First of all, if you haven't started the TikTok, what are you doing? You need to start one immediately. A few reasons. One. Look, I signed up for TikTok six months ago or something, and I've been spending some time on it everyday, just trying to understand what's happening there and consuming content. Recently, I was like, "I should start posting," just so I can learn. I'm not trying to be Internet famous. I've been there. Done that. No fucking big deal.
I'm like, "I should start posting those so I can understand, so I can bequeath that knowledge to you fine people." I realized I hadn't actually signed up for TikTok, that I just downloaded the app and you can browse TikTok without signing up for an account. When I tried to get James Nord which I have everywhere else, they were like, "You can be James Nord 37." It was like 37 other James Nords have already signed up. I don't have my username. It is massively depressing and obviously, I can never post there because posting off of James P Nord is depressing.
For nothing else, if you haven't signed up and squalor on your username, make sure you do that immediately. Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you how to make TikTok videos, I am still learning myself. Again, Fohr is about to start one. By the time this video comes out, we will have a TikTok that we're just totally experimenting with. We have no fucking idea what we're doing but we're trying stuff. I do want to bring in an influencer working order messaged me yesterday and she said, "I took your advice," which more of you should be doing.
"I took your advice. I started a TikTok. I was a lurker for a while, and then I decided on a strategy. Had a video that hit 10 million views, 1.7 million likes." She had a bunch of followers on her TikTok obviously but also those followers have now jumped over to her Instagram. I thought, "Well, why not bring someone on board who has gone from a total noob to getting some viral success on TikTok?" We're on a kick to a conversation I had with Krista about what style blogger should be doing on TikTok. Kick it.
JAMES: All right. Krista, thank you for joining us. I think just for a little bit of context, you're a full-time influencer, but let's give the people just a little background on who you are.
KRISTA: Yes. I run a fashion lifestyle blog called Covering The Basis, and I've been doing that for seven years. Seriously for about six, maybe five years. I just went full-time this past December, so I'm coming up on one full year.
KRISTA: Thank you so much. [laughs]
JAMES: I don't see a lot of fashion and lifestyle bloggers running out to start TikTok. When did you started TikTok? What made you do that?
KRISTA: Well, you did.
JAMES: You're welcome.
KRISTA: Give us a round of applause. [laughs] I watch A Drink with James religiously every Monday and you were talking about TikTok. I was like, okay, I'd heard about it, and I knew it about. When it was Musically, I was like, "No way," because my little cousin was on it and just making the most annoying slow-mo videos, and I was like, "Get out of here." When you brought it back up, I was like, "Okay, JAMES is talking about it. It's something." I download the app and I was just lurking for a bit.
I guess this is back in August, and just figuring out what TikTok was with the content. It was actually, at first, kind of weird, and then it got strangely addicting. I just started scrolling and scrolling. You kind of pay attention to trends because there will be multiple videos either with the same sound or the same kind of video concept. I think I posted one of the dogs I walk. There was a cute video I posted in the Instagram stories that I had saved, and I used the sound of a dog talking to itself overlaid on this video and I posted it.
That was my first post. It did 400 views and I was like, "Whoa." That's pretty cool because I didn't have any followers and I maybe gained like 12 followers. Then I was like, "Okay." You overtime started figuring out what you want to post, and I tested out a few, and they did not do well, so I just deleted them. Nobody was seeing them anyway. Then I posted one, that once again I had saved to my Instagram story of me learning how to curl my hair with heat, that Liv Tyler-- I saw it on a Liv Tyler vogue video. I saved it from my stories and I posted it on TikTok, and the next morning it had 160,000 views. I was like, "Cool."
JAMES: Did you feel like you had any idea why that did well?
KRISTA: I think it was because it was helpful. It was different. It wasn't curling your hair using a curling iron, it was just blow drying it and then curling and clipping it to your robe while you get ready. Then once you're done, you take it out and you get these nice wavy curls.
JAMES: Kind of like a life-hack.
KRISTA: Yes, I guess. It was weird. I got a lot of DMs on Instagram stories from it, so it made sense that it did well. I just didn't know that there was appetite for that because I'd never really seen anything like that. Now I see a lot of hair tutorials.
JAMES: Your next one that you messaged me about that did really, really well was nothing like that.
KRISTA: No, it was insane. I'd posted a few more, trying to figure out why I can make TikTok for me in my space, because obviously I do fashion lifestyle stuff, and the popular ones on TikTok are dances. I posted a couple of fashion ones and they didn't do very well, but I kept them up because I really liked them. Then I was scrolling through one day and there's this trend and it's like A-O whatever check, Rich parents check, Texas check, and there is one that said New York check.
This girl had a great view but it was nothing compared to mine. I was like, "My view is a lot better." I took the sound and I recorded it, and I posted it I think maybe two days before I messaged you. I posted it that morning, and by 6 PM that night, had 45,000 views, and I was like, "Wow. This is it. This is the crème de la crème. It's going so big." I remember coming back from an engagement party. Dropped my friend off on the upper Eastside, it had 80,000 views. I was like, "Okay, cool."
By the time we had gotten home to my apartment in Hells Kitchen, it had 110 and I was like, "Whoa." I started paying attention, refreshing it. Every second would get 2,000 to 3,000 views.
JAMES: It's crazy.
KRISTA: By 1 AM that night, it hit a million. Next day, it hit-- I think it plateaued around 8.9 million, and I hit a million likes at 4 PM. I had been tracking it, so it's just so fascinating. Well, another A Drink with James you had talked about what really is considered a view on TikTok, and I was thinking like, "How many people are actually viewing this?" When I hit a million likes, that's when I was like, "Okay, people are really engaging with it."
JAMES: That's wild. Why did that work? Was it because instead of just doing something helpful, you were doing one of those challenges or one of those trends on TikTok that everyone does their own version of?
KRISTA: I think it was successful because of what is successful on social media is people just bragging about their lives. I have a pretty good view. I think a lot of people don't see that. A lot of people don't live in New York or see this kind of apartments. When people talk about New York, they think rats and trash and whatnot. I think it was cool for people to see that and see the Empire State Building and the water. It's just a really great view. Every time I post it on the stories once again, it does really well. I get a lot of DMs about it. I think people are just fascinated by things they don't have or have never seen before.
JAMES: Is this your first time in social, in general, like going traditionally viral?
JAMES: Because you can't really go viral on Instagram. It's very difficult.
KRISTA: No, not anymore.
JAMES: It's not a sharing platform. Like you can on Twitter or used to be able to on Tumblr. What has happened, obviously, you've gained followers in your TikTok. Has anything happened to your Instagram or other platforms that you feel like it's been helpful?
KRISTA: Yes. Before the video, I had maybe 200 followers and now I have 89,000, it's my thought, which is actually more than my Instagram, which is so frustrating.
JAMES: It's frustrating, right?
KRISTA: Ye, but was cool was I was getting during that, a couple past week, I've been getting more and more followers from it. I think I've gained 1,000 Instagram followers, which for me because every week we're losing more and more followers. It was cool because people were messaging me, people we're reaching out. They were like, "I found you on TikTok, I love your content." That's been the whole point of my TikTok. That's the whole point of my Instagram and any social is to always drive people back to my blog. Getting people from TikTok to Instagram, getting them engaged, and then having them read the blog is always my end goal. It was pretty cool to see that happen.
JAMES: It's amazing. I think that so many people watching this, they know in the back of their minds, they know they should be paying more attention to TikTok. It comes up in every single sales meeting that we have. People while they're not yet maybe spending aggressively on TikTok, they're thinking about it and they're asking us, "What do you think about TikTok? [unintelligible 00:21:58] on TikTok?"
I think people are saying, "Look, I'm too old for it. I'm not right. I'm not funny. I can't dance, whatever." I don't know if you can dance. I haven't seen your stand up act. I don't know if you're funny, but you've been successful. What do you say to people who have known they maybe should start publishing videos, but they feel afraid to?
KRISTA: Definitely just get on the app. You don't even have to start publishing, you really need to start paying attention to what people are publishing, what works, what doesn't and then try and see how you can adapt that to you. People always said I was too old for Twitter, I was too old for Instagram at one point or the other. I wasn't, but somebody was at one point. I always kick myself going back in the day of not being more aggressive on Pinterest, not being more aggressive on Twitter, on Instagram. I'm thinking, I'm not going to let this one pass me by.
I think I'm better on video than I am in just photos because it shows a little bit more of my personality. I say just do it. I've posted a ton. I just deleted. I didn't think it did very well because nobody's really looking at your profile, there just looking at that individual video. If you just kind of-- I know that was back in the day of people would post on Instagram and then delete it, but it's just a good way to get to know the app and understand.
JAMES: The stakes are so low. I think that's the thing. It's like who the fuck cares? Nobody is watching. If nobody sees it, then no one's watching. I think that what's cool about TikTok is you don't have to say to your Instagram audience, "Hey guys, go follow me on TikTok." The point is to your point, can I get a new audience and then eventually drive them back to your flagship, which is your blog?
KRISTA: You think about a Vine influencer back in the day. All those people had tens of millions of followers on Vine, got them all over to YouTube, all over to Instagram, and now they're wildly successful.
JAMES: This is the time in any platform when you can get that explosive grove. Who the hell knows what is going on with their explorer and their algorithm in China.
KRISTA: It's crazy [laughs].
JAMES: I think it will be much harder to grow. Every day it will get harder to have what happened to you happen on TikTok. I think the time is now to just try. What's the worst that can happen?
KRISTA: I've seen a lot of, actually, celebrities in the past month and bigger influencers start coming on. That's when you know. like Will Smith is on there.
JAMES: Something's happening.
KRISTA: Yes, you got to get in. [laughter]
JAMES: Is there anything else people should know about TikTok, things that you feel you didn't understand in the beginning that you get now?
KRISTA: Their video editing software in the app is awesome. It's super simple. At first, it's really intimidating. What I would do is I would just film a video of me not doing anything, start editing it in the video. It's fascinating. I used to upload it from my camera roll, now I'm doing it in the app. It's really cool. It's really brilliant. I'm just waiting for Instagram to knock it off.
JAMES: Okay. Well, look, you guys can-- they're definitely going to very, very soon.
KRISTA: I know [laughs].
JAMES: You guys can find her on Instagram or TikTok or her blog, DM her, send her your TikTok. She's going to critique you. She's going to be pissed at me because she'd be like, "I'm not critiquing people's shitty TikToks."
KRISTA: I'll do it [laughs].
JAMES: She'll do it. Look, I think this is such a great story for even us who've been like, "Shit, we should start for Fohr." It's just like, just do it. Everyone's learning this platform right now. It is totally okay to make a fool of yourself. If the video sucks, just delete it. You've been doing this for four months, you have more followers than you do in your Instagram.
KRISTA: It's insane.
JAMES: That's good and to your point very frustrating. I think if you guys can learn anything from Krista is just do it. You never know what's going to happen.
- Getting started on TikTok, Future of Influencer Marketing, Unboxing