Published October 14, 2021
TikTok is an incredibly popular social media app that lets users create, post and watch video content in 15- to 60-second clips. It exploded in popularity in the late 2010s, garnering a young, lip-syncing user base. It has since evolved to include a broader audience. Users from across generations—along with media companies, food purveyors, influencers and restaurants—are signing up to the platform in droves.
Since TikTok hosts videos that focus on everything from comedy to dance trends to cooking, a wide variety of creators and small businesses have benefited from using this growing social media platform. But after seeing many social platforms rise into and fall out of popularity over the years, restaurant owners are right to be skeptical about a relatively new one coming to market.
Is it worth the time and effort needed to maintain a successful social feed on TikTok? Will this new app actually help your restaurant’s bottom line? We’ve identified a few ways it can in this TikTok guide for restaurant owners.
No matter what platform you use, social media marketing requires intention, consistency and effort. This also applies when using TikTok to market your restaurant.
To be successful on any social network, a restaurant owner must have a social plan and calendar with content geared towards every specific platform they’re using. Because TikTok is a platform for bite-sized videos, you need to be purposeful in the creation of your content so that it resonates with TikTok users.
You may find creating content to be time consuming. It is—but like any marketing effort within your company, you’ll find the time spent is worth it.
We’ve identified a few ways TikTok videos specifically can help your restaurant expand its reach.
Building a strong following across your social accounts is crucial to the success of any social media marketing plan. But retaining followers isn’t enough—you need to constantly acquire new ones, too. On most social media platforms, growing your following can be a challenge. However, TikTok makes it easy to be discovered. Leveraging hashtags and the FYP (the “for you” page), which is essentially the home screen where users are shown content based on their interests, is easier and more effective on TikTok than on other social media platforms.
Many social networks require users to heavily leverage hashtags or pay for boosts in order to get their content in front of new audiences. On TikTok, your content has a greater chance of being showcased beyond your current audience without these additional measures. Content also has a better chance of going viral on TikTok than on any other social media platform.
Related: TikTok for business: Success stories of brands using short videos to reach new audiences
Featuring new, popular music is a great way to make your content stand out from other users’ videos. And TikTok’s licensing deals with major music publishers give its users more options than other social media platforms when it comes to picking a great track.
Because music is such a key part of the TikTok experience, look for songs and artists that are trending on the app and find a way to incorporate them into your restaurant’s content. Using trending songs in your videos could help boost your content’s visibility, as you’re piggybacking off the music’s popularity.
You don’t need to download video-editing software outside of TikTok or even have experience editing video to be successful on the platform. It allows you to easily create and edit video content right within the app.
Using filters and effects on TikTok is one of the best ways to have fun and add personality to your content. The text overlay feature can also be a great way to provide information about your restaurant, the dishes you’re highlighting or details about your menu. The more creative you get with your content, the better. That said, always remember that if you have a great-looking dish, don’t mess with success. Some things don’t need a filter.
As on any social media platform, hashtags are a great way for people to discover your content. On TikTok, they’re used to discover trending topics—such as TikTok challenges. If you can incorporate a trending topic into your video or participate in a challenge, you can create an entirely new outlet for potential customers to find your content.
Look for user-generated content using hashtags. See if someone has filmed a TikTok about your restaurant and share it with your audience. After all, the best content about a brand or business is rarely from that brand or business itself. User-generated videos are always a better way to represent your brand than anything an ad agency can come up with.
The foodie-influencer industry has gotten big on social media, too. Find local influencers in your area and engage with them on social. Whether they’ve been to your restaurant or not, invite them to visit in the comments and engage with their posts.
Just like other platforms, TikTok offers the ability to pay for targeted advertising and have your content delivered directly to users’ main feeds. If you have a social media marketing budget, paid advertising could help you build a large audience and target specific geographic areas. After all, most users will never see your post if they don't hear about your restaurant and seek it out on the app. Advertising could be an easy way to get in front of potential customers and start building awareness.
Data collection is another benefit to participating in paid campaigns. You can use audience and user data to plan your paid campaigns in the future, with insights into engagement and interactions.
Restaurant marketing decisions can be difficult if you’re working with a limited budget. Over the years, small businesses and restaurants have found great value in spending time and resources on social networks, social campaigns and social accounts. In many ways, TikTok is simply the latest social network that provides some great opportunities for restaurants to promote their food, service and experiences.
With the capability to create captivating video content about your restaurant, use the latest trending music, fun filters and effects, and reach larger audiences than competing platforms, TikTok is a wise investment for your restaurant’s marketing plan. Make your first TikTok video today and try the app yourself.
Steps to creating content