Some thoughts on the pros and cons of niche fame, three years after first going viral on TikTok
Three years ago today, I posted a TikTok that went massively viral. At the time I was a relatively unknown legal tech sales rep, with an uncertain future. The pandemic was in full swing and work wasn’t going great. All of my buyers were still waiting to see how Covid played out, and weren’t ready to purchase software. Which meant my quota (and sales commissions) suffered. I was on the verge of losing my job.
So I tried to jump start my marketing efforts by trying out a lot of different weird things.1 One of those weird things was law-related video skits. Links to some of them can be found in footnote 1, but basically I made these low quality skits by recording myself with Zoom and editing the film with iMovie. My videos were popular but they took so long to produce. Someone suggested that I try out this trendy new video app2
It was called TikTok.
Making my own videos with TikTok was so much fun
Because I was able to produce content with lightning speed. The videos also looked better than my Zoom/iMovie videos. I made one, then another, then another. The plan was to download my videos and re-post them on LinkedIn where I already had a small following in the legal community. I figured most people on TikTok were teenagers, so there was no reason to focus on building an audience there.
On November 6th, 2020, I decided to make another TikTok. It was set to a newly trending song, Blinding Lights by the Weeknd, and the skit was about an associate disrespecting a paralegal. My idea came from a similar video in a different context—a new doctor not respecting a nurse—and I decided to copy it.3
Once I posted my video, I closed the app and went on with my life.
The next day
I was in the middle of a sales call when I noticed my phone notifications blowing up. I was getting bombarded with text messages and DMs from a bunch of people, like my co-workers, old college friends, people from my past. Even my sister texted me! “Hey this is kinda crazy but I just saw you on TikTok,” she said.