Social Media / Guest article

How restaurateurs can use the potential of TikTok

The short video platform TikTok is on the advance. The catering trade can also use it very well for marketing purposes.
imago images / Hans Lucas
The short video platform TikTok is on the advance. The catering trade can also use it very well for marketing purposes.

TikTok is the app that makes Facebook users feel old for good. The short video platform is enormously successful and achieves wide coverage. TikTok also offers enormous opportunities for the catering trade. A guest article by Sebastian Stöwer.

Granted: Whoever once played through MySpace, Lokalisten and StudiVZ and now really knows his way around Facebook, has no advantage on TikTok at all. A significant percentage of TikTok users will probably never have had a Facebook account.

But even as a social media dinosaur, you're completely caught up in this frenzied parallel world. From the first time you open TikTok, clips fly around your ears every second. And once the algorithm has recognized your interests, your fate is sealed. Children up to the age of 15 spend an average of 80 minutes a day in the app. More is only available on YouTube (85). The community is growing rapidly, and by 2020 TikTok will be the most frequently downloaded app in the Google and Apple stores. Almost half of the users are between 18 and 24 years old.

Why should someone watch my restaurant clips?

Interest on TikTok arises where there is friction between expectation and reality. Where newscasters are suddenly funny (or barefoot) and restaurants blur the line between visitor experience and employee culture.

TikTok is the view behind the curtain, the invitation to your own living room. Close and human, but above all: not perfect. The American chain Chipotle achieves six to seven-digit call numbers with completely imperfect insights into their everyday life. In Germany, we have been able to show with the French fries manufacturer Frittenwerk since May that similar successes are possible here without a long start-up time. In just a few weeks, Frittenwerk collected more than 36,000 followers and nearly 4.5 million video views. The protagonists are employees and guests; the stories told offer an enormous potential for identification.

Is it enough if I record a short video during the lunch break?

Anyone can join in with their mobile phone and thumb, and if in doubt, their index finger and the old iPhone with its splintered display will suffice. However, the equation "little effort = high yield" rarely works, especially in everyday gastronomy. Often it takes time and many attempts to get the video right. If you want to post regularly, you must also plan for creative effort. Similar to YouTube and Instagram, TikTok can become a full-time job. The first agencies already have a head start in terms of experience and offer expertise and implementation.

Gastronomy is a TikTok theme park

The variety of themes is inexhaustible for restaurateurs, and the daily workplace is a true TikTok experience park. If you don't have your own ideas, simply let the app inspire you. Every day, new challenges, hashtags and trends appear on the homepage. Food porn will suck your audience in always anyway. To swim on a wave is often the fastest way to many video views. Someone makes something exciting and thousands of others imitate it. It's funny that Instagram's business model was based on imitating other apps.

What about privacy?

Donald Trump sees TikTok in the hands of the Chinese owner as a threat to national security and in August ordered the reversal of the sale of the TikTok predecessor Even a ban in the USA did not seem out of the question for a long time, but now TikTok seems to be moving to the USA. The fact that the president is fighting this battle so publicly underlines the prominent status of the App.

It is not yet clear to what extent data protection concerns will affect availability in Europe. In the next few weeks, the limited availability of the ad manager could be opened to everyone, while Instagram rewards the use of its competitor "Reels" with massive reach. However, the TikTok has not been touched so far. The virality is unchecked.
Sebastian Stöwer is a copywriter and press officer at the Düsseldorf-based creative agency Teomedia, which now shoots TikTok videos for its clients every day. In particular, he is responsible for the social media appearances of Frittenwerk, a French fries manufacturer represented throughout Germany.