SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The popular TikTok app appears to be taking over social media with more than 800 million active users worldwide.
While many TikTokers showcase their singing and dancing skills via short video clips, several small businesses and organizations are now getting in on the fun to boost their bottom lines.
Some of those businesses are located across the Coastal Empire.
“As small businesses and organizations in Savannah turn to TikTok, they’re finding new ways to connect with their communities and customers as they navigate a challenging pandemic,” a TikTok spokesperson shared with WSAV NOW.
Below are a few local businesses and organizations that have utilized the app to their advantage while boosting their exposure across the country.
Capwell Home Inspections
Effingham County resident Andrew Capwell says he knew he wanted to become a home inspector when he was about 16 years old.
“My dad’s an appraiser, he’s always built houses, so I learned my way around houses,” Capwell told WSAV NOW.
He says five years ago, he brought that dream to life by starting his own business, Capwell Home Inspections.
“If you’re buying or selling a house, I’m going to go into the house and make sure that everything is good to go to put it on the market,” the entrepreneur said. “If it’s not, I’m going to find everything that’s wrong with that house, make you a list and send it on, so that way you guys can get it fixed.”
It turns out that he’s seen some shocking things during some of his home inspections — including dead animals.
“One of the worst houses I ever did, come to find out later after the inspection, it was actually a murder scene,” Capwell revealed.
He says before TikTok came into the picture, his company already had a presence throughout social media on sites like Instagram and Facebook.
Capwell says his two daughters, 19-year-old Taylor and 13-year-old Layla, along with his wife Summer, thought promoting his business on TikTok was the next best move.
He posted one of his favorite videos on the app one day in September and woke up as an overnight success.
“The next morning it went viral, I woke up with thousands of followers,” Capwell shared. “It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever experienced.”
In that video clip, Capwell shows one of his inspectors slamming a door, which he says is standard operating procedure to check for any loose wires in the main panel.
“Indeed there were, so it was making all the lights in the house flicker,” he said. That video has been played over 1.6 million times.
To date, Capwell’s TikTok account has more than 16,000 followers and nearly 284,000 likes.
“I’ve literally had people reach out to me nationwide and internationally asking me if they can use my content as an example for their buyers,” Capwell said. “I’ve had one guy reach out to me asking me if he can use my slogan, which of course, I told him no.”
Capwell Home Inspections’ slogan, the owner says, is “Remember: Walls can’t talk.”
Capwell says overall, his presence on the TikTok app has been good for business.
“I’ve had an increase in newer realtors who I have never heard their names before, I’ve had some of the older realtors who I’ve been trying to get ahold of for a good long time that have actually reached out to me and said, ‘hey, we were interested,’” he said.
“It’s been a crazy ride,” he added.
Apt. B Photography
Savannah wedding photographer Wendy Norman shares with WSAV NOW that her business, Apt. B Photography, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She says during the quarantine period earlier this year, all of her spring weddings were rescheduled, resulting in a loss of all income.
“No one was booking anything new for about two solid months,” Norman said. “I kind of had that moment of panic, but then decided that I actually had an opportunity here and I could use this chance to pivot my business rather than worry about the business that I was losing from my previous business model.”
That’s when she decided to create the Savannah Elopement Package to offer engaged couples seeking out memorable wedding images.
During the pandemic is also when Norman joined TikTok. The photographer says she’s enjoyed showing behind-the-scenes videos of her shoots while also showcasing the scenic parts of Savannah.
“[TikTok] really lets me do everything from answer people’s questions, whether it’s photography-based or about eloping in general, and it also lets me show how I do what I do on a wedding day,” she said.
Since she began posting videos on TikTok at the start of 2020, Norman’s @thesavannahphotographer page has garnered over 25,000 followers and more than 708,000 likes.
She says some of her videos have even gotten over one million views.
“It’s really cool to see how couples are using TikTok to actually help plan their elopements these days,” Norman said. “As they’re planning their trip to Savannah, they’re searching TikTok to see where they want to stay, what kind of vendors they want to use, how to even have an elopement in Savannah.”
The photographer shares that her business has completely changed since March, with a pivot from larger weddings to smaller elopement ceremonies.
She shares that even after the pandemic, she plans to continue her focus on elopement photography.
“I really think we’re going to see a change in the wedding industry to shift more towards the intimate weddings,” she said.
Norman encourages any business owners using TikTok to simply have fun with the app.
“It’s a place where you can really showcase your personality, your business’s personality and just enjoy the trends that come and go on TikTok and find ways to apply them to your own business,” she said.
The Savannah Bananas exploded onto the TikTok scene last Valentine’s Day with none other than the Cupid Shuffle dance.
Since then, the local baseball team has been showing off their fun side to local fans and people across the country.
The team has gotten over four million likes on TikTok since February.
Marketing director Kara Heater says that two Savannah Bananas interns helped take their TikTok page to the next level last June.
“We gave these interns the reins and just guided them along the way, and they were able to take the TikTok and make it this amazing thing, posting every single day, creating fun content,” Heater told WSAV NOW.
From eating a banana while doing a split to reading their TikTok comments to fans, the baseball players appear to have hit it out of the park with more than 262,000 followers.
“We definitely like to follow the trends and all that, so any big trends that are going on TikTok we like to jump on,” Heater said. “You’ll see a lot of our players doing crazy things like dancing, pouring water on themselves and dancing to “Mamma Mia,” lip syncing, just a bunch of the crazy trends.”
She says the Savannah Bananas family jumped around and did happy dances when their first video went viral.
Some of the team’s TikTok highlights include the head coach dancing on the field with his wife and a heartfelt military family reunion.
“I think it’s pretty cool, because TikTok really gives anyone the chance to go viral,” Heater said. “Even though at the time we didn’t have a ton of followers, we were able to go viral and then it kind of grew from there, which I think is awesome.”
The Savannah Bananas say their TikTok exposure has given them an opportunity to showcase Savannah and its local baseball team to the world.
“We’re showing them our city and giving them a taste of what we want them to see, which is just fun, happiness and positivity,” Heater said.