Whether or not you like current social media trends, you cannot argue that TikTok is a hit. The platform is undoubtedly popular, with 1 billion monthly active users as of the first quarter of 2022. With such a massive amount of users, businesses have flocked to the platform in hopes of attracting their target audience. While there are many businesses that have tried, only a select few stand out as successful. These brands, in no particular order, include:

  1. Chipotle
  2. Dunkin
  3. Gym Shark
  4. The NBA
  5. Duolingo

Success for each of these brands is different as the companies differ from each other in terms of size, industry, and product/service. Their success is based on the numbers they pull in, such as followers, views, impressions, and account growth. Having high percentage increases in any of the prior categories means these companies are doing something right and should be used as an example when optimizing your own TikTok strategy.


1. Chipotle

Chipotle’s metrics in terms of followers and likes are huge, bringing in 1.7 million followers and over 36 million likes. Their content stays true to their brand. As a company, they believe in real food, meaning no artificial flavors or additives, meaning everything is fresh. In line with their company values, their content stays true to what they do, posting relevant food-related videos that are also entertaining. 

They encourage their followers to share food hacks for their menu items and use hashtags relevant to their channel in order to “submit” it to them. Food hacks include what to do with your sides, different sauce ideas, deals on meals, and much more. In terms of audience interaction, this has gone a long way as their videos are consistently being commented on, and their social media team is able to reply to a number of comments.

In addition to their customer food hacks, they also post videos of their employees at several different locations working. It could be some whacky challenge from a customer asking them to wrap a burrito backwards, preparing food, cooking the food, or even a random TikTok trend. These videos show service crews in a new light and give a glimpse into their everyday lives. These videos also helped when they were recruiting, as their audience already knew what the day-to-day workload would be if they ever got hired Their recruitment videos were successful as a plethora of their audience actually applied to work at their local Chipotle.

Dunkin Donuts

2. Dunkin’ – Formerly Known As Dunkin Donuts

Regardless of your opinion on the brand dropping the “Donuts” from its name, you can’t deny the success of Dunkin’ on TikTok. With over 3 million followers and 22 million likes on their TikTok, they’ve taken an aggressive approach to social media marketing on TikTok.

One of their most successful strategies involves influencer marketing. By partnering with big-name influencers like Charli D’Amelio, they instantly grew their audience, attracting all of her fans to their brand. In addition to having Charli promote their brand, they also created a limited-time flavor named “The Charli,” which incentivized her fans to stop by a Dunkin’s and snag one before the promotion ended. This promo saw instant results as there was a 57% jump in app downloads and even a 20% increase in sales for Charli’s chosen drink of choice, a cold brew coffee.


3. Gymshark

The UK fitness apparel company Gymshark has come up big on social media. Their TikTok boasts 3.7 million followers with over 58 million likes, an even more impressive statistic is that their account grew by 2 million followers in only 6 months’ time. With the popularity of the brand being so widespread, more locations have opened up around the world.

Their strategy of posting humorous and informative content has worked wonders for their public image. With a wide range of funny gym-related videos, collaborations with influencers, and the brand has spread its name to so many parts of the world, that countries that don’t even have access to the brand know the Gymshark name.

Their comedy videos are meme styled, where there’s a song in the background, a person performing actions, and text to tell a story. Comedy is even included in their challenge video on occasion. Like other big brand names, they are also making use of influencers, asking their opinion, building them gyms, and asking them to record general health advocation videos. No matter the style of video, there is almost always some information being shared; going back to their comedic-styled videos, you are almost always told the proper way to use a gym machine or perform a workout. Gymshark did a great job of narrowing down its audience and using the appropriate content to attract and engage with them, even going so far as to create its own community within the comment section involving uplifting messages.


4. The NBA

While the NBA is big on social media and known for its player highlights, such as dunks, and 3-point compilations, which essentially highlight the games. TikTok does this as well but added a more behind-the-scenes look of their players even during off time. Their TikTok has 15.9 million followers and over 254 million likes.

Aside from the many clips on their TikTok, the NBA has found success in showing off a bit of what happens behind the scenes in the NBA. There are videos of the music booth, interviews that aren’t widely aired, Q and As of newer players, and more videos with off-the-court content.

While the NBA needs no introduction within the US. It does well introducing the game to a wider audience on TikTok with its backstage look at the game.


5. Duolingo

The language learning app giant Duolingo has found success with its TikTok audience. Boasting 4.7 million followers and an impressive 92.5 million likes, they’ve found the content type their audience responds the best to and have refined the recipe.

Duolingo has taken the fun approach to social media with comedy TikToks. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and the lighthearted tone of the videos is loved by those who watch them. The main character of the TikToks is Duo, the green owl mascot, who has been paired up with the singer Dua Lipa due to the mispronunciation of the app name, from “Duolingo” to “Dualingo.” They’ve taken this narrative and created a whole story from it in the form of several videos, even going so far as to wait outside a Duo Lipa concert in New York City in order to propose. There has been no response from Dua Lipa, which ensures that this side-story will continue.

Circling back to the fact that TikTok has a lighthearted theme, they’ve managed to make the owl as offensive as they can without being vulgar. They’ve turned this into a draw as they often will have videos where HR or the legal team, scold the bird for the things he’s doing. In a similar fashion to Wendy’s on Twitter, Duo takes to the comment section with clever one-liners, interacting with their audience in a way that stays true to the brand.

The Wrap Up

Aside from the high follow and like count, staying true to their brand is a common trait among these businesses. They might have changed their voice on the platform to fit in, but the values they hold as a company are still seen through their content. If your social media or marketing team are planning on transitioning to TikTok, make sure to adjust your content until you find the right type that brings the most amount of views, likes, and customer engagements. Your end goal is to engage with your audience and build brand trust; hopefully, you’ll be able to convert a few of them in the process.