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03.03.2022

TikTok: Is Now the Time for the Meat Industry to Embrace It?

If a Gen Z attended your recent family gatherings, odds are there was at least one conversation about a video on TikTok. Users on other social media platforms often say that TikTok is, “a talent show for people who have no talent.” It’s a funny line but TikTok is no joke. While you probably weren’t looking, TikTok and its users have sung, danced, joked and challenged their way to become the most popular web domain in the world, surpassing all established platforms. Yep, you read that right — in 2021, TikTok had more searches than YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and even Amazon and Google.1

Marketers — including those of us in the meat industry — can’t dismiss TikTok as something only kids pay attention to. According to Financial Times, “business cannot afford to ignore TikTok.” You have to be bold and keep up with digital platforms like TikTok or risk being “consigned to the past.”

So, is the meat industry ready to embrace TikTok? It depends.

167 million Tik Tok videos get streamed every minute of every day
I never recommend jumping on a bandwagon blindly without thoroughly researching it first — that’s especially true with social platforms. Here’s some basics to help you begin to answer whether or not it is time to TikTok:

Who TikToks?

In my blog, “Four Keys to Win Over Gen Zs,” I discussed the importance of Gen Zs to meat marketers. TikTok can help you reach them — about 60% of TikTok users are Gen Z; its Gen X audience is also growing rapidly. It’s common for Gen Z adults (18-24) to not only conduct all their searches on social media, but nearly 50% also make purchases through those same platforms.2 So, if Gen Zs are your target, it’s time to give TikTok solid consideration as an addition to your marketing plan.

How Marketers Use TikTok

TikTok can’t be a mere extension of your existing marketing efforts. Why? Because the platform’s users only trust and engage with unique, authentic, highly targeted, user-generated content. That means repurposing videos produced for other platforms won’t work. TikTok users are quick to shun anything that resembles traditional, mass-market messaging.

The need for unique, authentic, highly targeted, user-generated content can make it hard to find success on TikTok. To help court advertisers, the platform has rolled out several business-friendly features. Still, many marketers prefer to invest their money in creators (aka influencers), not directly on the platform itself. Forty-six percent of marketing professionals plan to raise influencer marketing investments in 2022 and many will use established TikTok creators to do the heavy lifting.3

Influencers Rule TikTok

Why use influencers? Influencers are a way to jumpstart getting your message in front of your target market because they have built-in audiences, understand how to create the content TikTok users want and can drive greater sales, awareness and engagement.4

Unique User-Generated Content is Key

If you decide to not utilize influencers, be prepared that creating your own unique content can be a heavy lift. Worth repeating from above: regurgitating existing marketing assets to a TikTok audience is not a successful path forward. Brands who are doing well on TikTok are devoting their resources to create content that includes:

  • Sounds and music
  • Short-form videos
  • Popular hashtag challenges

This means you’ll spend a significant amount of time and effort producing, monitoring and managing TikTok content (another reason influencers are being used versus going it alone).

Key Considerations About TikTok

While TikTok has a huge presence, it’s not the right choice for every brand. In your quest to determine if TikTok makes sense for your brand, consider the following:

  • Developing and executing a successful TikTok strategy takes time, money and effort. And because it is different content, the investment will most likely need to be incremental to existing efforts to prove effective.
  • TikTok’s success is driven by what its users and the platform want, NOT necessarily your messaging or business objectives. That means you have to be willing to give up a lot of control over your content to users and influencers without undue interference or oversight.
  • Currently, TikTok has weak reporting metrics, analytics and ROI data compared to more well-established social platforms.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

TikTok is an all-or-nothing proposition — you must be willing to fully embrace and commit to the platform and its users to reach any level of success. Use the considerations above to guide if/when you climb on board the TikTok platform. It might just be time to fire up your iPhone, tap those hot influencers, dust off your best dance moves, sing your boomer heart out, workshop some awesome stunts or sight gags or conjure up an irresistible challenge. If you decide to enter the TikTok world, let go and let the algorithm do its digital magic — see where TikTok can take you. It’s worth taking the leap into TikTok to capture the loyalty of Gen Z and Gen X as these powerful consumers continue to grow in significance to both marketers and the meat industry.

1Step Aside, Google.Com. TikTok Has the Most Popular Web Domain on the Internet Right Now, Fast Company, December 2021
2Gen Z Prefers People Over Marketers for Product Information, November 2021
3Red-Hot Influencer Marketing Predictions For 2022, Forbes, January 2022
414 Instagram, TikTok, YouTube Influencers and Creators, Brands Marketers Should Know, Ad Age, September, 2021

This content originally appeared in Meatingplace