“It’s M to the B, it’s M to the B, it’s M M M M M to the B, it’s M to the B, it’s M to the B – bang.” Bella Poarch has built extreme reach on TikTok with a song by a British rapper: over 32 million people follow her there.
Eleven different letters, no straight sentence, but everyone knows what’s going on, because even for a platform like TikTok, which capitalizes on virality, new standards have recently been set. A young American woman named Bella Poarch, born in the Philippines, who moves her lips to the song of a young British woman named Millie B (and not even perfectly at every point), was blown away in this regard. On well over 400 million views, there are not only one million comments, but now over 35 million likes. Even one month after her very short video was published, it still collects several hundred thousand views and likes a day – astronomical numbers that make Bella’s clip the most popular TikTok video ever! There she is now the fastest growing creator worldwide and has over 32 million followers. After all, there are already 5.8 million on Instagram. What makes the 19-year-old Hawaiian with the innocent face, the distinctive manga style and the many tattoos so damn successful?
High post frequency and insights into life
Bella lets her community participate in her life on both platforms almost every day. Like countless other content creators, she seemed to have become aware of TikTok, especially during the corona pandemic. However, with the first video in April, she made a rocket launch. Bella’s penchant for manga and video games immediately catches the eye. Again and again she can be seen with the controller in hand, every now and then she plunges into a mysterious world of fables. She turns her doll-like face into a kind of work of art. Again and again she draws the corners of her mouth or plays with her eyebrows to match the sound, which often seems to be taken from some manga comics. This made her a trendsetter, so to speak. Countless videos are circulating on TikTok in which their facial expressions are discussed. Some of them out of admiration, some not, but Bella undoubtedly gets the community talking about her. But is it just because of the content that your followers just fly to you? Sure, some videos are quite funny, many users will definitely find Bella “cute” or attractive or both, but she is definitely not reinventing the wheel.
Against the current
Back in 2017, when she started on Instagram, Bella announced via Twitter that she was suffering from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but had learned to live with it and was receiving support. She also refers to it again and again in her videos. This open way of addressing the most intimate matters in front of an audience of millions not only makes Bella authentic and makes her seem approachable. Especially in social media, which tend to have the reputation of always faking an ideal, non-existent world, it causes a stir. For all those struggling with similar problems, Bella suddenly became a role model despite her young age, because she showed that one can be accepted by others and even be successful despite a serious illness.
More importantly, your honest manner doesn’t seem to be faked. When Bella was recently made aware that her new tattoo of a Japanese sun is viewed as the equivalent of the Nazi swastika, especially in Korea, she apologized to the Korean people for their ignorance of history and stated that they would cover the tattoo immediately let.
Hater will now say she didn’t want to scare off her Korean fans. However, Bella may actually be an honest and well-behaved person, even if this supposed core value does not seem to fit the clichés of the social media business.
Bella, the veteran
A look at Bella’s Instagram bio (or you scroll to the top of her account) also reveals that she was with the US Navy. Maybe not exactly what you would associate a petite influencer with. But especially in the USA, where the military enjoys a completely different status than we Europeans can imagine, this fact can in any case have contributed to its popularity. Each year around 180,000 young Americans join the military. For them, Bella is a figure of identification. Especially since she shares her pride in having served three years in the Navy and now being a “veteran” openly on her profile.
On closer inspection, Bella Poarch differs in many ways from the classic image of an influencer, which has formed mainly on Instagram in recent years. Is that your secret of success? Are users perhaps happy about a “star” who not only stands out from the crowd in terms of content, but also addresses things that are considered taboo by many others? If you look at the constantly increasing number of followers, you have to say: yes! Bella, her style, her content are incredibly well received. This is also reflected in the views of your videos. Almost all of them were viewed in double digits – we’re talking about millions here, of course.
Fast growing creators are currently not uncommon on TikTok. The TikTok algorithm offers huge opportunities for virality. The real challenge for Bella will be to take the next step and entice her followers with other content. Just facial expressions won’t irritate forever. Especially if she wants to monetize her reach. Using the duet function to make a duet with your own video has already paid off: Over 145 million views have been posted so far:
## duet with @bellapoarch I just realized this is the most liked tiktok video😭💕 Thank you and I love you guys🥺💕
♬ M to the B – Millie B
Do we trust Bella to take the next step? Yes, because Bella has already proven that she understood the platform and sometimes swims against the current. And those who survive three years in the US Navy have to be adaptable somewhere.