In the business world where every dollar counts, social media has become a cost-effective way to market to the masses. Therefore, it’s vital to know where your potential customers are spending their time online so that you can reach them while continuing to focus on your bakery’s operations.

As of July 2021, social media app TikTok has over 732 million global users, according to Statista. That includes over 100 million in the United States, many in your own market. This relatively new app allows users to post creative videos of up to 3 minutes in length.

In a recent virtual conversation held during The Bake Fest, TikTok stars in the baking world shared their insights into how they grew their follower count and how they have monetized that.

Hannah Waters of Waters Bread Co. is using the following amassed through TikTok to build brand recognition and raise money in order to one day open a bakery. The account @hannahbreadtok has 736,600 followers and 16.3 million likes as of August 2021.

Waters had been baking for four years but started on TikTok during the COVID-19 quarantine, especially with sourdough bread baking becoming so popular.

“One night I just decided to post, I have this gigantic bucket of dough, and I was like, “Let me just post a video of me dumping it on the table. People are into slime, this seems fun,”” Waters says. “That video went viral overnight and I had over 2,000 followers when I woke up. So, I kept posting other bread videos. Within a month I had over 500,000 followers.”

Waters recommends frequent posting in order to grow your following. Early on, you can post 1-3 times a day to really get your name out there. You don’t know what is going to show up on users’ recommendations, so frequency is important. Authenticity and quality in your videos are also important, because your passion will break through with others.

You should also have a plan for how you will monetize your TikTok once you’ve grown your following. Waters used the growing fame to become affiliated with baking companies, and also provides merchandise on the Waters Bread Co. website that customers love.

Another way to build on success is through the TikTok Creator Fund. Creators need at least 100,000 authentic video views in a 30-day period to be eligible to join the Fund, which rewards the creator community for helping to build the TikTok brand. The funds that each creator can earn are determined by several factors, including the number and authenticity of views and the level of engagement.

There are countless ways you can feature your bakery in TikTok videos. The only limitation is your own creativity. Use hashtags to find what’s popular with users. How-to videos and product demonstrations can be a wonderful way to showcase what makes you special. The goal, as with other social media platforms, should be to generate enough interest to turn visitors into customers.