Are you on TikTok personally? What about your restaurant or venue professionally? TikTok has made a huge splash into the social media world over the past year, and there are many reasons to believe that it can be a beneficial platform for your venue in the event and hospitality industry.
While some people may look at TikTok as simply the “dancing platform” for young Gen Z users, that is entirely false. TikTok has grown to become a platform representing all sorts of people and businesses — small retail business owners, real estate brokers, wedding planners, restaurants, wellness coaches, financial planners, entrepreneurs, and more. Yes, we said wedding planners, restaurants, bars, and event planners do have a place on TikTok.
If you’re skeptical about crossing over into the world of TikTok, check out the following reasons explaining why your venue, restaurant, or event program should be on TikTok.
The algorithm behind TikTok is far different than any other social media platform out there, which is why it has been such a competitor to the existing platforms (Instagram’s reels feature is essentially copying TikTok videos). What any user sees on their personalized “For You” page is based directly on the videos that they interact with on TikTok, so it may even be one of the better platforms for finding your target audience.
As someone who is interested in the hospitality industry, I am constantly liking trendy kitchen theatrics videos, restaurant reviews, cocktail recipes, and event decor inspiration videos, so TikTok knows to continue showing me this sort of content. Ever wonder why your TikTok feed shows exactly the type of video you may be thinking about? The algorithm is the reason why. As a restaurant or venue, this is beneficial to you because the TikTok algorithm will do the work and put your content in front of the eyes of other hospitality and event industry lovers who enjoy that content.
Attention spans are short, which is why short-form video works really well on the TikTok platform. Videos cannot be longer than 15 to 60 seconds, therefore the commitment to watch is not overly exerting. Now that TikTok’s algorithm is getting the correct eyes in front of your videos, the length of the videos plays a role in keeping the viewer’s attention.
There are many things that can be done in the span of 15 to 60 seconds — from demonstrating a quick cocktail recipe to designing a complex balloon structure, which are entertaining concepts as is. Then, with the help of added music, voiceovers, and editing effects on TikTok, you will have an engaging video that hooks any viewer. Show what is unique and interesting in order to capture the attention of your ideal audience member. The benefit of the short-form video is that the viewer can easily get roped into watching a string of your videos in a row without even realizing how much time has passed. This is the strategy that YouTube pushes for when they try to increase a user’s stay on the platform, and with TikTok’s short-form video, the strategy works even better.
Opportunity for creativity
A great thing about TikTok is that it is an outlet for endless creativity. There is no right or wrong way to use TikTok, and it is simply up to the user’s imagination and thought into what the target audience would find interesting. When it comes to the hospitality industry, show the unique parts of your restaurant. Try filming your intricate cocktails while your bartender creates them in the form of a how-to video explaining the ingredients or simply as a fancy pour of a cocktail into a steaming glass of ice. Show off your surroundings, like the rooftop views of New York City or the waterfront seating in Miami. Share the secret behind-the-scenes videos that those who love your establishment would appreciate watching and feeling a VIP experience.
As a wedding planner, try showing your face explaining the steps that newly engaged couples should take to find their perfect wedding venue, favorite wedding decor, and resourceful wedding checklist. Then, show these steps in action by posting on-site footage from pre-pandemic weddings you planned or new-normal weddings since COVID-19 regulations changed events. A wedding video montage over romantic music is exactly what a dreamy bride-to-be is looking for to make sure her wedding is just as beautiful. Be the expert of the wedding industry and the audience will be coming back for your advice as they continue to see you on their “For You” page.
If you’re a unique venue that hosts events — like a brewery, country club, or warehouse-type venue — there’s plenty of room for you on TikTok as well. The fact that you are different than a restaurant and offer a unique setting for an event is just scratching the surface of what makes you unique. Like planners and restaurants can do, show off the unique wow factor that makes guests continue to book events with your venue. Give an on-site tour of event spaces, show people in action enjoying your property, or do a staff takeover with employees sharing their expertise. Figure out what generates the most likes, comments, and shares, and create more of that engaging content.
Industry knowledge and community
Not only can TikTok help your restaurant or event venue generate new attention, but it can also help you as an event professional be better at your own job. Given all of the accounts out there focused on the hospitality industry, marketing, trends, and so on, there is plenty to learn that may come from a few minutes spent flipping through the platform daily. Get some inspiration from what other restaurants are doing for your own account, and use the “duet” feature to show that you found the idea from another account. Duetting a TikTok video allows for a user to make a video next to the video that a different account posted. This could be a fun way to connect with other restaurant and hospitality industry employees across the platform.
TikTok prides itself on the community that the platform provides for users with similar interests. As you find accounts that are relevant to the hospitality and event industry, you may find yourself seeking out certain users for their expertise and unique perspective on the latest trends. Engage with other accounts by liking, commenting, and private messaging. The power of connection over social media has been a monumental way that people have stayed connected throughout the pandemic, in the hospitality industry and beyond.
While you’re stepping up your marketing game with TikTok, check out other marketing tips and tricks from the resources on our Events Industry Handbook site. Or take a look at our recent TSU Remote webinar, How Marketing Can Boost Event Bookings.