Interested in making your music go viral on TikTok? Check out our advice for launching your music into the world’s largest social media platform.
TikTok currently reigns as the leading social media platform, boasting over 120 million monthly active users. For musicians, it represents more than just another social platform; it can catapult a song into global stardom and transform an independent artist into an overnight sensation, establishing it as a revolutionary music marketing phenomenon.
How To Promote A Song On TikTok
Authenticity stands as a paramount principle in any social media platform strategy, but TikTok’s community upholds an even higher standard. To gain traction on this platform, you must be exceptionally clear about your values and unwavering in your convictions.
The level of authenticity in your content must be exceptionally high, or the TikTok community will steer clear of you. Avoid pushing for followers, likes, comments, ticket sales, or streams; instead, emphasize creativity and community building.
Building relationships with your audience takes time, so remain consistent, stay true to your brand values, listen to your audience, and engage with them honestly.
Upload Your Song to TikTok
There are two primary methods to make your music accessible on TikTok for users to incorporate into their videos:
- Use a music distributor like Amuse. As a Boost or Pro user, any music you upload through Amuse becomes available on TikTok for users worldwide to utilize in their videos. All you need to do is select the specific starting point for your song on TikTok, typically the most captivating part.
- Upload a sound, such as a teaser of your upcoming song, featuring the chorus or hook. Gauge its performance on TikTok before the official release. To upload a sound directly on TikTok, follow these steps:
Get Your Music to Go Viral
Once your music is accessible on the platform, actively endeavor to share your sound with TikTok influencers and users globally. You don’t need a massive following or a large account to achieve this; many users with fewer than 1,000 followers have gone viral by creating engaging videos.
Consider TikTok as a massive opportunity for independent artists to reach audiences in ways unattainable through traditional marketing channels.
A stellar example of this is Flo Milli, who rose to fame in late 2019 and gained even more momentum in 2020 thanks to her remix of Playboi Carti and Ethereal’s track “Beef,” christening it “Beef FloMix.”
This sound became a TikTok sensation during the summer of 2019, with Flo Milli’s distinctive flow and dynamic lyrics setting the stage for creators to showcase their transformation or exude confidence while lip-syncing the lyrics up close. The sound was infectious, snappy, and fierce, making it perfect for creators to sync and flaunt their best selves.
Choosing the Right Song to Promote on TikTok
Before embarking on your TikTok promotion strategy, ensure that the song you choose is TikTok-friendly. What does that entail? Not all music styles thrive on TikTok, as users gravitate toward sounds they can use for dances, challenges, or lip-syncing. The song must make sense in the context of a brief video moment, apart from the song’s entire context.
Doja Cat’s “Say So” serves as an example, capturing TikTok’s attention after creator @yodelinghaly posted a 15-second dance video using the bubbly, catchy chorus of the song in December 2019. For a considerable period, it was challenging to scroll through the “For You Page” (FYP) without encountering the “Say So” dance, adopted by over 12.6 million users on the platform. Doja Cat even featured the dance in her “Say So” music video, released in February 2020, leveraging the song’s viral TikTok moment.
Sounds that excel on TikTok typically possess catchy lyrics or memorable beats that lend themselves to video interpretation. Keep in mind that TikTok videos can range from 15 seconds to 1 minute, so tailor the sound’s length to the most captivating part of your song. Sometimes, shorter is better.
Create a Challenge & Utilize Hashtags
TikTok challenges represent one of the most prominent music marketing strategies of 2019. Artists like Lil Nas X, Jay Sean, Drake, and Megan Thee Stallion (Hot Girl Summer) used these challenges to raise awareness of their latest singles or album releases.
In 2019, DJ and producer Alan Walker employed a TikTok challenge to promote his song “Different World.” He encouraged fans to record themselves engaging in environmentally-friendly activities, like picking up litter, and share their efforts using the hashtag #DifferentWorld.
The top 60 videos received prizes. To kick-start the challenge, Walker enlisted contributions from fellow musicians, including Sofia Carson, Corsak, K-391, and James McVey of The Vamps, who all posted videos of themselves participating in the challenge. In a matter of months, videos featuring the hashtag #DifferentWorld amassed over 106 million views.
When creating a challenge, ensure it possesses an appropriate level of difficulty, establish a defined time frame for participation to create urgency, and offer rewards to participants.
Consider awarding prizes such as backstage passes to your upcoming shows or shout-outs through your TikTok profile. A winning challenge concept allows people to showcase their talents, a strategy that yields impressive results.
Collaborate with Influencers
As with many other social networks, TikTok boasts a substantial number of influencers. Due to the platform’s casual approach to content creation, there’s a broad spectrum of influencers to choose from, spanning fashion, beauty, sports, dance, food, comedy, and more.
However, the key lies in selecting the right influencer—ensuring a genuine connection exists between your song, the influencer, and the concept. Relevance carries greater significance than reach.
Ideas for collaborating with influencers to promote your song on TikTok include:
- Use your song as a soundtrack for their video, crediting the song in the caption.
- Collaborate on a dance routine set to your track.
- Enlist an influencer to lip-sync to your song (ensure you’ve published your lyrics on platforms like Reddit and Genius before going live, as users will be searching for them).
- Create a surprise duet with an influencer using TikTok’s “duet” feature and share it on both your channels.
- Develop a video meme concept that plays on your song’s title or lyrics, like Lil Nas X’s #yeehaw meme. Forge partnerships with influencers and encourage them to recreate it on their channels, featuring your song as the soundtrack.
Depending on the size of an influencer’s community, you can reach out to them directly (often contact details are available in their social media bios or through a quick online search) or submit a proposal through an influencer marketing agency.
Build a Community
TikTok users are incredibly passionate about forming and sustaining communities. Therefore, your strategy shouldn’t revolve around a single challenge or influencer collaboration. Instead, focus on building a genuine presence on the platform and nurturing a community around your music.
Ideas for leveraging your fanbase to promote your song on TikTok include:
- Launch a user-generated content campaign: Encourage your fans to record videos of themselves lip-syncing or dancing to your song. Offer incentives, such as backstage meet-and-greet opportunities, concert tickets, or autographed merchandise, to the best creators.
- Provide fans with behind-the-scenes access to your artist’s journey. Document the creative process behind a new project, such as recording your album or filming a music video. Maintain consistency in your updates. If fans feel involved in your project, they’re more likely to support it upon release.
- Collaborate with artists in your niche to cross-promote each other’s content. This approach allows you to access new, relevant audiences for your content. Make use of TikTok’s “duet” feature, which facilitates content creation with other users on the platform. Co-create content, stay persistent, engage with your followers, and foster a two-way dialogue with your community.
So, what’s the initial step in promoting your song on TikTok? Begin by immersing yourself in the platform’s videos to observe how individuals in your niche use it. Conduct thorough research.
Explore trending sounds, check out the “For You Page” (FYP), and browse through relevant hashtags for inspiration regarding which part of your song to excerpt for promotion and the type of video it would suit.
Gain a deep understanding of the app and your audience’s usage patterns. Experiment with content, be creative, experiment, and establish your presence on the app. Instead of launching a campaign abruptly, focus on building a community around your artist project. With consistency, your TikTok presence will organically flourish from there.
What is TikTok?
TikTok, formerly known as Musica.ly, is a mobile app that empowers users to upload short-form videos ranging from 15 seconds to 1 minute. These videos can be set to music from the app’s extensive library.
TikTok skyrocketed to fame in late 2019 and has since maintained steady growth, becoming the foremost social media platform as of 2021.
The app is a hub for creating, sharing, and discovering short-form videos, enabling users to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy, lip-syncing, and the creation of engaging content shared within a vibrant community.