How we made a peanut TikTok go viral

Why monitoring trends, quick approvals and leaning on junior colleagues is the key to success in this new age of social media

On Thursday, July 14, 2022, a TikTok account with 32 followers, 11 videos and a peanutty hook had a video blow up.

Michelle Gibson, Argyle

Given the growth of TikTok and the opportunity it provides to engage with consumers more authentically, our team launched @peanutscanada in June, an organic TikTok account for our longstanding client, the Peanut Bureau of Canada.

Year-over-year, peanut and peanut butter consumption remains high amongst most of the Canadian population, but we’ve seen a decline in consumption amongst younger consumers. To sustain the category and ensure future growth, we need to ignite a love of peanuts within younger, Gen Z Canadians; so we went to where they are – TikTok.

To mark National Peanut Day this year, we’re reflecting on the organic growth of our peanutty client’s new TikTok account, and how we’ve achieved early success. Since June, we’ve posted regularly, with a thoughtful, trend-based strategy that has led to positive results. To date, three of our organic posts have generated tremendous engagement with more than 5,000 views each. Most notably, a video posted on July 14 has received 58.7K views, 2,047 likes and 62 comments – leading to a huge jump in followers, engagement and awareness for our client’s brand.

But how did we get here? And how does a brand effectively create a TikTok account from the ground up and capture the interest of the elusive Gen Z audience?

Trend monitoring

To create TikTok content that resonates with users, a necessary portion of the creative development is trend monitoring. The trend cycle on the app moves rapidly, with trends rising and falling from week to week, or even day to day. Therefore, brands must be nimble and monitor content daily. Akin to media monitoring, brands interested in being on TikTok must have daily trend monitoring.

Content planning

Say goodbye to content calendars and planning months in advance if you are interested in growing on TikTok. As trend monitoring is vital to capturing trends, hopping on them quickly is even more important. Long lead times no longer exist when creating content for TikTok. Trends that existed last month are obsolete now, therefore, creative and social media managers must create content on the fly based on the whims of the platforms.

Approval time

Potentially the most essential part of growing a healthy organic TikTok account is approval time. There is a necessary shift happening in the industry – where approvals must come on a day’s notice to capture the trend and audience before it is gone. Just like creative and social media teams, clients must learn and become accustomed to quick approval timelines. Longer, more traditional approval procedures are ineffective for TikTok content, and teams and clients alike must learn to change with it – if they want to see success on the app. Working with our client at the Peanut Bureau of Canada to establish a regular cadence of developing, reviewing and approving new TikTok content, outside of a more conventional monthly schedule, has proven successful for us; our full team, on both the agency and client side, understands the importance of being fast and nimble if we want to make an impact in this space.

Junior involvement

Giving junior, Gen Z colleagues the agency to create and manage TikTok programs is key to account growth. Putting a 23- or 24-year-old in the role of managing an entire account’s identity, voice and look may seem unusual or risky, but it works. Take for example Zaria Parvez, the Global Social Media Manager at Duolingo: she was given the reins of the brand’s TikTok account and within months, it became the industry gold standard of success on the platform. She singlehandedly trailblazed and showed how brands should be talking to Gen-Z – all because the company gave a 23-year-old the confidence and freedom to create content the way they enjoy consuming it. Therefore, it is essential to bring Gen Z staff into the fold when creating a TikTok account.

These shifts we are seeing in social media management on TikTok will be the future of social media. The rapid trend cycling that dominates TikTok is now seeping into other platforms, like Instagram with Reels. And social media management roles are being given to younger team members, as they are the ones creating and consuming the trends – and have growing influence and purchasing power in society.

Subsequently, brands must learn to adjust their practices if they want to continue to effectively create social media content that resonates with target audiences.

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