TikTok, originally known as music.ly, was launched in 2016 and now is one of the biggest names in the social media world.
Even though TikTok is only a few years old, it has produced some big named influencers. With the amount of people who follow them, big named brands are falling over themselves to work with them.
One of those big named Influencers is Sameer Mahan who during the day is a portrait photographer, but in his spare time turns his skills to make people laugh.
The portrait and lifestyle photography who also undertakes commercial work used his artistic skills to make videos for his family and friends to see. Little did he know that these videos would reach all corners of the world and now has more than 10 million views.
We decided to learn more about Sameer Mahan and what life is like as a TikTok influencer.
Sameer Mahan, you have become an Influencer, for those people who don’t understand what an Influencer is can you please explain?
An influencer is someone who is creating and growing a community of like-minded people based on trust and someone who also understands that community and is able to communicate effectively to that community in a way that it triggers a response or action.
When did you first realise that you are an influencer?
I first realized that I was an influencer was when I first was starting my Instagram, and brands would reach out to me for collaboration.
So, who is Sameer Mahan, tell me about yourself?
I am a 20 year old portrait photographer and TikToker in the greater Seattle area. I specialize in portrait, lifestyle, and commercial work.
Tell me something about yourself that you have never told anyone else, don’t worry I will not tell anyone?
I never tell anyone this, but I love making people smile. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I just love it when people smile.
How did you become an influencer?
I became an influencer when I established a niche on Instagram. A lot of brands have reached out to me and wanting to collaborate. I decided to branch out to other apps such as TikTok, where I grew a large following.
What platforms are you an influencer on?
I am an influencer on TikTok, and on Instagram.
What’s been your biggest challenge as an influencer?
One of my biggest challenges as an influencer is constantly trying to bring out content for myself and my followers. I am a full-time student pursuing a career in orthodontistry, so it may be hard not posting almost every day.
So, you are an influencer on TikTok, what is that?
TikTok is a new social network that was previously Musicall.y. TikTok is an app for making and sharing short videos. TikTok users can create a variety of videos ranging from challenges, dancing videos, funny videos, etc.
How does TikTok compare to other platforms?
TikTok enables everyone to be a creator and encourages users to share their passion and creativity through their videos.
A lot of people would love to know how to make something go viral, can you explain how you do it?
To make something go viral, you need to focus on current events and trends. Then, you need to create high quality content. You have to make sure that your video is clear and well lit. Lastly, make your videos short. On TikTok, the algorithm favours videos that are between 12-15 seconds long rather than one minute.
What was it like when you first went viral and what were you promoting?
When I first went viral, I was speechless. Every 3 seconds my video would go up 1,000-3,000 views. I wasn’t really promoting anything. I just made a video in January of 2019 doing un-satisfying things like brushing my teeth with mustard. It got over 2.6 million views and to this day I still get notifications from it.
You must get a lot of free things as an influencer, what has been the best gift you have received to promote?
On of the best gifts I have received as an influencer were these phone cases from GoodVibeCases. One thing that made this promotion special was that this company donated 30% of their earnings to charities.
What brands have approached you to promote their products, and have you turned any of them down?
Many brands have approached me to promote their products but one in particular that still sticks to me this day is this company that sold cannabis infused chewing tobacco. I don’t understand why they thought I was the person they wanted to promote this because I do not do that, and it is different than my niche. I promote things that are meaningful to me and that I know people can trust.
What’s most important to you when pursuing brand partnerships?
When pursuing brand partnerships, it is important that not only you trust the product, but that you know your followers will trust your product. In other words, you cannot promote meat to vegetarians because you know that is not what they’re interested in.
So, as an influencer, is that you full time job now?
Being an influencer is not my fulltime job, it is more of a side project. I am currently a full-time student pursuing a career orthodontistry.
Before you became an Influencer what was your job and do you still have a normal job?
I was and still am a student before starting and I have learned how to maintain both.
You must get recognized a lot, where is the strangest place you have been recognized?
One of the strangest places I have been recognized was the place I worked at. I used to work at PacSun, a teen clothing store and many people would recognize me from my videos. It even got to the point where people would comment under my videos where I worked at.
Do you consider yourself as famous?
I would not consider myself famous. I think that being famous and being an influencer are two different things.
So, as an influencer, can you explain what your typical day is like?
A usual day for me is starting my day by getting coffee and then heading to school. After school, I come home and start making videos or write down ideas for future videos.
How has your life changed since becoming an influencer?
My life has not changed drastically but I do love making content for people every day.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In five years, I hope to be in dental school and still making content for my followers.
For people who want to become an influencer, what advice would you give them?
Do what you love. Do not stop creating content and just be yourself. It is always best to start with one social media platform, and once you’ve created a following, expand to others. Engage with your followers and grow your network. If you want to become a social media influencer, the very first thing you need to do is to choose a specific niche where you want to be known for. My niche is lifestyle photography.