TikTok isn’t the obvious source for Call of Duty news, tips and tricks, but believe it or not, gamers can find the answers they’re looking for there, all thanks to Kevin “Sallyisadog” Dollhopf.
With more than 1.3 million followers and more than 40 million overall likes, Sallyisadog is a rising star on the platform, and, unsurprisingly, now a part of the platform’s huge creator fund. The TikToker spoke to Dexerto about this rapid growth and his journey to becoming a full-time influencer.
How did Sallyisadog become popular?
Kevin first created his account in April as a result of lockdown in the US when the global health crisis first hit. He says, “If this all hadn’t happened, I don’t know where things would be.” He figured that if everyone was staying indoors, he might as well put all his efforts into his creative outlet online.
His TikTok blew up in just a matter of a few months: “There was one big video right at the start. There is like some weird Easter egg thing in the game. So I made a play about it,” he said. “I went to bed with twenty-five hundred followers and woke up with twenty-five thousand…I pleased the algorithm overlords.”
But it’s not just TikTok’s notoriously spot-on algorithm. Kevin attributes his success to his editing technique. When it comes to gaming content, it should naturally fall to YouTube or Twitch, because “half of the challenge is fitting gaming content on a vertical screen” and very few creators were doing that. In fact, according to Kevin, the only trendsetters in this niche on TikTok were Pineaqples and Buhberger, who are now his friends.
But size and spec weren’t the only things setting Kevin apart from his peers. “My entire mindset is that when I’m putting a video out there, it is competing with the totality of the Internet for attention.” When it comes down to the editing, a one-second difference can mean a brutal fall in engagement, and “any dead space, any dead time is a chance that someone can scroll away and go somewhere else.”
How has TikTok changed his life?
Sallyisadog has just made TikTok his full-time gig, having previously worked as a government policy advisor in Washington. Like other influencers before him, TikTok began as a side-hustle, but when the numbers grew, he reconsidered his options. He ditched the government job after five years, crunched the numbers, and dedicated his entire life to the app. “I was like, I could go sell my soul and lobby for a multinational corporation. Or I could do this. So it was a no brainer for me.”
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Since making it big, Kevin gets noticed, and not just that one time he was recognized in Best Buy. He even had a spat with YouTube personality David Dobrik. He insulted Kevin’s in-game skin, with a mustache and glasses to replicate how he looks in real life, during a live stream, and said “damn, that guy’s character looks like he belongs behind the computer of this game. He does not look like he should be out here.”
Kevin snapped back with a video that garnered more than 3.5 million views, saying “David I’m not sure if you meant it personally or not but I would really appreciate an apology.” David even replied saying “I’m sorry it was the heat of the moment in battle, won’t happen again!!” And the attention from the globally famous internet star paid off – that week, the largest percentage of views on Kevin’s Twitch channel came from David Dobrik’s. He was also made a Twitch partner in September.
Is Sally actually a dog?
Yes! Kevin is the real name of the man behind the screen and Sally is the name of his actual dog. Kevin lives in Washington with his wife, and Sally the dog, who, according to Kevin, needs to be reminded of that fact: “she is a very spirited pooch and thinks that she is a person. So I constantly had to remind her that ‘Sally, you’re a dog,’ and I was like – that seems like a good name.”
But now, due to his rise in followers, Kevin has virtually adopted the name, Sally. “It’s been weird because whenever I’m playing or if someone’s just talking to me online. They say, Sally…They’re calling me my dog’s name.” For the most part, Kevin’s followers DO know that Sally, indeed, is a dog.
TikTok could be the future for gaming content
Kevin says that the app makes it much easier to build a brand and to become mainstream when you’re growing from nothing and in this way he hopes to get on the same level as other massive names in the gaming industry.
To him, TikTok is the place to be: “YouTube videos are around ten minutes, but really it’s one minute of the YouTube video that’s really the meat. You kind of draw it out to get people to watch the whole thing. TikTok is that minute.”
Whether it’s for the slick gaming content, the feuds with internet superstars, or for occasional glimpses of an adorable pup, Sallyisadog is worth watching.