Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/podcast. We hope to talk to you soon.
And so this was like, wait, what, what, what the, wait, what, so anyways, here to talk to us about that, Hillary and Marshall.
Woo. Hey Rory,
thanks for having us Rory excited to be on it.
You guys, I mean, you’re killing it. You are freaking killing it and I love you and I am so jealous and mad at you.
It’s so funny, Rory, because I go back to attending like the revenue engine and the high traffic strategies events, where we talk a lot about the power of being first to market. Right. And we have a really unique situation right now in the world with platforms like TikTok, like clubhouse, where personal brands have the ability to actually create a foundation and grow upon that in ways that you just can’t do nowadays on YouTube or Facebook or even Instagram. And I was probably the most vocal person in as, as a strategist and as an attendee that didn’t wanna do TikTok. Mm I was tired and I was doing all this other content and building my brand in other ways. And it just seemed like, well, one more thing I gotta do that I didn’t wanna focus on. And I think that this really came down to a divine intervention
So what happened, you know, our, our primary platforms are on Facebook and the week that I decided to get on TikTok, the only reason I did that is because was a glitch on the Facebook platform. Mm. Which essentially demonetize my page because of something on Facebook’s backend. So we were not able to make any money on it for an undetermined amount of time, potentially. They didn’t know how long it would take to fix this issue. And we had just posted a video that was viral and I was sitting there and I was watching us lose millions and millions of views in revenue and it was making me batty. So I needed to do something to take my mind off of what was this mess that was happening over here and just decided, well, I guess now’s the time let’s make some TikTok videos. And I just started posting and repurposing content much like we do with the content diamond old videos that I liked that I thought would work for the audience based upon what I was seeing on TikTok. And it just took off from there. It was, it was crazy and unexpected. And we did 400,000 followers in 40 days and then half 1,000,0 60 days. And now we’re own pace to hit a million followers by next month.
Wow. And do you think, so what, what I hear you saying there is, it’s not so much, oh, we had this am. I mean, we had, we, we, we came up with this amazing content exclusively for TikTok you’re repurposing content that you had other places. When I hear you say that in the, especially the reference to clubhouse, you’re saying that there’s basically an optimal window that you can get inside these platforms and have this accelerated growth. I mean, is that true? Is that a big part of it or not? What, what
It’s part of it? I think there is definitely when a, when a platform first gets going, they’re trying to get creators excited. And the best way to do that is to get things, you know, going viral. You reach a point of saturation to where that doesn’t become as optimal anymore. And now you have to, you know, make the way for revenue streams like advertising TikTok. However, I will caveat saying is an interesting use case because they came out even recently in the past couple months and specifically said, we want, we are giving people content. They, we think they want to watch. It’s the only platform that defaults you to a feed based upon what they think you wanna see, not who you follow. You actually have to scroll to a different area to see the only the people that you follow. Mm. So they are trying to keep themselves more open to, you know, profiles exploding if it deems that that’s content that people want to see. So I would say the ability to grow a following on TikTok is, is good. It’s still very good right now and probably will be for a little while. Interesting.
And I would also add to that again, this goes back to one of the tenants that we talk about all the time in brand builders group, which we got ourselves into this predicament where, you know, we had put all of our eggs into a piece of rented real estate, right? Mm-Hmm
That glitch that you’re talking about was not the worldwide glitch where Facebook went down for four hours. This was another one that was only on the back end for people like you that were like creators that have monetized. Cause you have to, you have to have what like 10,000 followers on your watch page to be able to monetize it. Some like that.
Yeah. There’s a whole getting monetize on Facebook is a very difficult process that requires it’s. It’s not just objective there, there are a lot of subjective qualifications with it as well.
Gotcha. So what about, let’s talk about revenue on TikTok. So I I’m curious about, I mean, other than the broad awareness kind of thing, how do you actually make money on TikTok and, and, you know, so I, I guess I understand a couple components. I understand the idea of like, Hey, a lot of people are hearing about me the same way they, they, they might hear about anybody. And from that there’s some, some runoff in terms of like recognition that you can parlay into other things. And then I also understand brand deal. Like I have a large platform. And so somebody pays me some money to talk about their product or company or service to my audience. Is that, is that how you make revenue on TikTok or is there there’s, there’s something else
There’s also a creator fund. Yeah. That is very small right now that if you have over 10,000 followers, you can apply to became a, become a part of, and that will ebb and flow and grow as they figure out what their advertising model looks like. Yeah.
So if you’re running through like the basic paids acronym, right? So you’ve got products where you can be advocating doing brand deals, doing product placements within your videos, you could be doing ads and affiliates. So ads is essentially the creator fund, right? Because they’re putting a basic ad on the front that you see when you log in, it’s not on a specific piece of content that shift in the future. We don’t know where that’s going. We highly recommend that anybody that meets the criteria for video hours watched in the followings should apply because it’s just additional monthly revenue that’s coming in that you don’t have to worry about. And you can withdraw. I think it’s every 30 or 60 days. Then you have affiliates, right? So a lot of products give you an affiliate link. You can put that in your profile. You can say, Hey, I love this type of makeup.
Go to my link in my profile for my 20% off code. And then you get an affiliate check, right? For everyone of your followers that can go there. You can drive information to courses. I know we have some clients Ram builders that do that, that they’ll utilize the content that they’re doing on TikTok to push back to their websites, back to their courses, back to their one-on-one coaching. So their, their services, then you’ve got deals right for the D which could be, you’re endorsing a product you are saying, Hey, this is the best makeup I’ve ever had. And let me do a creative TikTok to show you you that. So there’s a lot of different ways over time that you can monetize that outside of just building a following. I will also say, and I think we’re gonna talk about this a little bit, but going into the future of, of how influencers, I, I really dislike that term, but how influencers are able to monetize, we’re seeing already that the big content creators, right?
Like the Logan Pauls of the world, the top talkers, they are getting acting deals. They are getting huge spokes model deals and they are able to take and monetize off of that platform because they have such large followings. But back when I was an on-camera host, it used to be, I’d submit my resume to, to a network or an agency or a company in the hopes that they would pick me based upon my talent. Well, now talent is table stakes and your content and your personal brand is table stakes. And now it’s a matter of what else can you bring to these opportunities to show that you can add a value and make something take off. And I think that long term we’re gonna see that out more and more into monetization strategies for content creators.
Yeah. I mean, I, I, I noticed that too, that it’s like, it’s not just about, who’s talented. It’s about who can bring an audience. And yeah, there’s a huge part of that. And now that we all have our opportunities to bring our audiences to things that has real value, and you’re seeing people at cast Y you know, the, the thing that AJ and I noticed recently was on the voice that Ariana Grande has like she has hundreds of millions of followers and she was the new coach. Meanwhile, Blake Shelton and Kelly, and John legend, who are in my eyes much more well known to majority of the generations have only four or five, like, you know, a few million followers. And I, I can’t help, but think that’s no a us not an accident that she got herself cast for that fourth coaching spot.
I mean, another great example is only murders in the building, which is our, our, our current, or I guess we just finished it TV obsession with Steve Martin and Martin short, I mean, two of my all time, favorite actor comedians. And, but the third party is Celina Gomez, the second largest following on all of Instagram. And there’s so many people, especially younger generations watching this show because of Selena who had no idea who Steve Martin and Martin short were. And so it’s, it’s, it’s a really great, and the chemistry is great. It’s a really beautiful example of what that can look like when done. Well, I
Think it also speaks to, and we talk about this a lot R and brand builders, whether it’s with a book, right? Whether you’re speaking career, whatever you’re trying to do, we want to show that you have a profitable business model, right. And if you’re able to bring a following to that book proposal, if you’re able to bring a following to as a, as a keynote speaker, you know, whether it’s through YouTube or whatever, that, that particular revenue stream is that you’re trying to build through your primary business model that is attractive to whomever you’re trying to work with. So this applies across a across industries, I believe.
Yeah, well it, so the, on the topic of building an audience, one of the things that I know has been a little bit of a pain point for y’all and, and, and for, and for a lot of people is the intellectual property discussion about TikTok. And you know, there, there are some strategies that people use to grow a following that kind of go in the face as you know, of some of this copyright stuff. And I think that’s one of the things creators were worried initially about TikTok was like, oh my gosh, like anyone can take my video and post it on TikTok and now belongs to them. So what are some of the, what are some of the things that you’ve learned there in that kind of like I P intellectual property, right. Sort of world, as it relates to TikTok specifically,
Do you wanna start with that one former? I,
Why don’t we take a former as a former lawyer Marshall, former IP attorney who like to officially comment
So copyright, and there’s a big misconception around this. A lot of people have with copyright, as soon as you publish a work you have copyright protection. Now you can also go a further step and register that with the copyright office, with the government, you don’t have to, to have protection. So once you publish something, say on YouTube or TikTok or Facebook, you know, you have a date and a timestamp that has been released to the general public. You have copyright protection in that now enforcing that is an entirely other bag. And, you know, some of the platforms, Facebook has a really great rights manager where they will track and look for similar videos and show them to you. So you can say, Hey, yes, this was approved or no, this was not approved. Not every platform is developed and sophisticated enough to have that. Interesting yet it will go there. It’s coming. Yeah. And so, you know, we are very active about takedowns and, and Hillary can probably speak to, to the takedown side of things, but that’s, that’s an important part. And also a large reason why we put our content on multiple different platforms to, to kind of, you know, put our stake in the ground and make sure there is no, I don’t have to show YouTube that we put on Instagram first. You know, if you’re putting it everywhere at the same time,
I think there’s a couple of misconceptions that we get push back on, which I would like to, to clarify for people right now to help them and, and to help us too. One just because things out in the public does not mean that it’s in public domain.
Yeah. That is not what public domain means.
And that is something that we get pushed back on a lot is what do you mean? I found this on TikTok it’s in the public domain. No, it was publicly shared. That does not mean that you get to put it out on your own platform. So, Marshall, what is the definition of being in public domain? Just so we can all get, yeah,
That’s a good question.
Copyrighted piece of work goes into the public domain, which is a legal term 100 years after the author’s death.
So we can all safely assume that anything that has been created for a video on YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram radio. It’s not going
Public domain anytime soon.
And then the second piece is
I think a lot of people misunderstand that I really, I mean, totally like that, that, that, so, so you’re welcome to quote the Bible freely, but yes, nothing on social media ever. So, so, but you have,
But that’s where the van go. Exhibit is so popular. You’ve seen van goes that is popping up everywhere because Vango works just went into the public domain. Oh,
Interesting. Yeah, we’re going, we’re going next week. There you go. We’re going to a Vango exhibit in Nashville next week.
That’s because we hit the a hundred year mark after his death. Yay. So, and you’re
Pretty safe to say Hillary, I don’t see anybody reading the community guidelines. Like, let me scroll down 73 pages here and figure out what all this Gar says pretty safe. Absolutely.
That’s and that’s a, okay. But with that, there is a very, a very specific community standard on every single platform. Mm-Hmm
And the law and
The law, throwing that out there and the law, which means that if you were to somehow make money off of that video, we can come after you for damages. So that’s like worst case scenario for you. Best case scenario for you is we get that video taken down. We can also, because platforms are now trying to prioritize and protect creators and work with their creators to protect their IP. We have taken down accounts with millions of followers because they really continually, again and again, posted videos of ours without our explicit written permission. So you need to license that content from another creator, if you’re going to do that. And that needs to come with written permission and possibly even payment of some sort, if that’s what they want. So it’s just safer to create your own everybody, cuz we, we have, and we will take down accounts for stealing our stuff.
Well, it’s not, I mean, I mean, I see that all the time, a lot of times it’s like puppy dog videos or military videos or like these really heartwarming videos. And you’re saying that, that I think it’s tricky. So a share button like hitting the share button is okay, but, but not downloading the video and then reposting it to your account. Like technically that’s,
Let’s it this way. If you’re utilizing the tools within the platform to share and or create with something, then they have built that into the terms and conditions that we as creators have signed and agreed to when putting our copyright content onto their platform. If you are doing something that requires a plugin or some sort of external third party website, or you’re having to rip something or download something, I can pretty much tell you right now, that will not be okay because
What’s happening is when you use the share button, when you’re using the retweet button, when you’re using duet features on TikTok, you are still giving, I haven’t heard of that one
Yet. Duet features on TikTok. I need you to explain that, but I kind of get the gist anyways, keep going.
So you’re, whenever you use a feature that’s built into a platform you’re still giving credit to the original creator. When you take something from somebody else’s page and re-upload it organically on your own, you are saying that that is your video and that you own that video. So you have the ability to post that video, which is untrue. And that is a violation of our IP. Does that make
Sense? I mean, everybody does this. I mean, everybody does. I mean, I like major, major are celebrities and huge accounts and, and
We don’t take downs on celebrity accounts
But you guys had, you actually had if I remember, right, not major, always talker, but you guys had a video about parallel parking. Wasn’t there a parallel parking video that you posted on Facebook that went viral and then somebody else posted it on TikTok. Like how
Many didn’t even do well on Facebook, which was the very, a frustrating part for me. Oh, that’s interesting. And I, I had written it off as a bad video mm-hmm
That’s crazy. So, so, so 30,000 people like used whatever plugin or did a whatever tool they used to rip the video and then, and then put it up. You have to go through through that, that that’s, what’s so hard about it, right. Is like who’s gonna sit there and do this for 30,000 videos. But, but the other concept that jumps out about that to me was how a video video that didn’t perform well on Facebook, the exact same video got 40 million, 40 million views. Like that’s interest. That’s a fascinating concept to me to go, what we think is going, oh, well, you know, I guess it wasn’t that good. It’s like how there’s more to the story here about the algorithms and how’s stuff gets picked up and you just don’t. I mean, what’s the explanation for that?
I think there’s a number of things. And, and what was interesting is even looking at the data on the back end of all of those stolen videos is that only a few of them had major views. Right. But I, I think part of it is, you know, depending upon the platform, right, because TikTok to face book to Instagram, to YouTube, they’re all serving different demographics. And and then depending upon your audience, right on your profile, who, who are you serving, what audience is watching your stuff. So maybe we post it and it doesn’t do well, but somebody else’s audience is a better fit for it. There there’s just so many variables that can go into something like this. And I do see often that videos that do well for us on TikTok are not the same videos that are doing well for us and other platforms and vice versa. And I think part of that is just age group and what they want to watch. So what I learned for this experience is not to judge the quality of a video just because it’s not taking off in one place. But to see how I can utilize it across multiple platforms and leverage that piece of content.
What if you have videos that all consistently underperform on all platforms should I be worried about that? Does that mean that I might have a crappy video? We should probably talk about how to make your videos
Yes. Yeah. Is there, so on that note, like in terms of a video on TikTok, like I think about a video that I maybe post on YouTube, I mean, other than kind of knowing like, Hey, maybe the audience skews younger, although I feel like that’s probably changing or destined to change here before too long people are jumping over. Is there anything I need to know about how, how I should edit my videos on TikTok? Or and then I, I would say the other thing is kind of like the, the features, like, what are, are there, are there certain key features? Like, you know, you mentioned a few of these duets and trending sounds and trending hashtags. What are those?
Do you want us to take this one to start? No, you can. So I think for starters, like a great thing for you to do is just go to the, for anybody is to go to their four you page, which is what your TikTok is going to send you to anyway, when, as your landing page, when you open up the app and just start scrolling and seeing what’s working. Right. And I think you’ll find when I first got Onik TikTok and I showed Marshall, his response was, oh, it’s human cartoons.
What this is nice.
And so yeah, Sunday
Comics. Got it. Yeah. So, so our question became, how do we make even, you know, these, these difficult or deep co you know, topics, how do we make ’em cartoonish? How do we make ’em more over the top? You know, there’s, there’s a couple of clients with brand builders that have very serious topics that they’re dealing with, whether that’s death or divorce, or, you know, in these really traumatic events. And they’re able to take those topics and find ways to poke fun at them, or find ways to poke fun at themselves as moms. And just making it more of that lighthearted, I think also on TikTok, at least because the platform was built on under a minute, initially, you’re gonna have much quicker edits than you would have on another platform. I’m gonna
Pull a pandemic moment and go let our dog in because we all live in this world. Now I’ll be right
He says, I dunno if y’all can hear him, but he is just downstairs and making a ruckus. And we had a conversation before we started this of okay. Let’s just hope he makes it through without, without
Working at us. It’s all good. Hear it faintly. But talk, tell me about those features. Yeah. So the light, the
Them up for you right now. Yeah.
The quick cuts make sense. The lightheartedness, I mean, that, that makes sense.
So when we come to one of the other things that’s interesting about TikTok is that you have this discover tab, which is you have your home tab, and then you have a little discover tab. And what the discover tab will do for you, which I think is so fast in comparison to most other platforms, is it will tell you now Twitter does this too, as far as like here’s the trending hashtags, but what TikTok does for you as far as how we understand it as these are the, the hashtags that it wants you to create content around, because that’s what it’s pushing out right now. Oh, so you can go through and, and look at, okay, we got hashtag arts and crafts, hashtag relationships, hashtag productivity, and you can go and see what’s trending within those and make content that fits within those topics. So that’s a really interesting feature that talk’s actually encouraging you to utilize that
There’s also, and again, something pass is that people
You’re just saying, you click on the discover button on the bottom and all those hashtags that like, if you’re gonna use a hashtag or if you’re gonna create a video natively for the platform, it’s like, use one of those.
If you don’t know what to create, I would go to the discover tab and it’ll give you 30 to how I’m probably in unlimited now of hashtags to utilize that it’s currently trending and pushing content for
Tiktok also has some really great creator resources online that give again, nobody reads just like terms and conditions, community guidelines, but they tell you how to succeed on the platform. Like do this immediately make this, your first shot, do this, and then this, and then they’ll tell you how to create and construct a good video that will work well on their platform. It’s, you know, beautiful kind of PDF and other types of, you
Know, they’re saying on just on TikTok website, mm-hmm
Frequently were you publishing?
I think when we first started, I was doing a video a day. It was not that frequent.
It, it was, it was a a day. And then you reached a certain point, I think, two weeks in. And you started to do every other day mm-hmm
Yeah. And I think what’s also interesting about TikTok is that maybe unlike other platforms, although I don’t know, I feel like it’s all changing with TikTok. I think there’s a, a understanding that if a video doesn’t perform right away, then that means that the videos are dead. But the truth of the matter is, is that it can take a few days to a few weeks for a TikTok to take off. And, and then when that happens, the ones around it that you’ve put out will get a boost. Right. And so I would encourage people, never to judge the performance of a TikTok based upon
Can deter something fascinating. I mean, even as you guys talk, like you can tell, like you mentioned earlier, you don’t like the word influencer and it’s like, the word creator is a much better term. I mean, you’re reading these stuff, you’re familiar with all the policies. Like it, it also strikes me as it’s very professional. It’s a job. Like you’re tracking things, you’re doing it consistently. Like this is not a, oh, I just like make some funny videos, like in my spare time and throw ’em up there. Like you’re, you’re working, you’re working at this. And I think it’s important for people to see that just like working at anything. And and, and right when you start anything, you have to work hard and fast and consistently, and there’s this like some natural velocity that you gotta create early on. I do have one more question in terms of advice for new Tuckers, but before we do that, where do you want people to go? If they wanna link up with you guys and get connected to, to, to you and maybe watch some of your viral videos?
I think the best place to go is probably just my website. Cuz you can find all the links there. Hillary billings.com, H I L a R Y B I L L I N gs.com. That’ll have all the links to everything and you can also get my free confidence load book as well. If you’re interested in that. And we we’ll take you on a journey from there.
I like it. I like it, but we’ll put links to that. So first if you have someone that’s new to TikTok, I mean, you mentioned like the ha the discovery trick is pretty cool. I actually was just noticed that for the first time, the other day, you mentioned duets, which I have never heard about. I’m gonna have to figure out that, but like what else, what else in terms of like practical advice or things that we should be doing, if we’re, if we’re new or if we like, okay, I need to get, I need to get serious about this.
I think for anybody that wants to be a content creator across any platform, or just in general, especially if you’re new, you and you’re starting off to this, it’s really important to take an experimental mentality. I think especially early on in my content creation, I held every piece of content, so precious and so close to me and was basing my success off the result of that video versus the system that I was putting into place to make the video. And we don’t have control over what something does, but when you take an experimental approach and say, okay, I’m gonna make 30 videos and I’m gonna throw ’em all up there and we’ll see what happens. And that’s exactly the approach that I took when I started TikTok was, well, I’m gonna post a video a day. Let’s try a different genre every day. Let’s try this one, let’s try that one and see what’s working.
And then at that point, you’ll have a data set to then work off of and say, oh, interesting. These ones worked for me. Let me do more of those. Let’s see what happens if I do more of those, oh, those aren’t working. What if I do this type of video in this genre, or try this trend or try this TikTok dance all of that can come into play, but it’s, I think that the art of mastery and we were talking about this, I think it was last month, come without holding that content so close to you. You have to be able to let it go and move on and let it go and move on in order to continue to become better.
Ah, I love it. I love it guys. Well, thank you so much for this. I mean, I learned a ton here. It’s just crazy how the world is changing and looking at this. And I mean, TikTok is powerful. It it’s honestly like it’s really good at at least mine is it’s serving up things that I’m actually interested in and funny and inspiring. And like, it, it I’ll tell you it’s a whole lot better than TV. It does a better if a job than TV does at like putting stuff in front of me that I wanna see. So keep going. I mean, this is cool. I wanna make sure we’ve got good people out there leading the world of TikTok creators and you guys are awesome. We appreciate your wisdom. We’re, we’re always cheering for you. And you know, we’ll be, we’ll be following your journey. We love you guys. Thanks Rory.