We are all familiar with TikTok's massive global success. TikTok, a social media application that lets users create short, authentic videos, has been a cultural phenomenon since its launch in September 2017. TikTok today is a favorite entertainment platform for millions. This platform has a proven track record of taking undiscovered songs and making them chart-topping global hits. TikTok has been a key part of music marketing in 2020. That's why we decided to compile this comprehensive guide. It explains TikTok's mechanics and outlines some of the major strategies for TikTok music promotion.
Most likely, you are familiar with TikTok at some level. But, to simply say that TikTok can only be used for short-form video sharing is an extreme oversimplification. This short video format is not new. It can be found on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. TikTok doesn't have to be the first platform to bring the format in front of people -- Vine made it popular 7 years back.
Why is TikTok so profitable?
What is TikTok's uniqueness? What makes TikTok stand out from every other platform before it? Let's start off with this simple stat: in 2018, more active TikTok users were uploading regular videos to the platform. This is a huge number.
It's a lot like YouTube. It is difficult to estimate the exact percentage of YouTube users uploading content on the platform. However, this figure is only a fraction of the platform's 2Billion global users. YouTube is, in this sense, still rooted in the traditional, one-to-many communication schema, despite its enormous role in digital culture. TikTok was able to take the many-to-many approach that social media offers and apply it to video, the most important format in today's digital age. TikTok has two things: everyone is an audience and everybody is a creator. That is the key to TikTok's success.
First, TikTok removed all traction. ByteDance made the process of creating content very simple. Although it can take several hours, days, or even months to create advanced content on the platform's platform, it will take less than 10 minutes to go a single TikTok from an idea to a finished edit with filters, effects, and music.
TikTok also created a feed for user-generated content to be hosted on the demand side. If you have ever used Tinder, you would know that TikTok's videos flow in many ways similar to Tinder. TikTok's viewer interface allows you to do one thing: swipe up and skip to the next video. That's it. TikTok does something no other platform is capable of. It can offer its users videos they don't want -- or worse, they may just ignore it. The entire interaction takes just a few moments. Some even believe that this "instability," of TikTok's feed, is one of the reasons the app is so addictive. That seemingly endless stream of TikTok feeds is what makes it so captivating.
However, the recommendation engine was the secret ingredient that made this system possible. TikTok was, in a way the first app based on AI serving content to the viewer. Although there's a section on the app that allows users access to content by creators they are following, it's really the "For You” section that is the most magical. You could compare it to YouTube. While the recommendation and programmatic curating are a large part of YouTube now, YouTube remains about people choosing the content that interests them. TikTok does not allow for direct choices. Users have no direct control over the content they consume. The algorithm that learns you more as you use the platform will determine what you like.
Let’s cove some other basics before moving forward which even TikTok itself emphasizes:
In creating videos, the sound is just as important as your visuals. TikTok automatically opens to a full-screen viewing experience using the For You stream. You can even hear the sound.
TikTok offers a wide range of songs and sounds that can be used to accompany your videos. Other users may also be able to add your sound to their videos.
It is a good idea to use sounds that match your video's mood. You can also consider timing your actions according to the beat of the chosen sound.
You might use a sound the community already loves. This can help your video stand out and connect to the people most likely to love what you have to share. For inspiration and the latest sounds, you might want to explore sound playlists.
Navigating the Sounds Page
When you open TikTok, tap the "+” icon in the lower right corner of your screen. To access the Sounds Page, click the "+” icon. To access the Sounds page, tap the "sounds” button located at the top left of the Record Video screen. This will bring you to the Sounds Page, where you'll be able to explore TikTok’s sounds library.
The Sounds page changes frequently and contains some of today's most popular sounds, the best global hits, and playlists that allow you to find the right music for your creativity.
With that being said, let's get on to the main point. The platform has many stories about global hits. How can artists and music producers make use of it? You need to know that TikTok can be approached as an artist in many ways that all lead to the exact same end goal.
How to increase your followers and views on TikTok
First and foremost, engaging with a platform directly can increase your social reach in TikTok. You can also create and expand an artist's TikTok page to expand their reach. Before you make the decision to create content on TikTok, you should first know what kind of native TikTok content is possible to fit into your artist’s universe.
If you want to make a page on TikTok as an artist, chances are that your ultimate goal is to get people listening and downloading your music. Your TikTok artist profile should be built around this goal. This includes finding a way that you can feature your music in the videos that you make while keeping the content consistent with the platform's spirit. Posting snippets from your upcoming tracks and behind-the-scenes footage from the studio won't cut it. Other platforms are better. TikTok can be a great platform to grow your following, but, it's important to remember that the algorithm will decide what content you post. This can allow you to reach a lot more people.
As with any social media, there are some practices that have been proven to boost a user’s following. These tips will help you increase your chances that you go viral.
1. You can choose a theme and keep it consistent
It is important to select a topic for your content when planning your rise on TikTok. This will help the algorithm place you in a particular category on the platform and match your content with other people who love it. What will your future TikTok profile look like after it's set up? Is it memes and sketches? Is it music production? There are many different ways to do it. Jason Derulo’s TikTok features dance routines. Diplo’s official account showcases comedy sketches and choreography. It is possible to have a wide theme but it is best to choose one.
Hashtags are an important way to judge the relevance of a YouTube video. You will have a greater chance of your video appearing in TikTok's Discover and For You tabs. The TikTok algorithm assumes that hashtags will be used to determine the purpose of your video. Give it enough to work from. You can find information on popular hashtags in the Discover tab.
3. Follow Trends, Take part in Challenges
Remember how I spoke about the fact TikTok's nature means that there are many trends and challenges that thrive on it? These same principles will be applicable to you if your goal is to grow your TikTok Account. TikTok viewers will be more open to engaging with new content if there is a challenge. If you're interested in a particular trend and have an idea to create an engaging version of it, that's great! Be consistent, however. Keep your content strategy the same.
Also, hashtags are important -- they should be attached to every trend. People who are looking for entertainment can go to the Discover tab and see what's popular. So you might want to add your videos to that tab.
4. TikTok will feature your music
TikTok is used to promote your songs. It's important that your active followers on TikTok know what you're up to outside of the platform. TikTok does not allow you to announce "New Single Available on All Streaming Platforms" messages. But, if your TikTok content is native, you can use your songs as soundtracks.
5. TikTok Pro Analytics: Make Use of It
TikTok recently launched an analytics dashboard for creators. This is a free feature that all users can use. TikTok PRO allows you to monitor your profile and video views as well as follower dynamics and audience demographics. Additionally, you can get insights into your content in order to determine which videos are most successful. Switching to Pro is as easy as switching to Manage My Account and clicking on Switch To TikTok Pro. That's it!
TikTok Pro has three main views.
1. Profile Overview: Includes video views of your profile over the last 7 Days and follower evolution. This goes back to the date you upgraded from Pro.
2. Content Insights organizes your content, from newest to most recent, and provides insights on each video (Likes as well as the total number and types of comments and shares, type of traffic, audience territories, and more).
3. Follower insights: Shows the total number of followers, evolution charts, and audience breakdown by gender and territory.
The app begins tracking on the date you switch. It takes 7 days to collect some of the more detailed insights. Pro accounts are highly recommended once you have started posting content.
TikTok claims it is highly involved in safety concerns. TikTok blocks spamming, offensive and harmful content in an effort to create authentic interaction. If TikTok detects any of the above, it will ban the account. Try to avoid this as much as possible.
1. You should not use banned hashtags
2. One-click deletion of multiple contents
3. Many users can be followed and unfollowed at the same time in one sitting
4. Using copyrighted material
Even if your TikTok profile is huge, it won’t compare to the impact that one of the artists’ songs can have on a TikTok topic or challenge. Let's now move on to the second strategy. This is how TikTok can leverage its viral nature and large audience.
How to make your music trendy on TikTok
From the perspective of the music industry, this is where TikTok truly shines: TikTok trends or challenges can give an artist huge exposure. It doesn't take much to get your creative idea and music noticed.
Each TikTok Challenge consists of participants creating an original video that reflects their individuality. All challenges have a few hashtags. The challenge name is one of them.
Although there is more competition in the TikTok space, it is still very much everyone's business. A good idea, a catchy tune, or rather, a memorable moment, and a few carefully chosen influencers are all that's needed to get things started. Let's just take it one step. Here's how to launch a TikTok challenge.
1. TikTok is worth your time
TikTok, which I cannot stress enough, is a unique platform with an unmatched feel for the content. If you want to make TikTok a part of your marketing strategy, my best advice is to spend some time on it yourself. Learn what is popular and why. This will make it easier to plan your viral TikTok campaigns.
2. Find your 15 second long TikTok moment
Now, it is time to start digging in and coming up with an idea for your next challenge. TikTok is a platform that allows you to start your challenge with the song. TikTok challenges work best when you have 15 seconds worth of content. It is not a requirement per se, but the platform thrives on short content. TikTok, for example, suggests using video clips of 9-15 seconds as a best practice in-feed advertising -- and there is every reason to believe that these same rules will be applied to your future challenge.
Take a look at your music and locate the TikTok moments lasting 15 seconds. These are the parts that you believe will have the greatest viral impact. There are many things you can do on TikTok -- surprise drops, memorable lyrics, and other ideas that might work in a different context than the son. Your TikTok moment needs to be tied to the future challenge through lyrics and music but should also allow for the interpretation.
3. TikTok will distribute your song.
It's an easy step but important. TikTok is not available to all digital distributors. Therefore, it's a good idea for you to check with your distributor if the song that you choose will be available to TikTok creators.
4. Brainstorming Challenge Ideas
When it comes to the creativity of the challenge, ask yourself this question: What will the viewers get from it? What will make the challenge memorable for viewers? The challenge must be interesting and simple to understand.
Think about what the creators will gain by participating in this challenge. Do you encourage rewatchability or is it intended to be difficult? Are you able to replicate it? Is it easy to modify? TikTok is a tool for creators and developers to create new challenges.
5. Pick a memorable hashtag
For people to recognize and engage with a trend, they need a name. Pick a catchy and memorable hashtag to tie everything together. If all goes well, your name will be associated long-term with your music. You should really think about it.
6. Select your TikTok target group and search for influencers to help you reach it
Most likely, you know your target audience well. Now, think of the TikTok user base and find overlap. This is your TikTok target. What are they passionate about? What Tik Toks do they love? Next, you need to identify TikTok users who are familiar with the audience. Contact them with an offer for a challenge.
You can also contact influencers to test your idea. If they respond positively to your pitch, there is a greater chance that your idea will become viral. Do not be afraid to ask the influencers for their thoughts on your idea. TikTok's influencers have more knowledge of the platform than you, so listen carefully.
7. Think about the customer journey
This is undoubtedly the most important part of the whole process. TikTok has seen many artists and songs go viral, with little to no impact on the artist’s career. It's unlikely that the artist will be remembered as "that guy from TikTok who wrote that TikTok music".
Now think about how to convert TikTok followers to your other platforms like Instagram and Spotify and how to keep them there. While viral marketing is an effective tool for building awareness, it doesn't have the potential to create a loyal fanbase. TikTok campaigns should be part of the overall content plan, which will have a long-lasting effect on artists’ careers.
Perhaps the most important tool is the official Song Page attached to every TikTok song. As you can see below, the page contains a link to Apple Music that allows users to download the entire song. It also links to the official TikTok account of the artist if they have one. You might consider ensuring that the artist has a TikTok account, which can be used as a point of conversion between TikTok accounts and other artist's platforms.
8. Get ready for the challenge
This is the easiest step. In the best-case scenario, your challenge has become a success and millions are listening to your music on an almost daily basis. The viral nature of TikTok also means that trends are constantly changing, so chances for you to turn all that awareness into something meaningful is limited.
At Exolyt, we're here to give you a competitive edge. Our innovative platform provides you with powerful analytics that helps you understand which videos are getting the most views, how you compare to other content creators and get recommendations on how to improve engagement.
We work with social media agencies, global brands, and single influencers to provide insights on their TikTok content. Contact us to book a demo, or start your free trial today!
Parmis from Exolyt
This article is written by Parmis, who works at Exolyt as a Content Creator. She has a passion for writing and creating new things, while keeping herself up-to-date with the latest TikTok trends!