How I Got Over 500K Followers on TikTok


I accidentally grew my TikTok to over 500k

And now my brother hates me for it. 

It all started with a challenge…

Who could get more followers on TikTok? 

What began as friendly banter quickly devolved into chaotic competition as both of us took to the TikTok feed filled with a desire to stack followers. He opted to follow the trends, attempting to recreate his own versions of viral videos, hoping his dance moves would propel him to the top. 

Me, on the other hand, I chose the road less traveled, literally. 

Let me tell you about it.

(But before we go any further, I'm Zach Fitch and here's the proof that I really did grow my TikTo. Enjoy!)

Everyone wants to be a part of a journey

Initially intended for my friend’s amusement, I wanted to capture snapshots of our 11-day can-am adventure through Baja. The first two days were filled with ridicule as I spent every moment filming our journey through the desert. 

Comments from the peanut gallery were nonstop. 

Zach, why the hell are you filming us fixing this blown up axel?” 

Zach, put the phone away and help us!

I did my part, then quickly returned to the phone to hit record, knowing they would thank me later for it.

To my surprise, these simple videos of our time in the desert garnered unexpected attention. I’m talking eight thousand views for a 30-second video of can-ams ripping through mud and our crew of misfits fixing flat tires.

Then tragedy struck when we destroyed a ball joint and a hub on one of our vehicles. With the rescue two hours away, we were stranded. When I say stranded, I’m talking about the-middle-of-nowhere, not-a-person-in-sight type of stranded.

So I did what I do best and pulled out my phone once again to document what was happening. As temperatures plummeted, we found ourselves desperate for some warmth. So we made a fire that quickly turned into a blazing ball of glory illuminating the desert around us.

This video, which felt more like an episode of Naked and Afraid, caught fire. 

Views poured in jumping over 1 million—more than all my prior videos combined.

I was stunned to say the least, considering I posted it randomly and couldn’t track it’s performance as we were nowhere near a wifi signal.

With my newfound virality, I bragged to my friends that I was too popular for them and that I must acquire a new friend group who truly appreciated my artistic talents. While my friends teased me for my incessant filming and bolstered ego, their positive reactions to the videos proved eye-opening. 

For the remaining 8 days, I kept my phone glued to my hand, capturing anything and everything that happened. When I returned back to civilization (aka a reliable wifi source) my following had grown from a small group of dedicated followers, to over 30,000 fans eager to see what would happen next in my life. 

My follower count surged, leaving my brother fuming in envy.

This is where it dawned on me—people crave engaging narratives. Everyone wants to follow along on a journey, it doesn’t matter where or what, they just want to be part of it. 

Thus, I made the conscious decision to share daily glimpses into my life, from mundane tasks to unexpected mishaps.

Here's where you get the stuff we don't  put  on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.

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The power of posting consistently

Speaking of mishaps, do you remember that global pandemic that happened a few years ago? 

Well, that mishap proved to be my moment of fortune. 

With the world confined to their homes, I launched a series called “The Quarantine Games”. The goal was simple: offer light-hearted entertainment amidst the gloom. Consistency became my mantra, with each video starting with the familiar refrain of "quarantine games, day [number]."

Everyday I would show up to TikTok with something new. Day one was a mini billiards challenge, day two a mini ping-pong competition, and by day 3 I had captured over 1.2 million views with a basic paper airplane folding video. 

I know, 1.2 million views for a silly paper airplane video is ridiculous, but I can’t complain because at this point my brother didn’t stand a chance at catching me. 

This went on for 84 days with my audience coming back every single day to see what was next. Before I knew it, I accidentally became an influencer. 

With this newly wielded power, I continued to post my life to the feed, sharing everything from trips to New York City to living #vanlife, and even attempting to achieve a 6 pack in 30 days—much harder than I anticipated.

Driving engagement and using niche hashtags

As my audience grew, I found there were two key components to sustaining my momentum: engagement and niche hashtags. Responding to every comment, despite TikTok's attempts to block me, fostered a sense of community amongst my followers. Additionally, using niche hashtags, such as #rickandmorty for a DIY laptop case I made, ensured my content reached a highly engaged audience. 

Consistent posting and my unique voiceover style further solidified my presence on the platform. I embraced my distinct style, marked by the recurring use of the word "today" which my friends still make fun of me for to this day. 

This consistency was instrumental in building recognition. 

That’s where I developed my own theory about TikTok: they reward consistency. This theory proved true when I was tested by declining views. In the face of adversity, I found opportunity. I reframed it as a test of resilience—a chance to evolve and diversify my content. Adapting to changing algorithms and audience preferences, I continued to innovate with my content, confident in TikTok's propensity to reward my dedication. 

As time went on, I found myself tapping into viral moments and making them my own. Whether it was the internet-shaking Grimace Shake trend or sitting in the Wendy’s drive-thru for 8 hours just to try their Rick and Morty burger, I was finding ways to tell a compelling story that brought my audience closer to me. 

When it was all said and done, my brother came to me about a year and a half later and finally forfeited. I was crowned the family king of TikTok with over 500k followers to my name. 

And here’s what I learned...

Authenticity, consistency, and adaptability

My journey from a small creator to an accidental influencer speaks to the power of authenticity, consistency, and adaptability. 

By embracing my unique perspective, showing up daily for my followers, and engaging with every single comment, I not only surpassed my brother's challenge but also discovered that TikTok virality comes in all forms. 

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers or 1 million, it’s about sharing your stories–the rest is left up to the audience.

As for my relationship with my brother, he still holds a slight grudge that his older, less tech-savvy sibling found a way to beat him at his own game. 

Sorry Elijah. 

Here's where you get the stuff we don't  put  on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.

Thank you! Please check your inbox to download your ebook.
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