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Trends and Insight

TikTok’s Metabolic Rise: How F&B Brands Can Get into the Festive Spirit on TikTok

Tag Americas’ director of social media and communications Rebecca Steckham shares how food and beverage brands can tap into the buzzing TikTok market as the holiday season approaches

TikTok’s Metabolic Rise: How F&B Brands Can Get into the Festive Spirit on TikTok

TikTok’s command on food and beverage trends is huge. With trends like , reaching 1 billion views, it’s impossible to ignore that TikTok trends are shaping what we eat and drink. When this cheesy pasta recipe went viral, searches for the cheese went to the top spot on Instacart’s grocery delivery app. Despite these viral moments, brands were slow to trust the app with their marketing. 

“Don’t make ads, made TikToks.” TikTok is relentless in this messaging and there’s a reason why: user-generated content highly impacts purchasing decisions. Look at what happened with Ocean Spray after the viral skateboarding video: sales lift, brand boost and an opportunity to connect with new consumers. Not bad for a 90-year old juice company.

“This makes the evolution of TikTok so fun to watch,” says Rebecca Steckham, Tag Americas’ director of social media & communications. Carolina Rice USA, a brand that has worked with Tag, found TikTok success. “When one of our videos landed on the For You Page, we knew that the content was a winner.”

As the holidays approach, video tutorials are one way that F&B brands can effectively use TikTok (and spread holiday cheer) 


A quick look at some of the highest-ranking videos seem to indicate that food and drinks are two of the most popular categories among users. From gingerbread-themed hot drinks, to holiday candy and cinnamon buns, there’s a ready-made market waiting to be tapped.

“It’s a chance for food and bev brands to reach maximum creativity. Tutorials, testimonials, behind the scenes and challenges are all trends to try out this holiday season. Start with an idea, agree on your objectives and be prepared for TikTok to show you how to adapt to reach your goals,” says Rebecca. “There's a huge opportunity with F&B holiday content: anticipated crowd favourites, nostalgic family recipes, hacks and time savers... the list goes on.”

What else? Keep it short and take advantage of sound: music and voiceover add value.

TikTok “made me buy it” phenomenon has helped products fly off the shelves. For the holiday season, brands need to move fast. TikTok recently revealed that 35% of users say they’ll buy all their gifts before Cyber Monday, while 47% said that TikTok is likely to inspire a gift idea this year. 

“One of the content trends identified by our content strategist this quarter was ‘more is more’. For the first time in two years, families and friends will be getting together post-pandemic to celebrate. Everyone’s ready to indulge,” says Rebecca.

Discover your brand advocates


Like anything new, we’ll see some brands serve as early adopters while others sit back and wait. Concerns of control, brand safety and audience are variables that played a role in brands taking a slower approach to joining the platform. But in the pandemic, it was hard to ignore the platform’s value. 

“By searching for hashtags and other keywords, you can see how creators on the platform are already engaging with your brand. Understand what the community is enjoying.”

Influencer marketing can also help brands understand how the community engages with the type of content that is being shared. “It's a smart jumping off spot to build your brand’s TikTok strategy upon.”

TikTok has been encouraging brands to collaborate with its growing pool of influencers since late 2019, via the app’s Creator Marketplace. When searching for influencers to collaborate with, Rebecca advises brands to “contact creators who are using products within their content. Unboxing and haul videos are perfectly catered for the holiday season.”

However, she also warns that brands do need to bear in mind that you can’t truly predict when something is going to go viral. “There’s still something very serendipitous about the content that really takes off on social platforms. Stay dialled in, have a plan and be ready to react quickly when that plan goes out the window.”

With TikTok’s latest holiday season report revealing that 39% of users have discovered a new product or brand after downloading the app, integrating a product into this ready-made formula for the holiday season could really help drive traffic and sales. 

‘Tis the season for organic boosting  


In July this year, TikTok announced ‘Spark Ads,’ a new brand ad option allowing brands to boost pre-existing organic videos on the app - if the brand felt the video aligned with its own messaging and campaign targets. This makes 2021’s holiday season the first time brands can use this strategy. 

For example, if a F&B brand saw a completely organic, creator made video that showed a recipe using its own products going viral, the brand could pay to boost the video (with permission from the creator).

“So if you see something taking off and really running well, organically, you can push it to that next level,” Rebecca adds. “It’s [Spark Ads] an authentic ad experience that can provide brands with lift and us with more reporting data. It’s worth looking into things like holiday-specific hashtag challenges or takeovers which can be hugely effective too. Keep in mind that those ad formats are likely going to be a bit more expensive.”

Be authentic, have fun and remember that TikTok is designed for entertainment. Show your consumer how your brand will make their celebration even more special this year.  
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