January 30, 2021

Dental Student by Day, TikTok Star by Night

David Cohen, TikTok star and dental student, shares his main tips for how he got over 18 million likes (and counting) on TikTok and hundreds of patient requests before he even graduated dental school.

Cate Perino

TikTok who?

There are two types of people in 2020. Those that think TikTok is a Kesha song, and those that spend a concerning amount of time on the app. 

If you’re in the latter group, we’ll tell you how to get famous in a second, but if you’re a little confused and curious, we’ll save you a Google search and give you an idea. TikTok is a video sharing app that has quickly become one of the most popular apps of 2020, with over 2 billion downloads worldwide. From challenges to songs and dances, creators and users have built a community that is pretty much in it’s own world. The seemingly realistic chance of going “viral” attracts many users, and the strong personalized TikTok algorithm that customizes your “for you page”, or feed, keeps so many entertained. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pro and know every dance by heart, or just download the app and are a little overwhelmed by all these sounds and colors, we have some great news for you. David Cohen, a first year dental student at USC and TikTok creator, spoke with us at Whippy to break down an 8 step guide to becoming TikTok famous. 

And if the promise of fame doesn’t excite you, what about fortune? TikTok is also a great platform to grow your business and personal brand. You can’t just put some music over a screenshot of your resume though. If you’re going to break into this community, you have to get with the trends. Don’t worry if you’re still a little lost and that Kesha song is now stuck in your head, we’ll break it down for you.

View on TikTok

How to go viral on TikTok. 

1. Watch some videos. 

Ok I know getting homework right off the bat isn’t fun, but trust me, you won’t be bored. The first step is to consume some content on the app so you understand the community. Don’t worry about taking notes, though, just simply like the videos you enjoy watching, and swipe past those you don’t. TikTok will do the rest. 

2. Pick your music. 

Once you have spent a little time on the app, start looking for a sound that you like. Whether you find it funny or entertaining, find a sound that is popular and matches your brand. Click on the music icon in the bottom right corner to use that sound. 

3. Keep it short and sweet. 

Once you’ve picked a sound you like and clicked on the icon, TikTok will take you right to the page where you can record your video. The default setting is 15 seconds, but they can be as long as 60. David recommends keeping your videos short to get your point across fast and not lose the attention of your viewers. 

4. Be strategic with your text. 

Especially if you’re trying to promote your brand or business, use text strategically. David recommends that you use a big text title to capture your viewers’ attention. Then, get right to the point because you have 3 to 4 seconds before they decide if they’re going to swipe past your video or not. 

5. Use relevant hashtags. 

Hashtags are very important to the TikTok algorithm. However, David says not to just use all of the most popular hashtags on your post. He says to use relevant hashtags that will attract the type of people you want to see your videos. You can stretch it a little, but don’t put #hawaii on a picture of you dancing in your dental office. 

6. Comment back to your users. 

Comment back and like your viewers’s comments. David says it is so important to show your followers that you care about engaging with them and that you appreciate their support. 

7. Be yourself. 

Yes, it’s cheesy, but it is so important to be successful on TikTok. You need to reveal a little bit about yourself to connect with your audience. You can introduce your staff at the office and have them all try out a dance or put on your scrubs and lip sync to a trending song. Put your own twist on popular trends to show who you are. It’s ok to look a little silly, everyone does on this app. 

8. Focus on the followers you have, not those you don’t. 

David also shared that it is so important to focus on the followers you do have, and not those that you don’t. Your following will naturally grow if you connect with your audience and show them that you care. Even if your first followers are your mom and cousin, comment back and like their comments, you’ll gain some superfans. 

View on TikTok

Get ready for your close up. 

Ok, now that you’ve posted your groundbreaking video, prepare for fame and fortune. Well actually, you don’t have to hire an agent and move to LA. The great thing about TikTok is that just about anyone can create a viral video. Use this new audience in your life to support your careers and goals. Grow your business and clientele or share resources and build a community. 

Luckily for David, he’s already in LA, so he’s one step ahead. David has used his TikTok platform to support his goals of being a dentist, and he’s already getting messages from viewers who want to be his future patients. And besides patients, David has also connected with other dental professionals on the app who are sharing similar content. So even if your first video doesn’t get 5 million likes, at the very least, you will have a laugh and make some friends. What are you waiting for?

David’s journey to fame.

David went to UCLA for his undergraduate education, and just started his second year of dental school at USC. He wanted to go into dentistry so he could bring people’s inner smiles out, and touch and improve as many lives as he can. He originally saw social media and TikTok as a great way to start marketing himself as a future dentist. He started posting videos in his scrubs and sharing dental school advice. Before he knew it, one of his videos had over 5 million views. He then started sharing oral hygiene advice  to broaden his audience beyond dental students. 

View on TikTok

Little did David know that he would be accomplishing his goal of touching people’s lives through dentistry even before he graduated dental school. Followers have reached out and told David that he inspired them to pursue dentistry, or even start brushing (better late than never) and flossing their teeth. David says that seeing all these positive comments from his followers fuels him to make more educating and entertaining content. 

Future of TikTok?

David is hopefully for the future of TikTok and his community. He says the ability of Tiktok to customize each user’s feed is a great opportunity for brands to target their audience, and for people to connect with communities they are interested in. TikTok is also a great way to combine education and entertainment due to the engaging nature of the videos. He also has seen that the conversion rate between followers and active fans or clients is very high on TikTok compared to other social media platforms. 

We asked David if professionals trying to grow their brand or business should join TikTok and give it a try. He said that it is a terrible idea not to! It is a free marketing tool and a great way to build a strong, supportive community. Just don’t be afraid to look a little silly and follow David’s advice, and you could be TikTok famous by noon! 

Check out the rest of David’s TikToks! Follow him on Instagram to follow along his dental school journey! 

More Recent Blogs