Why James Failed on TikTok (& His New Strategy) - Ep. 75
Last updated on
October 10, 2023
This week, James talks about failing on TikTok and how he pivoted his content strategy. He delves into the importance of creators knowing or rediscovering their own style. He also gives tips on finding inspiration for your own unique content style, sharing personal updates, and his experience as a radio DJ.
Below is a portion of the episode transcript for your reading pleasure. Make sure to subscribe to the Fohr YouTube channel to get notified of new episodes, and watch the full episode below.
James’ experience on TikTok
James: I've been messing around with TikTok a little bit. And don't worry, I have a Gen Z-er helping me. It's impossible to truly understand a platform unless you actively create and engage on it. Ultimately, you have to build a following and figure out how to connect with the community to truly understand it.
As a big part of my job is telling people what to do on these platforms, I felt that while I theoretically understand this platform pretty well, I need to have real experience. So, we've been putting up content for a couple of months, and it's done terribly. It sucks. It's horrible. You know, it's really done quite poorly.
I was talking to my Gen Z helper, and I was like, yeah, I'm not excited about this. I'm just doing what I do. Basically, we took episodes of Negroni's and cut them up. Sometimes she would come in, and we would film stuff behind the desk of me giving advice to influencers. But it's not right for the platform. It's not exciting. It's not entertaining. It's not new. Ultimately, it's just noise.
And, like, of course, it didn't work. Let's pivot on this. Let's, like, start from scratch. And, like, what would be kind of fun would be if I... kind of played this character of a 39-year-old CEO, a straight white man trying to figure out TikTok. So anyway, you can follow along on my TikTok if you want.
I've never talked about it on my Instagram or here because, one, I've been a little embarrassed by it. Because I feel like, well, maybe I should try to build a little following, but two, yeah, I felt like I was dialing it in. So, in terms of TikTok, we're just starting. I did a video being like, hey, obviously this has not worked. So we're going to try something different.
You know, I was thinking back to when I was learning photography, I used to look at photos and be like, okay, I'm going to try to copy that by copying that photo. Sometimes, almost exactly, I learned these new techniques, these new skills, these new ways of seeing the world, of perspective, of editing, and then, you know, it helped me develop my own style.
And so, by doing that, I will, like, build up a little bit of muscle, I'll build up a style. This is something we talked to Lindsey about from Sephora Squad, and she said, "Yeah, this is what I did. I got on TikTok and I was just copying what I was seeing," and she did that for 18 months, and she had some stuff that went viral and things like that, and then she found her voice. What I am realizing, what I, you know, wasn't honest with myself about, was that it's unlikely that you'll start on a new platform and be like, boom. This is my point of view. This is my style.
I've had success on social platforms before because I have, you know, a certain status in the industry. I've got this company that I felt like I should come to TikTok and just know what I'm doing. Understanding from a technical standpoint how these platforms work, what is and isn't working, and finding your voice as a content creator are two really different things, which is why I say like you can watch all the videos like this in the world and read all the think pieces and like it's not gonna help you at all. I'm not gonna say it's not gonna help you at all I hope it helps you. It's that 5 percent 10 percent right? the hard work the 90 percent is like I'm gonna hat tip and say who I'm copying.
I'm not going to lie, it's not like I'm stealing memes, I'm using similar structures for these videos, right? Like, I just want to clarify. I'm not going to make fun of people's memes. We'll continue discussing my journey to understand TikTok and reach, let's say, 10k in a year. On the show, we'll talk about what's working, what's not, and we'll do it together.