How I Grew A Niche TikTok Account To 155K Followers

Published: September 12th, 2022
Dohyun Kim
started July 2020
Discover what tools Dohyun recommends to grow your business!
stock images
Discover what books Dohyun recommends to grow your business!
Want more updates on YourAverageTechBro? Check out these stories:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name is Dohyun Kim, and I am the individual behind the social media account YourAverageTechBro. My largest platform is TikTok with 155,000 followers, and I am also on Youtube with around 11,000 subscribers, and I am also on Instagram with a much more humble follower count of 850, and on Twitter @Dohyun_Kim_.

I create content on the internet about being a software engineer and about working in tech in general. I make content ranging from poking fun at the tech industry, to providing tips on how to break into tech, and, more recently, I have been documenting my journey in building my very own tech startup.

My audience across my social media varies across the entire experience level spectrum of software engineers — some of my audience members are people who have zero coding experience, while others are active in industry.

Another vertical that I’ve been experimenting with on my social media accounts is building a startup in public and documenting its entire journey. I’m currently on my second startup, Soli, an audio journaling app to help promote mindfulness for people who have a difficult time writing/typing journals (link to app).

This is a format that has done well on platforms such as podcasts (Startup by Gimlet) as well as on Twitter but hasn’t been done on video platforms like TikTok/Instagram/Youtube. I’m hoping to replicate the success of these video platforms.

Currently, I am averaging around $3000/month across ad money, sponsored content, and a few course sales (this is a much newer product category that I am breaking into.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I accidentally stumbled upon creating social media content during the pandemic when I had a lot of time on my hands to do so.

I grew up consuming tons of social media content, primarily on Youtube, and I always thought that it would be fun to create content myself, but I never took the initiative to do so. Then, during the pandemic, I took the leap of faith to make my first piece of content and I have been addicted ever since.

I first started off creating cooking videos because I am an avid home cook, but I ultimately decided to pivot into software engineering. The reason for this pivot is that I realized to succeed at Youtube, I had to lean into my competitive advantage.

At that time, my competitive advantage was being a software engineer that worked at Google, so having the title of “working at Google” gave me a sense of credibility to my audience and helped me grow much faster than I ever could have if I had stuck with being a cooking channel.

The first platform that I started on was Youtube, but growth was very, very slow. After 9 months of creating roughly 2 videos a week at 5-6 hours per video, I only amassed around 700 subscribers. At this time, which was March 2021, I finally decided to get on TikTok and try growing on that platform, and the results were instantly much better.

By my 6th or 7th post, I had already had a video that hit 2 million views and I gained 10,000 followers in a matter of roughly two weeks. It was from this moment on that I began to double down on short-form content, and that is how I ended up growing my audience on TikTok.

Take us through the process of learning how to create viral content.

The process of figuring out how to create viral content on TikTok is always a mystery, and one that I am still actively trying to figure out right now. I no longer scrolled through TikTok for enjoyment — I analyzed every single post that I scrolled through on TikTok to figure out, “what is making it viral?” I would look at how many seconds there would be in between transitions, what angles/lighting works, what tricks they’re using to keep viewers engaged, and so much more.

I also started to dive deep into the creator economy and follow other social media accounts such as the Colin and Samir show to get a deeper look into how high-level content creators succeed on the platforms.

Short-form content has the luxury of being relatively quick to create (~20 minutes per post), so it allows me to test out a lot of different video concepts to see what sticks with my audience and what doesn’t. If something catches my audience’s attention, I double down on it and make as much content as I can with that particular format, and then I repeat it with other formats as well.

This video was my first truly viral piece of content. From this piece of content, I learned the importance of sharing helpful resources and importantly free resources (people love free resources).

Up until now, I was only producing content for Youtube, but once I saw more traction in the short-form video space I realized it would be silly of me to ignore short-form video content, so I doubled down on it.

Describe the process of launching the business.

There was very little launch strategy. I just started to post content across multiple different platforms. Lots of people, particularly from the startup space, who try to get into social media tend to overanalyze and overthink every step, but the most important part of it all is to get out there and start posting content.

My first hundred pieces of content were quite awful — I didn’t know anything about lighting, storytelling, editing, user retention, etc. But the only way that I learned these things was by getting my reps of really bad content and diving deep into it with very little strategy.

If I’m being honest, the hardest part about posting content online is getting over that internal fear of being embarrassed by having videos of yourself out on the internet.

The beauty of creating content on social media, especially short-form content on TikTok, Reels, and Youtube shorts, is the fact that you can get started with just your phone and it is more than enough. I didn’t upgrade to a nicer camera until I hit 1000 subscribers on Youtube and 30,000 followers on TikTok, and there are plenty of other really big content creators who still regularly shoot with their phone as their primary camera.


Since launch, what has worked to grow your audience?

Luckily with social media, I don’t have to worry too much about marketing and getting new customers as the platform handles all of that for me. However, that comes with its downsides as social media is a numbers game — the more content you put out, the greater your chance of growing your following.

When making any type of content on social media, whether that be to grow a brand, generate sales, etc, consistency is key, especially when the numbers are low in the beginning.

I try my best to post every day on TikTok and Reels, and I also try to post 2 long-form videos a week on Youtube. This is a lot of volumes, especially for one person, so I’ve slowly begun to hire freelance editors to help with the editing process because it became too much to handle just by myself.

To keep my audience engaged, I have to stay very up-to-date with whatever trends are going on on the respective social media platforms but also create original content as well. Trends are great to get that one-off viral hit, but it doesn’t create a sticky audience that comes back for more and more of your content. Ultimately to succeed on these platforms, you have to create original content that makes your users want to continuously come back and watch over and over again.

To come up with content ideas, I’ve gotten into a habit of immediately writing down any ideas that come to me. I have had way too many instances where I tell myself “I’ll remember this idea for later, but I always end up forgetting it. So now, no matter how early/late it is in the day, I immediately grab my phone and write down ideas.

Another great way of thinking of content ideas is to consume a lot of content, see what bigger creators do, and do something similar with your twist to it. This is a highly effective strategy because you can see what content works for existing creators, so you know that there is an audience looking for similar content.

Short-form videos on TikTok usually take around 20-30min to film and edit (longer than most people would expect), and longer-form Youtube videos take anywhere from 3-5 hours to film/edit/script. People typically say one minute of video editing is anywhere from 30min-1hour to of time spent.

This tiktok showed me the importance of sharing free resources and how people love this content.

This tiktok is another format that always does well which is enumerating a certain number of things (e.g. top 5 best technologies to learn). These do well because it gives the user a clear starting and endpoint, increasing the average watch time for this type of content.

For anyone looking to grow any audience via social media, my number one piece of advice is to stay consistent with it. The early stages are always difficult when you aren’t getting many views, but I can guarantee that if you consistently post every week, you will see results. You just have to push past the early days first.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Right now my revenue relies primarily on brand deals and ad revenue from social media platforms. This has been fine for the most part, but in the future, I want to start relying more heavily on original content and products that I begin to sell, such as educational material like an intro to programming course.

I’m also building an audio journaling app (@soli_team on Twitter) as a SaaS product, and I am planning to leverage my existing audience as my initial users for the product.

I expect the educational courses to do very well because educational content is always such a valuable market to tap into that never runs out of demand, whereas I am less confident of my future SaaS products to do well in the future, but I plan to use whatever revenue that I generate from my educational courses and brand deals to fuel my personal startup development — I guess I am my venture capital fund in some way haha.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

What I have learned to be particularly helpful is that persistence is key, especially in social media. One of my favorite content creators, Ali Abdaal, once said in a video that if you are crazy enough to post 2 videos a week on Youtube consistently for a year straight, you are guaranteed to have some sort of success, and I couldn't agree more with this statement.

When making any type of content on social media, whether that be to grow a brand, generate sales, etc, consistency is key, especially when the numbers are low in the beginning. Because the feedback that social media provides is so instantaneous, it’s easy to get beaten down by poorly performing content, especially when you pour a lot of time, money, and energy into creating it in the first place.

But, remember, it only takes one viral hit or viral video concept to change your life, and when you post very regularly, the likelihood of getting that life-changing viral hit dramatically increases.

I used to be that person who would always dream up big business ideas, build a little bit, but never launch. You just have to get out there and start doing rather than thinking.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I use descript as my video editor and caption generator, Notion as my project management tool, Stan as my all-in-one creator store, Zapier to automate some workflows, and Mailchimp for my email funnel.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t get ready. Get started.

I used to be that person who would always dream up big business ideas, build a little bit, but never launch. You just have to get out there and start doing rather than thinking.

Posting content on social media is a business with possibly the lowest barrier of entry — all you need is a smartphone (which, chances are, you probably have one in your hands right now).

Once you start regularly posting content on social media, it can snowball into building more confidence in yourself to build and launch other products and businesses, too.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’m looking for another freelance editor if anyone is available! Please email me at [email protected] if you’re interested in editing my content.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!