TikTok for Artists: Getting your track heard and increasing your fanbase is less complicated if you know how to promote your music on TikTok. It's no longer an app just for teens and quirky dance trends. The platform has exploded in popularity over the past few years, boasting over 1 billion monthly active users.
But to successfully promote your music on TikTok, you'll need to understand the platform and have a solid strategy in place. Knowing who your audience is, is an excellent place to start. And it's vital that you're active on TikTok before and after you release your song snippet. Then, once you've attracted a small audience, it’s time to enlist the help of other creators.
The idea is for creators and influencers to use your track snippet in their content. This way, your name and the name of your song will be visible to all who view their content. And that's how users are going to find you on music streaming and download platforms if they like your song.
But why is TikTok such an essential promotional tool for musicians? And how exactly does one put together an effective marketing strategy for it? We’ll answer these questions and more in this blog post.
TikTok for Artists: Why is TikTok Ideal for Music Promotion?
TikTok is a short-form video-sharing platform filled with content created by people of all ages around the globe. The beauty of TikTok is that everyone on the platform is both the audience and the creator. This is one of the reasons for the app's success.
However, what makes it a triumph is the innovative algorithm the developers use to promote content. This algorithm is focused on boosting personalized content to users based upon their behavior on the app. In other words, everyone's content is given a fair chance to make it big.
It stands to reason that content made by creators with legions of followers will probably be viewed more than other content. But what's great is that neither a creator's follower account nor the popularity of their past videos has any influence on recommendations.
The goal is for TikTok users to receive recommendations based on the content they’ve been viewing. This way, for the most part, users are guaranteed to see content in their feed that they actually find interesting.
Now, this becomes vital for musicians because music forms an integral part of the content created on TikTok. And, because of the unique algorithm, it's one of the best platforms for musicians to promote their songs. That's why understanding how to promote your music on TikTok is essential.
What to do Before You Promote Your Music on TikTok
TikTok for Artists: Getting Started on TikTok
First things first, you'll need to create an account on TikTok and familiarize yourself with the platform. It's best to start with a standard creator account and then switch to a business account as your fanbase increases. With a business account, you'll have access to analytics to help you monitor your audience's behavior.
After signing up, take note of the types of content creators are posting and how their audiences respond to that content. This should give you some ideas of the type of content you might want to post on the platform. You’ll notice that users on the platform are super creative, so watch as many videos as you can to get some inspiration.
Next, you'll want to start posting some content. It's paramount that you start on the right foot with a posting schedule in place. The reason for this is that you must post regularly and consistently to build an audience.
Get a feel for who your ideal audience is and what types of content they’re responding to. You want your content to speak directly to that audience. But ensure that you remain authentic. Don’t try to be something you’re not. You won’t produce good content this way, and users are likely to see right through you.
Take part in challenges relevant to you and your audience. Challenges often trend and spread like wildfire, so it would be a great way to gain some exposure. At the same time, you should learn how to use hashtags effectively on the platform. This will help users find you when taking part in challenges and appearing on the “For You” and “Discover” pages.
TikTok for Artists: Prepping Your Music for TikTok
Once you’ve built up a small following, you should consider drafting a plan to promote your music on TikTok. But, before you do, you’ll want to determine how you’d like to showcase your song on the platform.
First, it's essential to ensure that your chosen music distributor offers distribution to the TikTok platform. If not, you'll need to find a distributor that does. The more prominent music distribution services should have TikTok on their distribution list. But it’s best to make sure.
Sugo Music Group distributes music to over 200 platforms, including TikTok, Apple Music, and Spotify. With over 35 years of experience, their vast network and expertise will immensely benefit your promotional efforts.
When you’re sure your distributor can help you launch your song on TikTok, it's time to choose a snippet. Due to licensing restrictions, snippets of songs released to TikTok aren’t meant to be longer than 15 seconds.
However, there have been some recent trending challenges initiated by well-known musicians with 60-second snippets.
That said, make sure you’ve selected a section of your song that is interesting and dynamic. If possible, ensure that the lyrics within the snippet allow for some creativity. Remember, you want people to use the snippet in their video content.
Once you’re happy with the snippet, it’s time to promote your music on TikTok.
Crucial Steps to Promote your Music on TikTok
So, you've developed a small audience, and you've released your song snippet to TikTok. Now it's time to get your song heard on the platform. The goal is to get TikTok users to hear and use your snippet. And, if they like what they've listened to, you want them to stream or download your song from their favorite music platform.
There are two main ways you could approach your marketing strategy. And, if possible, it's advisable to incorporate both approaches for a better chance of success.
TikTok for Artists: Promote the Music Yourself
It’s possible to promote your music on TikTok on your own stream. This is great for new artists that have little to no budget to work with. And it’s a strategy that’s worked well for multiple musicians in the past.
Here are the steps to follow if you’d like to promote your music on TikTok yourself
- Add Your Song to Your Content
Once you've got your snippet on TikTok, you can slowly start incorporating it into your content. You can use it as a backing track for just about any kind of content you think your audience might enjoy.
- Focus on the Music
Kick your marketing efforts up a notch by bringing attention to the track. Artists talking about their songs is a proven effective strategy. Think about discussing what the song is about and why you wrote it. And perhaps also talk about the lyrics and what they mean. You could even share behind-the-scenes "making of" content for the song.
- Start a Challenge
Think of a clever way that you could align the lyrics of your song with a video. Perhaps you could create a fun dance sequence to go with the music. Another idea is to use humor or a concept around the lyrics to get your audience to participate. The purpose is to have them use your music in their TikTok video and create their version of your video.
For example, John Mayer’s song Gravity was part of a TikTok challenge that boosted the song's popularity. Users made various videos that highlighted the reality of the existence of gravity. Many creators thought of ingenious ways to capture the essence of the pull of gravity. And a number of the most popular ones shared across the platform were humorous.
You’ll want to encourage your followers to take part in the challenge and create content around this. In doing so, your track will be shared across the platform and will lead back to you. The hope is that your challenge, and its associated hashtag, will become a trend on the platform.
Think of a fun name for your challenge and create a hashtag to use as a promotional tool. This should be something that’s easy to remember and tells people something about the challenge. If successful, going forward, this hashtag should remain linked with your music on the platform.
- TikTok for Artists: Stick With It
Once you’ve initiated a challenge and an overall theme related to your content, it’s best to stick with it. Posting different kinds of content without a clear concept of what your account is about will confuse the algorithm.
Posting inconsistent content will result in TikTok struggling to figure out what your content is about. And this will make it difficult for the platform to recommend your videos to other users.
- TikTok for Artists: Keep the Momentum Going
Once you’ve started, don’t stop. You can initiate multiple challenges from one song snippet. And each time you release a new song and snippet, you can repeat the process. But don’t forget to post other types of content aligned with your audience and theme.
- TikTok for Artists: Run Competitions
When possible, you should initiate competitions for your followers. You could give away merchandise, concert ticket, free album downloads, and more. Competitions are a great way to create some buzz around your content and your music.
Enlist the Help of an Influencer
You don't have to set up an account and create your own content to promote your music on TikTok. Perhaps you don't have the time or aren’t keen on posting videos of yourself on the platform. Leveraging the reach of influencers on TikTok can be a profitable alternative. But it will likely cost you.
These are the steps you should follow to source influencers and use them to promote your music on TikTok.
- Design a Challenge
As mentioned above, think about how your song snippet could be used as the foundation for a video challenge. But this time, think about what that might entail if someone else were initiating the challenge.
Prominent TikTok creators are continuously producing great content for users to consume. That's how they've become so popular. And this is your chance to utilize their skills and charisma to promote your music on TikTok.
That said, remember that the challenge should still be relevant to your target audience. These are the people who are more likely to respond positively to your music. So whatever content is created should always be aimed at them.
- Source Suitable Influencers
If you’re unsure of which influencers to contact, search for a hashtag that’s relevant to you, your music, and your audience. Have a look at the videos that pop up in the search results and go through them.
If you find any content you think might be appropriate for your audience, check out the account and audience of those creators. Watch more of their videos to make sure they’re a good fit. Then make a list of all the influencers you could potentially work with.
When viewing their content, think about how they might include your music when producing videos. And consider how their audiences might react to it. Whether they’re focused on dance, skits, lip-syncing, or any other type of content, there are loads of creators to choose from.
- Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket
TikTok for Artists: It’s not wise to place all your focus on just one influencer. While they may seem perfect for the task at hand, you never know how their audience will respond. A trend is a strange animal, and it’s not easy to predict what will go viral and what will flop. No matter how clever or cool it seems, there’s no way to know if it will take off.
So, when looking for influencers to work with, make sure you track down at least a handful to approach. In fact, unless you have the funds, consider working with micro-influencers instead. These are creators whose accounts are just starting to grow. They’re far more likely to charge less or potentially nothing at all.
Influencers are always keen to set up a fun challenge in the hopes that it will trend. And if it does, the result is a great deal of exposure for both you and the creator. Therefore, some creators will be happy to partner with you if the concept is sound.
However, influencers with a myriad of followers will likely already have a pricing structure in place. And those with a vast audience could cost you thousands of dollars for one 15 second video.
- Contact the Influencers
Next, you’ll want to DM the influencers you’ve sourced and listed. If you’re unable to DM them on TikTok because they aren’t following you, DM them on Instagram. Most TikTok influencers and micro-influencers have Instagram accounts. And they’ll often display a link to that account on their TikTok profile.
If the influencer asks for payment, it’s up to you to weigh up your options. In this instance, you should view as much of their current content as you can. Notice the quality and context of their videos and how their audience interacts with them in the comments section. This should give you an idea of whether the payment will be worth your while.
When an influencer agrees to work with you, you must give them some direction. Let them know how you imagined them utilizing your music in their video. Discuss your ideas and make sure that they're on board with your vision.
The influencer may have some ideas of their own to share, which could prove quite valuable. Don’t forget that they’re the champions of the platform who have gathered a large following. Chances are they know what they’re doing.
- Connect with Their Audience
When the influencer uploads their video promoting your music, it’s time to do some networking. Start with the followers that comment on the video. And send them each a DM encouraging them to get involved with the challenge.
You could also go through their list of followers, systematically contacting each one. Send them each a link to the influencer’s video and ask them to join the challenge. The more people join the challenge, the farther your music spreads across TikTok.
TikTok for Artists: Conclusion
Promoting your music is by no means an easy task. And taking advantage of social media, while essential, is a different beast altogether. But, unlike other social media channels, TikTok is leveling the playing field.
Anything is possible with TikTok's algorithm, which favors the type of content rather than its popularity. New accounts could attain celebrity status on TikTok overnight. And a musician, such as yourself, could see your song go viral when you promote your music on TikTok.