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How To Make The Most of TikTok for Your Restaurant

Is your restaurant using TikTok for marketing yet?  Maybe you’re intimidated by the format, think TikTok is only for teenagers, or just don’t know what to post.  But TikTok is a very effective restaurant marketing platform right now, with a variety of opportunities available from organic posts to influencer collaborations to advertising. No matter what’s holding you back, now is the time to start making the most of TikTok.  Read on for a comprehensive TikTok restaurant marketing guide. 

Why Use TikTok 

Organic reach and engagement rates across social platforms have been dropping for years.  It’s getting harder to reach your audience through Instagram and Facebook posts.  Part of the beauty of TikTok is the For You Page (FYP) and the algorithm that’s used to determine which content users see.  TikTok is designed for exploring new content and ideas: Compared to other social channels, users see a lot more content from accounts they don’t follow.  So TikTok is the perfect spot to expand your restaurant’s reach and get your content in front of new people. 

Plus, TikTok isn’t just for Gen Z anymore.  In fact, less than half of all users are between the ages of 10-29.  TikTok is growing amongst people of all ages.  No matter who your restaurant’s target audience is, you’ll probably find them on TikTok. The app has over 1.2 billion monthly users, and the average user in the U.S. spends about 2 weeks of their year in the app.  

Even more compelling is the fact that TikTok users are using the app to seek out new businesses to support and restaurants to try.  In one recent survey, 36% of TikTok users said they have ordered from a restaurant after finding them from a TikTok video. 

Getting Started 

When you’re ready to work TikTok into your hospitality marketing plan, it’s not hard to get started.  You’ll need to set up a business account in the TikTok app. Then, make sure your profile is optimized and complete.  You’ll want to include a clear profile picture, an easily identifiable name, a short description of your restaurant, and links to your website and your other social media channels. 

It’s also a good idea to start posting as soon as your profile is set up.  Try something simple like a restaurant tour, a slideshow of some of your most popular food items, or a quick introductory video of who your restaurant is and what you do. 

Follow the Trends 

One of the best practices when it comes to TikTok for restaurants is to keep a pulse on current trends.  At any given time, there will be a handful of memes, CapCut templates, trending sounds, or other trends that are popular on the app.  

Pay attention to what’s popular and get involved in any of the trends that are relevant and appropriate for your restaurant. By hopping on current trends, your videos will be more likely to go viral and reach more new people.

Restaurant Posts for TikTok 

It’s important to be up to date on trends, but you also don’t want your whole account to just be silly memes.  Your page should accurately represent your restaurant and actually give people an idea what they can expect when they visit you.  Here are some other post ideas that work well for TikTok marketing for restaurants

Share Unique Menu Items 

If you have any dishes that really set you apart from your competitors, are only offered for a limited time, or have a unique element to them, you’ll want to showcase them on TikTok.  Posts about unique items that people have never seen before tend to really take off in the app. 

Show the Making of a Popular Dish

People love a behind the scenes peek!  Another great TikTok video idea is to show off the steps it takes to make one of your most popular food items from start to finish. 

Introduce Your Staff 

Put a face to your brand name by showcasing some of your incredible employees.  This will humanize your restaurant and help users feel more connected to your brand. 

Share a Recipe 

Offer something valuable to your TikTok viewers, like a recipe they can try at home that’s inspired by the dishes on your menu. 

Respond to Comments 

TikTok has a unique feature that allows you to post a video directly in response to a comment you’ve received.  Make the most of this feature to engage directly with viewers and know that you’re posting exactly what they want to see. 

TikTok Influencers and Restaurants 

It’s important to build up your own presence on TikTok, but you can also leverage the large reach that influencers get on the app to increase awareness for your brand. Working with local influencers or foodies is a great way to not only get fresh content, but also to reach audiences outside those who are regularly seeing your videos. 

TikTok influencer collaborations can take a variety of forms.  You can invite influencers to try popular menu items, have them preview new offerings, work with them to advertise upcoming events, or even get creative and build a custom menu item for them.  However you decide to partner up, working with TikTok influencers can be a huge boost for your TikTok restaurant marketing strategy

TikTok Ads for Restaurants 

Beyond all the organic efforts and influencer collaborations mentioned above, TikTok also has many advertising tools that restaurants can make use of.  Here are a handful of TikTok advertising tips restaurants should keep in mind. 

Choose the right format 

There are a ton of ad formats, targeting strategies, and bid strategies to choose from on TikTok. Make sure you explore all your TikTok advertising options before making any decisions. For most restaurants, it will be best to test out multiple formats and strategies to see what works best before narrowing in and focusing on one thing. 

Capture attention quickly 

TikTok is a quick scroll app: If you don’t rope people in within the first few seconds, they’ll swipe right past your ad.  When advertising on TikTok, you want something that grabs viewers’ attention immediately. Try starting off with an eye-catching food photo or a super catchy tagline. 

Get inspired by the TikTok Ad Library 

You can browse TikTok’s Ad Library to see what other companies have done, see what’s trending, and gain insights into the top keywords and hashtags to include in your own ads. 

Keep important information centered 

Depending on the ad format, some parts of your video might get cut off or hidden by other information.  Whatever the key takeaway is from your ad, make sure it is clear and visible in the middle of the screen. 

Update often 

You’ll want to continuously change out and refresh your ad content to avoid ad fatigue.  TikTok recommends switching up your content about once a week. 

TikTok for Restaurants

Between posting your own content, collaborating with influencers, and advertising, TikTok offers a ton of marketing opportunities for restaurants. Make the most of this popular platform as part of your restaurant marketing plan with all the tips and tricks above. Dive right in and you’ll be a TikTok pro driving new customers through the door in no time!

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