If your business isn’t on TikTok in 2024, you’re not getting the most out of your marketing budget and potentially missing out on thousands of new customers. It’s time to explore what TikTok’s organic engagement, automated advertising options, and emerging eCommerce marketplace can do for you.

Among SMBs that market on TikTok and at least one Meta platform, 96% say they get the most engagement on TikTok.

As Meta’s biggest rival in the social media landscape, TikTok has steadily gained popularity in the U.S., particularly among Gen Z. SMBs are reaping the benefits of that surge and seeing engagement results above and beyond what they can get from Facebook and Instagram.

In fact, among SMBs that market themselves on TikTok and either Instagram, Facebook, or both, the vast majority (96%) say they get the most engagement on TikTok.

Over the past year, TikTok has further expanded its user base in the U.S. and rolled out an in-app eCommerce marketplace, offering new ways to capitalize on the most fruitful social media discovery algorithm for small businesses.

According to Capterra’s 2023 TikTok Marketing Survey, among 364 small to midsize retailers and restaurants, TikTok outperforms Meta apps (Facebook and Instagram) in terms of organic engagement. What’s more, over half of SMBs are seeing positive return on investment (ROI) from paid ads on TikTok even as ad returns dwindle with Meta.

Among brands that run paid ads on TikTok, 51% have achieved positive ROI, and 45% are breaking even.

While many SMBs are already selling products through TikTok Shop, 45% say deriving ROI from TikTok’s eCommerce marketplace has been challenging.

Leveraging trends (53%), owning a niche (51%), and educating customers about your products and brand (51%) are key aspects of surveyed SMBs’ TikTok marketing strategies.

Social media engagement

New research has revealed the most engaging social media sites, with YouTube coming out on top. The study by web design company DigitalSilk.com analyzed SimilarWeb data to find the most engaging social media sites, by seeing which sites had the highest average visit duration and the average number of pages a user visits.

It found that YouTube is the most engaging social media site. The video-sharing platform scored highest for average visit duration, sitting at 19 minutes and 35 seconds, and users of the site were found to visit 11.08 pages on average per visit, giving it the top spot on the list.

Reddit comes in second place, with an average visit duration of 15 minutes and 55 seconds. Reddit users were found to visit 10.49 pages on average per visit to the discussion site.

Taking third place on the list is Snapchat, in this case, referring to the web edition of the messaging service which launched in 2022. Users were found to visit 8.34 pages per visit on average and stay on the site for an average of 14 minutes and 10 seconds.

X.com, formerly known as Twitter, takes fourth place on the list. It comes in with an average of 10.19 pages per visit, with the average visit duration at 10 minutes and 53 seconds.

Rounding out the top five is Instagram, with the image and video-sharing site coming in with the highest number of pages per visit in the top ten, with 11.53 on average. However, it comes in with a slightly lower visit duration of 8 minutes and 19 seconds.

The study looked at platforms like TikTok as well, which fell short of the top ten, with the web version of the video-sharing service coming in with an average visit duration of 3 minutes and 37 seconds and a pages per visit average of just 7.65.

Digital content management

Your business activities on the web stretch need to reach far beyond social media. Online software management programs play a pivotal role in the success of your business in today’s digital age.

Camino Bakery’s Cary Clifford explains that before adopting Cybake software, Camino Bakery ran production for its stores and wholesale operations using Google Sheets spreadsheets. This is likely a similar strategy for a lot of retail bakeries.

“It worked OK. But it's just super easy to put in an order on the wrong row,” points out Clifford of Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Camino Bakery. “If you put that in the wrong row on Google Sheets, you've accidentally ordered, say, 20 loaves of whole meal. You have all this wasted product, so that's not happening anymore, which is fantastic. Our mistakes have just gone from, say, if they were at a hundred, they’re down to one now.”

Camino Bakery was created by Cary Clifford in 2007 and was inspired by her travels along Europe’s most ancient and longest pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. Ever since, the bakery has gone from strength to strength, growing from one store to three, alongside a commissary kitchen and a thriving wholesale business. In 2018, long-term managers Lisa Warner and Jordan Poe-Crawford became co-owners.

Camino Bakery installed Cybake software to manage its three stores and wholesale operation. Cybake is a cloud-based bakery management system used by retail and wholesale bakeries to automate and control everything from orders to invoicing, recipes, shop management, waste control, production, deliveries and more.

“It is back-end software where you put in all of your recipes, and it allows you to create production and packing sheets for all of your people in the back of house to know exactly what they need to make every day,” Clifford explains. “That's how we're using it.”

The digital age

This is the dawn of the digital age, and retail bakeries across the country are embracing emerging technologies to improve their internal operations and reach out to existing and potential new customers through a digital pathway.

Engaging promotions play a key role. For the second year, General Mills Foodservice announces it is rolling out the red carpet for restaurants to showcase how biscuits play a starring role on their menus and offer operators a chance to win a total of $35,000 in cash prizes. Through March 31, the Biskies™ Recipe Contest accepted submissions for original recipes that use any baked or unbaked Pillsbury™ biscuit product and two or more additional ingredients.

In the Biskies Recipe Contest, chefs, owners and employees of commercial restaurants showcase how biscuits shine on their menus for a chance to win cash prizes by uploading a photo of their original biscuit recipe to the contest website, Facebook or Instagram. The recipe contest will award one Grand-Prize Winner, who will receive $20,000, and three Runner-Up Winners (one for each category: appetizer, entrée and dessert), who will each receive $5,000.

“The Biskies Recipe Contest celebrates restaurants and their best biscuit creations whether they play the leading role as an entrée, are part of a supporting cast as an appetizer or dazzle as the grand finale as a dessert,” says Chef Jessie Kordosky, a member of the Chefs of the Mills who will help to judge this year’s biscuit entries. “We can’t wait to see how restaurants showcase their creativity for biscuits that deliver a stand-out performance on their menus.”

General Mills Foodservice, which partners with restaurants to provide back-of-house products, recipe inspiration and culinary support, launched The Biskies Recipe Contest in 2023 to celebrate biscuits in all their flavors and forms. Last year’s Grand Prize Winner Veneé Pawlowski of Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie in Greensboro, North Carolina, won for her Upside Down Apple Praline Biscuit that used a Pillsbury™ buttermilk biscuit layered with brown sugar-roasted apples, served with bourbon buttermilk sweet biscuit ice cream, and topped with bourbon caramel, pecan pralines and salted toffee.

“It’s always thrilling for us to see how our biscuit products come to life on menus,” Kordosky says. “We hope the Biskies encourage restaurant professionals to experiment with Pillsbury biscuits, which provide a low-labor way to serve great-tasting biscuits that bake up beautifully every time and serve as the foundation for a number of unique menu items.”

Recipes will be judged by the Chef of the Mills, General Mills Foodservice’s team of culinary professionals. The top nominees will be selected based on originality, foodservice viability, creativity and how well the recipe incorporates the Pillsbury biscuit product.

A public vote, taking place April 15 to May 3, will determine the final winners, including one $20,000 Grand Prize Winner and three $5,000 Runner-Up Winners for appetizer, entrée and dessert categories.

For more information on eligibility, complete contest details and the official contest rules, restaurants should contact their General Mills Foodservice representative, call 1.800.215.6120 or review the Official Rules and Regulations.

The entries for The Biskies Recipe Contest will be reviewed by General Mills Foodservice’s team of culinary professionals, Chefs of the Mills, who will select three Category Finalists for each recipe category and one Grand Prize Winner. The finalists will be featured on General Mills Foodservice’s website and social media channels in April for a public vote to determine the final Grand-Prize and Runner-Up Winners. Final winners will be announced on approximately May 17.