August 22, 2022
Min Read

Captions Growth Playbook: How to Turn Your Followers Into Customers

Elise Micheals, a social media creator and men’s coach, unpacks her strategy behind revenue-generating video content on TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Dwight Churchill

Elise Micheals is a social media creator and an executive mentor and men’s coach, helping clients heal subconscious trauma to improve their relationships, business, and broader lives. 

She sat down with us to explore some of her best practices for video content across TikTok, Instagram Reels, and LinkedIn. Our conversation dives into: 

  1. How building a follower base differs on TikTok vs. Instagram
  2. Why growth is unpredictable — so consistency is essential
  3. Three common mistakes for up-and-coming TikTokers
“I’ve produced content almost every day for two and a half years. That consistent output has been crucial. I’m finally starting to see the compound efforts explode.” 

How Elise Converts Her Followers into Customers

Before she’s a TikToker or an influencer on LinkedIn, Elise’s career is coaching people (primarily men) on how trauma impacts their mindsets and wellness. 

Every client is essential to the health of her business, and these topics are the focus of basically all of her videos. You can find her TikTok account by simply searching “THE MEN'S COACH.” 

After posting as frequently and consistently as she has over the years, people will often follow her for an extended time before deciding to finally head to her website and book a call. Since witnessing that follower-to-client pipeline over and over, she realized the full potential of her social media followings as a valuable pathway to driving real sales. 

When you post about a few core topics, your followers repeatedly see those videos and establish you as an expert in those areas. 

“They see who you are,” explains Elise. “They build a familiarity and a trust with you.” 

By the time these clients start their first sessions, they already feel like they know her and understand how the coaching process will go down. 

What Makes a Video Go Viral on Social Channels

Across Elise’s best-performing content, the common factor is having a clear, concise message that’ll either entertain or inform the viewer. 

Simply put, today’s social media users are likely to have shorter attention spans. So, if you fail to capture their interest right away, they won’t hesitate to scroll past you to the next post that will. 

Instead of wasting time on an intro to your video (“Hi, guys — my name’s X and I’m gonna tell you about Y”), even if it’s just a few seconds long, jump straight to the meat of your message. 

The truth is users will not care who you are unless you can effectively provide them with something.

Otherwise, you’re just another one of millions of strangers to them on this app. And, unfortunately, they won’t give you a chance to prove your value to them if you take even a couple seconds too long to get to the point. 

So, Elise emphasizes keeping videos short, easy to understand, and attention-grabbing. “Have energy in the video, because those posts always perform very well.” 

Along those lines, she notes that videos addressing controversial topics also typically perform well. You’ll just have to prepare yourself for the hate that can accompany millions of views.

TikTok vs. IG Reels: What Performs Well? 

All of Elise’s content is cross-posted on TikTok and Instagram, so she’s observed a few key differences between the two in terms of high-performing videos and growing your followings. 

If you’re on TikTok: 

  • You’ll gain followers more easily. People seem far less picky about who they follow. 
  • If you post something controversial or trendy, that can easily lead to new followers. 
  • Along those lines, it’s harder to distinguish between great content vs. “meh” content. 

Meanwhile, on Instagram, every follow seems to carry more weight. She highlights some tips: 

  1. Define your value — People follow you if you can provide value to them. Maybe they love your artwork or learn from your educational content. Maybe you make them laugh. 
  2. Remain consistent — They also unfollow more quickly and easily, so it’s crucial to remain consistent and value-driven on Instagram to gain a loyal following. 
  3. Tap into community — Instagram lends itself more to community building. Try sharing who you are on your IG Stories to open a line of communication with your followers. 
“Viewers need clear, concise messages that entertain or inform them. They don't care who you are unless they know you’ll actually provide them with something.”

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Growing Your TikTok Following: What Does (and Doesn’t) Work

In terms of growing your follower base (while maintaining your sanity as a creator) on TikTok, Elise outlines three tips on what does and doesn’t work for the video platform. 

1. Avoid Long-Form Videos

She learned this lesson the hard way, as her earlier videos usually lasted two or three minutes. 

These days, she (once again) emphasizes keeping content as concise as possible.

Her average video ranges from 20–60 seconds. One minute is her absolute max. 

Unless you’ve developed an excellent flow or sense of rapid-paced storytelling to keep people hooked over longer periods, she’d steer clear of long-form content on TikTok. 

2. Don’t Give in to the Comment Sections

The more views and engagement your videos get, the more you’ll be exposed to users equally loving and hating your content — and even hating you, as a person. 

“It can be a very toxic environment,” admits Elise. She made the all-too-common mistake of taking that feedback personally and even stopped posting for some time. “Honestly, I was tired of getting told that I was a piece-of-shit person.” 

Now, she’s learned to stop looking at comment sections altogether (unless it’s to source ideas and earnest feedback from followers) and post freely and frequently — no matter what. 

That’s also been crucial, since posting frequently on TikTok (more so than other platforms) is a necessity to ensure people can actually see your account in the flood of content. 

3. Avoid Following the Trends

Virality and the chance for anyone to blow up on TikTok is a quintessential part of the app. Even then, Elise warns creators against giving in so easily to the trends. 

You can definitely post a video for a trending sound, dance, challenge, etc. every now and then, but only posting with the trends is a recipe for unimpactful growth. 

Every trend you follow is likely to get eyes on those videos and gain you some followers. 

However, in her words: “If you gain followers and then try to sell them on something else there’s zero incentive. It doesn’t make any sense to them. They followed you because you did a dance.” 

To gain followers who’ll stay and present long-term value (like genuine loyalty, converting into buyers, etc.), draw them in with the kind of content you consistently post. 

Trends, as one-off video ideas that come and go, are the direct opposite of that. 

“I took comments too personally and stopped posting because I was tired of the hate. But I just stopped looking and let myself keep creating — no matter what.” 

Growth Will Come in Waves — So Keep Shipping Content

As someone who’s been pushing video content almost every single day for the last two and a half years, Elise urges every aspiring creator to keep their output as consistent as possible. 

Countless people join TikTok, pour their heart into their videos for a few weeks, receive little-to-no traction, and abandon their efforts as a lost cause. 

It’s a completely understandable response. But, she reminds us that, for every creator who’s “made it,” growth almost always comes in unpredictable waves and spikes. 

The only thing you can do is keep pushing until two things happen:

  1. The right videos gain enough attention to push users to your profile. 
  2. You’ve put out enough content that people who view your account can see you’ll reliably, consistently entertain them. 

Just 2–3 months ago, Elise saw massive peaks in her growth. 

  • Instagram — Her 3,000 followers grew to 15,000 after one of her Reels went semi-viral and gained almost a million views. 
  • TikTok — Her 60,000 followers grew to 124,000 after multiple videos gained views in the multi-millions. (Again, it can take way more than one viral post.) 

She’s since shifted her primary content focus away from LinkedIn, but it took her a year before some of her photo and video posts went viral, bringing her following from 2,000 to 47,000.

“If you’re creating content for the vanity metrics, this probably isn’t the right field for you. The numbers will follow if you have the right messaging consistency.”

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Dwight Churchill
August 22, 2022
Min Read
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