You can get your music heard by MILLIONS using TikTok.
People are just coming to terms with the fact that TikTok is not just a platform where stupid dances go viral. Instead, they are beginning to realise that it is a prime place for music marketing and getting your name out there.
With over 800 million monthly active users, the power of TikTok to create viral music video hits in under 24 hours has been proven over and over again.
- ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X
- ‘The Box’ by Roddy Ricch
- ‘Blinding Lights’ by the Weekend
The list of viral music video hits is enormous as you can see here on the Best TikTok Music Videos of 2020.
This privilege is not just for big name artists but for up-and-coming musicians too. TikTok can take an unheard artist to number one. Seriously. Think of Nathan Evans, the sea shanty revivalist who exploded on the platform recently.
By the end of this blog, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge and know-how to get your TikTok videos the best results and potentially go viral.
Essential Steps for Your TikTok Videos to Succeed
This might sound obvious, but make sure that your music is actually on TikTok! More and more distributors are offering TikTok distribution as a service, including DistroKid and Ditto. Firstly, check that your distributor offers this service with a quick phone call or email to make sure they can get your track on TikTok.
For this to work, you need people to use your audio, and it must have your track title and artist name written all over it. Only then will people search for you on Spotify to stream the whole track or look for you on social media from these details.
Now for the interesting TikTok Music video stuff:
- How do you get onto the ‘for you’ page?
- How do you make sure people use your track?
- How do you hit trending?
- How do you make sure that your track goes viral?
If you are happy to be on TikTok yourself, then the first strategy is likely to be the best option. However, be sure to read through both methods to see which best fits with your style and is most authentic for you as an artist.
Here are the two strategies that can help you achieve all of the above:
TikTok Viral Strategy #1
We used this strategy recently for an artist and her track ended up getting used by over 140,000 people on the platform. She was unheard of before this, with practically no audience. She now has over 120,000 followers on Tiktok. Not only that, but the track in question got over 1 million streams on Spotify, and over a million views on YouTube.
If you have not used TikTok before, be sure to download the app and take a bit of time to look around and get a feel for the platform as it’s quite different from other social media sites. In my opinion, it’s a bit like Vine, with a similar humour and editing feature.
TikTok is for short-form content and exploring it first will help you decide what kind of content you want to create. This content needs to fit you as an artist and your target audience.
The artist who we worked with (Linneah), had an audience and track that fitted the LGBT community. As a result, she created content that appealed to that audience.
You need to populate your profile on TikTok with content that maintains an ongoing theme and fits your target audience.
You need to do this for at least a couple of weeks before your target audience begins to take notice and potentially decide to follow you. If you use high-quality content and the correct hashtags, gathering a small audience is practically inevitable.
Even with a small audience, you can begin to plug your music a little more by starting a trend or telling the narrative behind the track. A trend could be a new dance, or something a bit more creative like the ‘Gravity’ trend, which stemmed from the popular John Mayer song.
Alternatively, you could tell the narrative behind the song, or the lyrics. This is the route we went with Linneah. She told the story behind her track several times, and it started to gain some traction.
Not only this, but it got on to the ‘for you’ page and gained huge reach. People started to use her track, and when that happened, she began to send her video out to other influencers in the TikTok LGBT community. She did not spend any money on this campaign.
Her track reached her small gathered audience and then began to grow beyond it too. Other people started to say what the song meant to them, but eventually, people ended up using her music for all sorts of content!
It doesn’t matter what trend people use with it, as long as your track is getting attention and spreading like wildfire. Essentially, that is how Linneah achieved the numbers mentioned at the beginning of this TikTok music video strategy.
So How Can You Do This?
We also spoke to another TikTok artist called Austin Giorgio. We made a video about his formula for going viral on TikTok.
He did a similar thing to Linneah, telling the narrative behind his song. In his case, it didn’t become a trend, but people still heard his music and it still got used by a lot of people. It did have a positive impact on the number of streams, the reach of his song and his audience on TikTok.
You can do the same. However, make sure you are consistent with the theme you pick, because if you don’t, the TikTok algorithm is not going be able to work out what your theme actually is.
To summarise, for this particular strategy, you need to:
- Create a TikTok account
- Pick a theme and stay consistent with it
- Find the relevant hashtags
- Populate it with content
- Promote your music in a creative way
- Send that content to Influencers with a high follower count (even if you have to DM them through Instagram)
TikTok Viral Strategy #2
If creating content is not your thing, you might lean towards this alternative strategy.
We recognise that many artists feel, that because they are a musician, not a marketer, strategy #2 might be more up their street. However, you will need to invest a little money and a lot of time to make this strategy work.
First, you need to sit down and listen to your tracks. Break them down into 15 second to 1 minute segments and think about:
- How could this be used creatively on TikTok?
- How can this become a trend?
- How can it influence?
- How could this become a narrative?
- Do the lyrics tell you what to do?
- Do the lyrics make sense out of context?
- Can you have fun with it?
- Can you make a dance trend?
Once you have got a few ideas in your head, spend some time on TikTok finding influencers that would fit with your ideas and start messaging them.
You will find out very quickly whether they like the idea and want to take credit for it, or want payment. Usually, if it’s a really original, creative idea, the TikTokker will want to take credit for it because their ultimate goal is to start a trend, as it gets them a ton more followers, plus the views.
You might feel uncomfortable about somebody taking the credit for your creative hard-work, but that shouldn’t be an issue as your goal is for your music to go viral. At this stage, the exposure is more valuable than the credit.
So, if you really think about something creative and give a great pitch, you’ll be in good stead for your music being used. However, if they do want to take payment and their audience is precisely who you require, and their account has good views and comment numbers, then paying a little is often a worthwhile venture. But don’t just pay one and expect to blow up; you’re going to have to pay a handful of TikTokkers if you want your music to go viral.
Drake, Lil Nas X and The Weeknd have all used this strategy, as they don’t have accounts on TikTok.
One Last Tip
This tip can be used with both strategies that we’ve mentioned here. For instance, if you get one big influencer to start the trend, you’re going to organically get some others that are going to carry on the trend for free.
But you can also look through the followers of that big influencer and message them saying “I noticed that this big influencer started this trend, why don’t you have a go?” – Encourage them to jump on the bandwagon too. If there’s followers and views to gain, it’s likely that they’ll consider it.