10 ways to grow your audience on TikTok

Many artists are wondering how to grow their audience on TikTok.

Over the past year the video platform has become a huge driver for music discovery and is now viewed as an onramp to larger success in the industry.

If you use CD Baby for distribution to streaming platforms, we’re automatically delivering your tracks to TikTok, the fasted growing social video app in the world, and we’re really excited to see what kinds of videos people create using your songs.

What’s the deal with TikTok?

If you’re new to TikTok, it might seem like a strange place. That’s because it is.

TikTok is used by more than half a billion people around the world (many of them between the ages of 16-24), and it’s home to some quirky, silly, crazy, funny videos.

The platform is built on music. It’s easy to pull a short audio clip into your own video, and it’s easy to take a song you hear in someone else’s video and pull it into your own as well. That’s what makes TikTok a place for truly viral music content, including dance challenges and lip-syncs.

In the video above, I talk about ten important things you should know about TikTok, from its culture to some features of the app. I’ll list them below as well, but if you’d like a more in-depth look at using TikTok to reach new listeners, check out our article “TikTok Promotion for Musicians.”

Increasing engagement with your music on TikTok

  1. Keep it light-hearted — TikTok is a FUN platform. A depressing folk song might not perform so well unless there’s a fun video to go with it.
  2. It’s not about your song — It’s about a hook. All you need is a good 15-second snippet from a song to catch people’s ears and imagination. That hook might not be in your latest single, btw. It could be from years ago, so think through your whole catalog.
  3. It’s not about you — TikTok is about THEM, the users. It’s not a place where others are going to bow to your brilliance. You want to create something that inspires others to shape their own videos from your music, contest, or concept.
  4. Reward fans — Offer cool incentives in order to get your audience to make their own videos using your music: best dance, best lip-sync, etc.
  5. Use hashtags — TikTok runs on hashtags, so use a mix of general tags that appeal to strangers and specific ones that relate to your music and contests.
  6. Treat TikTok like a community — Just like other platforms, be a good citizen. Respond to comments. Follow other artists.
  7. Share your videos elsewhere — It’s easy to share TikTok videos on Instagram Stories, and you should, especially when you’re just starting on TikTok and no one knows you’re there yet.
  8. Exaggerate — Videos that perform well on TikTok have over-the-top characters. Go big!
  9. Collaborate — TikTok’s #Duet feature gives you a great opportunity to work with another artist and make something together that will appeal to both your audiences.
  10. Focus local — Local content seems to get favored in the feed, so be sure to put location information in your videos and descriptions. No town is too small.
  11. BONUS: Don’t be “perfect” — Worried about perfection? TikTok users seem to dig authentic and whacky stuff, so you can make things cheap and quick that have an even better chance of going viral than a professionally-produced video.

Want more tips about growing your audience on TikTok?

Read “TikTok Promotion for Musicians”

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