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TikTok Fame Isn’t What It Used To Be: Going Viral Doesn’t Guarantee Success?

Viral success no longer translates into mainstream fame as quickly as it once did. Industry experts and content creators report a shift in how internet personalities break through to become household names.

Sophie, a social media business consultant at Pretty Little Marketer, identifies Alix Earle as the most recent influencer to achieve “global celebrity status” in early 2023. Since then, the path to widespread recognition has become more challenging.

The saturation of the influencer market contributes to this trend. Having hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers is now common, making it difficult for individuals to stand out. “Many influencers still make it ‘big’ in terms of opportunity and following, but we’ve seen fewer boom into mainstream media as we have in the past,” Sophie told Glamour.

Recent viral sensations need help to maintain their momentum. Sabrina Bahsoon, known as “Tube Girl,” gained nearly a million followers and secured brand deals after her London Underground videos went viral. However, she has yet to achieve widespread recognition beyond her initial surge in popularity.


Personally i think I’m slaying and trusssttt nobody cares #tubegirl shoutout to all the people who say hi while i made the videos – you make my day 🥰 #tubegirleffect

♬ sexy ass cars – frʌns

Aspiring influencers face increasing difficulties in growing their audience. Content creator Maycie Tilley reports challenges in maintaining follower growth despite consistent posting. This sentiment is echoed by others in the community who express frustration with the disconnect between effort and results.

Glamour writes that the reasons for this shift are multifaceted. The sheer number of influencers makes individual breakthroughs less likely. Also, brands focus more on engagement rates than raw follower counts. Platform algorithms that create niche communities can limit an influencer’s ability to reach broader audiences.

Sophie suggests that audience maturation plays a role. “It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to win over skeptical audiences craving transparency and authenticity,” she told Glamour, advising influencers to build deep, sustainable connections with their audience rather than pursuing viral moments.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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