Whether Arby’s is changing the game by introducing 69-cent premium roast beef sandwiches in 1964 or creating the first meat-based vegetable in 2019, the brand is known for going against the grain.
That applies to social media as well, where Arby’s has made a name for itself by creating massive pop culture moments, innovating with its use of sandwiches and connecting with niche fan groups on a personal level.
Now, the Arby’s team is looking to do the same on a new social platform: TikTok.
“We see ourselves as an innovative brand and we want to be the most engaging, interactive brand on social media,” Josh Martin, Senior Director, Social Media for Arby’s, said. “We’re not afraid to test, learn and jump into a new platform to see what happens.”
“We believe that it is important to explore new social media platforms, like we have with TikTok, and experiment with new ways to engage Arby’s fans and expose new people to our brand in a fun way.” Josh Martin, Senior Director, Social Media for Arby’s
Last year, Jimmy Beck, Social Media Supervisor for Arby’s, identified TikTok as a rising social medium. Since then, the Arby’s social team has kept an eye on what’s trending, what content is successful and what audiences are jumping onto the platform.
“When it was time to launch our channel, we wanted to work with someone who was popular on the platform,” Jimmy said. “We came across Will, who we were surprised to find out actually works in one of our restaurants.”
The Arby’s social media team found iConicWill, who has taken TikTok by storm over the last six months starting with a viral video of him dancing during a shift at Arby’s.
“There was a dance called the Buckle,” Will said. “I did that, and it blew me up. I gained like 60,000 followers in a week and that video had more than four million views.”
Dancing is something Will has always been passionate about. He grew up idolizing Michael Jackson, danced in a yearly summer program and even attended a local dance school. When the school closed down, he moved on from dancing but never lost that passion.
With the emergence of TikTok, it all came back and he’s practicing and recording his moves multiple times a day.
For Will, he never imagined that his side passion would cross over with his work at Arby’s. But after the Arby’s social media team saw how successful Will’s account had been, Jimmy connected with him over TikTok. He then coordinated a flight up to Michigan with agency partner Moxie and met Will at the restaurant, where they filmed three videos for the Arby’s account.
In less than a week, his three videos have been immensely successful, garnering nearly six million views led by the ever-popular “Are You That Guy From Tik Tok” video.
“When I was younger, I wanted to be famous. Then I hopped on the TikTok app and thought maybe I could get noticed,” Will said. “I did, at Arby’s of all places. I always thought it would be cool to see my two worlds cross because I actually work at the restaurant. Now I’m on their TikTok channel.”
Arby’s will continue working with Will over the coming months as it expands its TikTok strategy. While the brand shows why it boasts one of the top social media teams in the space, it also continues to drive home the notion that Arby’s supports its team members starting here and going anywhere. Even on to TikTok stardom.
“I needed a job, and one of my friends told me I should come in for an interview,” Will said. “I never imagined a year and a half later I’d be dancing on TikTok for Arby’s. It’s just crazy.”