In just under two years, Brooke Monk has amassed over 16 million followers on the social media platform TikTok. But, speaking to CNBC, she said that it was never her intention to reach influencer status.
Monk put up her first TikTok post in September 2019 and since then she’s gained 16.1 million followers and 1.2 billion likes on her videos.
The 18-year-old U.S. influencer told CNBC on the latest episode of “Marketing Media Money” that it was never her aim to attract a lot of followers or become famous, but more about the fact that she really enjoyed making content for social media.
“I love having an audience, I love reading people’s comments, I love interacting with people,” Monk said, explaining that the aspect of not knowing everyone online almost motivated her to post more because she loved seeing the feedback.
Monk believed the secret to creating popular content on a platform like TikTok was to make the posts about things that people can relate to, “like little mundane things that everyone’s experienced in their life.”
She also said it was key for influencers to listen to feedback from their audience, as well as being positive and uplifting on social media.
“I feel like the majority of audiences start to feel disconnected from their influencers when they get too big and then they don’t really care about their audience anymore,” Monk said.
Monk believed it was important that brands didn’t change an influencer’s style. Otherwise she said it could make the content look sponsored, like a “face holding a product,” which could see the influencer’s popularity start to fade.
She believed brands would work with influencers a lot more in the future “because audiences feel more connected to an influencer, if they see their daily life and they’re just watching their content, as opposed to celebrities or even commercials or infomercials.”
TikTok’s popularity has exploded amid the pandemic. As of June 2020, TikTok’s total number of U.S. month active users had jumped to more than 91 million, up from 27 million in 2019.
Monk said that she realized she had become an influencer when people started asking her about what hair and make-up products she used.
Monk has not disclosed her earnings. According to recent data from music licensing platform Lickd.co, to make $100,000 a year on TikTok, a user would need to have a minimum of 10,000 subscribers, or followers and get more than 270 million clip views a year.
In terms of how Monk finds the brands that feature in her TikToks, she said that companies actually get in touch with her most of the time.
As for how she promotes products in her posts, Monk said that if she has creative freedom then she tries to incorporate it into a piece of general content she would already produce. But if not, she follows what the “brand’s comfortable with.” However, Monk stressed that she won’t sponsor a product if she doesn’t like it.