- According to a Capterra survey of 164 retail and restaurant businesses, most small businesses now use TikTok for marketing, and 78% of those who use it have realized a positive return on investment from the platform.
- TikTok’s in-feed ads are an effective way for small businesses to maximize marketing power because they “resemble organic content so closely that the two are virtually indistinguishable,” driving strong engagement, Capterra Senior Analyst Molly Burke said in a blog post summarizing the survey results.
- For small restaurants, according to Burke, the real value of TikTok lies in the ability for marketing to go viral organically. At least one in 10 small businesses using the app have gone viral, per Capterra data.
The potential reach offered by TikTok could help small restaurants bolster their audiences to compete with major brands.
Burke highlighted a bakery that has racked up millions of likes and tens of thousands of followers on TikTok. The bakery, owned by Roz Rabbani, saw one post about a cake prepared for Kim Kardashian yield more than a million likes and several tens of thousands of followers.
This level of exposure could indicate TikTok is a more beneficial playing field for small and mid-sized businesses compared to other digital platforms, like Google and Meta, according to the blog post.
“Among businesses that post both organic and sponsored content, 72% say organic TikTok content is extremely valuable to their company’s overall marketing performance, while 55% say the same for ads,” Burke wrote. Over three quarters of surveyed businesses post organic content on TikTok, while less than two-thirds run ads, according to the press release.
TikTok has played a role in marketing for several years. McDonald’s used TikTok’s duet feature in a recent ad campaign tied to the World Cup, while Outback Steakhouse enlisted college athletes to make TikTok content promoting its brand. In 2020, both Arby’s and Burger King both launched marketing drives on the platform. Capterra predicts the social media platform will only grow more popular as a tool for discovery, because video ads or reviews are more immersive than text-based ads or reviews, according to Burke.
Denny’s has also worked with a roster of TikTok stars to promote specific menu items. The viral engagement possible on the app may have some drawbacks for restaurants, as complicated menu hacks or labor intensive menu items may prove too successful. Workers at unionizing Starbucks’ have told Restaurant Dive that TikTok inspired mobile order surges slowed down drink production and demoralized employees.