Tayden Talks Keys to TikTok Success and the Power of Authenticity

    February 24 2020  |  Inspiration , Interviews

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    "Isn't TikTok for kids?"Ladies and gentlemen, we're now well past that phase of questioning. In the last 12 months, TikTok outgrew Instagram, making it one of the most popular social platforms – particularly among Gen Z and moms. You either know it exists or you're actively spending hours a week scrolling through – there's no in-between.Some of the most popular creators on the platform are known for their lip-syncing, viral dances, and comedy skits. So it brings us great pleasure to say we've had the opportunity to speak and learn from one of the most significant early adopters of TikTok, Tayden Seay- most known for his skits in a disheveled wig.

    What would you say to those holding back on joining TikTok?

    I would say go for it. Funny story is I never had intentions on joining TikTok until my cousin, who is now my manager, persistently told me to make a video or post something with her. I have always enjoyed making content but hadn't considered Tik Tok. My first video gained over a million views and I've been enjoying creating content for the platform ever since. Not to mention the content on the platform by other creators.

    Not to throw you into an existential crisis, but what was your goal when you got the account started? How did you set out to achieve those goals?

    My goal was to make people laugh. The attention my content got - in the beginning - was unexpected. Now that I have gained over 1.5 million followers in six months, I have goals and plan for them, as content creators should. I don't want to understate that part of my "success" feels rooted in luck. I try to make sure that every day I am showing just how appreciative I am of those who support me.

    What's the message to your audience? How did you develop your own brand/persona to stand out among thousands of creators?

    A message to my followers; Y'all are the BADDEST out there and I cannot thank you enough for naming me the TikTok CEO of comedy, deep voice, and an unbrushed wig. They are the reason I find happiness in social media and made me realize how blessed and fortunate I am in so many ways. The development of my brand is lead by my followers. From the "CEO of comedy" to the "CEO of the deep voice", I would say the greatest impact on my personal brand is the creativity of being very oddly relatable, as well as often putting on this alternate persona and changing into something that is completely unexpected from others. If you look at my face; cute, young, and innocent in a sense, then you see me throw on a nappy wig and yell at the camera in the deepest tone of voice, you'd be surprised.

    What are the most important characteristics of the platform that's led it to be the most popular among Gen Z?

    I mean if you look back at Vine, one of the world's most popular platforms of its time and the HOME of many social media influencers today, you will start to see a similar concept of production, comedy skits, cuteness, and literally the weirdest shit you could find on the internet. TikTok predominantly consists of dancers. I'm definitely not a dancer, but while being apart of TikTok's comedy creators, my videos could be considered fairly similar to the content created on Vine years ago. But I DEFINITELY don't consider myself similar to any other creator, because my stuff is so weird.

    What should brands and influencers keep in mind before accepting paid partnerships and sponsorships on TikTok?

    To be honest, it is too early in the platform fame to tell. I would say the same things to keep in mind for paid partnerships on other platforms still apply. I would also share it is okay to get creative and try new things. Tik Tok is a virality generator; you just have to be willing to think outside the box and try new things. I'm looking forward to seeing the creative ways people decide to partner. As for me, I think it is important for brands and creators to be selective. They should consider their personal brand, what they use and don't use, and what their audience likes. I like that my followers can go to my page and see only 50 videos of just pure skits and comedy videos they can laugh their ass off to. My passion for acting and comedy has a strong influence on my content. Whichever brands I work with have to be excited about that approach.

    What's one piece of advice you learned early on that propelled your success on the platform?

    To post consistently, but only videos that I was proud of. I know that as creators we tend to feel a sense of doubt or dejection when the content we make isn't always successful (which is often because of the quickness of the production process). Don't ever think your content isn't good enough. If anything, just reconsider how good that content is to you. When you focus on your content creatively and always perfect it, the hard work pays off.

    What advice would you give to a creator trying to reach your influence on TikTok?

    Post what you haven't seen before; that's exactly what I did. Nothing is a competition. Let the audience appreciation and growth be your motivation.

    What are some best practices creators should follow to create successful skits? How long does it take to create a typical video? How do you create them?

    You should know what you want to do but also not stress the details of the idea. Let the comedy come where it flows best. I can't speak for other creators but for me, my filming process has a much different route than a dancer or lip syncer. Most of my work is just natural and on the spot; it's not scripted. The funniest videos that have gotten the best response are the ones I filmed completely out of the blue. The production process is different for everyone. On average, I can film a TikTok in under 10 minutes, edit for another 20 minutes, and then post. Most of my content is filmed and edited separately from TikTok. This way editing and filming for me is much easier and tailored. iMovie has more video editing capabilities than TikTok. A lot of my followers ask about my editing and filming process, and about how I overlap audio on TikTok. The trick is I don't. That style of editing is produced on IMovie, then later posted on TikTok. Till this day editing on TikTok is hard for me.

    Some brands are doing TikTok well, some are...not. What does the TikTok community appreciate or frown upon with brands using the platform to reach new audiences?

    I'm still a novice when it comes to brand deals on TikTok, but who isn't? I don't think brands or creators have cracked that just yet. I do know that because many creators are often chasing a dime and not thinking about authenticity, brand deals have the potential to negatively impact your voice, brand, or believability. I have followers because I am funny and relatable. I would never want that to go away. Thus, I only feel confident in promoting products/businesses I trust and would honestly represent outside of social media. So Champion or Goodwill should definitely get at me ;).

    There are many comparisons of TikTok against Instagram, and of course, Vine (RIP). What do TikTok newcomers need to know about TikTok that makes it different against these platforms? How do you differentiate your content for TikTok vs. Instagram?

    TikTok is the strangest app out there. I see the funniest shit ever. Most videos are individuals creating the most bizarre content that can hit the "For You" page, whereas others dance and sing. Eventually, TikToks tends to travel to other platforms just like Vine (RIP) and gain attention elsewhere. My TikTok's have gained millions of views and impressions on Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, etc. There really is no way to stop those crossovers, but there is definitely a way to differentiate the content being produced across your social media platforms. By that I mean my Instagram is really aesthetic-driven and focused more on my modeling career and personal use, while my TikTok strongly focuses on my comedy. My YouTube predominantly consists of much longer and personalized vlogs. I don't think I'm alone in this, but I am certain that TikTok users will follow a creator across platforms in numbers we've never seen before. The cross-platform love is strong. So don't forget to be consistent in who you are across platforms, but don't take that as a reason to recirculate the same content on all platforms. They are following you to see different parts of you and your content. So do cross promote but don't make your content completely duplicative; give people a little something different and they will love you for it.

    We've struggled with our fair share of having TikTok audio stuck in our heads. How do you create boundaries between life, school, and TikTok? Do you have any wellness tips for our readers?

    Joining TikTok was like carrying an extra stack of books in your arms. Of course, it slows you down, but thankfully it can open you up to a whole different world of experiences, characters, and knowledge. My daily routine has definitely changed a lot but TikTok has taught me how to be more efficient with my time and be inspired by the world around me. I wake up, eat, shower, go to class, come home, eat again, film a TikTok, go to class, come home, eat again, edit my TikTok, post my TikTok, go to work, do my homework, go home, eat, respond to comments, sleep, and repeat it all over again. Sounds like a lot, huh? It is. The only advice I have is to not stress over your to-do list. Instead, sit down, write it out, and prioritize. Including setting aside time for the things that make you happy, like content creation does for me. (: Photographer Credit Tori Larson Follow Tayden Seay on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

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