TikTok is the perfect platform to make musicians and their songs famous overnight. There’s tons of potential to showcase your talent, gain a following, and make money just by making some TikTok videos. But it’s not always easy to promote your music on TikTok. Just take a look at Lil Nas X, who has used TikTok as a part of his music marketing strategy; it’s clear he puts a lot of thought into his uploads to get the attention he does! A lot goes into making good content, there’s a lot of competition, and it can feel defeating to put in the work only to get no results.
Whether you’re hoping to get noticed and gain a following, have one of the hottest TikTok songs, or you’re hoping to make money with your music on TikTok, this article is for you. We’ll go over some of the common mistakes musicians make when promoting their music on TikTok and give some helpful tips we use as a TikTok Advertising Agency to help our clients promote their music the right way.
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Understanding TikTok’s Audiences
To promote your music on TikTok effectively, you need a decent understanding of the differences between content on TikTok versus other platforms like YouTube or Instagram. If you don’t already use the app yourself, start lurking around as a user to get a feel of what content people like. Start by looking at artists on TikTok in your genre. Take note of what their audience is like, the hashtags they use, and their content style. Look through other non-music communities on TikTok that are related to your audience based on their age and interests. The more you familiarize yourself with the app and the communities you think would make for a good audience. The more you’ll know how to join in to promote your songs on TikTok.
Basic Do’s & Don’ts of TikTok for Beginners
Audience research is unique to you and your music. However, there are some basic things to know about TikTok that apply to everyone:
- TikTok is not meant for long content. Even though technically you can make 3 minute-long videos, TikTok is not the place to be posting entire songs. Your content will always do better if it’s around 30 seconds long.
- Captions should be 9 words or less. People go on TikTok to listen and watch, not to read. Captions that are too long will disengage people from your content and, in many cases, can make it hard to view your video.
- Don’t recycle content from other platforms. Though TikToks do surprisingly well when reposted on different platforms (except IG Reels), the reverse is seldom successful. To help promote your music on TikTok more effectively, save your videos for fresh content that is made specifically for the platform and your unique TikTok audience.
- If the hottest hashtags on TikTok aren’t relevant to your video, don’t use them. Be mindful about what hashtags to use to promote your songs on TikTok, or else you’ll just end up on the wrong side of the algorithm. This will do nothing for your video if you aren’t able to get people watching it, liking it, and engaging with it.
3 Foolproof Methods to Promote Your Music on TikTok the RIGHT Way
1. Show, Don’t Tell: Promote Yourself, Not Your Songs
Avoiding direct promotion can be difficult for musicians because in many cases, it’s your livelihood, and your goal is to get more people to listen to your music. Simply put, making broad or vague appeals for new fans on TikTok won’t get you very far – people use TikTok for entertainment, not suggestions about what kinds of things they should be interested in.
That being said, there are tons of great ways to showcase your talent that will directly lead to revenue. Take a look at Jordy (@iamjordy), who went from a tiny following to becoming TikTok famous practically overnight. At first, Jordy made TikTok’s using clips of his songs, with text on screen telling people where they can purchase his music and how much it would mean to him if they did so:
Even though he was very genuine and his music had appeal, this wasn’t getting the results he needed. One day he uploaded a clip of him at his piano candidly practicing a song idea that he had, but had not completed. Within just a few days, he had thousands of new fans who couldn’t wait for this song to be released so they could stream it! His off-the-cuff video idea made him go viral on TikTok.
What Jordy accidentally discovered is something that applies to every musician. No matter how great your song, album or concert is, creating content using your talent instead of about your talent will always perform better. It’s the classic rule of “show, don’t tell”. Leave all links and purchase information in your bio or in a pinned comment so interested viewers can find it easily, but keep your video itself focused on content people will find interesting.
2. Encourage Engagement & Make Connections to Gain More Fans
Getting people to engage is one of the best ways you can grow your audience, and TikTok makes this super easy! TikTok is all about community engagement – this is especially true for the musical side of TikTok, where plenty of passionate musicians create fun challenges, do fan requests, and more. Promoting engagement can be as simple as asking viewers a question in your caption to encourage their comments or literally dueting with another musician by Dueting their TikTok (and tagging them).
The key to thriving on TikTok as a musician is turning casual viewers into fans who love your content so much they want to interact with it and share it with others. Find fun ways to make your musical talent relevant to different audiences, relatable to people’s emotions or experiences, or worthy of Stichting/Dueting a response to.
Get clever about relating to your audiences. TikTok has an incredibly diverse range of audiences and it’s important to keep this in mind when creating your content. It’s best to post at least 2-3 times per week to get the best results, so use this opportunity to create a variety of different types of content to suit multiple audiences and interests. Your creativity can make your options endless, but a good start is looking at trending hashtag challenges; they have active audiences and can be a great way to show off your talent in a different way.
3. Tap Into Niche Audiences to Promote Your Music on TikTok
In addition to catering your content towards a wider audience, it’s also important that you create content that serves niche audiences actively looking for music. Finding ways to connect with people enjoying content about other topics is another way to promote your music on TikTok.
For example, Eurovision is a popular annual contest featuring amazing singers from all over Europe, and they have a huge following of dedicated fans on TikTok who appreciate the incredible talent and catchy songs they feature. Pick a song and do a cover in your style, use hashtags related to the song and contest, tag the artist and Eurovision’s accounts, and you now have made your music relevant to a whole new audience of potential fans.
TikTok gives passionate musicians and artists a platform to showcase their amazing talent and find millions of future fans, and the app is changing the music industry as we know it. However, tapping into this audience is only the first step to notoriety. If you want to promote your music on TikTok the right way, you need a foolproof strategy.
Using the “Show, don’t tell” rule for your TikTok content, encouraging reaction and response within your videos, connecting with niche audiences, and being clever with how you relate to different audiences are all key components of getting the most out of TikTok as a musician. With all this in mind, becoming famous by promoting your music on TikTok is within your reach!