Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

How big and small businesses alike are using TikTok

A single video on TikTok blew Zombee Donuts away with exposure and internet fame. In the TikTok, the user @thesweetcarols shows different kinds of donuts in the video, having captions of each name of the donuts. She explains how it’s a family friendly environment and how Zombee Donuts is really active in the Fullerton community and is a local business. The TikTok algorithm can push a single video to millions of users and their “For You” page allows the video to be viewed over and over again. It gave Zombee Donuts some exposure on the platform and expanded their brand on social media.


Zombee Donuts not only makes zombie inspired donuts, but also does family friendly custom ordered donuts. Photo courtesy of Zombee Donuts

Zombee Donuts is a women owned donut shop located in Fullerton, opened seven years ago by Marie Theodore and Vanessa Guillen, a mother daughter duo. They serve monster themed donuts inspired by shows like “The Walking Dead.” The duo wanted to create an environment that was friendly, because they say that the industry can be toxic. They funded themselves to turn their dreams into a reality.


TikTok is one of the fastest growing platforms with 700 million active users on the app, according to W3 Lab. According to Oberlo, Tiktok and Reddit are the fastest growing social media platforms in the U.S. that have increased more than 10% in 2021. Content creators have 15 seconds to grab a user’s attention before they continue scrolling. Those 15 seconds are important when small businesses want to grow their audience on the platform. 


The goal is to get your TikTok on the “For You” page where you’re able to reach the right audience. Everyday there are new trends where people join in, hoping for people to engage with their videos. These trends are especially good when you’re a local business trying to grow an audience. When using hashtags on TikTok, it helps to gain more reach and push your videos more on the platform. Hashtags also allow you to find videos easier. 


TikTok is well known for audios. It’s filled with creator-made sounds or artists’ music. A trending audio happens when many users use it many times to accompany their own video content and it goes viral.  An example of an audio is the lyrics from a song like “My money don’t jiggle jiggle” by user @dukeandjones. A snippet from a popular song, “As it Was” by Harry Styles is another popular audio people used, mostly to look back at past years of themselves. 


According to NoGood, one of the top brands who are successful on TikTok is Chipotle. They recently held an event to celebrate National Burrito Day. It was a virtual Chipotle store on the popular game Roblox, where the participants got to make burritos. The brand mentioned if you were one of the first 100,000 people to make the burrito right, you’ll get a code where you can get a free burrito in real life on the Chipotle app. Guess is another brand that’s doing well on TikTok, collaborating with popular celebrities and influencers. Guess wanted to promote their campaign #inMyDemin even further, so they collaborated with Bebe Rexha, using her song “I’m a mess” which was a trending audio at that time. 


Urooj Naveed is a part time social media manager for Zombee Donuts and also works there as a cashier. She started working at Zombee Donuts last October. She was asked around the time her quarter was starting if she could manage their social media accounts for them. At first, Naveed started with Facebook and Instagram. In December 2021, Zombee Donuts posted their first video on TikTok.


“Marie asked me if I can handle social media for them because they were struggling with everything with the store and their own lives,” says Naveed.


Whenever people saw one of their videos, they would come up in person and mention that they saw their TikTok videos. Most times, people would ask if they have certain donuts at the shop.


“In terms of views, we get 300 to 400 views. It’s not a big following right now but it’s just a matter which videos will blow up when. We’re not getting 50,000 views but we are getting people watching our videos and that’s all it matters for us,” says Naveed.


Because their TikTok account is fairly new, their account isn’t growing and they aren’t as consistent as their Instagram and Facebook. Naveed mentioned that the business grew a big following on Instagram with almost 10,000 followers. She mentioned that views don’t translate in business sales. “Views on social media don’t always translate to sales in real life. So you might see businesses or people that are very very popular on social media but, no one actually knows them in real life,” says Urooj.

Zombee Donuts stands apart by creating monster inspired donuts at Fullerton. Photo courtesy of Zombee Donuts

Naveed says that because she doesn’t understand TikTok too well, creating the videos can take up to two hours. Coming up with ideas, the right hashtags, the captions, and the right audios are steps in order to create an original video. She posts once a week since she’s only a part-time social media manager and is busy with school.


Joe’s Italian Ice, located in Anaheim, is also working on growing their business through TikTok. With 5,000 followers and views ranging from 1,000 to 70,000 they create fun and humorous content about their brand. Their content has the same humor as the majority of users on TikTok, with making funny content and using trendy audios, allowing them to attract the right audiences and grow their account.


Naveed says that on TikTok, Zombee Donuts comes up first when searching for a donut shop in Fullerton. She says that she prefers quality versus quantity in videos and wants videos that she’s proud of posting rather than videos that don’t do well. 


Zombee Donuts plans to grow their TikTok account and post more in the summer since at that time the sales are slow. Posting frequently will help to grow to a larger audience and grow account consistency.