the podcast recap episode with aj & rory vaden

Ep 239: 400k TikTok Followers in 40 Days with Hilary Billings and Marshall Seese Jr. | Recap Episode

Listen to the episode below

In today’s show, we recap our brilliant episode with Hilary Billings and Marshall Seese, talking about how the team got Hilary’s TikTok account to the 40K followers mark in 40 days!

What Hilary and Marshall’s story taught us was that no longer is it enough to merely be talented as an entertainer.

A major market indicator of your success comes from the audience you build on social media.

We also learned the value of structuring content around what is trending and that the Discover tab on TikTok is a great place to find popular hashtags.

Finally, Marshall and Hilary showed us that as a creator, you should gauge your performance on the systems for content creation you have set up, and not on the performance of individual pieces of content themselves!

Key takeaways from this episode

  • Shifts from the need to have talent toward the ability to leverage an audience.
  • Audience size as a market indicator of how successful an entertainer is.
  • Why the highest paid speakers are not the best ones but those who are celebrities.
  • How social media offers everybody an equal playing field for building an audience.
  • Using the Discover tab in TikTok to guide your tags; ‘switching from consumer to creator.’
  • Learning to associate your content with the most trending tags.
  • Gauging success by one’s systems for creating content, not the content itself.

Tweetable Moments

“The major macro shift that is happening right now is it’s not just who can bring the talent, its who can bring the audience.” — @roryvaden [0:03:51]

“The Discover tab in TikTok will tell you the tags that the platform wants you to use.” — @roryvaden [0:10:13]

“Don’t base your success off of your videos, base your success off of your systems.” — @roryvaden [0:15:21]

Links Mentioned

Hilary Billings on TikTok

Hilary Billings on Instagram

Hilary Billings on Facebook

The Hilary Show

Hilary Billings

Marshall Seese Jr. on LinkedIn

Marshall Seese Jr. on Facebook

Marshall Seese Jr.

AJ Vaden on LinkedIn

AJ Vaden on Twitter

Rory Vaden

Rory Vaden on LinkedIn

Rory Vaden on Twitter

Take the Stairs

Brand Builders Group

Brand Builders Group Free Call

Brand Builders Group Resources

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Stitcher

The Influential Personal Brand Podcast on Apple

RV (00:01): How in the heck, did she grow 400,000 followers in 40 days? That was the topic of the interview that we just finished with Hillary billings and, uh, her boyfriend Marshall talking about how they do, you know, a, their TikTok strategy. And, oh my gosh, what an amazing interview. These two, these two are freaking brilliant. Like they are so creative and, and intelligent and systematic, but artistic and just like insightful, but also intuitive. I mean, it is amazing. And that is a hundred percent true story. She grew 400,000 followers and 40 days on TikTok that’s that is, is gnarly. So if you didn’t listen to that, go back and listen to the interview. Uh, of course this is the recap edition here. I’m gonna be breaking down this, this interview with Hillary and Marshall and, uh, I’m learned a ton. I’m gonna boil it down to my top, my top three takeaways here for you, but oh, so powerful. RV (01:10): And, um, and really cool. So, so first of all, one of my biggest takeaways is at a macro level, there is a major, major shift that is taking place that you at least need to be aware of and mindful of. Um, and that is that entertainment, like the entertainment, uh, you know, like actors enter entertainers in Hollywood, like it used to be who can bring the talent, right. It was like, okay, you know, if, if you’re gonna even, even I think this is gonna apply to sports and it’s like, okay, if you’re gonna get a scholarship, you know, to come play at some college, you know, who can throw a football or who can, who can shoot a basketball or whatever. Um, and it was like, you know, if you’re gonna get on Broadway in New York, it’s like, who can sing? Who can dance, can act? RV (02:04): It’s all of these different things, right? It used to be who can bring the talent. But the major macro shift that’s happening right now is it’s not just who can bring the talent it’s, who can bring the audience, who can bring the audience. Right? The Logan, all of the world are getting these huge acting deals. This is what Hillary was talking about. Um, and that it’s it’s it’s because they bring their audience with them. They have this built in audience. And in a way, this is what, how endorsement deals have always worked. Like whoever the famous actor is, gets the big or act gets the big endorsement deal, because they know that so many millions of people know who that person is. And if that person says it’s good, then they’ll buy the thing or sign up for the thing or whatever. But, but it still that they had to become famous initially by getting some role, doing something, usually based on their talent. RV (03:04): Now it is based on their audience who has a huge audience. And it’s almost like, I mean, in a weird way, I think just the value of talent is changing because it’s almost like, well, what is your talent worth? It? It’s it’s going well. One of the, the measures of what that talent is worth in the marketplace is how many people pay attention to it. And because there’s sort of this equal playing field of us, all building our own audiences, you go, well, you know how many people are paying attention to it? How many people are following it and liking it and subscribe to it and engaging with it. That is a, is an indicator. It’s a market indicator of not just how talented someone is, but, but what is the appetite of the market for that talent right now in real time, you know, in, in compared to everything else that’s happening in the world. RV (03:55): And you go, man. So that, that, that is why the number of Allers you have it, it does matter. Like people say it doesn’t matter. It, it does matter. We’re just, you know, we, we often talk about, Hey, don’t, don’t, don’t put yourself esteem in that, like, you create what you create and you should be focused on, but, but you should be focused on growing your reach because it matters, right? Like you, your ability to monetize is gonna be directly related to your reach. That’s why we talk about the reputation formula. Don’t forget what the, the brand builders group reputation, formula results, times reach equals reputation, results, times reach. So results is like the talent, right? How good are you? But reach is a huge part of it. And that’s just a monster shift that’s happening in the market. This, by the way, is something I realized early on as a speaker. RV (04:44): Um, if you know anything about my story, right? Originally my dream was I wanna be a speaker that was like the path that I was on. I never thought I would end up doing what we’re doing now, but it was kind of like I realized early on that the best speakers in the world were the people who won the world championship of public speaking for Toastmasters and the hall of fame speakers, uh, for the national speakers association, they were the best speakers in the world. When it came to mechanics delivery, the art form, the craft, the using the, the stage, the stories, the structure, the, you know, the jokes, but they were not the highest paid speakers. Why? Because they didn’t and bring an audience with them. The highest paid speakers are former presidents, right? And they’re celebrities. And they’re, you know, a lot of times they’re, they’re whatever their, their icons of industry, because they’re more well known. RV (05:35): Well, why is a meeting planner willing to pay more for that person? Because the reputation of that person being associate with the event increases the value of the event, the perceived value of the event, it increases the credibility of the event. And because that person is a draw, if it is a public event or any type of event where people aren’t, you know, forced to be there like employees, but any type of event where you’re trying to get people to, to opt into coming or paying all or some of their way to come, people will pay to come see someone they’ve heard of. They will not pay as much to come see someone they’ve never heard of. They don’t, they don’t, you know, they need, they don’t know why cuz they don’t know who the person is yet. So used to be about talent, who can bring the talent. RV (06:18): Now it’s about who can bring the audience. I mean, it’s still about talent, but it’s about both. And so this is a big deal and I’m not saying I like this. In fact, I, I, I’m not sure. I, I’m not sure that I prefer this, but on the one hand, there is kind of a, a beautiful part of this, which is the equal playing field of so media to go, we’re all playing with the same algorithm. We all have the same opportunity. Like we can all build our own audience today. We all, you know, for the most part, have an equal opportunity there to do that. And it allows people with great talent to get discovered or, or not even to get discovered. It’s like they discover themselves because their, their audience lifts them up versus have having some, you know, executive have to choose, choose them out of a hat, so to speak. RV (07:02): So you gotta realize this, this is what’s happening. And there is a lot of economic value in the fact that you have your own audience, not just cuz you can monetize that audience, but it makes you more valuable to everybody else because everywhere you go, some portion of your audience goes with you. That’s a really, really big deal. Um, you gotta really understand it. And uh, anyways, I, I think in some ways I’m a little bit late to the game. Ironically have, have been late to that game over over the years. Um, so that was huge. Um, the second way I had was such a simple, simple technical tip, which, and this is just cuz I don’t use TikTok really to I am on, I am on TikTok and uh, we’ve been, we are, um, focused on, on, we’ve been focused on growing Instagram and growing my Instagram reels. RV (07:56): And so we will at some point start moving that over to TikTok one as we could do it consistently. Um, but we’re not really on TikTok cuz we’re not able to, we don’t have the bandwidth to like keep up with it yet, but we’ll be there. But um, anyways, the discover tab in TikTok will tell you the tags that, that the platform wants you to use right now. right. So here’s another switch you gotta flip. And, and uh, what they, what uh, Hillary and Marshall were saying, which was so smart was they were talking about how like Twitter will te tell you the trending hashtags and, and the, the paradigm shift or like the mindset shift that needs to happen here is you have to shift from being a consumer, to being a creator. You have to shift from thinking like a consumer to thinking like a creator, right? RV (08:46): When you, when you pro I assume you let me just speak for myself when I am thinking as a consumer and I look at the trending hashtags on Twitter, I almost always go, those are so weird. Like why are people paying attention to these stupid hashtags, right? That’s me approaching it as a consumer or maybe I go, oh, that’s really cool. I wanna see what that’s about. But if I flip the switch and, and approach this as a creator, I go, this is a, this is a roadmap. This is an instruction manual. Like this is, these are the keys to the kingdom right here. The platform is saying, this is what’s hot right now. This is, this is what everyone’s paying attention to give me fuel for this thing that has already taken off. Basically it’s like this train has already left the stage, jump on while you can. RV (09:38): And it’s, it’s, it’s the most clear direct roadmap. I mean, this is so simple, but so massive to just go, okay, if I’m on Twitter, let me look at the top training hashtags. Um, I’m sure there’s a way to do this on Facebook. I don’t know. We didn’t really talk about that. But on TikTok specifically was what we were talking about is it’s the discover tab. Uh, you can also do this in Instagram, on the, on the explore page, right? And you can run searches with like, what are these top performing hashtags? And then you go, this is approaching it as a creator rather than a consumer. As you say, what piece of content could I create? That would be on brand for me, but that would speak or, or plug in or tie in or draft off of this hashtag that’s such a simple shift, but it’s massive. RV (10:26): Right? Everyone, you know, we all go, man. I wish the algorithm would help me more. I wish I could go viral. And yet every single time, every single one of us logs into one of these platforms, it tells you what’s going viral. If you wanna go viral right now, create content on these topics. And yet, as a consumer, when I have my consumer hat on, I, I basically like, it goes, it flies right past me. But you know, these professional creators like Hillary and Marshall, I mean, these people are genius at the same time. It’s also kind of simple, right. And going, duh, like open your eyes, pay attention. It’s right there. Like they’re, they’re serving it up to you right on the silver platter. Like this is the content that’s hot right now. Create content for me on this. Oh, it’s so simple. Um, it’s so simple and, and it’s also helpful to go instead of having to create a thousand content ideas yourself, what if you just logged in and said, what’s trending right now. RV (11:28): What piece of content could I, could I create that would align with what is trending right now and then right that way. And I’m just going, man, I am an in honestly, I’m going like, how have I missed this? I don’t know. I don’t know. But I somehow, somehow I have, um, all right. The third takeaway from this interview again, like go listen to it, man. Y’all these interviews are killer man. Every single one of these interviews that we have like is so good. And I, I love, if you haven’t left us a review on iTunes, please go leave us a review. Like if you’ve been listening, you know, to at least a few episodes, um, reviews how it bus so much, it’s like the number one thing that you can do as a listener. I mean, short of requesting a call from our team, and maybe we can, maybe we can be become part of your team. RV (12:22): But like outside of that, leaving as a review is, is one of the most helpful things that you can do. And you know, if you are listening to these episodes, they’re, they’re just powerful, full, right? Like, I can’t believe the amount of, of free advice that all these guests are given away and stuff, and hopefully you get value outta these recaps. So anyways, the third thing was just the mindset, um, in how Hillary and Marshall approached this, right? Like, and I would put them in this kind of professional creator category, right? They’re they’re true creators. I wouldn’t even call ’em influencers. It’s not that that they’ve got like millions and millions of followers and people buy whatever they say. I would put them in the creator category. They, they are specifically in explicitly understanding how to manufacture virality in views. And so how they think is really important to go, how could I adopt more of this? RV (13:17): And, and this was one of the biggest takeaways is they simply said, if you wanna be a great content creator, you have to approach it with an experimental mindset, an experimental mindset. And, and this was one of the, one of the lines. I can’t remember if Hillary said this or Marshall, but you know, they create a lot of this stuff together. And, um, they, they’re definitely a team. And, and they said, don’t base the success off of the videos. Think base your success off of the systems, don’t base your success off of the, off of the videos, base your success off of the systems and, and going, you putting your self esteem and your pride and your focus into like, okay, I’m, I’m creating this production company and there’s this set of processes that we run. And there’s these, there’s these certain things that we monitor and we measure and we account for, and we tweak and we test and, and, uh, and that is what that, what sort of like the value is, it’s not, oh, we got lucky or we feel really good cuz this one video went viral. And did you hear what she said? Like about the video that she made about the parallel parking? She said that video didn’t perform on Facebook. So she had this, this video about parallel parking that she posted on Facebook that didn’t perform. And then it got 40 million views on TikTok. That’s insane. Like it went, it blew up on TikTok. How did it get 40 million views? Well, you know, there’s a couple lessons there. One is, it Speaker 2 (14:51): Shows the lesson of, of posting content on multiple platforms, right? Like the audience on each, platform’s a little bit different and you know, so the content that you think tanked over here might be useful over here. If you have the team, uh, who can help you do it. So be experimental in your mindset, in your approach and just keep going, just keep going. Just keep going, keep coming back here every single week on the influential personal brand podcast we love having ya. We’ll catch you next time. Bye. Bye.

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25 of the World's Most Recognizable Influencers Share Their Tips on How to Build and Monetize a Personal Brand

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