Tal Hacmon
January 16, 2022

Creator Spotlight - Gili Fleekop 

We sat down with Gili to hear her creator journey, some cool tips, and also how companies are hiring TikTokers to recruit young talent

Welcome again to the Creation Station, our very own original content series where we sit down with key figures in the creator economy and talk about content, technology, and culture. 

I'm happy to have Gili Fleekop today on the show. Gili is a Tik Tok influencer with more than 12 million views. She's a content creator and food blogger. She also works for IronSource and for the people who don't know IronSource they are the leading business platform for the app economy, and their mission is to help any app developer turn their apps into a scalable successful business. So it's going to be very interesting today as we are going to also talk about the massive growth of companies hiring creators, a highly growing trend in the creator economy. 

So let's begin, Gili, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me Tal. I was born and raised in Philly, so hence my Tik Tok named Gili from Philly, and I moved to Israel a little over three years ago, and I've been working in the high tech scene in the marketing space. 

That's awesome. And I like the Gili from Philly. Very catchy. So let's begin with your start on social media. Tell us a little bit about how it all began.

Yeah. So I opened a TikTok account. It's one year now. So one year ago I just decided to capture different parts of my life on camera. I always loved creating and crafting stories and writing. And so when I found TikTok, it was this amazing space for me to just let my creative energy have a place to live and explore different types of content. And I just fell in love with it very quickly after downloading the app.

Nice. That's super nice. And did you find any out-of-the-ordinary ways to build up a following on social media? 

So I didn't actually realize that my name would have such a big part. And Gili from Philly, this kind of brand and have a strong name and personal brand and one that's catchy and easy to remember and easy to say would help me so much. Build a following. I think I owe a lot of my success to the entire Gili from Philly rhyme the catchy phrase of it. 

I think you owe your success to your parents who decided to do it.  

Funny, actually, when I first opened my Tik Tok account and to this day, I haven't changed it. My username is Gili from Philly. Thanks, mom, because I had to thank her. Thank you.

Yeah. And I'm sure so many of my followers don't understand why it says that, but hopefully now it clarifies. 

So let's get a little bit deeper and I want to hear about the moment it all clicked and you realize this is what you want to do with your life.

Yeah. So I think TikTok and a lot of social media, but TikTok specifically is super authentic. And there was this moment when I just realized that this was 100% me. I wasn't putting on a show or a performance. It was literally just a reflection of myself. And as I was making content, I felt this passion inside to keep being me and keep showing it. I think just the fact that I could exist on camera and people like that and the authenticity of the whole experience, it just all clicked and was like, I want to keep doing this and really commit myself to being a content creator.

What would be some words you would use to describe yourself as a creator at this point of your life? 

I think young in a good way. I think a lot of people are afraid of admitting that they're young or maybe inexperienced, but I think it's actually a huge strength. So being really young, being fresh and authentic and bringing that excitement. I love bringing energy and excitement to my videos and all of my content. So that's what I would use to describe me and my content in general. Great. So another interesting point that we are going to discuss today would be your work in IronSource.

So as part of your content creation journey, you're working with IronSource. So for those who missed, IronSource is the leading business platform for the app economy. So we would love to hear about your time in IronSource as a content creator. 

Yeah, for sure. So I've been working at Iron Source for just about two years now. I'm on the marketing team, specifically the content team. And so I create content for Iron Sources social media channels, specifically Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Nice. And did your TikTok content creation overlap with your job at IronSource? 

Yeah, definitely. When I was at Iron Source is when I started to actually Vlog and create content on TikTok. And as I started to Vlog, I would showcase my life at work. As part of a day in a life. I would go to work and show my office and just show my team. And eventually I realized that people were really interested in seeing that part of my life.

So when I started to get more attraction and more followers, people started to recognize Iron threads for my videos. I actually started getting a bunch of CV’s sent to me and LinkedIn messages, and I would get messages from the kids of VPs at the company being like, oh, my gosh. I never realized my dad's workplace was so cool and it was really cool to see that. And it was crazy to think about that. All of those connections and all of those opportunities and all the people I met and all the people I introduced to Iron Source all came from literally me just holding my phone at work and just showing my regular day to day life. 

GIli, did you feel that the content you created for Iron Source had anything to do with the content you created for your own social media accounts? Were there any similarities between the two?

I will say that I have a very Gili vibe to any content I touch, whether that's in the copywriting of the caption or the style of editing of short form video content. At the end of the day, it's still me creating the content.

But I will say the two brands, my personal brand and Iron Sources brand are completely separate and in no way connected. But you can definitely see my personality in Iron sources social media, particularly in employer branding. And when I'm making any employee based content. Actually, a few weeks ago, I crafted a post featuring some of our amazing working moms at the company that formed this club while they're on maternity leave. And so I planned the post. I wrote the copy, I planned the picture, and the post ended up hitting 280,000 impressions and had, like, 22,000 clicks. So I was super proud of that.

And I think it's a cool example that as a creator, I have the freedom and the creative freedom to go ahead and try different content and put my personality into it. So it's really exciting.\ 

Amazing. So basically, you're still bringing your own thing to the company. And as you said, you really have the freedom to create a Gili from Philly vibe in the company. 

I think it's definitely a Gili vibe and a Gili touch to the content, but it's still Iron Source's brand and in no way connected to me. But it is really awesome.

I'm a really fast thinker and a lot of fast ideas come up, and Iron Source lets me try those ideas out and experiment with them, which I am so happy to have a company that supports that.

So if we look at the future of the creator economy, do you believe we're going to see more content creators evolving in companies and in brands? 

Absolutely. I actually just saw a job listing of a company looking to hire a full time meme maker. Like, I'm not kidding.

I think creative minds are a profession. Yes. Look at that. And I'm predicting that these types of jobs are going to pop up really quickly. Tiktok and TikTok specialists are going to come in. I think that creative minds are in higher demand than ever before. And I really believe that content creators are the next generation of CMO’s.

We'll see where that prediction heads, but I really believe that. 

We write everything here. So be careful.Nice. So our next question would be a day in your life, a day in your life. So describe a typical day, how it looks like and how much time and energy goes into preparation for creating new content?

Yeah. So I work full time and at Iron Source I always joke that the whole day from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep, I'm on social media, but the first half of the day is for my dog, and the second half of the day is for me. And so during work, I'm on social media for social media, our company's social media channels and creating content and analyzing content and doing all of that. And then the second works over. I opened my personal laptop and I'm creating thinking of my own content. And so it's definitely a balance to try to always be content creating in some capacity. I recently started a YouTube channel and I co host a podcast as well.

In addition to my TikTok. So I feel like I'm in content mode. 24/7 weekends are really big. I try to get a lot of content out on the weekends and I try to batch content and know when I'm posting weeks in advance. I try at least. Yeah. 

So if you already said that, so for creators who listen or viewing the video, so you're creating batches of content?

You're trying to create batches in order to give yourself more spare time during the month?

Definitely. I think especially in the beginning when I was really trying to consistently and like on an everyday basis post two TikToks a day, I would spend like one day or one weekend just patching ten Tiktok in a weekend and then I would have it ready for the next few weeks. That's great. Yeah. And then it really gives you spare time for other things rather than comment creating. Right.

And you're less like, at least for me when I'm in execution mode, I'm very focused and so I can get more done when I'm already in that road. Got it. Great tip for creators who are viewing this.

The hardest question in the interview. Give us a fun time TikTok. And before I was a content creator, I really wanted to be a professional motivational speaker. And so I created an Instagram account called Gili Guides, and I would upload motivational videos. This is before Instagram reels existed. It was just a video and it was a complete failure. I think I had, like, 100 followers, but that was my first attempt at content creation a few years ago.

Are we able to follow the account? Unfortunately, no motivation quote, rest in peace. It doesn't exist anymore. Actually, a lot of people saw Gili Guides and thought that I was like a tour guide. And so I think there were some branding issues happening there, but that is my fun crater fast.

Some last questions about what the future holds for you and for the creator economy. So when will you feel like you've made it? 

I can tell you there is a moment that I first of all, I think I'm continuing and I'm continuing this path of learning and creating and seeing who I am. And I think change as a content creator is super important. Like, a lot of people think they have to stay in this one track. And I love the fact that I can keep growing and evolving. But there was a moment that I kind of felt that actually when I started creating and people would stop me on the street and tell me about my food vlogging. Yeah. We really love your recommendations. Or you really helped inspire me to get a job. There was a fan that stopped me, and usually people just stopped and tell me like, oh, my God.

Usually most people just tell me I love your content, whatever. But there was this girl that saw me in the street and she saw me, and she said, I have to tell you that because of you and your TikTok you helped my relationship. You helped me and my boyfriend go on dates and find new adventures to explore. And you made, like, our time in Tel Aviv and our life here more fun. And I was like, Whoa, I didn't even realize the impact that these funny videos that I made in my little tiny apartment were having on people. 

So we can say that you already feel that you've made it?

I think I'm continuing to, of course, but I feel like I'm really proud of where I am, but I have so much room to grow, but it's definitely super encouraging when I hear from fans or subscribers, feedback from your environment and motivation.

Yeah, for sure. I think that's, like, my biggest motivator is that there are people out there that actually enjoy my content and help them and inspire them in any capacity. That's, like, the biggest thing that pushes me to keep creating and keep creating content, even if sometimes I feel really tired or don't have the energy too.

Yeah. Totally understand. If somebody would come to me in the street and tell me that I saved their relationship, I would definitely feel accomplished.

It was like a top moment in my TikTok.

Let's talk about the future of the creator economy as a creator. Do you have any vision? What do you think is going to be in the coming future for a creator economy?

 I think the creator economy is just starting. It's booming and it's going to explode more and more. I think there's all these statistics nowadays that I don't know. Majority of kids when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, they say YouTubers. I think we're entering this amazing part of the whole creator economy where anyone can be a crater. If you just have a shitty iphone, you can be a crater.

I only use my phone. I honestly don't have any professional cameras, and I was able to build a whole TikTok career out of it.

Great. Yeah, I definitely agree. And as you said, you can see this trend growing and the creator economy growing and really as you said young people really want to be YouTubers and they can really reach success in a night and with their phone. So opportunities out there.

I think it's just the future. Yeah, it is the future.

Last question for the creators who are watching. Let's give them some advice and tips before we wrap this up. So first, what advice would you give yourself if you started this all again? 

Now the biggest piece of advice and this is advice that I will tell anyone that ever asked me is just starting. There's nothing that you're going to learn by sitting and just ruminating and just thinking about it like, you have to start. And I wish I had started earlier. I wish that I would not let that fear get to me. And so literally just start creating, especially nowadays when content doesn't have to be this picture perfect professional thing, like the most authentic content is what's doing best and it will continue to do best. So just start and you'll learn along the way.

Yeah, I totally agree. And I think also in past interviews, authentication is also something that is very helpful for the creators we are talking with. Right. Actually, a lot of creators or people that want to be creators ask me like, I have all these ideas that interest me and I don't know where to start. I want to do food Vlogging, but I want to do lifestyle and I want to do tips and I always say to them, Why do you have to pick, like, start? See what feels right? See what feels fun, see what feels natural to you and you'll find it along the way. You don't have to pick one thing in the beginning, especially like, just try new things. See what's fun for you too? 

Yeah, totally agree.And let's give a stronger tip in monetization for creators. What would be three things you would recommend a creator to begin making money as a creator?

 When you walk into a room. Whether that's with a potential brand deal or you're about to call someone or pitch yourself, it's so important you don't realize how important your energy is if you come in with an energy of I'm an expert. I know what I'm doing, bring the energy and you're spark and you're a creator. So you're a creative mind and you come in and you just let that energy flow. All the opportunities that are waiting for you are going to open up. Right? So don't diminish yourself.

Don't put yourself down. Imposter syndrome is really popular among young creators and people that are entering the space. So I would say stay confident. I would say to stay organized, especially when you start monetizing and you have different stakeholders and different people involved. The simplest thing can go the longest way by just making sure that you're handling everything really professionally, writing everything down, acting like a professional, even if you're making a funny TikTok dance. And that's your brand. You're still a professional. And so you want to make sure that you're handling your business professionally.

And three, just be authentic. Like, if you're starting to monetize. And if companies are hiring you, the best thing you can do is be yourself and always stay true to yourself. Because if you start changing yourself for different monetization opportunities, then you lose your brand and your brand is the most important part in your community. So stay true to yourself for sure.

Okay. Last question. Before we finish, give us your golden tips for aspiring creators. That could be tools that you're using or some growth hacks that you used in the past, not just your catchy name.

Number one, get a catchy name.I would say a few things I would say first and foremost, be purposeful in your strategy. So when you're starting to like, after you've tested out and after you kind of see what works and see what type of content you want, understand who's your audience and what content they want to hear, be purposeful. Make sure that your content is providing value to them. And then some golden tips, I would say, is create a personal hashtag. So my hashtag is #GilifromPhilly, and so everyone can think of a hashtag that's just for them, and especially on TikTok. That personal hashtag will help. Number one, push your videos more because of the way the algorithm analyzes what hashtags people are interacting with and if they're interacting with the hashtag video. Meaning Hashtag Gili from Philly video. The only other videos out there that have the hashtag Gili from Philly are my videos. So I'm helping push future content.

And I would say other golden tips is to really think about your hook, whether it's the first sentence of your LinkedIn post, the first 10 seconds of your TikTok. Your hook is the only thing that's going to pull people in, especially when you're new and so really try to dedicate large amounts of time in the creation process to thinking of a strong hook. And the last thing I would say is really be consistent. Like, I know it's kind of like a buzzword consistency, and it's kind of a word that we hear a lot, but I can't emphasize it enough that if you're consistent and you continually post and you're posting valuable content, then you're going to grow. 

That's great advice. And I think I'm going to use them myself today.

Sure. I'm waiting for your first Tik Tok for you to send me. Yeah. Don't worry. Tal from Tel Aviv. 

Yeah, that's less sketchy. I'll think about that. No worries. So thank you so much for being with us today and telling your inspiring story. 

Thank you for having me.

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