Selling Peanut Butter on TikTok

How does a US small peanut brand, made in the owner's kitchen grow sales with TikTok? This case study will tell you.

👋 Introduction

This case study is adapted from The Hustle, a newsletter you should check out.

It focuses on a new peanut butter brand in the US. This case study will look at how they launched with a press campaign, and then how sales grew dramatically through TikTok.

It’s interesting, and something you could replicate for your business or clients.

Side note: I have recently been making my own peanut butter this year, and it is so satisfying. I love PB, and I love this case study!

🥜 Meet The Small Business:

Meet Nerdy Nuts. A husband and wife side hustle business, that started life in 2019, run by Craig and Erica.

Their company is based in South Dakota and started when Erica got pregnant was looking for something to occupy her time.

After experimenting with flavours, Erica launched Nerdy Nuts at a local farmers market with two flavours: honey roasted peanut butter and white chocolate peanut butter.

🌾 Why A Farmers Market?

Well, it is an ideal place to do some market research.

The couple gave out samples and got real feedback from buyers in real-time. Within a few months, the Nerdy Nuts stall was the most popular, selling over $1000 worth of jars every Sunday!

Nerdy Nuts was only supposed to be a low-stress side business for Erica to occupy her time.

Craig had a full time job, running an SEO agency and is also a member of the The Hustle’s paid membership Trends.

That is where he met PR guy Adrain, who wanted to help Nerdy Nuts double down on quirky marketing.

🔴 Political Peanut Butter:

In June 2019, Nerdy Nuts released a flavour of peanut butter for each of the political candidates in the US election.

Image © The Hustle

With their political peanut butters in hand, they cold called reporters all over America.

They got a hit from Fox Business, who featured it on their national talk show, The Five. In the first 48 since the segment ran, the company made $20k in sales.

🎵 2020, and TikTok:

In June 2020, Nerdy Nuts started testing out peanut butter “product drops”.

Product drops are limited editions and flavours of their peanut butter.

To promote this range of jars, Craig wanted to reach out to some new TikTok influencers. He reached out to Ali Grace Morsell and Hailey Peters, who both had under 500K followers at this time.

Unlike Instagram, TikTok is a new platform which has created a new wave of influencers.

Because they are new, TikTok influencers also don’t act like Instagram influencers, who think once they reach 10K followers they are Kim Kardashian.

Craig sent the two influencers the range of Nerdy Nuts. He did not sign a contract.

He did not have to speak to an agent. He just reached out. And the influencers were excited to receive free peanut butter.

The videos the influencers posted reached millions of views, and resulted in over 5000 sales. Craig also shared a 10% cut from the sales with the influencers, which they were delighted with.

Craig said about TikTok:

“I can’t stress this enough: People are sleeping on TikTok. People think it’s just a place where kids do stupid dances, but it’s really not. These influencers made the Fox News sales look like a joke.”

🥡 Takeaways:

Regardless of what Trump is up to, TikTok is not dying. It is growing with a range of different audiences.

Because TikTok is new, tap into upcoming influencers if they suit your audience. They may do it for free.

The main takeaway is try different stuff. Craig and Erica tried a traditional press route for their peanut butter which resulted in sales. They also tried new stuff, like TikTok, which also resulted in sales.

You do not know what is and isn’t going to work until you try it ultimately.

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