As a music artist in a constantly changing industry, adapting to the latest social media is crucial. TikTok has been instrumental in launching the careers of many musicians, songwriters, and rappers. How can you use this platform to your advantage, and what differentiates it from others like Instagram or Youtube?
This in-depth guide helps you make sense of the rapidly-growing platform that has so many generations captivated. Learn some of the most highly-recommended tips and hacks for managing your TikTok presence and creating consistent viral content.
TikTok is the second iteration of an app called musical.ly. This former iteration was much simpler. Users could lipsync to songs or audio clips of their choice. These videos were full of vibrant expressions, comical voice clips, and popular songs.
TikTok took that format and elevated it. Now, users can use original audio to create short videos or recycle popular audio to hop on trends. The app’s homepage is a swipe-style setup of full-screen videos randomly generated and recommended based on prior activity on the app. Users swipe up or down to see more videos or check the “Following” tab to see videos of accounts they follow.
TikTok had caught the world by storm since its inception but gained legitimacy in the public’s eye when it launched the careers of several famous music artists. One of these artists was Lil Nas X with his release of the wildly popular rap-country remix Old Town Road, featuring country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus.
Now, as each celebrity whose songs trend on the app gains more followers, TikTok becomes more high-profile, high-paying, and popular for promotion.
TikTok brings something unique to the world of digital communication. Not everyone has time to edit an entire YouTube video, but TikTok embeds easy editing software into the app. Audiences don’t expect complex edits in this emerging pool of microcelebrities.
With catchy, simple, replicable dances and trends that are quick and easy to film, TikTok has a user engagement similar to social media like Instagram or Twitter, more so than video sharing sites like YouTube. Users aren’t just watching and commenting—they are posting as well.
When content creators refer to “the algorithm” of TikTok, they refer to the AI that recommends content to each user. Interestingly, TikTok removed the restrictions of recommending content based on who users follow or who has the most views. Videos can appear that have 0 likes and 0 views.
This accessibility built into the app is not as common on YouTube or other platforms. In this way, the algorithm is an equalizer. It makes TikTok a powerful tool for new musicians who don’t have a following. It helps them boost engagement on posts and get to the top of trending pages. TikTok’s algorithm means anyone truly can go viral.
So, if TikTok doesn’t just show the most liked videos or most popular creators, how does it decide how to recommend content? The direct answer to this is elusive, but internet sleuths, programmers, and content creators have joined forces to piece together a bit of a clearer picture. Along with this, released documents from the engineering team of this platform have added new information.
The algorithm seems to factor in follower count when recommending videos, but not as high as other platforms like YouTube. Instead, much of the recommendation determination process is based on watch time.
Engagement with the video plays a huge role, with more comments and likes equating to higher visibility. TikTok also includes features like Duet, Stitch, and Share. While sharing won’t appear publicly, even if you share the link via direct private message or copy it to send to a friend, this improves the engagement of that post. Duetting and Stitching are ways to repost the video to a different user’s account, which also improves engagement.
Connecting with the people who enjoy your work and securing your audience can be a challenge for rappers and musicians. Try these tried-and-true promotion strategies to boost your engagement and build your following.
Come up with a schedule for uploading new TikToks during the week to create consistency for your growing follower base.
Did you know that posting too many times in one day can cause your engagement to decrease? Doing so makes your videos compete against each other to get put in front of users. Lower engagement means fewer new viewers, which means fewer new followers.
Space each post out by a few hours or a day so that each can get optimal attention.
TikTok recently reached a milestone of 1 billion monthly users. Some times of day, though, have better user traffic than others. Posting at a specific time or on a particular day can benefit your posts and get your account in front of more people. It will help you grow your following faster organically without resorting to buying followers and other deceptive methods.
While there aren’t any scientific studies into the matter, generally, popular users have found that mornings are the best times to post. On top of that, Tuesday mornings and Friday mornings seem particularly busy and therefore great for posting.
Who are your followers following? Partnering with that influencer, rapper, musician, or creator could help you access others who are likely to enjoy your content. Collabs are a great way to target your marketing so that you aren’t wasting money improving your visibility for people who won’t like your style of music.
A great way to have other users do your marketing for you is to use your song in a trend that other TikTokers will want to replicate. But what does a video have to have to get people’s attention and pique their interest?
Good viral TikToks have to be both replicable and re-watchable. It has to be something people want to make themselves and something they have the means and the skill to make.
A few great examples of replicable and re-watchable video formats that could work with your original song are:
Nowadays, the viewer wants to buy into creators as a whole, not just their art. For this reason, lots of artists find success and virality for their songs on TikTok through earnest appeals to their niche.
While this isn’t the most reliable promotion option, you can gain some traction and have a chance of going viral with a narrated or subtitled video that explains your music, your mission, or even the meaning behind the song.
Shooting high-quality footage guarantees that you’ll capture people’s attention visually when they see your TikTok. High production value gets people excited, especially on an app like TikTok, where this is not a necessity.
With these tips, rappers and musicians can finally harness the power of one of the most popular platforms and reach success in their music promotion campaigns. Try these out and see your viral vids and followers well to astronomical proportions.
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