The Garden State Goes Viral: How New Jersey Businesses Can Leverage TikTok

by Tom Lavecchia

New Jersey may be known for its diners, boardwalks, and rich history, but a new trend is bubbling up that could transform the way Garden State businesses connect with customers: TikTok. This social media juggernaut, once synonymous with viral dances, is rapidly evolving into a powerful search and influence platform, particularly for Gen Z and Millennials. Here’s how New Jersey businesses can leverage TikTok to reach new audiences, build brand loyalty, and drive sales.

Short & Sweet: Snackable Content for Busy Lives

Forget lengthy website copy. Today’s consumers crave quick, engaging information. TikTok thrives on short-form video content, perfectly suited for our fast-paced lives. A Jersey Shore bakery can showcase mouth-watering pastries in a 60-second clip, while a local brewery can use creative storytelling to highlight its unique brewing process. This format caters to shorter attention spans and the preference for visual content, making it ideal for grabbing attention and sparking interest.  We have grown our Digest account using food and lifestyle posts as we’re approaching 100k followers

@njdigest 🇵🇭 BEST Filipino BBQ in NJ !?🔥 — Have you ever been to @leosbarbecue? They sell over 1,600 bbq skewers a week, and they’ve been popping up all over social media! 🎥 @mel_vs_food Follow @njdigest for NJ food, news and more! ______________________ 🔥 @leosbarbecue 📍 4947 Stelton Rd. South Plainfield, NJ 07080 ⭐️ Featured: 1️⃣ Pork BBQ 2️⃣ Pancit 3️⃣ Lumpia 4️⃣ Halo Halo #njfoodie #filipinofoods #southplainfield ♬ Instrumental – Vibe – pedrin cria

Community & Authenticity: Building Trust Beyond the Boardwalk

New Jerseyans are known for their friendly spirit, and TikTok fosters a strong sense of community. Here, recommendations from real people hold weight. Partnering with local micro-influencers – everyday creators with dedicated local followings – allows businesses to tap into a trusted network. These influencers can showcase your products or services in a relatable way, building trust and purchase intent far more effectively than traditional advertising. Imagine a local winery collaborating with a food influencer to create a cheese and wine pairing video, filmed right in the heart of Hunterdon County.  This helps the content creator with an innovative and the winery gets free or typically less expensive marketing vs. traditional marketing ads.

@njdigest Strolling through this NJ neighborhood is like stepping back in time. 😍 Have you ever been here? (📍26 Simpson Ave., Tabor, NJ 07878) #njcheck #njspots #njbucketlist #njthingstodo #njtravel #njtowns #northjersey #northjerseyadventures ♬ Whimsical – Stuart Hart,Trevor Simpson

Beyond the Search Bar: Social Search Takes Center Stage

Gone are the days of relying solely on Google searches. Social media platforms like TikTok are becoming powerful discovery tools. The “For You” page curates a personalized feed based on user preferences and watch history. A user searching for “hiking trails near me” might discover a stunning video showcasing the beauty of the Highlands shot by a local hiker. By optimizing your TikTok presence with relevant hashtags and location tags, your New Jersey business can ensure it appears in these personalized searches, driving organic traffic and potential customers straight to your doorstep.  I have located the last five or six family movie night features from the TikTok search bar as well as the restaurant for our next date night.

@njdigest This is @Peter Candia’s favorite bar in New Jersey. Hit the link in our bio to read the full story. Photography by @Emma has a camera ♬ original sound – New Jersey Digest

Embrace the Scroll: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Success

While Google’s dominance isn’t fading anytime soon, a one-dimensional SEO strategy might miss a growing segment of the market. The future lies in a multi-pronged approach. Here’s how New Jersey businesses can get started:

  • Craft Compelling Short-Form Videos: Showcase your products, services, or brand story in an engaging and visually appealing way specifically for TikTok.
  • Partner with Local Micro-Influencers: Find local creators who resonate with your target audience and collaborate on authentic content.
  • Optimize for Social Search: Use relevant New Jersey hashtags and location tags to ensure your content is discoverable in TikTok searches.
  • Track and Analyze Engagement: Monitor your performance and adapt your strategy based on the data and insights you gain from your audience.

From the bustling streets of Newark to the serene beaches of Cape May, TikTok offers a unique opportunity for New Jersey businesses to connect with a new generation of customers. By embracing this ever-evolving platform and creating content that resonates with the Garden State spirit, businesses can position themselves for success in the digital age. So, are you ready to join the scroll and showcase the best that New Jersey has to offer?  

Are you a TikTok scroller? Don’t forget to follow NJ Digest on TikTok!

@njdigest A magnificent Middle Eastern-inspired courtyard … in New Jersey? 😯 Setaara in Atlantic City offers one of the most beautiful restaurant settings you’ll ever see in the state. (📍2322 Arctic Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401) #njspots #njisntboring #njcheck #njfoodie #njthingstodo #njrestaurants #atlanticcity #njhiddengems #njdigest ♬ Old-fashioned ancient music of the Middle Ages – PeriTune

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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