'We want you to like our brand': Truff co-founders Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni on making their TikTok channel a destination

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Most companies use social media as a way to point consumers to the brand's website. In hot sauce company Truff's case, social media -- and TikTok, in particular -- is an endgame in itself.

"They eventually become customers, but we don't tell them, you know 'go to our link and buy our sauce,'" Truff co-founder Nick Guillen said on the Modern Retail Podcast. "We don't want you to go to the link and buy. We want you to like our brand."

Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni co-founded the company in 2017 based on an Instagram handle -- @sauce -- that they got their hands on during their college years.

But TikTok is where it's really at, said Guillen. "It's a completely new generation of user, of customer," he said. "You really have to immerse yourself in platform -- TikTok, for example -- [and] really try to understand the voice, the tone, the flow, the style of content, how people are talking, the trends. And then set the brand in the middle of all this and not lose sight of the brand."

The Truff co-founders said their company is the biggest hot sauce brand on TikTok, with 69,000 followers and nearly one million likes as of this writing. Beyond its own production (first-person videos are especially in these days, Guillen said), Truff shares videos in which fans and followers -- some of them chefs -- use the sauce themselves.

Like the name suggests, Truff sells three truffle-infused hot sauces. They ship them to customers as a direct-to-consumer company, though Truff is also available on Amazon -- "we look at Amazon as more of a retailer versus our competition," Guillen said -- and in stores ranging from Neiman Marcus to Wegmans.

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