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 Robert E. Blackmon! Robert (@RobertEBlackmon ). Robert is a lifestyle specialist. In his words, “Think of me as the gay, Black Martha Stewart.” His goal is to help people live their best authentic life exactly where they are right now not based upon other people’s expectations. Robert first started on the app one year ago at the encouragement of his social media manager/agent Amanda. She had been trying to get him to join for an entire year. He finally caved as a distraction while his mom was in the hospital battling covid at the beginning of the pandemic and this app gave him a reason to escape and not think about it.
We asked Robert to share 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?
It is the same as every other name in my brand @RobertEBlackmon. I chose it for many reasons. First it is my brand name. Secondly, it's how I can be reached on all of my social media platforms which makes it easy.
How did your first video perform? What was your reaction to it’s performance?
It didn't perform. I don't even know if it has 100 views or not. I'm not a creator that went viral suddenly. My account grew slowly, organically and I reached my success by making content that spoke to people.
How did you decide what kind of content you wanted to post on your platform or what audience you wanted to reach?
I had no strategy. I started doing trends like everybody else and nothing would stick. The app did not push out dance videos. It did not push out trending acting videos. The only time my content performed well was when I engaged with my audience. I asked them what they liked to see and that is how it grew.
What advice do you have for creators that are still trying to find their niche on TikTok?
This is a common question from creators. I tell them you must be yourself. People want to know who you are. They can tell when you are faking it. Audience engagement is key. You don't necessarily have to find a niche but you do need to know your audience and what they like to see from you.
What advice do you have for brands that are trying to figure out what to post on the platform?
So many brands get it wrong for one simple reason. They try to sell their products on TikTok. People don't come here to buy products they come to be entertained, informed or educated by us. If they believe in a brand it's because they believe in the person behind the brand. The best way to understand what kind of content to post is too engage with your audience and show them how it works. They love seeing the behind the scenes of how a product is made or the functionality of the brand. They enjoy the messy difficult things that we don't like showing about how hard it is to build a business. As though if they see the inner workings behind the curtain, they respect you more for what you do for a living.
How many videos did you post before you had your first “viral video”?
I did not have a viral video. I have been on the app for 13 months and I literally had my first video go viral about a month ago. I gained 1,000,000 followers in 11 months and verification. I did all of that without a viral video. It was just putting in the time and hard work. I actually laugh at the fact that I have now had six viral videos in a month after all of that hard work. I look at them and laugh but they don't really mean that much. The hard work that I put in means much more to me.
What did it feel like when you realized your video was going viral?
Going viral is kind of a curse. I think most people see a video going viral hitting the lottery. Going viral does not mean that you're going to get extra followers, nor does it mean you're going to get some big endorsement deal. It just means that you got lucky. The hard work is how do you continue creating good content that people will be interested in after the fact. Many creators get hung up on not achieving the second viral video after that and they lose hope. So, I feel very fortunate that I became “TikTok Famous” without going viral.
What happens when one of your videos does not perform how you expected? Do you ever recreate or repost the video?
It depends on the video. At least once or twice a week videos underperform. The thing that people don't understand is when you have 3 billion users on this app a month it is nearly impossible for content to be pushed out on a regular basis. It does happen for a few people, but most people go through ups and downs with their content. So I don't focus much on when videos don't perform well. If I really believe in a video perhaps in two or three months, I repost it if the timing is right perhaps I will edit the video and repost it again but I don't lose a lot of sleep over.
What advice do you have for creators on creating the TikTok videos? Any there any tools or softwares that you use?
I suggest that people create within the app as much as possible. We are given so many tools, effects and sounds to use that there is virtually no reason to use other pieces of software. Keeping your video to the point and short is the key period less is more on this app. People have very short attention spans need to grab their attention as soon as possible. If you can achieve that systematically you are bound to gain followers.
Do you ever get nervous posting on TikTok? If so, how do you deal with it?
I rarely get nervous posting because I know what works for me. I don't use sounds with curse words in them because it's not a part of my brand. I don't do things that are out of my age range because it's not who I am. I do things that make me comfortable and that my followers enjoy. That doesn't mean that I'm not silly or having fun because I do some very wacky things. But they are definitely in keeping with what my brand is.
Are there any tricks/tips that you have used to boost your posts that you’d like to share with creators?
I would find the time of day or night that works best. Obviously, this could change depending on the time of year or the scheduling of your audience. But I tend to go live in the morning before people start their day. I find that my viewers like to check their messages and videos before they go to work or school. I then go live directly after I post. I also do a call to action in which I let people know that I have just posted a video and ask them to watch it all the way through, comment that they were in my live and to share it with others.
How do you keep your community/followers engaged with you and your content on TikTok?
Community engagement is everything. If you do not respond to their comments, ask them questions and respect their time they're going to leave. It's just that simple.
How do you handle the negative comments on the platform?
Negativity is a very difficult thing to navigate. Some people find comfort and strength in being keyboard Warriors. They don't have to face you. So I ignore as much as I can, but I also inform people when they need to be corrected. I do not allow people to insult me or others on my page.
What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were first starting out on the platform?
If I had known how many genuinely sweet people I would come across during the worst time in my life that would have been wonderful. Having said that organically learning and going through that process has meant everything. The people who I've met our friendships that will last a lifetime.
Who are some of your favorite TikTokers or accounts to follow?
I'm not going to answer that question with names. There are several that I like for different reasons. What I will say is that the people who I follow are genuine. They allow me and countless others the opportunity to get to know them in times of celebration and in sorrow.
What is next for you on the platform, anything we should be on the lookout for?
I'm thrilled to introduce a book that I have written. It's called “Courage Behind The Mask A Story Of Live, Death And Surviving Covid-19”. It tells the story of how my mom beat the odds of COVID-19 and also shares a bit of my journey on this app. The book is out now on Amazon and at roberteblackmon.com. I've also paired with the health and performance brand Power Plate as the newest ambassador. I will be instructing people on the app how to gain better strength and help through vibration technology.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you are looking to get on the app or are currently on TikTok remember to have fun. That's what this app was designed for. If you need to take a break or several breaks than do so. Find your tribe and just enjoy the process.
Where can our readers connect with you?
I can be reached on all platforms everywhere @roberteblackmon
We loved chatting with Robert and if you enjoyed his coffee chat, make sure that you check him out on TikTok! And drop a comment on her video that you saw him here on the TrendTok Coffee Chat series!!
This series is presented by the TrendTok App, the platform for TikTok Analytics that helps creators go viral! Check it out here!