TikTok inspires tourists to visit downtown

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 4, 2023

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Danan Whiddon, owner of the downtown shop, Sweet Heart Alabama, is inspiring out-of-state visitors to venture to Greenville through her daily presence on TikTok and other social media platforms. Her consistent posts, videos, and live video sessions have brought close to 40 tourists to her shop in the past months, inspiring tourists  to experience the place she so proudly speaks of.

Devon Cordell, a Tiktok follower from Arkansas, said she stopped by downtown on her way to Orlando, Florida to meet Whiddon in person and see the shop.

“I found her Tiktok randomly while scrolling one day,” Cordell said. “She just has this positive, fun energy to her so I kept coming back to her live videos and I really felt at home in them. Her shop is adorable! She is so friendly, positive and helpful, and I love the encouragement cards that she puts into each of the bags for her customers! Overall, I was so happy I stopped by and we will definitely go back next time we are on our way to Orlando.”

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Whiddon explained that social media allows her to connect with people from out of town in special ways. These connections, she said, can be used for the advantage of the whole town and each business as tourists explore what downtown has to offer. 

“It’s storytelling,” Whiddon said. “It’s connecting. It’s not just promotion and sales, and I think that’s what people are really looking for today. We have an amazing history, amazing architecture and the people here are super nice and kind. People look at our downtown and they see the possibilities. It’s just amazing and awesome here!”

Between Whiddon’s three Facebook pages, Tiktok, and Youtube accounts, she has approximately 99,900 followers. 

“At any given moment, if I post a video on all my social media profiles, I can possibly have close to 100,000 eyes on it,” Whiddon said. “I want people to understand how powerful social media can be if you know how to use it correctly. You have to be consistent and know the ethical rules of it. I usually do three to four videos a day, and will go live a couple of times a week”

Nikki Mason from New Market, Tennessee said it is always a must for her and her family to visit downtown when they are traveling through the area. 

“If not alone for its rich musical and natural history and calm and inviting atmosphere, we always have to stop in to visit Sweet Heart Alabama, a lovely shop owned and operated by an even lovelier person,” Mason said. “Danan makes you feel right at home. She has so much knowledge of the history of Greenville and love for her community and town as well as an enormous care for each individual that steps foot in her life via her store or on social media. She has an infectious positivity and care that the whole world could use more of!”

Whiddon described how visitors come to small towns like Greenville to experience something unique.

“People want an intimate downtown experience, they can go to a McDonalds or other chain businesses in their own towns,” Whiddon said. “They want to see something unique and to have an experience. So I will often send them to other shops, or to the park or cemetery, depending on what they’re looking for. I want to get attention for this town because we’ve got so much going for us!”

Check out Whiddon’s social media platforms at @sweetheartalabama.