For our young’uns edition, we reached out to TikTok dancing queen Kelly Kikx, who graciously spent time chatting to us about content creating, communities on social platforms, and what she values most in a brand. Kelly has almost a million followers on the Tok, so we trust what she has to say. Thankfully, it was also just really interesting!
Can you tell us how your TikTok journey started?
Kelly: It started in 2015. I had a YouTube channel before I had a TikTok account. It was when Musical.ly was still out there. TikTok and Musical.ly were two separate apps, and then TikTok bought Musical.ly over and rebranded it as TikTok. But going back, one of my followers on YouTube said I should try Musical.ly, and then I started getting, like, really addicted to it. It was really quirky and funny enough to really talk to the camera like they do on YouTube. It was an on-and-off thing but then in 2016 I started making content more consistently on Musical.ly. Then Musical.ly became TikTok, I think in 2017 or 2018, and that’s how I found myself on TikTok. So I didn’t actually sign up for TikTok, I started with Musical.ly.
What do you think your followers enjoy about your content?
Kelly: I think they enjoy me messing up a lot. So for example, on YouTube, I did the show called “Kelly Kinda Cooks”. I don't know how to cook, or back then I didn’t really know how to cook, so it was content of me trying to cook. Sometimes I would make something and other times I’d fail, and people enjoyed watching that.
The same with gaming; people like watching me fail and scream around and die instead of actually winning the game. And it’s the same with my TikTok. Although people enjoy my transition videos that I did, especially in the beginning, and my dance videos, they also enjoy my bloopers, like when I have a funny moment or something unplanned. People really enjoy that from me.
If you had to give advice to another content creator about building their community, or fostering that sense of community, what would you say?
Kelly: You need to find your people, in a sense, people that lift you, your brand up. People that acknowledge your strengths and your weaknesses. Your community needs to be able to call you out when you're wrong, and also lift you up when you need that encouragement. It’s a balance. Being able to take correction and also being able to give back.
In the same breath, it’s only community once you are able to give back and give correction and you know, influence in a good way, but also receive that same direction. It should feel like a group of friends or family. Even if you don’t see them, it should feel like some sort of personal connection between the two.
And you kind of figure out who your community is. A lot of people still follow you, but maybe don’t understand the community. But once they engulf themselves in the community, and they converse with other people in the community, they’ll figure out “okay, this is the vibe” and they will be able to choose whether they want to stay or not.
Have you figured out how to convert someone from being a follower to being part of your community?
Kelly: It depends on you as a person, and it depends on what you feed to others, or what others feed off of you. So I might be, for example, a really hyperactive person but also, at this stage of my life, I know where I want to give energy… In the same way with friendships, you can pick up what things you like and what you don’t like, and you can decide, do I want to stay in the friendship or not? It’s exactly the same with community.
People can decide if they want to stay in this community because it’s giving you good vibes; it’s making you feel more positive about life; you’re learning from it; it’s making you a better person because you can see different people’s outlooks. Or, is it negative? Is it toxic, too?
Each creator has their own personality traits, and it’s very easy for followers to pick up on those things and even become similar to those things. So if you’re a toxic creator, even globally, their community also becomes quite toxic. If you look at a wholesome creator, the community is also quite wholesome.
The longer followers chat with you, the more they get to know you, the more they become community – and not just followers.
What do you love about content creation?
Kelly: I like getting creative with my hands or with the camera and creating art or dance. Right from the actual creation process is my favourite part. So if I want to make a concept video or something and add a cool idea, being able to put that idea on paper and then actually executing it and seeing what comes out, is my favourite part.
What attracts you to a brand?
Kelly: Morals and values, and also the quality of what they’re offering. Like any person, I ask if this would make sense to me. Does it make sense to who I am? And then also what implications does this brand have on other people, as the world isn’t all inclusive. It has a lot to do with morals and values… I wouldn’t want to go and support a brand that maybe has an underlying bad thing with, for example, racism, war or any political thing that I maybe don’t stand for. Animal abuse. Animal cruelty is a very important one, especially with make-up and perfume brands.
Why would you say morals and values are so important to you?
Kelly: You need to look for brands that are able to represent you. It’s a give and take there as well. For example, I love puppies, right? But say a particular brand endorses dog fighting, which I don’t agree with, I might like the brand because it has great make-up, they may have a great foundation, but they’ve gotta support the animals too otherwise it doesn’t align with me. Another example, I am quite strong in my faith. If it has anything to do with mocking Christ, I wouldn’t support the brand. That isn’t me, it just doesn’t make sense to me to support something that is against my morals and beliefs.
What are the best ways that brands communicate with a young person like yourself?
Kelly: They need to keep in tune with what is of most importance to this generation – what are we worried about, and how will the brand add value to what it is that we are trying to do or trying to improve. We want to make the world a better place.
Finding out what it is that we are looking for, and catering to that or supporting us in that – and then finding the audience through that. How does my brand align with what the generation is looking for? How do we appeal to the importance of what it is that we tried to get out there?
H&M is a brand that I quite often love. They do this thing where you can bring in your old clothes, and they recycle, or they give it to people in need. And they create jobs for those who don’t have work with a recycling programme. So, for me, they are helping with poverty, they are helping with waste in the world because we trying to make this world actually last as long as we can. And also they create jobs for those who don’t have.
So, for me, instead of me giving back clothes or throwing it away or giving it away, I’m going to rather give it to a place where I know they’re going to be able to do something great with this. I also get to save money cause you get a discount for giving.
Which social platform do you enjoy the most?
Kelly: I think my favourite switches quite often depending on the content that’s out there. But I’m gonna say currently my favourite, which is my smallest at the moment as well, because I just started last year, is Twitch, the live-stream platform. My second alternates between TikTok and YouTube.
Worst of all, is Facebook.
What do you enjoy so much about Twitch?
Kelly: It’s not just like a normal live stream, but you can get your community to interact with your stream as well. So you can implement things in your stream that if they type a command in the chat, like exclamation mark V eight, then your lights behind can turn red. Your community has access to what’s happening in the stream, which is really cool because they feel like they are part of the suite.
I enjoy that you get a sense of homeliness, community. There’s obviously always trolls as per usual on any social media platform, but the community is so close-knit that they will actually report and sort them out in the chat. So you really create a cool little family. Just from my experience of being on Twitch, from the time that I’ve been on there, I think I’ve met at least 70% of the people that I’ve made friends with on Twitch in the last year. So it really becomes like a close-knit community.
It’s been great chatting to you, thank you for giving us a glimpse into what matters most to GenZers!