As a musician, marketing yourself is as important as making music. In the digital age, there are more ways than ever to put yourself out there and connect directly with listeners.
Amid the social media arms race, video has surged in popularity to become the dominant way for users to express themselves, share with others, and engage with their followers. Key to video’s success is its low barrier for entry, which in today’s attention-starved marketplace means short, bite-sized content.
TikTok was the earliest to latch onto this craving for short videos, building an entire platform based on videos approximately 15 seconds in length. As a result, TikTok account holders—and the millions of people they share content with—spend hours on the platform consuming comedic, educational, and, of course, musical content.
Many artists and musicians have had wild success reaching TikTok influencers to build out an audience. Lil Nas X used the power of a TikTok account to help his debut song, “Old Town Road”, and its corresponding music video go viral. The song won several awards and its video is one of the most-watched of the Internet era.
TikTok videos that go viral help get your music to a vast, diverse set of users and potential fans. Plus, given the short-form, informal ethos of the platform, Tiktok is idea for artists to transmit their unique personalities through a song or video.
While a lot of the music on TikTok is delivered via carefully orchestrated lip sync, jumping on viral trends and having fun can show off a more relatable side to users and potentially boost your followers.
There are over 1.1 billion active users consuming TikTok content, and aside from the Tiktok influencers on the platform itself, the potential audience reach for an artist’s song or video is exponential.
Who knows? You might have fans from the other side of the world that traditional music marketing would never have reached.
No matter the age or exposure of an artist or band, TikTok content grounded in a consistently executed strategy can be a great way to promote your name and break into previously elusive corners of the music industry.
One of the best things about TikTok content is its versatility—its video formats are compatible with most other social media platforms. You’ve probably encountered TikTok users in Instagram and Facebook feeds, and an increasing number of videos are featured in or on the news.
The potential for a song or video to go viral—to use one social media platform to reach billions of TikTok users and TikTok influencers—makes TikTok too powerful a marketing tool to ignore any longer.
So, how does it work?
How to Use TikTok Successfully
TikTok is a unique platform because instead of perfection, users gravitate toward authenticity when it comes to user-generated content. This actually makes TikTok an ideal music marketing tool if you’re just starting out, or if you’re just new to the platform in general.
If you have a phone with a camera, you’re in. It actually is that easy.
If you want to be able to enhance your creations with good sound quality and lighting, don’t worry! Influencer kits can be found online for as cheap as $19.99. Once you have a setup that you’re comfortable with, it’s time to jump on the trends.
Here are a few tips to get started on TikTok if you’re new to the game:
1. Post Your Music
The first and most obvious tip for using TikTok is to post your music. Making your sound accessible is the number one goal of using the TikTok platform.
Once you choose a few clips you’re happy with—behind the scenes with you in the studio, working on a guitar riff, writing bars, finished music video clips, or whatever you come up with—make sure your bio includes a link to your website, Apple Music, Tidal, or Spotify so users will know where to find the whole song (make it super easy for them!).
2. Use Hashtags
Use all relevant hashtags you can think of. It’s free, why not! Users tend to check out all kinds of hashtags they’re interested in. If your video is attached to something they enjoy, chances are, they’re going to watch, and maybe even like and follow.
3. Follow Trends
TikTok is popular for dance challenges, silly soundbites, and much more. Get involved and create your own. Maybe one of your videos will be the next big thing—the one everyone else makes a duet to, or maybe even the next viral TikTok challenge!
Not everything you post on the TikTok platform needs to be about pushing your music or latest track. Some of your videos can just be just for fun, and that’s okay. In fact, it will only increase your authenticity as a TikTok artist.
When you create content, remember that it’s often this kind of irreverent, 15-second content which can get you the follows you need to promote your sound later, so go for it! Potential super-fans and those that support your music love this type of silly, behind-the-scenes, all-access content.
Authenticity goes a long way, even on TikTok.
4. Follow Other TikTokers
Follow people that follow you, other musicians in your genre, and popular TikTokers, e.g. Lizzo, NannyMaw, and Loren Gray. By doing this, you’re making yourself more visible and open for interaction among other viewers, and sometimes the TikTok creator.
5. HAVE FUN!
The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more other people will enjoy it. Have as much fun as you can. Dance, sing, laugh, and be as ridiculous as you want. Make people fall in love with who you are, and in turn, your music can get a boost.
In short, make your profile a mix of your music, trends, fun, and things you like most.
As long as your personality shines through, people will have the opportunity to connect you. That’s the best thing about marketing your music on TikTok. If you do it right, it will feel like almost no work at all!
Understanding the TikTok Algorithm
TikTok uses an algorithm to connect viewers with the content they will enjoy. Every viewer has a “For You” page with curated content based on what they’ve interacted with before. Your best shot at ending up on their “For You” page is by making videos that appeal to a diverse group of people.
Lip Syncing audio clips, enjoying viral trends, and participating in challenges will increase your chances of connecting with a wider audience. Once they like or follow you, then they’ll be exposed to your musical talents as well.
The TikTok platform is known for equal opportunity. Every video has a chance to be viewed by billions. The algorithm works by doing two things. First, it shows viewers content by creators with a large following. Most platforms use this algorithm to promote content they know will be popular. However, TikTok does something that helps new users as well.
When a new video is uploaded, the TikTok algorithm will show it to a small group of users and see how it does. If the video does well within the small group, then it will be broadcast to a larger network of people and has the chance to become a viral hit. It doesn’t always happen that easily, but the more content you create, the better chance you have of positive feedback and to get your music in front of a larger audience.
When it comes to the TikTok algorithm, unlike most platforms, there is really no way to predict what will take off and what will remain stagnant. Your best bet is to create videos you love, share your music, and use trends to connect with other TikTokers.
Every video has a chance, so don’t stress too much and enjoy the ride.
How to Promote Your Music on TikTok
Once you have a significant following and have built up an engaged community on TikTok, you’re in the sweet spot. Now you can focus more on promoting your music on TikTok and less on creating popular content. Promoting your music on TikTok is as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Film a Live Music Video
Film a video of you singing or playing live. Letting people feel like they’re enjoying live music at a venue again is something that can’t be matched. There’s just something deeply authentic about a person baring his/her soul that people are attracted to, so don’t be afraid to pull a few heartstrings.
2. Use a Recording of Your Own Song
Film a dance or comedic video with your own music in the background. If you have a fun song that you love that fits a specific scenario, or that’s relatable or a sweet dance tune, go for it! You might just start a trend of your own.
3. Create a Duet
Create a duet of your music for other people to collaborate with or lip sync to. This one is a little tougher until your music is well-known, but if you have a song people have reacted well to, your viewers would love a chance to sing with you. Dueting is a chance to show your skills even if the song isn’t your own.
Using popular songs can also work to promote your music on the TikTok platform. Using this rule of three doesn’t have to be the only approach, but it’s a great place to start.
By getting your music out there, you’re already on your way to increasing your following. Share your music in the way that feels best for you, but don’t be afraid to branch out every now and then.
How to Boost Followers on TikTok
While most of what you need to grow your following on TikTok is listed above, there are a few more things you can do to entice your viewers. People are more likely to follow you if they can see you, so mimicking popular content will more than likely get you in.
Aside from using suggested hashtags, trends, and songs, you can also use the following tips to keep generating likes and follows.
1. Post at Specific Times
TikTok users are usually scrolling through videos early in the morning before work, at lunchtime, and late at night before bed. Keep these times in mind when you are posting. The more relatable your video is, the more people will feel compelled to check out your profile. That’s the ticket you need to get more followers.
2. Don’t Delete Old Content
If you have a video that isn’t getting very much attention, don’t fret! There is always the possibility that in a couple of weeks, it could explode.
As mentioned before, the algorithm tests out new videos to select viewers before putting it out in the wider TikTok world. It takes some time, but it can’t happen if you take down your old videos before they have a chance.
3. Write a Good Bio
Utilize your bio to showcase what kind of musician you are and your personality, and people will be flocking to follow you. Just make sure you sprinkle in a little humor and keep it short and sweet. No one wants to read a novel, but if they’re interested in you enough to click on your page, then you have the chance to hook them right there.
4. Use Your Own Spin on Trends
Trends are super important to going viral on TikTok. When something is trending on Tiktok , then get on it as fast as possible. Whether it’s background music, dancing, or jokes, make sure you put your own flavor on it. You can do so by simply adding a surprise ending or throwing in an unexpected music cue that isn’t associated with the clip. Viewers love a good twist.
5. Add a Pet
If you have a pet, invite him or her into your TikTok life. Feel free to include them in your videos, music, and more. A cute kitty face or a happy puppy tail wag will always increase views, and if viewers know they’ll see more of their new favorite animal, they’ll follow.
Increasing followers is not an exact science, but if you follow these tips, you’re way more likely to reach new viewers and get the follows you need.
When it comes to promoting music on TikTok, that’s only half the battle. The first half of the battle is getting noticed. If you can do that, then your music has a fighting chance on TikTok.
Creating Content for TikTok Videos
When creating content for TikTok videos, don’t get stuck feeling like you’re not good enough. Not everyone on the platform is an amazing dancer, comedian, or singer. If you feel like you’re not talented enough to perform on TikTok, think again.
There are PLENTY of easy challenges you can do to get started and boost your confidence. Start with the simplest dance you can find, the easiest lip-sync track, or the most common joke. Even if it’s an old trend, it will get you on the path to creating.
Once you get started, it’s all downhill from there. When you build your confidence up by starting with the simple trends first, you’re also building up content. Win-Win.
Going Viral on TikTok
The goal for arguably any user is to go viral on the platform. If you can do that, chances are more people will like and follow your other content (certainly a help if you want to get your music heard by fans and folks in the music industry alike).
If you follow the trends occurring in TikTok videos and hashtags, plus keep your content fresh, you’re giving yourself the best chance possible to go viral.
Once you go viral your whole life can change! Millions of viewers will suddenly be your biggest fans and your videos will shoot up in popularity. Just make sure you prepare yourself for the haters and try not to get too swept up in the comments.
Going viral on TikTok is a big deal and will surely put you on your way to becoming a TikTok influencer.
Becoming a TikTok Influencer
As a TikTok influencer, you’ll need to ensure your videos on TikTok are available on other social media platforms, too. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are all important platforms to consider and can help keep you relevant, as these each have their own, unique blend of active users rolling through each day.
Fame is fleeting, so you’ll want to maximize it for as long as you can. In the best-case scenario, your charm and wit will take you viral and your music will keep viewers hooked.
It might sound daunting to hear the word “influencer”, but if you stay true to yourself and have a good time, it will hardly feel like work at all. You have all the tools you need to become a successful influencer.
Promote Your Music and Take Charge
By utilizing your natural allure, fun personality, and incredible musical abilities, you can take charge of the promotion of your music on TikTok. The key is to portray yourself to your fans in a way that doesn’t feel like marketing, but instead feels like private access to your daily life.
Reality television was the precursor to this movement, spawning programs like the Real Housewives series and its many spinoffs, Laguna Beach and The Hills, Top Chef, and more. These shows featured mostly unknown personalities and gave them sometimes significant notoriety in the wider public discourse.
Twitter had a similar effect, allowing direct access to almost any celebrity 140 characters at a time. What makes the TikTok platform especially effective is the use of a visual medium, a space that can be highly controlled by its creators while still expressing the personality that allows its fans to connect in a way never before possible.
Just remember to have a good time and everything will fall into place. You have the skills to become a trendsetter, a viral video, and an influencer right from your bedroom.
Now is as good a time as any, so get started! You’ve got this.
Share your music and get your 15 seconds of fame (or more, we hope) in the TikTok universe today.
See you on TikTok soon!