At the forefront of content creation lies TikTok with its innovative social algorithm that allows large traction within seconds.
To understand more, Emirates Woman speaks to Hany Kamel, Content Partnerships Manager TikTok MENA on digital and social media innovation in the region.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
I usually try to wake up early to give myself time to get ready for the day. I have my breakfast and listen to some music just to set the mood for the rest of the day and before I get to work. After this, I spend a few minutes scrolling through TikTok. It inspires me every day to see new and upcoming creators sharing authentically with their audiences or even trends that have started on the platform. I always discover new talent through this medium.
Can you talk us through your career and how you ended up in your position as Content Partnerships Manager with TikTok?
Previously, I was a journalist in Egypt, where my work had always included investigating interesting and niche topics that I would then develop into stories, and this has been my passion ever since. I joined TikTok four years ago with the aim of exploring new stories and talent through the lens of TikTok, helping nurture and showcase the incredible creative talent we have here in the region.
How does your role drive the business forward and what have been the clear goals?
My role is quite diverse. It includes planning a variety of in-app activations and engaging campaigns for the community, music selection, and working on user management for the platform. I dedicate myself to leveling up the content in the MENA region by exploring unique talents in every category on the platform and helping them grow their talents and elevate their content.
I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work towards these goals and help to drive the business forward and reach exciting milestones. At the end of last year, we worked to enhance the entertainment narrative for the community. Since we have an active community of movie lovers and TV series reviewers, we launched #WhatToWatch which is an entertainment hub on TikTok that not only highlights reviews but also inspires and celebrates some of their favourites. We also managed to create partnerships with movie festivals across the region. This helped us to level up the young filmmakers to use their talents and skills in the movie-making industry.
How is the MENA region interacting with content on TikTok, how do you keep innovating to ensure the content is fresh and engaging?
TikTok’s prominence in the Arab world is expanding due to the platform’s one-of-a-kind approach which prioritizes engaging and authentic short-form video content. The content you see on TikTok is easy to create and discover, and users feel comfortable on the platform engaging with one another, becoming part of unique communities both locally and globally, and of course, being entertained.
In order to ensure the content is fresh and engaging, users need to feel safe expressing themselves. To foster a welcoming and supportive community, TikTok has various app settings that allow individuals to control their TikTok experience, in addition to our Community Guidelines, which work to safeguard our users. We have also introduced various safety controls and campaigns available on the platform, including Screen Time Management and increasing the age to go LIVE to 18 years and above.
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TikTok has become extremely popular, especially in Saudi Arabia – what do you think keeps it relevant and people posting?
People come to the platform to create and engage with diverse and welcoming communities; giving us a unique position in the market. This has led to authentic connections, grassroots movements, and the birthplace of culture, created by communities on the platform. Every community can find its home on TikTok and I believe this is one of the key reasons the platform has become popular in Saudi Arabia. All kinds of interests, such as gaming, food, fashion, sports or even cultural occasions like Ramadan, which are all very relevant to the Saudi audience, are represented on the platform.
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Have you had any mentors to date and what knowledge did they impart?
My father has been my mentor since day one, he is a self-made man, he taught me how to be honest, how to respect others and how to always speak my mind no matter what, he was (and still) inspires me to do better and how one should always seek opportunities and develop themself no matter what. When I was a journalist he used to talk to me about everything, now that my work is a bit different and complex to understand he still feels proud anytime he sees my work or hears about it, and this is my biggest motivation everyday.
How do you maintain clarity in your work life and work practice?
I maintain clarity by having a clear goal set in place throughout all my projects, and through constant communication with my talented colleagues. We are all committed to working towards a shared goal – namely, inspiring our community to create meaningful and authentic content, and further nurturing creative talents in our region, and this goal fuels everything we do.
What are the top 3 tips for someone who is downloading TikTok for the first time?
- Engage with content that you enjoy and would like to see to have a better viewing experience on your For You page.
- Explore our various communities, ranging from #BookTok to #MomTok to #TechTok, to find like-minded people or discover new interests.
- Don’t be afraid to start creating. TikTok’s assortment of creator tools ranging from Duets, Stitch, Effects, and Sounds make it easy and fun to join the conversation.
What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the Social Media career space?
The number one piece of advice would be to create content that is authentic, spontaneous and genuine because people want to see and engage with real-life experiences that are relevant to them.
This is “The Innovation Issue”, what does innovation mean to you?
Innovation is a driving force of economic growth. It means creating new ideas, products and services that have the potential to solve problems and improve our lives. To be innovative to me is to be creative and think outside of the box by coming up with ideas that can benefit the community and create new opportunities for them; for example how some of our TikTok creators turned their passions into careers as content creators, proving how it such a powerful tool that we need to embrace and encourage.
February’s – The Innovation Issue – Download Now
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Images: Supplied; Getty Images