A Guide to TikTok for Artists: How to Promote Yourself and Make Money on TikTok
In 2020, TikTok took the social media world by storm one second a time. Not only did it revolutionize the way individuals share succinct videos with one another, but it also impacted popular culture and marketing strategies for various industries. Providing a source of connection among users during a global pandemic, the application grew in popularity during the isolating quarantine.
With over 500 million active users, TikTok is a perfect outlet for rising artists to gain public exposure and popularity for their talents. It is okay if you are not familiar with the app– that is why we are here. In this article, we want to show you how artists can utilize TikTok and its features to promote your music and receive monetary incentives.
Back to Basics
TikTok performs just like any other social media platform– a source of media controlled by algorithms and hashtags. However, it is built to ensure that everyone of its creators receives a chance at being seen. In order to utilize the application from a music marketing perspective, you must apply marketing strategies implemented in various other social media sites. Yet, we do not want to curate identical content– this will rapidly bore a potential fan. Make sure to tailor your content specifically for TikTok. If you are active on other platforms, you need to differentiate your uploads to provide your followers from Twitter or Instagram an incentive to crossover to TikTok.
First step: Familiarize yourself with TikTok. Begin compiling knowledge by navigating the application’s interface and its style of user content by scrolling through your “For You” page, the front page of TikTok similar to that of Instagram’s Explore page. As you begin to interact with content through likes and comments, your FYP will generate similar videos based on your activity. This helps you define the style of content you like, which then makes it easy to decide what videos you want to produce and upload.
Establish A Presence
Similarly to other social media platforms, TikTok provides an array of profile customization options for its users. Utilize the available tools to let your personality shine through!
Let us be honest with one another– no one wants to become a fan of an artist with the Tik Tok username “User1234567,” which is the auto-generated account name the app provides to every newcomer. Establish a presence by customizing your account layout to fit your aesthetic. In order for potential fans to distinguish you on the platform, change your username to something that incorporates your artist name, import a profile image that clearly displays your face, and add relevant information to your bio.
Keep in mind that you are on TikTok to promote your music. Therefore, showcase your current musical releases to new fans through links in your bio that directs them to the proper streaming sites.
It is crucial that you do not neglect your audiences on other platforms. Increase your follower count by promoting your TikTok account on other social media platforms in order for your existing fanbase to connect with you in another format.
Understanding the Algorithm
TikTok differs from other social media platforms for its unique algorithm. The app utilizes user engagement to curate FYPs with fresh videos that are tailored to each users’ style of content. Upon initial upload, your video will automatically be queued in 100 to 500 different ‘For You’ pages– I know, nerve wracking. It is important that your first few Tik Toks are some of the best videos you produce because you want to convert ordinary users into some of your biggest fans in a matter of seconds.
Do not let this intimidate you! Here is a general TikTok style guide for getting your videos onto FYPs:
- Steer clear from any audio effects– some users may be listening to your music for the very first time, so avoid the use of any altering audio effects during vocal performance videos. They want to hear what sets you apart from other artists!
- Aim for 15 second music audios– the app allows videos between 60 to 15 seconds, but we suggest this length as short content tends to be the most effective in terms of audience retention.
- Do not fear hashtags– These little symbols are some of your greatest friends, so use them whenever you please to share your content far and wide.
- Abide by community guidelines– TikTok bans accounts that appear as spam, offensive or harmful, so make sure your content does not get flagged!
- Invest in quality– You know when you watch a movie and feel enamored with the HD-quality? Well, TikTok users feel the same when watching videos! Invest in tools that improve the quality of your TikToks such as a tripod, editing software, microphone, etc.
In order to grow in popularity, you need to form an uploading schedule to remain consistent. We suggest you post anywhere between 3 to 5 videos a day that differ in terms of content. Upon hearing the numbers, it may feel overwhelming. I bet you are asking yourself, “That seems like a lot,” or “Can I even come up with 3 to 5 interesting video ideas everyday?”
We hear you! So, let us ease your worries with a few video suggestions.
- Trends– Tik Tok is notoriously known for its dance trends accompanied by a snippet of a song. For rising artists, this is an opportunity for exposure. By following an existing trend, you are implementing popular audio into your TikTok, which places your video under the audio tag– similar to a hashtag. Now, your video is available to a wider audience! Keep in mind that you do not have to solely replicate existing trends. You can easily perform a trending song in a different format– acoustic, R&B, Pop, even in a different language. Just make sure your sound is shareable so others can utilize it in their TikToks.
- Duets– TikTok allows for users to do much more than liking and commenting. The ‘Duet’ feature provides creators the ability to make video responses to other TikToks! For artists, you can utilize this feature to collaborate with other artists or react to fan-made content.
- Video Replies– Another amazing feature on the platform is the ability to respond to users’ comments through videos! If you are a songwriter, you can ask your followers to suggest topics they would like to hear in a song and you can reply with the song in a video! All the video replies are placed in a thread, each leading back to the initial TikTok.
- Personal Videos– Remember that individuals become fans from admiring your music, but they become superfans from admiring your personality. Capture moments of your day, no matter how exciting or mundane. Because the content is coming from you, users would not think twice about how entertaining it is. You can also showcase your personality through TikTok’s live streaming feature so you can chat with fans in real time.
TikTok Analytics and Creator Fund
Aside from producing quality TikToks, you need to ensure that it is performing well on the platform– that is where TikTok Analytics comes to play.
The feature is available to any user! You can easily access the Analytics tab through your Account settings. Here, you will see an overview of your performance between a 7-day or 28-day time period, making it simpler to visualize your account’s short and long term-growth! In addition, you can even view the average watch time of each of your videos– use this information to decide how long you should make your videos. For instance, if your average watch time is 22 seconds, aim for all of your videos to be approximately 20 seconds.
There are other analytics that can help you tailor your content. These include: gender, top territories, total play time, total video views, traffic source type, audience territories, hashtag views, etc.
In addition to TikTok Analytics, you can monetize your videos through TikToks Creator Fund, which provides financial compensation to creators based on analytics. In order to begin your Fund, you need to meet the following requirements: be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of the United States and/or any of its territories, have more than 10,000 followers and 10,000 monthly views and post original content. Once you have fulfilled all of the requirements, you are all set!
Navigating new social media platforms without guidance can be overwhelming, but we want to assure you that it is possible! It may appear difficult, especially when there is a list of things to consider. Do not let this discourage you from attracting an audience on TikTok!
The best way to promote your music on the platform is by keeping your content short and sweet, but unique. Fans value quality over quantity, therefore it is important that you flesh out each one of your video ideas to produce content that you are proud of.
Contributor: Ashley Torres