Pulp Riot Artist Heffy Wheeler has built a following of more than 112,000 followers and gained more than two million likes on TikTok (@heffy.w) making her one of the most successful British hairdressers on the platform. While it’s popular with American stylists, it’s still a relatively new platform for UK stylists.
“Social media is an intrinsic part of my business, and while I was concentrating on building my profile on Instagram, I hadn’t really paid any attention to TikTok. But I was approached by someone at the app who were looking for professionals to be part of it and they asked me to create content for them. It was still in its infancy and was more of a silly, childish lip-syncing site. They were looking for creatives to start using it while they transitioned to a more serious, professional app with content that was interesting and inspirational. So I started posting some videos of my work and the benefits to my business and career were instant, I gained a lot of attention very quickly.
Now I have a big following on TikTok and post regularly on the platform. TikTok is very different to Instagram and as an industry we really need to embrace what it can offer us. We have all really embraced what Instagram can do for us but it has its limitations. The biggest difference is you can post videos up to ten minutes.
On Instagram it can be hard to get a good reach on a post, but on TikTok your content is seen by people who don’t follow you so your work is visible to the wider world. I’ve had videos that have been seen by two million people on TikTok, but just a few hundred on Instagram. With live videos you may get a few hundred on Instagram, whereas on TikTok I’ve had lives watched by over 38,000 people which is insane! There’s certainly a lot more opportunity to grow your business and profile on TikTok and for more potential clients to see you.
I understand it can be scary for hairdressers to join a new platform and get used to a new algorithm and audience and it can be overwhelming to start with. However, TikTok is worth pursuing as the results can be amazing. On Instagram you can show a beautiful image, but with a video you can showcase your skills and your workmanship, what’s involved in a transformation and what can go wrong with a cut or a colour. When you post a video you’re showing your skills and personality as well as what goes into creating a beautiful look; an image that is filtered and photo shopped can’t do that. TikTok is more rough and real.
On TikTok I talk about the challenges of changing a hair colour as well as the great results, so viewers can see what goes into the total look. I talk about the colour placement and why I am doing something. I can show how I am applying a product and the results you get. The response I get from hairdressers, consumers and brands has been phenomenal; a lot of people who don’t follow me have seen my work and are interested in working with me. So give it a go, as the app is looking for professional creatives like you.”