Lily Nicole (@lilynicole.co): Creator Coffee Chat
Welcome to our Creator Coffee Chat: Presented By the TrendTok App where you get to learn about the very best tips, tricks and advice for growing your TikTok account from viral creators! We know that growing your TikTok account can feel overwhelming at times, so we’re breaking down the strategy that these creators used to help you through the process! Whether you’re a new creator on the platform that hasn’t chosen their username yet or a creator with a huge following behind you, we believe that this series will provide you with some new insights that you can apply to your TikTok strategy!
Today’s coffee chat is with Lily Nicole! Lily (@lilynicole.co). Lily is a a Plus Size Lifestyle Influencer who moved to San Diego thanks to a spur of the moment move from New Jersey in January 2020. Lily is someone who lives her life by taking leaps without a clear picture of the net that will catch her, just trusting that one eventually will! She knows that social media gets a negative rap sometimes, but she loves being able to share her life and the way she lives it, and blending her background in neuro-linguistics and the subconscious mind into her content. Providing people with perspective shifts that allow them to live their lives more fully and wholly, one day at a time, is her life's main mission.
Lily joined TikTok in March 2020, right before quarantine started, after seeing some funny videos shared on other social media platforms and realizing that the app wasn't all dancing teenagers! She gave it a shot and started making content for fun and not business, and it’s that energy that brought so many followers to her page!
We asked Lily to share some advice, tips and thoughts with us that could help creators with their TikTok journey!
What is your TikTok handle and did you have a strategy behind choosing your handle username?
My handle is @lilynicole.co, which is the same as my Instagram handle and my website, so my strategy in this case in brand consistency. It is worth mentioning that when my handle was related to my niche (@selflovewithlily), I saw faster growth when it came to followers. People like to know what they're going to get from an account, and you don't get that benefit with just your name.
What was the process behind creating your first video on the platform? How did it feel?
I had so much fun creating my first video. I'd stumbled across what I'd call "millennial TikTok", a bunch of people my age making fun of the fact that they felt too old for the app. I wanted to play in that energy, so I made a silly video comparing the skills you needed to succeed on Myspace (the from-above selfie angle) vs. the skills you needed for TikTok (dance moves).
How did your first video perform? What was your reaction to it’s performance?
I don't remember exact numbers, but I don't think it even hit the thousands when it was first posted. Maybe a couple hundred. I remember being hopeful about it getting lots of views, but without understanding anything about TikTok algorithms at the time, I was pretty thrilled with the fact that anyone had viewed it!
How did you decide what kind of content you wanted to post on your platform or what audience you wanted to reach?
I decided what kind of content to create regularly just by creating in a lighthearted way and seeing what was the most fun for me. It took me awhile to find my "thing". All I knew was that I didn't want to talk about the same things I talked about on Instagram (manifestation and healing work, all related to my coaching). I wanted the potential to help people in a new way. I noticed a trend of "what I eat in a day videos" that was full of either weight loss accounts, or videos of people showing off eating abnormal amounts of food. I wanted to approach it from a new lens, and started my "what I eat in a day in my plus size body series", where I proved that food does not always follow rules, and can look different every day. It was very well-received, which kept me going with it, and eventually I just knew I wanted to make women feel better about their bodies.
What advice do you have for creators that are still trying to find their niche on TikTok?
Don't stress over it too much at the start. Let yourself create what you feel called to, and when you find the type of content that you REALLY enjoy making, keep making it. What's something you do every day? If you can connect your niche to something that's involved in your day to day life, you'll have a much easier time consistently creating content. And if you're struggling to narrow everything down because you have so many interests, imagine that you put all of the things you want to make a video about into a basket. What would that basket be labeled? There's your niche. Approach all of your content from that angle.
How many videos did you post before you had your first “viral video”?
I'm not sure, exactly, maybe 5-10? My first viral video was completely unexpected, it was reenacting a popular meme making fun of people who filled their wine glass to the acceptable level vs. people who filled it to the brim. It was of my mom and I!
What did it feel like when you realized your video was going viral?
SO exciting. I had never experienced seeing those types of numbers on anything before! I was with my mom, constantly refreshing the page to see how fast the number was climbing. She has videos of me dancing. It had blown my mind that there were that many humans watching us! It's funny looking back now because I've had videos that reached nearly 10x that number.
What happens when one of your videos does not perform how you expected? Do you ever recreate or repost the video?
I don't really pay attention to each individual video's performance that much. I've had enough experience with TikTok algorithms to know that sometimes, they're just completely random. I never delete videos as I've experienced extremely low views on the next several videos after deleting another (I just "private" any videos that I'd want to delete, now), but I will sometimes reupload videos that have performed well in the past, or that I want to see go viral again.
What advice do you have for creators on creating the TikTok videos? Any there any tools or softwares that you use?
Unless video editing is your thing, don't overthink it. The videos that I spend loads of time on using special editing apps usually don't do as well as the videos that are simple and made directly on TikTok. My biggest piece of advice is to play to the short attention span that TikTok has cultivated in its users. Get right to the point, cut out any fluff or unnecessary language/shots, keep the video quick-paced, and let people know what to expect within the first second through what you say, text on the video, or in the caption (or a mix of all 3!)
Do you ever get nervous posting on TikTok? If so, how do you deal with it?
I get nervous when I post something vulnerable, or that could invite the opinions of people that might hurt my feelings. I deal with it by posting anyway! Growth doesn't come without a little risk, and a nerve-wracking TikTok is really quite a small risk in the grand scheme of things. It's also usually the videos I get nervous to post that do really well, because they're the most relatable! So the more practice I've gotten with posting through the nerves, the easier it's become to continue to do that, because I have proof of past outcomes that went over well.
Are there any tricks/tips that you have used to boost your posts that you’d like to share with creators?
Respond to all of your comments with at least 4 words, emojis don't count. I've noticed this helps with engagement, for sure! And if you can think of something good, start some sort of a daily or weekly series. Creating daily "what I eat in a day in my plus size body videos" is really what changed the game for my account, and I know that's because people knew what to expect when following me. They were positive that they'd see more of the type of content they like, and not other types of videos that they may or may not relate to.
How do you keep your community/followers engaged with you and your content on TikTok?
I interact with people who comment with genuine gratitude or to continue the conversation, and I create content that evokes an emotion. Even when it's something simple like "get ready with me", focusing in on my plus size body helps people with similar bodies who may feel alone or insecure because of that feel inspired and understood.
How do you handle the negative comments on the platform?
I don't interact. I see so many accounts that get overloaded with negative attention, and the creators respond to every rude comment with a comeback or standing up for themselves. TikTok sees this as engagement, and therefore will send your video to more people similar to the rude-commenter. Soon enough, your video is on the wrong side of TikTok and negative comments won't stop. Instead, I simply delete or block or ignore, and I believe it's because of that that negative comments are fairly rare for me (unless a video goes more viral than usual).
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were first starting out on the platform?
There are so many fun ways to connect with people on this app and there's no need to stress about not being understood or accepted.
Who are some of your favorite TikTokers or accounts to follow?
I LOVE @remibader, she is my current favorite. And I always love seeing @whataboutabunny on my FYP, too. How could you not be interested in talking dogs?
What is next for you on the platform, anything we should be on the lookout for?
Oh, you should always be on the lookout with me. Lately I've been experimenting with more videos related to life as a plus size woman outside of just what I eat every day, and have been creating more fashion related content and having a lot of fun with it. My sights are set on way more growth through the rest of this year, it's exciting!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Have FUN with the creation process! TikTok is an app with so much potential that it's easy to get caught up in only creating for views, but is that really worth it if you're not enjoying yourself? This especially goes to business owners or anyone wanting to monetize their TikTok. It's totally possible, I've done it, and I know that it works best when you're consistently creating something that makes you feel good instead of stressed out and wishing you could be further along.
Where can our readers connect with you?
Podcast: Bold Bodied Podcast