How Chipotle became one of the highest performing brands on TikTok by dominating user challenges and partnering with influencers like David Dobrik

tiktok chipotleChipotle/David Dobrik/TikTok

  • Chipotle runs one of the most successful brand pages on TikTok .
  • The chain has over 376,000 followers on the platform and has amassed almost 3 million combined likes on its posts.
  • Here’s a look at how Chipotle executes campaigns and partners with influencers to be one of the highest performing brands on TikTok.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Among the group of brands to make the leap to TikTok, Chipotle stands out as one of the most successful.

With over 376,000 followers and almost 3 million combined likes on its posts, the Mexican fast-food chain is one of the most prominent brands on the social media platform.

Last summer, the brand’s #GuacDance challenge campaign was TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the US, driving over 250,000 video submissions with the campaign’s hashtag. The campaign was also correlated with Chipotle’s biggest guac day in the chain’s history; the chain sold over 802,000 sides of guac that day.

“There’s no playbook, there’s no rulebook in this,” Chipotle’s vice president of digital marketing Tressie Lieberman told Business Insider in an interview. Lieberman said that when it comes to a TikTok strategy, the team is learning as they go, keeping an open mind and an ear to the ground to get a sense for what’s trending.

The Chipotle team has “Culture Hunters”

In many cases, TikTok is great way for brands to experiment with a new medium for interacting with consumers in a more personal way. 

Walmart, which has over 156,000 followers on TikTok, has also been successful in utilizing the platform with its hashtag challenges, which have garnered billions of views. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Old Navy also all have verified accounts on TikTok. 

“You have to be plugged in,” said Lieberman, adding that she browses through TikTok every single day to see what people are up to.

Executing a proper strategy on TikTok means jumping quickly on what people are into at any given moment. Chipotle is able to do this thanks, in part, to its team of what Lieberman calls “Culture Hunters,” who keep the brand informed about what people are saying on TikTok and about Chipotle in general.

“Because our team is very plugged into understanding what the customer wants and needs, what they’re talking about, and what they’re saying about the brand, that enables us to create content that we think is highly relevant for our community,” Lieberman said.

How Chipotle partners with influencers

Chipotle’s TikTok account is run by the company’s social media and public relations teams as well as an Agency partner called Day One. Chipotle also regularly shares user-generated content or creator content on its page.

When it comes to running campaigns with influencers, Lieberman said the team looks for creators who are vocal about their love for the brand or who have gained a sizable following on TikTok. Then, the brand will reach out to figure out a strategy that best serves the needs of the company.

Chipotle has partnered with high-level TikTok influencers like Avani, Jayo, and Josh Sadowski

Last May, Chipotle partnered with influencer David Dobrik to help garner momentum for a “Lid Flip Challenge” on TikTok. By June 6, the #ChipotleLidFlip hashtag had garnered more than 230 million views, CNBC reported. And while the campaign can certainly be described as successful, Leiberman said the process was relatively simple.

 

“Actually, we just texted David and said, ‘We’re going to get Chipotle delivered to your house, and we want you to try the Lid Flip Challenge and record it.’ And he did it himself, and that ended up being our ad unit,” Leiberman said.

Chipotle capitalizes on a guacamole obsession

In general, Leiberman described the Chipotle team’s approach to TikTok as organic. 

“For the most part, it’s really the team getting creative with their iPhones,” she said of the majority of the posts on the brand’s page. Chipotle’s most-viewed post is actually just a simple video of a Chipotle worker making some of the brand’s iconic guacamole. This post was viewed over 3 million times.

 

“Any time we talk about guac, we tend to get really great engagement,” Leiberman said, describing the popular side dish as the “superpower” of Chipotle. 

Creating more guacamole content is just one example of how Chipotle taps into what customers are passionate about. But Leiberman said that when it comes to TikTok, there is definitely not a one-size-fits-all model. With this in mind, Leiberman’s team keeps an open mind to trying new ideas on the platform every day.

“You just have to be really flexible to try new things, reach out to people, experiment,” Leiberman said.  “Because there’s not really a defined process here.”

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/chipotle-tiktok-strategy-includes-influencers-paid-content-guacamole-2020-4-1029130041

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