When the demand for laugh-out-loud moments escalated during the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, good friends and social media influencers Julian Savoury and Jalen Robinson delivered — like clockwork, so to speak.
Utilizing the humor-fueled platform TikTok, 20-year-old Canton resident Savoury and Belleville’s Robinson, 24, have used their quick wit and sharp social awareness skills to amass close to 3 million followers — people who subscribe to an individual’s account to receive all of that person’s social-media updates.
Savoury is approaching 1.7 million followers while Robinson is closing in on 1.2 million dedicated fans.
TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share brief videos — generally 30 seconds or shorter — on any topic, according to influencermarketinghub.com, which explains the app offers users a wide selection of sounds and song snippets, along with the option to add special effects and filters.
As millions of TikTok users have discovered quickly — and Savoury and Robinson learned early in their influencing careers — all the high-tech tools in the world can’t build a faithful following if you don’t possess a few invaluable intangibles.
“First of all, it helps to have a sense of humor,” said Savoury, currently a student and basketball player at Henry Ford College in Dearborn. “Putting together successful content is all about being relatable. My niche is making jokes out of everyday stuff. People gravitate to that. I’ve learned what people like, what people want to see. Once you find out what works, keep doing it.”
Robinson said patience is one of the key ingredients to becoming a TikTok juggernaut.
“A lot of people will make a video that doesn’t do well and they’ll quit, just like that,” Robinson said. “You have to keep posting; don’t give up. You’re not going to blow up overnight.”
“I only had about 2,000 followers the first four months I was doing TikTok,” Savoury revealed. “Then one day I posted a video that went viral and before long I was over 1 million (followers). You have to be consistent and keep grinding.”
Both young men have managed to carve out styles that make people laugh with less-than-a-minute videos that depict typically mundane sequences.
“One video I made that a lot of people liked was when your mom tells you to clean your room while you’re already in the process of cleaning it,” Savoury said, flashing a million-dollar smile. “Simple, everyday things like that.
“My favorite is probably the one I made that most people can relate to: You’re sitting in a restaurant waiting for your food, you’re really hungry, and the waitress is walking toward your table with a tray of food … and she walks right by you to another table. In the video, I get up and smack her in the back of the head.”
Savoury played the roles of the hungry customer and the waitress, so no unsuspecting servers were injured, he added, smiling.
Approximately 4.6 million people reacted favorably to Savoury’s restaurant-experience video while 54,000 commented.
“You know pretty quickly whether or not a video is going over well with people,” Savoury said. “If it’s good, you’ll know in the first hour after you posted it.”
Robinson’s forte is creating popular call-you-back prank videos, some of which have piled up as many as several million views.
“And a lot of times I’ll make videos that combine two things that don’t make sense together,” Robinson said. “Whatever comes to my mind I use for content. I’ve been doing it for seven months now, so I know what works and what doesn’t. If I mess one up, I don’t worry about it.”
Savoury said TikTok flourished during the coronavirus pandemic.
“People were bored at home and needed something to do,” he said of the content producers. “And the world needed content that made them laugh.”
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Individuals who excel at TikTok can make a career out of producing the brief videos, Savoury said.
“I’m making more money with my videos than I did working a part-time job,” he said. “There’s the advertising part of it, plus TikTok will pay you if a video generates a certain number of views. If you’re good at it, people will pay you to make promotional TikTok videos for them. There’s definitely money to be made.”
The TikTok app is free to download.
Savoury, whose followers include Netflix actress Talia Jackson and a female UFC fighter, is not going to rest on his TikTok laurels.
“My goal is to get to two million followers by the end of the year, so I try to post something every day,” he said.
In other words, like clockwork.
Contact reporter Ed Wright at email@example.com or 517-375-1113.