Ever since TikTok came on the social media scene, marketers everywhere have had to rethink everything they know about the power of short-form video content. But one industry that thrives on the wildly popular app is convenience stores.
The top convenience stores on social media have already proven that they know how to create engaging, entertaining content that will resonate with their audience. So it’s no surprise that they’ve been able to approach TikTok with the same bravado.
With more than 1 billion active monthly users, TikTok is the place for social media marketers to be. But what exactly can brands do to break through the content-saturated platform and capture the attention of their target audience? The top convenience stores on social media can show you how.
Below, we’ll go over how brands can stand out on TikTok by highlighting a few best practices from some of the top convenience stores on TikTok.
What the top convenience stores on TikTok do well
Know their audience
C-stores have loyal fans. Customers will go out of their way to visit their favorite store, proudly rep their merchandise, and gush about them on social media. And the best convenience stores on TikTok take advantage of that brand loyalty by creating content catered specifically to their customers.
Most of the c-stores leverage their location because they know their customers are loyal and passionate about their home state and the subculture that comes with it. For instance, Kwik Trip is based in Wisconsin and weaves Midwest humor into a majority of its TikTok content because that’s something that resonates with its audience.
Optimize for the FYP
You can’t dive into TikTok marketing without considering the For You Page (FYP). Similar to a newsfeed, the FYP is the first thing users see when they open up the app. The FYP is curated based on what the algorithm thinks someone wants to see because of content they’ve previously engaged with.
This is why it’s important to know your audience if you want your brand to succeed on TikTok.
If your content is something the algorithm thinks a user would like (because they’ve liked similar content or previously viewed your videos) then it will show them your videos on their FYP.
Plus, the app recently pulled the curtains back on how the TikTok algorithm works and confirmed that it does not factor in an account’s follower count or previous video performance when it comes to the FYP. What does this mean for marketers? You don’t need to have a huge following or viral videos under your belt if you want to reach your target audience.
The top convenience stores prove that as long as you know your audience, you can create content that is more likely to land on their FYP.
Lean into the trends
TikTok content is different from the rest of the social media platforms. Rather than planning your content calendar months ahead of time, a good TikTok marketing strategy should leave plenty of room for on-the-fly content. It’s all about jumping onto the latest trend — and being quick about it.
Trends come and go fast on TikTok, so brands need to stay on top of everything happening on the app. If you don’t have time to scroll through TikTok for hours each day, marketers can also employ a social listening tool to make sure they don’t miss what everyone is talking about.
Jumping on current trends is another great way to land on the FYP. The top convenient stores on TikTok always incorporate trending sounds and video formats when creating content that ties back to their brand.
If you scroll through Kwik Trip or Kum & Go’s TikTok pages, you’ll start to see familiar faces. It’ll almost feel like you’re looking at an individual’s page instead of a brand’s — and that’s the point.
Many of the top-performing convenience stores on TikTok have a person or multiple people who act as the face of the brand. They essentially play characters that followers can get to know over time.
Not only is the person a familiar face, but they become someone users can look forward to seeing which helps build a connection with your audience.
Top 3 Convenience Stores on TikTok
Kwik Trip kills it across all social media channels. The Wisconsin-based c-store is Midwestern through and through, and their audience loves it. It’s clear that creating content for its specific audience is central to the brand’s marketing strategy.
Kwik Trip is also a close competitor of fellow Midwestern convenience store, Kum & Go. The two brands are often engaging and roasting one another on Twitter.
When it comes to TikTok, Kwik Trip applies a lot of the same strategies that have helped them perform well on other channels. But the c-store isn’t just repurposing content from Twitter or Instagram. Kwik Trip uses all of the best practices mentioned earlier to create high-performing content and build a loyal and engaged audience.
One of the brand’s top-performing videos uses a trending sound (called “how would they know”) to show its audience how to make a drink from Kwik Trip’s secret menu. The original video where the sound originated from has received 13.2M views, and by using this sound, Kwik Trip earned 1.2M views. This is only one of a handful of Kwik Trip’s videos that has reached that level of virality — most of their videos stay in the range of 12K to 30K views.
Kwik Trip also makes it a point to feature the same person from their social media team in most of their videos, which helps the brand form a connection with their audience.
The lesson? Creating a personality for the brand by having an actual person be the face of the brand rather than using a “brand voice” is key to creating more authentic content on TikTok.
This video, which has earned over 150k views, encompasses all of the top TikTok best practices we mentioned earlier. Not only is it an example of Kwik Trip’s use of a familiar face but it also uses a trending sound to highlight Kwik Trip’s loyalty to its home state which is something that resonates deeply with its customers.
There’s more to TikTok than just creating a funny video. Kwik Trip is a shining example of a brand that can be both on-trend and authentic while actively promoting its company.
Over on the East Coast, Wawa has built a deeply loyal customer base around its convenience stores and all of the perks that come with them. Wawa’s claim to fame is the made-to-order hoagies, and customers rave about the company’s signature coffee, too. Fun fact: Wawa sells over 60 million hoagies and more than 195 million cups of coffee each year. So you can bet they’re going to leverage those beloved products in their social media content!
And though follower count isn’t the most engaging social media metric to consider, Wawa does have the most followers out of these three c-stores on TikTok. Clearly, the brand knows how to attract its audience.
Wawa’s TikTok page features a mix of trending sounds and longer, more produced videos. But the c-store also takes advantage of user-generated content, often reposting TikTok users’ videos about Wawa.
Another thing Wawa does well is that they’re mindful about branding. TikTok may be less geared toward cohesive aesthetics than Instagram, but that doesn’t mean brands should abandon brand visuals altogether. TikTok thumbnails are an important element of a brand’s page as well as the discover section of the platform so it would serve brands well to consider how a still frame would translate to a viewer.
Wawa’s logo or signature red can be seen in most of its TikTok videos. Even if the video isn’t directly promoting one of the store’s products, someone in the video is usually holding a Wawa coffee cup or sporting the company logo, which serves as a reminder to the user of whose video they’re watching.
When the FYP is as unpredictable as it is, videos can easily get lost on TikTok. Brands that want to stand out and be memorable would be wise to include some sort of reference to their company name or brand colors throughout their content.
Kum & Go
TikTok produces engagement metrics that are out of this world. It’s not uncommon to see videos with views in the millions, and it’s every marketer’s dream to see their brand’s content take off to viral levels. One brand that does this well is Kum & Go.
Like Kwik Trip, Kum & Go is also a Midwest-centric convenience store on TikTok whose strategy can only be described as throwing caution to the wind. The brand’s content is the opposite of the restrained corporate vibe that companies often give off on social media. Some of the videos are so casual it makes you forget that they’re coming from a brand account. Not to mention, like Kwik Trip, Kum & Go’s videos often feature the same person. This helps users feel like they’re connecting with a personality or creator rather than a brand.
In terms of metrics, Kum & Go’s unreserved approach is paying off. One of Kum & Go’s top TikTok posts earned an engagement rate of 319% and got a whopping 1.5 million views.
Kum & Go uses plenty of trending sounds, makes references to Midwest culture, and roasts other convenience stores. And, of course, they call out the elephant in the room by making plenty of jokes about the company’s cheeky makes-you-do-a-double-take name.
All that to say, Kum & Go doesn’t take itself seriously on TikTok and it’s proved to be a winning strategy for the convenience store.
With its mysterious algorithm, countless trends, and the potential to go viral, TikTok can be daunting for social media marketers. But these high-performing convenience stores are proof that anyone can make TikTok work for their brand.
As long as you understand your audience, stay tapped into trending sounds and content, and build an authentic personality, TikTok can be a powerful way to connect and engage — and to have a little fun with your social media strategy.