TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world. The app is similar to Vine, but with slightly longer video time (15 seconds) and music integration. Through the music integration feature, it’s very easy to add music to the videos, just like Instagram Stories.
What’s interesting about TikTok is that the app has 800 million users today and about half of those users are in the 16-24 age demographic. So, if you know you have listeners in this age group, or if that’s a target audience for your music, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start creating content on this platform!
Since you can add your own music to your videos, not only can you monetize your streams, but using video you can start conversations with your fans and build your community ties even further.
So if you’re planning to make the most out of your promotional activities on this app, check out these six strategies for increasing engagement with your music on TikTok.
1. Find a 15-second hook
TikTok runs on 15-second videos, so you should listen back through your songs to find perfect 15-second moments that capture the listeners’ attention. This might be an upbeat and energetic excerpt, or most likely a great lyrical hook from one of your choruses, as you want to make sure the loop is catchy.
While you can definitely use TikTok to promote a new release, the song does not necessarily have to be a recent song. As long as it has a catchy and memorable moment that you can pull out, any song will do. If you have a hook that fits into a 15-second video and that’s going to inspire people to sing along, dance or do something with it, you should use it to make a video!
2. Create contests and challenges
TikTok was originally created for lip syncing videos, but gradually other kinds of content started appearing on the platform too. One such format that has taken off recently is contests.
The most important thing about running a contest or challenge is to reward your fans and incentivize them to participate. By providing a reward like free tickets or VIP experiences, you can generate more content using your songs to build familiarity—such as running lip syncing contests or dance and comedy skit challenges.
3. Collaborate with other artists
TikTok actually allows two or more artists to work together and collaborate. There’s even a “Duet” button that allows one person to sing over the other’s video. So, when you make a video using this feature, TikTok divides the screen in two. Then, on one side it puts the original video and on the other side it puts the new video.
By using this method, you can make a new collaborative video, or create a new song with added harmonies and instruments. Really the possibilities are pretty wide open and ripe for collaboration on TikTok, which I think is one of the most unique features of this platform. It’s just built entirely around engagement with music.
Moreover, this serves a great promotional purpose as well. By collaborating with other artists through the app, you can reach their unique fan bases and grow your followers.
4. Use catchy song titles
When a song goes viral on TikTok, it has the potential to draw many people towards the full song on Spotify or other streaming platforms. It’s like a tiny calling card to check out your musical catalog.
The most important thing here is to make the song as easy as possible to find. For this reason, your song title is crucial. If your video has a key phrase (a refrain or hook) that is constantly being repeated, that should be the title; it will be much easier to find the song if there’s synchronicity here.
Currently, one cannot search a song by lyrics on big streaming platforms. If there is a viral lyric you heard somewhere, you would have to Google it first, and then find the song on your preferred streaming site. So, the catchier the title and the more times that title is repeated in the song, the better you’ll do with moving your listeners over from TikTok to other platforms.
...And don’t forget to create hashtags with your song title too!
5. Utilize hashtags for the right context
TikTok is now such a widely used platform, that it has become where some of the current trends in popular music are established; and it can make or break new hit songs. And one of the reasons why TikTok has been successful with creating hits is that it runs on hashtags, just like Twitter and Instagram.
Hashtags bring what you’re doing into a greater, international conversation, and can open your content up well beyond the scope of your personal network. They’re also key for understanding what is trending at any given moment and which conversations are taking off on the platform.
Depending on the kind of content you’re creating, searching some trending hashtags to identify who the most popular influencers are, and what overall vibe is rocking right now, might help you find your niche and build your community immensely.
6. Cross-platform promote your TikTok videos
You can share your TikTok videos on other platforms, like Instagram. For example, you can create cool-looking videos on TikTok using its unique filters and then share this content where your communities are more diverse age-wise. On top of that, if you just created your TikTok account and are looking for more followers, cross-platform promotion can be great to let people know that you’re also on TikTok.
TikTok is sometimes misunderstood as a platform used exclusively by teenagers, but it is also popular in other demographics, and can influence greater fan communities by extension. Just like Instagram, what gets popular on TikTok frequently leaves the platform to enter other cultural spheres—and if you’re smart, you can monetize that popularity.
Once you find the catchiest part of your catchiest song, add that to a video on TikTok and see how people react to it. It’s important to remember that TikTok users like authentic, light and easily digestible content. And the main purpose is to create pure engagement here; to get people to not just like a video, but comment on it, or better yet, take the song and to do something with it themselves.
Alper Tuzcu is a composer, guitarist, and a producer. His newest EP ‘Migrante' was released by Palma Records in February 2020, and inspired by the music of different cultures. An alumni of Berklee College of Music, he’s also a touring musician and educator. Check out his music on Spotify.
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