Working at Tiktok with Thabiso

“Don’t see a kota joint thriving at the street corner and open another one.

The world is hungry for your story. Our authenticity and our vibe.”- Thabiso Sekhula

TikTok currently has over 2 billion downloads worldwide and has fastly become Mzansi’s favorite social media platform for Gen Z, and pretty much anyone who enjoys bitesize content and trendy music. To celebrate women in social we spoke to Thabiso Sekhula, who holds a unique role at TikTok South Africa as Content Operations Manager. She believes in the power of content marketing and having an authentic brand online.

Thabiso, thank you so much for doing this feature. We’re excited to share your journey on Women in Social Media.
Please introduce yourself, what you studied, where are you from, and what do you do?

I’m Thabiso Sekhula, I studied Journalism at TUT, I am originally from Limpopo and I am a Content Operations Manager at TikTok Africa.


How did you get into social media? 

In 2011 I worked as an intern writer at Daily Sun newspaper for 3 months as part of the Media24    Journalism academy. After I had completed with the other aspects of my internship year, the editors at Daily Sun asked if I would be interested in a job as Content Producer for their digital properties, and so began my exit from Journalism into digital marketing.

What has been the highlight of your social media career?

There have been a lot of beautiful moments and firsts in this field which was really new in South Africa when I started. But one that will forever remain in my heart is the growth we enjoyed while I was there. When I started, I was the only member of the Daily/Sunday Sun digital team. The Facebook page was on 45 000 followers and the website had just over 900 visits per day. By the time I left, the Facebook page was on 1.7 Million and the website had over 1 million visitors per month. A combination of guts and opportunity. And there were many other small wins in between but the success of the Sun newspapers online paved the way for most of the opportunities I have gotten. It was a really special time.
Working at Tiktok aka Bytedance must be an incredible experience, how has that been? 

ByteDance is a dream come true. They were a top choice employer for my career path but it is such a great company to work at, you are colleagues with some of the biggest minds in the tech world. You are also constantly striving to be at your best to keep up. It’s rewarding as much as it is hard work. 

What’s the best advice you would give anyone interested in working in social media space? 

Do it. Content has never been a bigger rockstar than now. Literally, everything every one of us knows can be marketed for money online. I always say it is so profitable to be South African right now. We have so many amazing South Africans out in the world, everyone is hungry for these South African brains and culture. Charge.

Do you believe in content planning as someone who works in social media, as it’s a such fast paced digital environment? 

There are things that are constant like holidays and events. And planning avoids nasty surprises. The internet is fast – and nothing is faster than memes about a brand looking foolish online because they didn’t anticipate how their message would be received.

What tips can you give someone who is looking expand their a brand on the Tiktok platform?

Don’t see a kota joint thriving at the street corner and open another one. The world is hungry for your story. Our authenticity and our vibe. Your uniqueness is what sells. If I had talent, I would go into Amapiano. I would be rich. So few artists and every song is a hit. 

How do you keep up with social media trends and pop culture? 

Luckily I am at a stage where I don’t have to be clued up about all the trends. It became overly stimulating for me as an everyday work space. I now do only half the content work and the other half is social media policy related. 

Do you enjoy creating or watching content? 

I love both. When you are passionate about the content you create, it comes more naturally and less like work. You enjoy putting it out and you get excited about how people receive it. I could be tired from a 16 hour day at work but I always have time to post on my personal pages. And who hasn’t spent hours going through their feed on TikTok?

How can people work with you? 
I am reckless with social media – I get overstimulated so I take breaks from social media a lot. But my LinkedIn is such a positive space I am always available there. 

* Follow Thabiso on Instagram @1000LimpopoSecrets



Which people or brands that inspire on Instagram/Tiktok? 

Right now on my creator side I am working with a lot of tourism establishments in Limpopo so I follow a lot of the Limpopo content creators like Kwenasays and tc maila. They share beautiful experiences of the things I love the most about Limpopo and that fills my heart and inspires my content also on my page @1000LimpopoSecrets. I started the page to go against the popular and false view that nothing special happens in Limpopo. Growing up I also thought so but working from home allowed me to move back to Limpopo and get to create my own relationship with it