WATCH — What these Canadian teens did to become TikTok famous
Creativity, unique content and being yourself are key to success
TikTok is fast becoming one of the most popular platforms on the small screen.
At this year’s VidCon in Anaheim, Calif., in July — the world’s biggest convention for online creators — TikTokers were the new popstars.
The platform allows creators to make and share short form content that includes lip-synching music videos, comedy skits and silly challenges.
It’s become so popular that the Shorty Awards, which honours the best in social media, created a category a few years ago for TikToker of the Year.
So how did these Canadian teens become TikTok famous?
Here’s what some of Canada’s top TikTokers recommend.
The Caleon Twins used their creativity to generate more than three million followers on TIkTok. (Skype)
“Creativity fuels the app,” said 23-year-old Samantha Caleon, one half of the Caleon Twins from Toronto.
“You’re creating short clips that are 15 seconds long, so you need to come up with content that fits into that short amount of time that’s entertaining,” said Madeleine, the other half of the sister duo, who together have over 3.3 million followers.
“Be who you are,” said Maxime Beaulieu from North Bay, Ont.
With 1.6 million followers, the 17-year-old with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) said the secret to his success is being real.
“The way I was born, I have missing bones in my face, and that made me become who I am on TikTok,“ he said.
For Maxime, a good sense of humour is also key.
“I made fun of myself and my jawline in a video and it went viral,” he said.
“TikTok has made me more confident in myself to know that people respect me for the way that I look.”
Another trick is to jump on trends from TikTok’s For You page.
Jade Taylor-Ryan, 17, who had just been on the app for a month when she went viral, did just that.
Within 24 hours of posting a TikTok featuring her pet cat, Ed, Jade’s video logged more than 6.8 million views and 1.2 million likes.
“I saw another user use the nine-person filter and the Mr. Sandman song combined and then it literally just popped into my head to use my cat,” Jade said.
“When following trends, try to add a little twist to your videos so they are unique,” she added.
Now that Ed is a star, Jade is considering also making her pet dog, Sam, a TikTok star.
“Learning from this video, people seem to really like animals, so I would say another tip is to use your pets.”
Live stream with fans
“Live streaming creates a sense of community and a support system with our fans. In return, they're more engaged with our content,” said the Caleon Twins.
Matthew Scarfone, who also live streams to increase his fanbase, said it’s a good way to generate an income on the app.
“Fans send you gifts, which is great, but you do split half the amount with the platform,” said the 18-year-old from Toronto, who has 1.2 million followers.
Matthew has gone viral many times with collaborations he made with his friend Malachi.
He said creating a series of videos allows you to build up hype.
“We were at Walmart one day and decided to record a TikTok of us in front of a poster featuring two kids that kind of looked like us,” Matthew said.
“We post them on both our pages and we keep gaining a lot of fans that way. It’s like our go-to video if we are losing followers. We just post one of those videos and it goes viral,” he said.
Matthew and Malachi’s series of Walmart videos attracted more than 4.7 million views.
Another trend popular on TikTok is duets, where you react to other people’s videos on a split screen.
“This one girl put her hand on mine while I was going up an escalator and I turned around confused,” said 15-year-old Luca Schaefer-Charlton from Vancouver, B.C, who has 1.4 million followers.
Someone filmed the interaction.
“After I found the video on the trending page, I edited a duet with it. It went viral with seven million views.”
“What I did to start off was I posted at a regular time on a daily basis, so everybody would know to come back at that specific time,” Luca said.
“Frequency is really important. We plan our videos in advance and we have set dates during the week for filming, editing and posting,” said the Caleon Twins.
Find your niche
18-year-old Jayde Vincent from Calgary, who recently hit over one million followers, emphasized that following what you love is key.
“If you're passionate about something and you’re talented with it, show it. For me, it’s dancing,” she said.
Many of Jayde’s TikToks show her performing unique dance moves that fans can even learn from.
Jayde Vincent’s passion for dancing led her to attract more than one million followers on TIkTok. (Skype)
“People want to be surprised,” said Gregory Galant, CEO and co-founder of the Shorty Awards.
“Don’t focus on getting famous or going viral. Focus on making great content and connecting with the audience.”
Be careful what you do online
You must be 13 or older to register for TikTok, and like most social media platforms, it comes with a bunch of serious privacy and safety concerns.
Because the accounts are automatically set to public, this means strangers have access to kids’ profiles and can easily message you.
Don’t share any personal information with people you don’t know.
And like YouTube, the content becomes public property, so remember that your TikTok videos can be widely shared without your knowledge or permission.
The app also has other drawbacks.
“To be a star on TikTok [is] awesome, but in school, people will take advantage of you or pick on you. You just have to hang out with the right people,” said Matthew.
Overall, it’s been a rewarding experience for Maxime. He met Matthew through the app when they decided to collaborate.
“TikTok has helped me connect with people and make new friends like Matthew.”
“I get messages from people that struggle with depression on a daily basis saying, 'You helped me.' As long as I’m making one person smile a day, I feel like I’m making a difference,” Luca said.