Becoming a ‘TikToker’

Lottie Hulme presenter and influencer Riva Media’s Lottie Hulme on engaging with the highly popular social media platform

TikTok was something I actively tried to avoid when it started to become increasingly popular during lockdown, but it wasn’t long before I jumped straight onto that bandwagon and started copying crazes, doing lip syncs and dancing about the place like I’d reverted to my youth. For a while, I used the platform purely for fun and I didn’t think into it or use it daily or refresh it each morning to check if I had new followers, and then as lockdown restrictions began to ease, I started to drift away from my TikTok phase. However, that all changed on New Year’s Day 2021, when I started to see TikTok as an incredible platform to enhance what I currently do as a job.

As a showbiz journalist, I live and breathe all things celeb goss, royals and TV news, and I write about it daily, but in a bid to combine both my passion for showbiz and my love of presenting, I began to use my TikTok as a platform to share daily news stories, scoops and gossip about celebrities and the Royal Family. As I hadn’t used TikTok for quite some time, it was a bit of a slow burner at first when I started with my news stories, perhaps due to algorithms (and TikTok hating me for ghosting it the way I did). I set myself a challenge to share a video a day, reporting on the latest news and hot topics in the celebrity world and, low and behold, my videos began to gain traction. I had about 100 followers when I started, and now I am close to 8,000 while I write this, and it took about four months to build that following. It’s by no means fast and by no means a big following, especially when you compare it to some influencers who’ll grow hundreds of thousands of followers in one day, but it has been an exciting and encouraging growth which has made me love firing up my app and creating a video each day for my loyal follower base.

When I started on my quest to create a showbiz TikTok I would do 60 second roundups of the hottest news, and these videos got 500-1000 views but no more, so I started to make the channel more niche. I started to focus on individual celebrities and tell a story about them. For example, who is Halsey’s baby daddy? I did this TikTok when she announced she was expecting a baby, to the shock of her fans, and this video skyrocketed to over 100,000 views. It was my first video which had really exploded, and I knew I was on to something. It was a couple of weeks after this that I tried a video about Kate Middleton and Prince William. The decision was spurred on by the fact that I write a great deal about the royals in my every day at work, and I’ve clocked on to the stories which our readers love as a result. Translating that into video form and presenting a story about what Prince William whispered to Kate Middleton at the end of the aisle was, therefore, my next step, and this video absolutely flew. It was viewed by over half a million people, and that’s when I made my transition from celebrity news to royal news. The Royal Family does so well on TikTok, Kate Middleton in particular, and it’s hardly surprising seeing as they are one of, if not the, most famous family in the world (perhaps rivalled by the Kar-Jenner clan!) Stories like Prince Philip’s death and what will happen when the Queen dies have done especially well which is gloomy! But I’ve noticed that people have a real desire to know more about the royals or at least share their views about them in the comments section. I still dabble in celebrity gossip, but only when it’s a story I’m sure will be of interest to my fans.

What elevated my growth on the platform even more was staying up until the early hours to watch the bombshell Meghan and Prince Harry interview with Oprah, as it aired in the USA. Sharing videos as the news broke throughout the interview definitely gave me an adrenaline rush, especially as the UK were yet to watch the interview and they woke up in the morning to my videos on TikTok and the growth was the biggest. From this I realised that if I caught a story early enough then it would do well, so this is what I attempt to do. I’ve since started making TikToks for OK! Magazine which has been a lot of fun. OK! have an amazing following as a magazine, and they have just shy of 40,000 followers on TikTok and so I am excited to see if I can try and grow the account the same way I have done with my own, so watch this space!