Following Little Moons’ incredible success on TikTok, food brands are getting increasingly hungry for a slice of the proverbial TikTok pie.

There’s no denying that the opportunities for influencer marketing on TikTok are monumental; according to a study on Student Beans over half of Gen-Zs have purchased something after seeing it on TikTok. Food brands like Little Moons and Chipotle have absolutely nailed it – but for many others out there the opportunity remains relatively untapped.

So where are brands getting it wrong? The first error for brands is treating TikTok like it’s Instagram. Marketers may have nailed Instagram ads and creator partnerships, but this is a completely different ball game to TikTok. Recycling content across platforms, not only sticks out like a sore thumb, but comes across as uninspired and lazy, and you’ll get the results to match.

More than any other platform, authenticity is the key factor in creator-led campaigns on TikTok. Creator authenticity needs to work on a few levels: firstly through selecting the creator. Ideally, you want genuine fans of the product who know it inside out and use it regularly. If your product is going to feel out of place with the creator’s feed and general interests – then you know they’re a no-go.

There’s no need to rush

Many brands tend to rush the selection process based on who’s popular or going viral at that time, which is a huge error. Much like dating, creator selection is hugely personal and bespoke: it’s about finding the right fit and creating a meaningful relationship.

Food brands should strive to create longer-term relationships with creators. It’s worth incorporating gifting and other relationship-building strategies to make sure they are using your products regularly and authentically demonstrate brand love.

The next way in which inauthentic content sticks out like a sore thumb is through the creative. A scripted product promotion that doesn’t fit in with the creator’s organic content is bound to flop. If you’re looking for a paid actor to reel off the benefits of your product, then go back to TV adverts, creator campaigns are not for you.

It’s important to consider each creator as a collaborator and partner, rather than a paid contractor. The creative needs to feel organic and need to be bespoke for each creator you work with to fit in with their natural style. Rather than having a super tight and prescriptive brief – it should be a two-way collaboration that ends in a strong piece of content that feels native.

The winning recipe

This is why recipe content is a winner for foodie brands. Not only are viral recipes a huge part of TikTok, they can be a truly authentic way to showcase products but avoiding the feel of product placement. With that being said, if any brands are trying to jump on viral recipes, it is essential that the content is turned around quickly. If done right, there is nothing more powerful for a brand than to be seen at the forefront of trending cultural moments. However, if the moment is missed, even slightly, this shows the brand to be out of touch.

To create a truly authentic campaign, brands should look at series or episodic content, which not only performs well on TikTok but is likely to have much more of an impact and feel much more native. It outlines the creator as an ambassador of the brand, rather than just a one-off piece of content but also leaves followers coming back for more.

In short, TikTok is a hugely powerful platform with incredible potential. Believing in the power of authenticity and investing time into achieving this, is how food brands can truly flourish.

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