TikTok lessons on social media influencing goes viral
The runaway success of short-video app TikTok has spawned a whole industry centred around training and workshops
One such training shop recently opened in Delhi and charges between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 per month for weekly classes, some of which are hosted by TikTok influencers themselves. Having launched a month ago, these classes already have an intake of 10 attendees per session. “Our classes include theory and practical sessions. Today, 90% of the content that you make on TikTok doesn’t become viral and these classes teach you exactly how to do that,” a representative at Celebrity Face told ET.
Students who enrol for these sessions also get an opportunity to conduct portfolio shoots with their favourite TikTok stars which helps them pull in eyeballs to their profiles. The Delhi-based company organises these shoots with influencers across cities like Jaipur, Delhi, Bhopal, Guwahati, Kolkata and Ahmedabad among other non-metro cities. According to the company’s website, these full-day programmes allow 500 attendees to be part of the event.
Social media expert Karthik Srinivasan said TikTok, which has become a rage across tier-II and tier-III cities has users who haven’t really had a brush with online fame. These aren’t people who have used Twitter or LinkedIn, he added.
“But seeing that influencers themselves can train new users on how to become like them, it is fascinating,” Srinivasan added.
Apart from such classes and promotional activities, TikTok influencers are also regular with fan meet-ups held across various cities. These events are widely promoted on social media to reach their fans. Paras Tomar, an actor and a social media influencer who boasts of 1.5 million followers on TikTok, said that events firms and brands approach these influencers to ask them to meet their followers for photography or choreography shoots. “Usually the smaller cities see more traction because the popularity of Tik-Tok influencers is far more pronounced there. Unlike Twitter or LinkedIn, TikTok fans relate to us hence these meet-ups have become very common.”
Another TikTok influencer Shivani Kapila, who has a million followers on the platform, told ET, “I personally enjoy these meets and attend these at least once in three months, otherwise I connect with my fans through live streaming on the app once a week.” She adds that these exchanges help her in creating better content. Influencers like Tomar and Kapila get paid by brands based on their popularity.
TikTok is a part of China’s Byte-Dance, which claims to have around 200 million users in India alone. Some of these influencers have also been monetising their appearances across platforms, making it a potential career option for these aspiring users who are training to become celebrities on TikTok, said experts. “Depending on our profiles, specific brands approach us. For instance, my profile gets a lot of interest from fashion and music brands, but for my pet’s account, a lot of pet products keep enquiring. Even my peers who are in fitness, are approached by fitness and shoe brands,” explained Kapila.
In an emailed response to ET, a TikTok spokesperson said that the platform acts as a facilitator and opens up opportunities for rising stars to get visibility on social media. “We enable them to get a wider following on other social channels as well due to our crossplatform integration, but we do not offer any form of revenue sharing.” For instance, 85-year-old Mary Joseph Mampilly from Kerala, a regular TikTok user, kick-started her acting career after becoming popular on the app and will now feature in two Malayalam movies.
This trend is reflective of what has already begun in China. Chinese startup Ruhnn that enables influencers to monetise their content, raised $125 million in its Nasdaq IPO debut last month. In India, too, though at a nascent stage, investors have begun backing such firms. Influencer marketing firm EkAnek Networks raised $10 million this year from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners.