Story by Mikayla Hart | Contributing Writer
Marketing professor at Middle Tennessee State University Dr. Rajesh Srivastava, or more well known as Dr. Raj, has been combining his marketing expertise with his new-found passion for content creation. What started as a short welcome TikTok video for his students has turned into a platform with over 170 thousand followers and almost five million likes.
While teaching a social media marketing course, but lacking a strong social media presence, Dr. Raj, who has been a professor at MTSU for 15 years, decided it was time to make some changes. With the help of his daughter came the two videos that would soon open up a whole new world to him.
“The two videos I made welcoming my social media class and my marketing management class, together, got 350 thousand views… so that was very odd to me,” he said.
After gaining much unexpected engagement with these videos, Dr. Raj began to look more into TikTok as it became more fun and fascinating. Starting in January 2021, he began creating one video per week.
After about 8 months of consistent weekly postings, Dr. Raj set a goal for himself.
“Somewhere in September, I decided that starting today, for the next one thousand days, I’m going to make one video,” he stated.
This goal was made shortly after one of his videos hit over a million likes. Getting attention from famous YouTuber, Sssniperwolf, a rockstar from Germany, and an influencer from New Zealand, his views and likes soared on TikTok.
“I think I went from eight and a half thousand followers to, like, 25 thousand in a matter of a week,” he said.
Realizing how limitless TikTok engagement can be, Dr. Raj got more serious and strategic with his content.
“I’m a marketing guy, so I decided that I’m going to create a brand,” he said.
His brand consists of using clean, non-vulgar audio, being a professor on TikTok, and having a target market of students ranging from the age of 15 all the way through 22.
To reach his audience, Dr. Raj has to make sure he’s up-to-date with TikTok trends. In doing so, he is faces some obstacles as the app is greatly based on trends and personal interests.
“I’ll see some video that I like, of something of my interest… now I’m getting videos of my interest, while I have to make videos that are trending,” he said.
Because of this, it is more difficult to consistently come up with ideas for videos.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Raj remains determined and has a vision for his page, as he believes technology is becoming a base for education.
He is still in the process of building his brand with plans of posting videos related to college life struggles, and then slowly adding in videos related to marketing.
Dr. Raj encourages his students to learn TikTok as he believes it will be a valuable skill in the professional world, predicting that “every business in America will be advertising on TikTok.” He also believes that storytelling, whether it be through TikTok or not, is the number-one skill for young people to have.
As for the future, he hopes to also use TikTok as a recruitment tool for potential marketing majors.
Follow Dr. Raj on TikTok @drrjprof.
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