Fashion and lifestyle influencer Chriselle Lim has been in the content creation game since the start of blogs. As digital media started to move away from blogs and on to interactive social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, so too did Lim and her strategies for producing engaging material. Now, the 35-year-old style guru has a loyal following on every app in the market, including Gen-Z’s beloved TikTok. She has an audience of 2.6 million users and an accrued total of 82 million likes. For aspiring TikTokers, Lim shared her 6 tips for making TikTok content and revealed how to find your own success on this notorious blackhole of a platform.
Lim’s TikTok fame is a relatively recent phenomenon, as she first started her account, @chrisellelim, a little over a year ago. (TikTok was founded in 2016.) Shortly after her initial download, in Feb. 2020, Lim’s fashion videos garnered her account major attention. “I went to Paris Fashion Week and started uploading more TikTok content just for fun,” Lim tells TZR. Around that time, the Korean thriller Parasite was generating buzz and TikTokers began to draw comparisons between Lim and Yeon-kyo (played by actress Cho Yeo-jeong) — the extravagantly wealthy mother in the film. Soon, an inside internet joke was born.
“No one really knew who I was on [TikTok] because that generation is a lot younger than I am,” Lim jokes. “So I just started playing along with this silly type of commentary that they’d make on my videos. Like, ‘Hey, Rich Mom, can I fly to Paris with you next time? Hey, Rich Mom — I ran out of money. Can you wire me some money?’ And I would just literally get into character and play along with them.”
While the “Rich Mom” series started as a joke, Lim has now become the jack of all trades in creating viral TikTok videos. For proof, look to her astoundingly successful 20-part home renovation miniseries (views on each video average around 1 million) and her ongoing “How I Made It In Fashion” videos where she recounts her influencer journey. Lim’s also known for her high-fashion takes on trending TikTok phenomenons — like her head-to-toe Alberta Ferretti twist on the “Buss It” challenge and her many at-home #FrontRowFashion looks for Fashion Month.
Lim, a mother of two, frequently includes her family in her content as well. “When Chloe [Lim’s six-year-old daughter] sees me filming some sort of fashion video, she’ll be like, ‘Mommy, I want to do this, I want to do something!’ And sometimes she actually has her own great ideas and we’ll go with it,” Lim shares. “Some of my best TikToks are of her styling me and the outfits that she thinks I should wear.”
TikTok — with its ephemeral trend cycle and hyper-specific algorithm — is a constantly evolving landscape for content creators. To keep up with this can be overwhelming, but Lim reveals all successful videos boil down to one quality: the mastery of storytelling. “It’s not necessarily about the fancy things,” she says. “It’s not about what bag you have, or if you have the latest, coolest outfit — it’s more about everyday people.” As for making fashion-related TikToks specifically, Lim points out that prior influencing expertise or having an expansive wardrobe are not required. “The people that are blowing up on the app is literally your girl next door, and the kid that has never, ever been exposed to Fashion Week or even has seen a fashion show. And I think that’s exciting.”
As Lim describes, TikTok is an app for the people (the app’s feed is called the for you page for a reason), and its more democratic approach means everyone has a fair chance of becoming an influencer. Whether you want to craft a satirical persona like Lim or opt for a more candid approach, there’s no time like the present to start your own TikTok storytelling adventure. Below, you’ll find Lim’s substantiated guide to help you reach viral status on the app, including her go-to content creation formulas, tips for building a community, and advice on navigating TikTok trends.
Tip 1: Know Your Niche
“With the new evolution of TikTok, you really have to get your subject down. I think the key — especially if you’re in fashion — is knowing that the algorithm on TikTok is very sensitive. So if you are engaging, consuming, and following people within fashion, you will get served that type of content. But the minute that you engage with other types of content, you are telling the algorithm that you like X, Y, and Z. You have to get really specific on not just a creative level, but also on a consumer side because it helps to support other people that are within the core subjects that you want to grow in.”
Tip 2: Follow The 70-30 Rule
“I always go by the 70-30 rule. If you want to grow on TikTok, do 70 percent of what will help you grow in the subject that you want to grow in. The other 30 percent can be discovery and you can experiment with what you want to do. If you want to post cooking videos all of a sudden, then go for it. It shouldn’t limit you, but you should definitely know where the majority of your views are coming from.”
Tip 3: Find Your Community
“The number one thing about TikTok is community, so it’s really about supporting other creators and other people within your community. And that helps with the algorithm as well, and it will serve your videos to that specific community. It’s not necessarily about the fancy things. It’s not about what bag you have, how good you are, or how you know if you have the latest coolest outfit. It’s more about everyday people.”
Tip 4: Don’t Rely On The Big Trends — Make Your Own
“You never want to rely on trends. If you do a trend that happens to go viral, amazing, but you don’t want to rely on them because you might become a one-hit-wonder. It’s important to play a part in these trends in the hopes of getting discovered, but you have to make consistencies within your own community that people will continue to come back for, whether it’s trend videos or not. TikTok has kind of evolved out of being a trend-driven platform, and now it’s almost more about creating your own trends within your own community.”
Tip 5: Schedule Your Content
“I usually dedicate about two days of the week where I’m just filming, filming, filming. I do try to plan a week in advance of content for both TikTok and Instagram, just so I don’t get bogged down by the day-to-day and waste my day trying to figure out, ‘Hmm I wonder what I’m going to do today? I wonder what video I’m going to film?’ [My content] is all pre-planned before I actually start filming.”
Tip 6: Don’t Over Think It
“My last note for any aspiring TikTokers is don’t overthink it. That’s the biggest advice that I have because a lot of people think that it has to be hard, but it doesn’t ... some people feel like they need to prepare all these things, but you don’t have to. You can just turn on the camera and say whatever you want to say and do whatever you want to do. And sometimes, those are your best videos.”