A few short months after joining TikTok, Brittany Xavier is already amassing thousands of new followers a day.
The influencer, who counts 1.2 million Instagram followers, began posting on Bytedance’s viral app in early November. She had observed her 13-year-old daughter spending hours of screen time on TikTok, and virtually none at all on Instagram, prompting Xavier to make an account. She was addicted in no time.
“I view TikTok more as entertainment than social media,” said Xavier, who partnered with Michael Kors on TikTok content this season at New York Fashion Week. “It’s not a place I’m gonna share every detail about my personal life. It’s more of a way to reach a new audience, but also capture and entertain them with a takeaway value.”
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TikTok, formerly Musical.ly, is known for its dance videos and music content — neither of which are Xavier’s strong suit. Instead, she analyzes the app’s trending songs and hashtags, finding a fashion spin with which to make videos that are between eight and 12 seconds long. She initially began posting once a week, but quickly learned that the more you post, the faster you grow.
She now has nearly 300,000 TikTok followers, about a quarter of her Instagram follower count. But unlike her Instagram audience, Xavier’s TikTok followers are younger: 91 percent are women and the majority are aged 14 to 24. By comparison, her Instagram audience falls primarily within the 25-to-34 age range.
“What’s interesting about TikTok, and I only know this from doing a ton of research on it, is 40 percent of TikTok users don’t have Instagram because they’re young and don’t use it,” said Xavier. “There’s more of a [likelihood] to have Snapchat and TikTok than to have Instagram.”
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If complaints about Instagram’s nebulous algorithm changes are to be believed, content is often lost in the feed, resulting in low engagement and reach, and on Instagram Stories, posts disappear after 24 hours. Conversely, on TikTok, noted Xavier, videos are apt to resurface as a result of the algorithm.
“Some of my original videos that did really well, they’ll get reshared, so the videos never fully die,” she said. “It’s not like that on other platforms, but it’s exciting because you know the content can always be shared later on. TikTok has an easy way for you to share videos [off-platform], which is really helpful, too.”
She is currently gaining about 2,000 to 3,000 TikTok followers a day. Fashion and beauty brands have been slow to embrace the app thus far, but Xavier advises trial and error.
“You don’t have to just sing or dance to be on TikTok — there’s so many categories on there,” said Xavier. “Fashion and beauty aren’t big on there yet because no one’s really doing it. I’m just doing ‘whatever’ videos half the time, not trying to think of it as dancing so much.”
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