In this Monday for Creators we wanted to learn about TikTok and how to use it to grow a creator’s brand. Our guide was Alexa Chalnick, who has almost 1 million followers on Tiktok. If you are an actor or musician, there is a lot you can take from it.
Webinar Replay & Full Report
In the video:
03:15 – Meet Alexa Chalnick
08:36 – TikTok beginnings
15:37 – Growing up fast on TikTok
16:45 – Duet feature on TikTok
18:05 – Creating videos with others together
20:49 – TikTok vs Instagram
23:40 – Staying True To Your Story
27:08 – Sing for Alexa Saturday With Broadway Stars
29:42 – Plans for the future
31:33 – Waiting for the perfect moment
34:56 – What makes a good TikToker
40:31 – What content works best
41:50 – Making money on TikTok
45:55 – Stardom on TikTok
53:27 – Being scared of doing something
54:37 – Working on podcast musical
Who Is Alexa Chalnick?
If you’re familiar with musical theatre or Broadway, the name Alexa Chalnick should ring a bell.
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter, actress, and social media influencer is the Head of Composition & Music Director for the Averno Universe and the founder of “Sing for Alexa Saturday”. But Alexa’s recent recognition and popularity comes from TikTok where she has around a million followers and over 18 million likes on her videos.
Given her young age, Alexa Chalnick’s rising popularity on the platform is nothing short of an astounding feat. Her idea and knowledge surrounding the platform is quite intriguing, which is why ForCreators sat down with her for our 3rd session of Mondays for Creators (February 15th, 2021) where Alexa talks about TikTok, life as a performer, and building a career online.
Alexa talked about how she was brought up in a family that was always into music and how it influenced her career choices. She is currently a sophomore majoring in music with an outside field in theater, at Ithaca University, New York. With this musical background of hers, you can tell as to why she chose a career surrounding music, theatre, and performing on TikTok.
How Alexa Chalnick took her talent to TikTok
When asked about how she started doing TikToks, Alexa gave us a quick brief on her eagerness to do musical theatre and how her journey started with this fondness of hers.
After getting accepted to Ithaca, she took up a major in music. Alexa recalled how she would spend a lot of time in the practice room singing, writing songs, and playing the piano. And one of her first viral TikToks was made in that practice room which was her singing a funny song she wrote.
Alexa described TikTok’s informality as to what appealed to her the most about the platform. Being a perfectionist, she talked about her willingness to always display the best of herself. But with TikTok’s informality and the fact that we didn’t need to be perfect all the time, Alexa started feeling more comfortable with making content for the platform. And soon enough, she found herself making TikTok videos regularly.
She would then go on to post original songs, and also become the first TikTok creator to do musical theatre duets. Fast forward 1 year, and you have professional artists and orchestras doing musical theatre duets on TikTok just like Alexa. She had invented a new idea that was gaining quite a following, and this is one of the factors that helped her grow on the platform.
How to use the Duet feature
Given her experience with TikTok’s Duet feature, we also sought insight from her regarding its appeal. To Alexa, it’s a feature that allows you to set up something like a template. It could be you singing a part of a song, and another user can then use your video as a template, sing the next part of the song, and the two videos will come up next to one another like a collage. Alexa took this feature and made it her own. She would create content with a variety of themes and her followers would join in.
Alexa talked about how she saw this as an opportunity to connect with her fans and how it made her even more popular among her followers. The feeling of being included made her fans appreciate Alexa even more.
Why TikTok over other platforms
Alexa explained how TikTok offers its creators more reach compared to other platforms, and how this made her prefer this platform over the others. According to Alexa, if you post something on Instagram, there’s very little chance that anyone who’s not following you there will get to see it. But on TikTok, anyone can see your content. This is something that interested Alexa and helped her make her decision to use it as her primary platform. Besides, the platform also allows you to go viral easily. You have a better chance at getting noticed by talent scouts or managers, and don’t need an agent to pitch on your behalf.
What is ‘Sing for Alexa Saturday’
Alexa talked about ‘Sing for Alexa Saturday’ and how it started out as something just for fun. Her videos and live sessions would grab the attention of many industry specialists, and at one point, they too wanted to join in. Alexa saw her creation’s potential, and it soon became somewhat of a master class for anyone interested to learn and get to know more about how things work in their industry or genre.
How to start a career as an online creator
Alexa believes that the most important thing to do if you want to start a career online is to just get on with it and not wait for being ready. In reality, you’ll never feel ready. Hence, it’s a good idea to just start and not wait for the perfect moment. TikTok isn’t looking for perfectionists. So you don’t have to worry too much before putting yourself out there. You need to try, and not judge yourself.
What makes a good TikTok-er?
We asked Alexa about her opinion on what makes a good TikTok creator. For her, two things that are absolutely necessary are a positive attitude and consistency. And while these factors vary from creator to creator, these 2 things are vital. Also, Alexa suggests that you should be nice to everyone. If you don’t have anything nice to say, just don’t say anything at all.
Monetizing from TikTok
While it’s possible to monetize from TikTok, even as a big creator, Alexa suggests that it is not something that you would want to quit your part-time job for. Unless you have tens of millions of views on your videos, you can’t expect to make a lot of money from the platform. Of course, you can get sponsorship deals that would allow you to make a bit more money.
The Pressure of being a creator
Celebrities and content creators are always having to face criticism and abuse online. Alexa too had her fair share of it. But as far as she is concerned, her positive attitude was what helped her pull through it all. She used her platform to educate some of her haters, and the community came to her support as well. This feeling of not being alone is what’s helping Alexa maintain her positivity on TikTok.
We hope you enjoyed learning about TikTok and how you can grow your career on it from Alexa Chalnick on this week’s Monday for Creators. Stay tuned for next week’s session where we will be bringing in another guest, and talking about a brand new topic.