Every year, millions of people around the world try their hand at viral marketing. The newest generation of profitable ‘influencers’ have turned their online personas into million-dollar assets. In a time of unprecedented global interconnectivity on the internet, it’s hard to avoid seeing the real value in developing a personal online brand. But as millions of people realize each year, developing a solid following on the top social media platforms is far more difficult than it looks.
This discouraging learning curve for new content creators may be one reason that the TikTok social media platform has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years. The unique algorithm used to generate the application’s “For You Page” means that even videos from accounts with zero followers have a chance at being seen by hundreds—or thousands—of viewers. This might explain why some accounts seem to hit stardom on the platform overnight, while others remain unpopular indefinitely.
In essence, the TikTok platform might just be one of the most egalitarian models on the social media market in 2020. New content creators on platforms like Instagram must first establish a following before growing exponentially in size. But on TikTok, even small accounts can see success, as long as they get that first ‘big break’ on the For You Page.
Will Serra’s TikTok account is one such success story. Serra is a former service member in the United States Army. After taking a seven year break from all social media as he worked as a defense contractor in Afghanistan, he aspired to get more serious about his comedy by joining TikTok just six months ago. And in these six months, he’s grown his account to an astonishing 108,000 followers. Serra’s fans come from all over the world, and they include users from an exceptionally wide age range.
Part of his meteoric success came from an initial high-profile share. One of Serra’s TikTok videos was shared by famous rapper 50 Cent on the star’s Instagram page. After this exposure, Serra began to climb steadily in followers. This growth has been sustained, and the content creator continues to receive support from dozens of countries all over the world.
This story is certainly not unique among comedians on TikTok. Creators who produce consistent, quality content have a significant chance of being featured briefly on the coveted “For You Page.” Interactions during this period are essential; millions of people can potentially view each video that makes it into this category on the app. Of course, a little bit of luck is always necessary. But for Serra, his success was made possible primarily by the fun, lighthearted appeal of his comedy. When someone can make a star like 50 Cent smile enough to share their content, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t be successful!
Serra is just one of many examples of how the TikTok algorithm and platform provides new creators a unique chance to succeed in an increasingly saturated marketplace for digital entertainment.