshare any vids they make feat. your brand.
- Post regularly and use captions/hashtags (particularly #fyp, #foryou, and #foryoupage) have a better chance of success.
- Do not reuse content from other social media platforms unless you’re looking to bring your followers over from one to the other. TikTok content should be crafted for TikTok, Instagram for Insta.
- The best times to post are:
Monday: 6 AM, 10 AM, 10 PM
Tuesday: 2 AM, 4 AM, 9 AM
Wednesday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 11 PM
Thursday: 9 AM, 12 PM, 7 PM
Friday: 5 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM
Saturday: 11 AM, 7 PM, 8 PM
Sunday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM
- Use the engagement analytics tools to see how these times are working specifically for your account and post accordingly – simply by posting at the optimum time can have a big impact on engagement rates.
- For videos, use attention-grabbing visuals in the first few seconds. Provide value. Encourage viewers to watch right until the end. Use varied content pillars to keep viewers hooked and use a CTA.
And for your dessert? Some Content Ideas for TikTok that are just *mwah* perfection for F&B brands.
- BTS = Behind The Scenes. Authenticity is key on TikTok and users can smell a suit trying to be ‘down with the kids’ a mile off. You could try giving control to employees who are natives of the app. Trust is obviously needed here but it can work wonders! A great example of this is Five Guys’ @maezthegreat – an employee in their Louisiana store who gave people a BTS on how Five Guys fries are made in a video that amassed over 3.5 million views! You could try cooking tips and hacks from your kitchen team – everyone wants to know what’s in that secret sauce!
- Invite influencers and content creators in to do ‘restaurant ride alongs’. This type of short-form video content lends itself so well to F&B brands. Check out @gracealexandriaa to see this in action. Consider officially partnering with influencers to run comps, get them ‘working’ at the restaurant for the night, host a party or even co-create a new dish to feature on your menu.
- Challenges. Yes, like the dancing and lip-synching vids but all about your brand. Who doesn’t wish they came up with the feta pasta bake challenge?! (one BILLION views and counting 🤯) Key is a unique song choice and simple rules. This approach works best with a combo of paid and organic for reach. You could add a discount code for those who take part or pick a few people to win delivery packs or meals. Partner with a content creator who is a genuine fan of your brand. Use a hashtag to find the challenge and make it not too brand-specific as you’ll find the challenge will morph into new versions as it gains traction. See the awesome Chipotle’s lid flip challenge for more inspo.
- TikTok is not just about challenges and hacks. It’s increasingly seen as an educational platform by Gen Z and Millennials. #LearnOnTikTok frequently trends as a hashtag and is used to access a wealth of info on a variety of topics. Do you have a cause that is at the centre of your business’s purpose? Why not become a leading voice and ‘spokesperson’ for change?
- And finally, TikTok is a great way to bring soul, passion and humour to your brand. Use this platform to build human connections and showcase a new light to your business. Take @Ryanair for example, now sitting at 1.2 million TikTok followers with over 33.2 million likes. The secret to their growth? Staying on top of trends whilst maintaining a ‘human’ voice, consistency and damn funny videos. The results? They may just be the GOATs of TikTok Brands.
So, there we have it – a few ideas, rules and tips to make your journey into the Great TikTok Unknown a little easier to navigate. If you’re feeling like a TikTok hustler and ready to get down to business, let us know how you get on.
Or, if you’d like to up your social game but still aren’t quite sure where to start, our social media team can help with strategies, workshops, social audits and content planning. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
We love helping brands tell their stories. ❤️