It’s time we talk about TikTok. You might thinking, “Isn’t that for tweens?” Or you might be thinking, “Ugh. Yet another social media account to manage?” You aren’t wrong. Yes, it’s another social media presence to maintain and yes, it’s super popular amongst Generation Z but with 800 million active users worldwide, it’s now become a marketing tool that makers should start utilizing. Or at the very least, lockdown a username.

As we enter the fifth month of a Covid world, TikTok has become a part of the fabric of our daily virtual lives, whether we’re discovering videos that have been shared on Instagram or Facebook or endlessly scrolling through the app itself, discovering new food and beverage products to ogle.

  • TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020. —Adweek

And TikTok isn’t just achieving monster downloads records. According to a BusinessofApps 2019 survey TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes a day in the app.

Already we’re finding excellent content that food and beverage makers have put forth on TikTok including Wonderlab’s Doozy Pots, Dream Pops, Ugly Drinks, Gunna Drinks, and Huel.

So how can you hop on the TikTok train? First things first, lockdown your username with a handle that’s as close to your product or company name as possible. Even if you don’t plan on creating any videos, secure your username now.

But if you are inclined to start experimenting with TikTok videos and you aren’t scared about a national security risk (India recently banned the app), here’s what you need to know:

Watch First, Record Later: The best way to understand TikTok is to sit with the app for a while and watch videos that will show up under the For You tab (also known as FYP, For You Page.) You can also search for your fellow friends or favorite brands and start following them too. But either way, make note of the types of trends that are popping up. Usually, they fall into four formats—dance routines, comedy, life hacks and informative videos. (Don’t worry about going viral right now. The TikTok algorithm for virality is mysterious to say the least. Just focus on putting up fun content.)

Don’t Be Like Instagram: The beauty of TikTok is that it’s sort of the anti-Instagram, at least for now. So don’t take your glamour shots from Instagram and repost them to TikTok with the same captions and all. Instead, use TikTok to go behind the scenes of making your product, how to use your product, or cool facts about what goes into your product. If you want to show off your own comedy or dance skills, try that too! Entertainment and experimenting are key, not forcing a sale. Beside, TikTok doesn’t really have a sales component anyways.

Take Advantage of the Editing Tool: A good part of why TikTok is so popular right now is that its in-app editing features are unbelievably good. Like, puts iMovie to shame. Take some time to test these out and put some pizzaz onto your content. You can keep your videos private or save them to drafts until you perfect them. Not confident in your content creating skills? Consider hiring an outside content studio like Garnish Studios, who specialize in food and beverage. Another great option for tutorials and tips is Later, a social media marketing platform (and Foodboro partner!)

Don’t Rush into Ads and Promotions: For year, TikTok has invested in experience over monetization, so it would be wise to start the same way. Focus on creating content that resonates wit the audience. And forget about advertising for now as it’s crazy expensive. Instead trying sending items to top TikTok creators (much like you would with influencers on Instagram) and have them promote a hashtag you’d like to use. For example, while Thrive Market is not on TikTok, they do send their boxes to TikTok partners for video plugs. (Search #thrivemarketpartner) Remember, the name of the game is simply boosting your brand’s awareness.

Here are even more tips on werking it on TikTok from Thi Q. Lam of Garnish Studios who specialize in digital marketing plans for food and beverage plans:

1. Do Your Content the Day Of: Tiktok is a fast flowing river that never stops and is unpredictable what the next trend will be. That’s why when you attempt to do a challenge or be a part of a popular hashtag, be sure to create the content the DAY of. If you plan to record a day later, then you’re too late to the game.
2. Use Story Forms: Create authentic captivating original content in story form. Tell a story that’s intriguing and leave them waiting for #part2  #part3  – this will make users hit your profile to find the rest of the story.
3. Edit on the app. People can tell when you bring outside footage into the app and that’s cheating.

One last thing: TikTok is addictive and fun which also means you’ll be spending a lot of time on it, especially as you learn more and more about it. Again, this is probably why it took off in quarantine when our everyday activities were suspended. But it’s still just one piece of the puzzle. So don’t kill yourself learning a viral dance trend for it.

Yes, we’re on Tiktok at @Foodboro. Follow us and we’ll follow you!