Here is the complete Musician’s Guide to TikTok!
In this guide, we share with you the best way to leverage one of the world’s most popular social media platforms to build and amplify your brand as a student musician.
Part One: Build Your Platform
1. Keep it Light
- First things first: keep it light. No one wants to watch overly serious content on TikTok. People go on TikTok to enjoy themselves and de-stress, so making sure you keep your content light and positive ensures that your audience stays engaged.
- You can do this by getting outside of your comfort zone (maybe try learning a TikTok dance), performing to upbeat, lighthearted music, or adding a joke or funny line/moment to your videos.
- Here is an example of a fun dance trend that you could try learning for your own TikTok channel:
2. Captures Eyes Instantly
- This tip is so important! Everyone will just scroll past your videos if you don’t grab their attention in the first three seconds. Start your video off with a bang, instead of beginning your video with a long, winding introduction. Entice your viewer with a funny, enthusiastic, or dramatic intro. Do or say something that will make them keep watching the rest of the video.
- You can even say something as simple as “stop scrolling” like this user did:
3. Don’t forget hashtags
- Adding hashtags is a simple but effective strategy to boost your following on TikTok. You can include hashtags that relate to the content in your video. But you can also add hashtags that aren’t related to the video— there may be trending hashtags going around on TikTok that you can use to get more eyes on your post.
- Hashtags are key to building your TikTok platform because they make it easier for people to find your posts in the search bar. For example, if you’re a country singer that includes the hashtag “#countrymusic” in your post, people who search that tag will more likely be able to see your post.
4. Explore TikTok’s Built-in collaboration tools
- Look into the collaboration tools on TikTok— there are many great tools you can use on TikTok to elevate your videos.
- Duets: Try out the duet feature on TikTok! You can duet a past video of yours or you can duet someone else’s video. Many musicians use this feature to combine two sounds together at the same time.
- Stitches: Stitches are another popular collaboration tool on TikTok. They allow you to react to a video made by another TikToker or respond to a prompt a TikToker has given.
- Here is an example of two artists using the duet feature for a musical duet:
- If you wanted, for example, to duet or stitch this particular video, click the arrow at the bottom right of the screen. A tab like this will show up at the bottom of your screen with the duet and stitch options:
5. Collaborate with other artists
- Collaborating with other artists is a great way to diversify your content and bring more people to your page. Take some time to look into artists on TikTok who produce similar content to you and reach out to them! You can even reach out to people who create different content than you, there may be a way to combine your two styles/genres into one video.
Part Two: Promote Your Videos
1. Share your TikTok videos on other platforms
- Share your videos on your other social media accounts, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This creates visibility for your TikTok page, ensuring that more people are aware and can go search for your page.
- Ask your friends and family to share your TikToks on their social media accounts too – extending the reach of your content even more.
2. Promote your musical content from multiple angles
- If you have a performance that you want to promote, you shouldn’t just keep posting the same video every time you want to promote it. Instead, keep it fresh for your viewers by changing up the intro, the tempo of the performance, using a different background, or wearing different attire. For example, singer Benson Boone promoted his new song by using this cool sunset transition:
WAIT FOR THE SUNSET…🌅
3. Pin your favorite videos
- Another way to promote your videos is to pin your favorite, most popular videos at the top of your page. You can pin up to three videos at the top of your page and these will be the first three videos anyone on your page sees.
- This is especially useful if you want to promote new content on your page. You can pin videos by clicking the three dots at the bottom right of any video you’ve posted. A tab like this will then appear with a pin button:
4. Be prolific
- This one may seem obvious, but post as much as you possibly can! Don’t go days without posting a video, and if possible, post daily so your followers remain engaged.
- Expert tip: TikTok’s algorithm favors consistency with posting content, rather than short bursts of content – in other words, it’s better to post 2x a week every single week rather than posting daily for 7 days and then not posting anything for weeks at a time. Whatever posting schedule you choose make sure you don’t overextend yourself.
5. A video’s success is not dependent on your prior engagement
- You may think that your TikTok videos will never be successful because you haven’t been on TikTok long enough or because you don’t have enough followers, but that’s not true, anyone can have a successful video!
- Every day, there are people on TikTok that go viral, despite only having a few hundred followers. It’s all about creating enticing, entertaining content that people are likely to like, comment on, and share.
Part Three: Engage and Entertain Your Audience
1. Go hyper-local
- Create content that specifically targets the geographic area you’re from. People like to be able to relate to the musicians they follow because it makes the musicians feel more like normal, grounded people.
- You can do this by writing songs that relate to your hometown, making videos in your favorite hometown locations, or simply talking about your favorite parts of your hometown.
- And this tip doesn’t just apply to hometowns! If you’re traveling to a new city produce content about that city and tag the city to generate more viewership! People who don’t even follow you may end up seeing your video because you tagged their city.
2. It’s not about your song, it’s about a musical moment
- People on TikTok want lyrics that hit them hard. They want a hook they can play over and over and not be sick of. So, think about a musical moment in your song that people can connect to. Maybe it’s the intro, the chorus, or the bridge of the song. Whatever it is, find it and start creating videos to that hook.
- For example, singer Olivia Rodrigo just released her new album, Guts. Her songs are going viral on TikTok because people love the hooks from her songs:
3. It’s not about you, it’s about them
- It’s easy to simply post what you like and what you think is good. But it’s important to remember to cater to your audience’s interests. If you notice a video of yours that does super well, keep making those kinds of videos because that’s clearly what your followers enjoy.
4. Get them to watch it all…and then watch it again
- Keep your audience on their toes by giving them a sense of intrigue or suspense during your videos. Encourage them to keep listening to you. This could be in the form of a story time, a funny stunt, or a transition video.
- Also, encourage your followers to watch the video again by adding a loop transition to the end of your video like this creator did:
5. Invite conversation
- In your videos, invite your followers to comment on your page! You can do this by posing a question or asking for their opinions on a new song or video.
- Oh, and don’t leave them hanging! Comment back to as many comments as possible, this will make your followers feel appreciated. Not only that, it’ll keep the conversation going, increasing the engagement of your post.
We hope you enjoyed this blog series! Stay tuned for more resources and tools to help you be a better performer and build your brand.