GET OUR NEWSLETTER5 years of advice, inspiration and resources for musicians navigating the new music industry delivered right to your inbox.
With approximately 120 million monthly active users and a 500% year over year growth since 2017, TikTok is pretty much one of the most leading social media platform available. Looking from the view of a musician, TikTok is way more than just a social media platform its a music marketing phenomenon, as this platform can make a song into a hit and also turn an independent artist into a star overnight.
I still wonder why majority of music artists find it hard or neglect the fact that TikTok can be one of the best music promotion strategy you can use to easily reach more people (fans). TikTok is a Gen Z app playground, its time you get your head around it and start promoting your music for maximum result.
WHAT IS TIKTOK?
Before now TikTok was formerly called “Musical.ly”, this amazing app is available for download both on Android and IOS devices. Allowing users to film and upload a short (at least 15 seconds) videos, many of which are a lip sync style using music which are already uploaded to the TikTok music library.
TikTok is pretty much like any other social media platform as it is easy to like, follow, share content and also interact with one another.
In the most simplest form;
TikTok users create short videos, usually based around a song’s verse or hook. But what makes TikTok videos unique?
– Videos are usually around 15 seconds long & vertical aspect ratio
– All videos are backed with an audio snippet (usually music)
– Authenticity & group participation is more important than getting the perfect shot
– Videos can be recorded in parts & edited together in fragments
– Popular videos are pushed to a wider audience
Why has TikTok been such an influential platform for upcoming artists? Because most of the content posted is based around MUSIC.
HOW THE TIKTOK APP WORKS
First thing first, let me explain how the TikTok app works for users. The TikTok app works with algorithm which creates a unique content feed for a users, this content feed is known as “For Your Page (FYP)”. This feed is tailored to how well a user interacts on the platform.
For example, let’s say your song’s 15 second snippet is used in a particular video, that video shows up on another user’s For You Page, and that user enjoys the video so much they want to create their own similar video. On the TikTok app there’s a really easy way for people to use an audio clip they’ve heard elsewhere to make a new video of their own.
It’s this simple process of audio copying that makes it so easy for a song to go viral on TikTok. Interesting right??
If a dance challenge video or a lip-sync inspires a user on TikTok, there is a high probability it will inspire more people to make their own videos. The more the algorithm sees people using that same music, the more it will feed your song to new people, which in turn inspires more users to create their own content using your track. Its as simple as it sound.
This chain reaction has helped lots of overlooked songs go viral on TikTok easily. There has already been plenty of instances where artists with small followings have achieved massive exposure on the platform because their song went viral.
So now you understand how songs go viral, we’ll discuss how to promote your songs effectively on TikTok, grow your audience and encourage people to share your music below.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR MUSIC GO VIRAL ON TIKTOK
1. RELEASE YOUR MUSIC ON TIKTOK
The first thing you want to be worried about is getting your track on TikTok and this can be done one of two ways explained below. The first being through a distributor or Apple Music and the second being a more DIY method explained below.
Anyone can upload their own audio to the app and then this can be searched and used by others.
Upload a video with the clip of that track in the the video that you want to use.
Click the profile photo in the bottom right hand corner
Name your sound, so you’ll want to go with the ‘Track Name – Artist Name’ so it’s easy for others to find it on TikTok
2. WHICH TRACK TO PROMOTE ON TIKTOK
You need to understand that not all kind of song has the potential of going viral, before you start thinking of going viral on TikTok you want to make sure your music is TikTok friendly – but wait what does TikTok friendly actually means??
Not all styles of music performs well on the TikTok app as it needs to give users something special to create content around, dance to, lip sync to or develop a challenge on.
Most of the tracks that see great success on TikTok typically tend to have catchy memorable lyrics or lyrics that can be brought to life, hope you understand where am heading to. TikTok content can be no longer than 15 seconds, so the clip needs to make sense as a stand-alone moment outside the context of the whole song.
TikTok’s music content can be no more than 15 seconds long. It also needs to be broad, catchy and relatable enough for TikTok’s users to create their own video content around. Don’t be afraid to dig through your back catalogue and release older, more suitable tracks to TikTok.
3. MAKE USE OF HASHTAGS (really important)
Hashtags on TikTok works just the same way as that of Instagram, acting as a discovery tool for users content. The hashtag you use for your own TikTok videos, or you get others to use, should be designed to easily go viral.
Always try to include a mix of your hashtags in all content you post. They can be specific to you and your own content as well as more general ones. You could piggyback on current trending hashtags to help reach more people, so as to get discovered.
4. CREATE CHALLENGES & CONTESTS
TikTok is a platform where challenges and contests do pretty well. So you should try as much as you can to encourage fans and followers to take part in challenges specific to your track using a specific hashtag.
To start engaging a TikTok audience, you can actually create an account on TikTok and post a challenge, you can pay an influencer to create a challenge or you can push your fans from other social media platforms to start a challenge using your track and hashtags.
Challenges tend to go viral easy and fast when they’re fun and can be interpreted in different ways by different people. You want to give people a chance to be creative and put their own unique twist on an exisiting trend. That’s why it’s important to choose a track that is (as we mentioned earlier) “TikTok friendly”.
Some of the most popular challenges on TikTok usually involve:
– Dance routines
– Lip syncing
– Comedy memes
It’s real hard if not impossible (except your are a really big star with millions of followers i guess) that you’ll generate a viral sensation by just posting your challenge and sitting back. You need to be proactive like seriously making videos of your challenge.
You could run the challenge as a contest, where you will be offering prize for the winners – maybe signed merch, free gig tickets or even a cash reward.
Alternatively, you could recruit an existing influencer to promote the challenge or trend and help get it off the ground.
5. DO A DUET
Duets are another easy and fun way you can engage with fellow TikTok users. The Duet feature lets you put two videos together side-by-side playing simultaneously the same song.
You can find similar artists to yourself who would want to duet to grow their fanbase or you can use the influencer technique we previously mentioned above. Using an influencer to duet with can have immediate results as you’re reaching their audience easily, who might be interested in your music.
You can also duet with your fans to increase fan loyalty. You can share it on your other social media accounts and make it a weekly series as that’ll keep your audience engaged, following your social media platforms and TikTok videos, eagerly awaiting the next one.
6. VISUALS AND MEME
Apart from the music and short videos, two more things that have helped TikTok grow into such a huge platforms. Engaging, easily imitated visuals & generally funny or inspiring content posted every day by its users.
Remember, videos don’t have to be perfectly shot. They just have to be engaging, interesting, hilarious, relatable etc. If you can turn a snippet of your track into a easy-to-copy, 15 second video – it has the potential to blow up on the platform.
TikTok is one of the newest and most interesting way for new artists to reach a massive audience. Going viral doesn’t just happen overnight though. Put in the work and make great music and your song could be the next TikTok viral sensation.
Have you had success promoting music on TikTok? Do you have any advice for other artists using the platform? Let us know in the comments below.