Morgan Eckroth is a full-time college student who works part-time as a barista during the school year. She’s also a barista competitor and photographer who has garnered 615.4k followers on TikTok (@morgandrinkscoffee
) in just a few months. In exploring a new social media platform, I thought she’d be a perfect candidate to do a Q&A with.
J: Have there been any unintended consequences (both positive or negative) from having a popular account?
M: Positive: I’ve been able to meet a lot of amazing people through the app and I love being able to share my love of coffee with others. I frequently see comments from people who didn’t know coffee could have art on it or that barista competitions exist. Whenever I see a comment along the lines of “Now I want to be a barista!” it makes me super happy because that’s exactly what I thought a few years ago. I love creating humorous content that all of us customer/food service people can relate to but it’s even more rewarding to be able to show others why I love my job so much.
Negative: The main negative I see is the loss of some of my privacy. I’m pretty careful not to share where I work but, you know, it’s the internet. It’s out there and it’s not difficult to find. I once had someone message my business email with my full name and work address. So that was pretty creepy. However, I’m aware that’s the risk I’m taking on by posting publicly on the internet. The only other thing is that I get teased a lot more by my coworkers about TikTok, but that’s a welcome side-effect!
J: Have you seen an increase of customers who recognize you? How does the conversation usually go? (I’m imagining it’s something similar to “I follow you on Instagram!”)
M: I haven’t seen a large increase at my work but that’s mostly due to our customers being slightly older than the main demographic that uses TikTok. More often than not I have regulars saying, “My (insert child’s name) watches you!” I get recognized a decent amount when I’m in areas with a lot of middle or high schoolers and it’s always a lot of fun. I usually like getting to know them, finding out what types of videos/creators they like watching, and taking pictures with them if they want.
J: What do you think about TikTok being used as a marketing tool for brands & companies, more specifically cafes? Currently there doesn’t seem to be much brand presence but do you see that changing?
M: TikTok is an incredibly young platform, it’s just barely a year old now. Over the past few months I’ve seen large companies begin to advertise on it but I’m not sure what the success rate is. A lot of TikTok’s draw is its random virality, it’s the perfect example of how the internet will grab onto a seemingly meaningless clip and turn it into a massive meme. It’s interesting to see companies adopt TikTok trends to promote products but their videos often feel like the equivalent of that Steve Buscemi “Hello, fellow kids” meme, it just doesn’t feel organic.
I’m really curious to see how the advertising scene on TikTok changes in the next few months as it continues to grow. I see a lot of potential in cafes promoting themselves through video content and I would love to see more coffee, especially specialty, on the app.