TikTok saw an influx of new people joining the app from the beginning of the Pandemic in March of 2020. I joined in April after seeing more and more people in my circles join and start making videos. But I didn't join to become famous. I joined because it seemed fun, and there's always something more personal about video than writing.
There's nothing like the real deal of seeing a loved one in person, but video content comes a lot closer than blog posts, tweets, or photos on Instagram.
As I spent more time on the platform and genuinely enjoyed seeing new people, I noticed this blonde girl appear more and more on my 'for you' page.
So I followed her, and the rest is history.
Kris Collins has about 15.8 million followers on TikTok as of writing these words. The funny thing is that both she and I joined in April. So, why do I only have 1029 followers, and she did so much better?
I took a bit of time to think about this, and I came up with these reasons. Here's what I think we can all learn from Kris's journey on TikTok and how to improve our own presence on the platform.
Being Relatable Fosters Authenticity
You can find yourself in many of Kris's videos. She's creating videos about family life, relationships, childhood, and even mental health.
I admire Kris for finding the courage to share her own personality with no filters. She's not trying to be explicit or an expert. She's just trying to make you laugh or smile or feel a little bit better during your day. She does have the occasional hair or make-up video, but that's what her audience asks from her.
And perhaps that's Kris's most potent reason for success - she delivers and engages with her audience. Spending a lot of time replying to comments on her own videos and her duets, stitches, or sounds.
Because of that, people feel like Kris is more approachable. They like her as a friend, not some celebrity you send fan mail to, and they rarely respond back.
That's a type of relationship with an audience you won't find outside TikTok. If you want to tell a celebrity something, most of the time, you can just stitch the part of the video you want to talk about and just show your face. A Facebook post, Tweet, or Instagram photo won't come close.
And what about the human connection in your videos? Let's talk about making a deeper connection.
Being Vulnerable Creates a Deeper Connection
There were some occasions where Kris created videos about Mental Illness. She admitted to suffering some form of Mental illness herself and made several videos on it during her journey.
While being this vulnerable usually signals the trolls to come out to play, her primary audience - the people who love her - appreciates her for being human. She's just like us, suffering from the same struggles we do.
Also, Kris has a character she calls "Mom," and one would wonder if she is based on her true mom or just the figment of her imagination. As far as I know, Kris hasn't confirmed, but perhaps I missed that confirmation.
This character engages in very conservative acts that sometimes make you cringe a little but nod your head in agreement. And Kris did confirm in a recent video she had conservative parents growing up.
With that said, being vulnerable won't help you when publishing once a month. Let's talk about consistency.
Consistency is King
I went back to the beginning of Kris's profile and checked her publishing consistency. I wasn't surprised.
In the beginning, Kris published every other day - and she posted a lot! While there were days where she didn't publish at all, on the days she did, she published between 3-7 new videos on the same day.
The trick here is that you don't need to actively promote your videos outside TikTok. The algorithm does that for you well within TikTok's vast community.
And while Kris's videos back then don't have many views - even today when she has well over 15 million followers - they still have more than 100k views each. To compare - when I publish a video, my views fall somewhere between 150-300 per video.
If you keep on publishing, the algorithm will take you up on your efforts and try to promote one of your videos with higher engagement to a broader audience than your own. If that works and the engagement keeps rising, you will find an even bigger audience than that.
You just need to keep publishing jaw-dropping quality videos, and you will get that wider exposure too.
Should you continue to create lipsync videos? Let's talk about Original content.
Build Your Own Community With Original Content
If you open TikTok right now, chances are you will see some trend going on right now. The key to success on this platform is quite different. When you come up with your own characters, your own original content, not many people will see it or even like it. But those that do are fans for life.
I often find myself going to other people's pages and commenting that I would love to see this person meet one of Kris's characters.
Many creators on TikTok make their own original content, and people are heavily invested in them.
For Kris, those characters are her Mom, Janet and Riley, Katrina and her sons, Chad, Neighbor, Courtney and Diamond, Dog, Twilight version of her, and more.
It's her characters, but Kris has put a lot of time in answering people's prompts with these characters, and so she made it "ours." A community.
TikTok's algorithm keeps on promoting her videos to more people who follow her and increase her videos' engagement. It's a positive feedback loop that begins with making your own things instead of just lipsyncing to someone else's original content.
So, what not to do?
There are a few things that creators do that stop them from growing on the platform. Following Kris, I saw what these things are and, through Kris's success, I noticed they are not needed to grow on the platform.
Don't be salesy
If all you do is publish about your business and what people can buy from you, people will stay away. And I don't know if you noticed, but you kinda need people to make sure your business thrives.
What value can you give people? For Kris, that's entertainment, emotional support, and feel good vibes. She also occasionally shares her hair and make-up routines upon request.
Don't Be Meta
People on TikTok don't want to talk about TikTok. If you talk about the platform itself, your audience is creators. And even then, you should be able to provide credibility to your claims.
Start with creating content that the regular joe can consume and enjoy. Then, once you actually learn something, you can move on to talking about what you learned for your creator audience.
Don't Do Follow For Follows
There are many creators on the platform offering f4f on their live streams and their videos. If you're only on TikTok to get followers, but you don't actually connect with these people after they followed you, they will leave. There's no reason to stay.
Make sure you follow people that interest you and not just because you want them to follow you back. And besides, keep creating content so that those who follow you have a reason to engage with you.
Kris Collins (@KallMeKris on TikTok) has raised an audience of almost 16 million people in nine months. I decided to dive deep into her profile and see what worked for her.
From her videos, I learned that you need to create original content, engage with the people, and be consistent. If you don't do these things, you will not grow. It's really that simple. There's no particular requirement to become a TikTok creator - you just need to be consistent.
TikTok is a great place to grow a community. The opportunity for a creator to grow on the platform is enormous. As demonstrated by Kris, in less than a year, you can amass a considerable following.
Now you just need to start and be consistent. Good luck!
The Geek Writer Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive my 10-step blog publishing checklist!