It’s a TikTok World, and Your Venue Needs a Presence


Is your restaurant, hotel, brewery, catering company, or unique venue on TikTok? If the answer is no, this article will be the turning point that will help you say yes. In late 2021, TikTok became the number one most-visited website on the Internet, passing even Google. Since then, TikTok and Google have battled as the top two most visited websites.

TikTok is where billions of eyeballs are looking for entertainment, peer recommendations, tourist activities, and advice on daily life. There is a place for every industry on the TikTok platform, especially the hospitality and events industry. When scrolling through the main “For You” page, it is common to see bartenders shaking cocktails, chefs plating dishes, wedding planners giving advice, balloon artists building displays, and guests reviewing their restaurant experiences.

There are so many ways your venue can create new content for TikTok, take advantage of user-generated content made by other users, and actively set up ways for guests to get involved in making this content.

Let’s talk about what your venue needs to know to stand out and make a mark on TikTok.

Relying on user-generated content

As said at the beginning of this article, TikTok is powerful because of its particular algorithm that gives users the exact content they want to watch. Another reason TikTok has increased in popularity is its user base. Every day people gain popularity on TikTok by offering their recommendations, reviews, and opinions. Some of these people may just post for fun, while others post as a full-time job to their audience of followers who trust their recommendations. Any mentions by a TikTok user with a strong following can result in actual sales at your establishment.

A common way hospitality businesses like restaurants, hotels, breweries, or unique venues can be seen in user-generated content on TikTok is through reviews. Users will review their experience of a restaurant by sharing videos of the restaurant ambiance, drinks they ordered, every course on the menu they enjoyed, and other fun facts about the restaurant’s history, neighborhood, and crowd. Sometimes these users may have a partnership with the restaurant to produce this type of video, but often users will post these reviews on their own to share with their audiences.

If you are lucky enough to get mentioned by a TikTok user on their own accord, it is time to act on that content. Here’s how:

  1. First, like and comment on the video from the restaurant account to show the user that you care about their experience and your place in the restaurant community.
  2. Then, use TikTok’s “duet” feature and post your own video reaction alongside the original video. This duet could be a place where you can thank the video creator and continue adding to the conversation by showing other elements of your restaurant that can be elaborated on further or that were missed in the video.
  3. Repost the TikTok video to your other social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook by clicking the copy link or any of the social sharing icons in the corner of the video.
  4. Save the video to your phone and use it in future promotions while always mentioning the original creator. When working from a desktop, you can even embed the video link into other forms of content, like a website post.

User-generated content is amazing because it takes no effort from the restaurant’s side to create. It is an example of social proof that inspires others who watch that video to visit your establishment. There are countless “foodie” TikTok accounts across the country that specialize in visiting as many restaurants, hotels, and other venues so they can find their favorite places. Take a look at @sistersnacking, @theviplist, and @twotastebuddiez to see some restaurant foodie accounts we follow.

Promoting TikTok engagement

So far, we have discussed how your business can create its own video content and how you can use the user-generated content created by fans of your business. Now, let’s think about combining the two and discuss how you can purposely encourage your fans to post on behalf of your restaurant.

Similar to how “Insta-worthy” moments made a splash on social media in front of photo walls and neon signs, creating “TikTok-worthy” experiences only increases the chance of videos being taken and posted. So, how can you encourage users to post about your restaurant?

  1. Host a social media contest that requires restaurant goers to take a video eating one specific dish at your restaurant and leave their reviews. Each user who submits a video gets entered into a random drawing for a gift card to your restaurant.
  2. Post a video of your bartender making a signature cocktail and ask your followers to duet the video by making their version of the cocktail. The creator of the best cocktail gets to co-create the bar’s next signature cocktail with the bartender.
  3. Think outside of the box when it comes to your specials. The most popular restaurant review videos often experience an extra added level of flare during their experience. Maybe it’s an incredible $28 deal for steak, salad, and unlimited fries like New York City-based restaurant Skirt Steak offered, which attracted hundreds of hungry customers. Or perhaps it is a collaboration with a local company, like TikTok user @imma_eat_this describes Jacob’s Pickles’ pancake dish in collaboration with Magnolia Bakery. These are the moments that people want to post about.

Whenever you run a promotion or contest, tell all participants to follow your business’ TikTok account, tag you in their posts, and use a custom contest hashtag. This will only help your presence grow to their followers, their followers’ followers, and so on.

Create a TikTok presence and reap the rewards

Now that you know the secret recipe to TikTok success, it is time to get posting with the ideas described in this article. Try a new video every week and track how much attention each piece of content gets and why. Use what works to improve your videos, and your following and customer base will increase over time.