Exploring the Tiktok effect for indie retail

27 October 2022, 08:35 AM
  • Samantha Priestley explores how indies can use trending social media platforms to engage with their local audience
Exploring the Tiktok effect for indie retail

The online world is constantly shifting and as we’re more than halfway through 2022, it’s a safe bet that something new will come along in 2023. But for now, the platform everyone is hopping onto is TikTok. But is it a useful social media tool for food and drink businesses?

According to Helena Bush, social media manager at Sous Chef, “Independent retailers can capitalise on the rapidly evolving market by making sure their stock and products match the needs of the ever-growing market.

“Social media also offers accessibility to expose retailers to new audiences (with platforms like TikTok delivering content at random to those who have not directly searched for it) and with immediacy like never before.

“It has a future in the food industry just as it does in all industries it impacts. Sharing new food recipes/trends/experiences has never been so fast-paced and so it means the industry has to match this in its awareness of consumer demands, as they change quicker than ever.”

But it is a daunting platform for many retailers, as its fast-paced nature makes it almost impossible to keep up with trends. Speciality Food asked John Sinclair, owner of Craigie’s Farm Shop if he’d tried it yet.

“Not yet, but it is something we are considering adding to our plan. We feel our content would be really suited to that platform. Everybody likes cute farmyard animals. We have increasingly been factoring video content on our socials as this format keeps growing in popularity.”

Robi Lambie, founder and co-owner of Cairngorm Coffee Rosters in Edinburgh, along with his team, is always keen to get in there early with this new online platform, even if proves challenging at first.

“It has taken us a bit of time to understand what the audience on TikTok are looking for. We still haven’t smashed through the viral wall there, but we are trying anyway. We recently took onboard a guy 10 years my younger to help us create the content that people seemingly want to see over there.”

Engaging with your online audience is a constant learning experience, but for Robi, it’s important to keep it fun. “When we launched our coffee box packaging we did a spoof of Steve Jobs announcing the launch of the iPhone.”

That launch was a great success. Once you know your locals well enough, you know exactly what they’ll respond to, and it’s all growth from there.

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