I sat down with Dalia Cromwell (@the.extra.girl) to discuss her journey in becoming a creator during lockdown and how creating content has changed as we move away from the pandemic. In this interview Dalia shares useful tips and tricks on how to successfully engage your audience on TikTok.
How did you start your TikTok Platform?
My sister had actually just got a Fiat 500 and I was in the car and always filming videos and I started posting them on TikTok. I decided to take a break from guys and wanted to focus on myself. Every single day the numbers kept going up and I realised everyone liked my mindset and could relate to me which was really inspiring.
What do you like most about posting on TikTok?
I think people engage with my content because we feel the same, which makes me not feel alone. I love that I’ve built this online community of people that feel similar to me in everyday life. I also like inspiring and empowering people and having the ability to change people's mindsets.
Did you find it easier in lockdown? Do you find people are less or more engaged?
I actually started posting TikTok's in the second lockdown. I noticed that more people were engaged during the pandemic as everyone was on their phones more and screen time was generally up! Although now there are more people on the app so it hasn’t affected it too much.
Is there anything you’d change about your social media career?
I don’t know if I would change anything! Potentially to post a bit more consistently but that’s more of a personal problem. I’ve really liked my journey and I love my audience and so I wouldn’t change anything.
Do you feel pressure to post regularly and keep your followers entertained - now the world has come out of this strange time?
Sometimes it feels like TikTok is more saturated and we’re almost competing with those that are now using it as a mini YouTube. During the pandemic it seemed like there was more lip syncing videos but now we have life vlogs, educational content and so many other verticals that creators are going into.
How did you grow your followers?
I always wanted to be in social media since I was young. I created @the.extra.girl as an alter ego for a young age! When I started to go viral on TikTok it was totally organic and seemed to happen really quickly. I also did Marketing at University which I think helped me a lot especially with knowing who to target and the emotional side of content.
Did you ever feel like giving up?
Yes, all the time! When you go viral very quickly (in the space of 3 months getting to a million followers) a time then comes where you plateau or views might not be growing as fast as the beginning. But if you’re making a difference in one person's day that’s really what keeps me going. There’s an assumption that being a content creator is an “easy job” but content is on my mind 24/7. You have to be scrolling through TikTok looking for what’s trending and trying to stay relevant. It can definitely be a bit overwhelming but balance is key!
What makes a good TikTok?
Make sure you hook the audience in within the first 2 or 3 seconds of the video. I like to keep my content short and ensure that it’s visually appealing. The content either needs to entertain or have value in it. Whether they’ll laugh, or learn from the video - I think that is the best and most successful content on TikTok!
How do you deal with negative comments?
Luckily I don’t really get any negative comments. I try to use my content to be positive and uplift my audience. Sometimes I get the odd horrible comment but I remain confident in myself. I think it’s important to be prepared for hate when starting content creation - think of it as free publicity and more engagement (haha!). Take it with a pinch of salt, if someone leaves a negative comment it’s more of a reflection on them.
If you could have dinner with one TikTok creator who would it be?
Ooo, myself, myself, myself! Only joking. I’m a huge fan of @addisonre and I love that she’s become a mainstream celeb just from doing social media. How cool is that!
What tips do you have to create a successful TikTok?
Show your personality and treat it as a mini YouTube. I think that’s the content that’s going to thrive most. Put yourself in the audience's shoes, think about you watching your own videos when creating content.
Why TikTok over other social media platforms?
Because you can be yourself. You can grow organically and it’s a discovery app, it’s not where people come to see how perfect your life is. With YouTube not everyone can afford a camera or editing apps. I think this was a gap in the market that TikTok got so right by simplifying the process and providing features that allow you to make your content stand out.
Is there a feature that you wish TikTok had?
I would have said Stories but I know they’ve just added that. Potentially a place to house pictures? Or to be able to post something that wasn’t video content. Not sure if that would make it too similar to Instagram haha. I’m excited to use the Stories feature!
What do you find hardest about your job?
The constant pressure to outdo myself and also doubting my content. Once I hit a certain amount of views I start thinking I need to surpass that amount with my next video. Also making sure that I stay relevant. We rely on the numbers of views/likes etc. I feel that my content may not be resonating with my followers if my views are low.
What advice would you have for anyone starting TikTok now?
Do it! Just start. TikTok can provide so many opportunities. There is still the chance to jump on. Post as much as you can, be consistent, see what pops off and keep recreating it. I think if you don’t join TikTok you are missing out as it’s still in its early stages. We’re still wondering who will become the biggest TikTok creators…