In recent years, emerging artists like Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Ava Max, and many others have experienced explosive growth in their streaming and social media followings, largely due to their discovery on TikTok.
With over 1 billion active users worldwide, TikTok has become a powerhouse platform for catapulting artists’ careers, making it a crucial component of any music marketing strategy.
But why has TikTok proven so influential for up-and-coming musicians? The answer lies in the platform’s strong focus on music content.
TikTok users frequently create short videos, often centered around a song’s verse or hook. What sets TikTok videos apart from those on other social media platforms like Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts?
How to Promote Music on TikTok
1. Focus on TikTok-Friendly Tracks
For your track to go viral on TikTok, it must be TikTok-friendly. What does that mean? Here are the key criteria:
- Optimal duration: TikTok’s music content is most effective when it’s 15 seconds long.
- Broad appeal: The song should be catchy and relatable, encouraging TikTok users to create their own video content around it.
- Versatility: The song should lend itself to short dance routines, catchy lyrics, or rhythms that resonate with users.
Consider analyzing your track to identify the 15 seconds with the highest TikTok virality potential. Don’t hesitate to explore your back catalog and release older, suitable tracks on TikTok. If your music is already distributed through Ditto, you can add platforms like TikTok at no extra cost.
2. Create a TikTok Snippet
To maximize your chances of going viral on TikTok, craft a perfect 30-second snippet for users to include in their videos. The catchier your snippet, the more likely people are to use your song in the background of their clips, increasing your chances of sparking a trend.
When uploading your song through Ditto, you’ll have the opportunity to select your snippet in your Release Builder.
3. Use a Mix of Hashtags
As with many social platforms, hashtags are central to TikTok’s viral content. By using popular or highly searched hashtags, you can improve the chances of your video appearing in TikTok’s “Discover” and “For You” tabs.
Include a combination of hashtags in your posts, including ones specific to your content and more general ones. You can also leverage trending audio tags from TikTok’s #TrendAlert page, which showcases the latest and most popular trends.
4. Create Challenges & Contests
TikTok thrives on challenges and contests, making it essential to encourage fans and followers to participate in challenges related to your track, using a specific hashtag.
Challenges often gain traction when they are fun and can be interpreted in various ways by different people, fostering creativity and individuality. Consider running the challenge as a contest with enticing prizes, such as signed merchandise, concert tickets, or cash rewards.
Alternatively, you could initiate a music influencer marketing campaign to promote the challenge or trend.
5. Follow and Engage
Start following other users, including musicians and popular influencers, and reciprocate by following back those who follow you. Building an audience on TikTok begins with following others, and it also provides insights into what works and what’s trending on the platform, generating ideas for your own content.
6. Collaborate with Duets
Duets offer another avenue for engaging with fellow TikTokers. The Duet feature allows you to pair two videos side-by-side, playing simultaneously. Collaborating in duets can help you reach new audiences on TikTok. You might collaborate with other musicians to expand each other’s reach or react to popular influencer videos to increase your profile’s visibility.
7. Authenticity Matters
TikTok thrives on authenticity. The platform is all about real people creating entertaining content for one another. Focus on making your videos fun and inspiring, encouraging users to participate in your trends or challenges by creating their own videos in homage to yours. Don’t fret too much about perfect lighting and framing; TikTok values genuine, engaging content.
8. Visuals and Memes
Aside from music, TikTok values engaging easily imitated visuals and content that is funny or inspiring. Your videos don’t have to be perfectly shot; they simply need to be interesting, relatable, humorous, or captivating. If you can transform a snippet of your track into a 15-second video that’s easy to emulate, you have the potential to go viral on TikTok.
9. Share Across Platforms
Sharing your TikTok content across other social platforms is a straightforward way to reach a broader audience. You can easily share your TikTok videos to Instagram Stories with a few clicks, increasing your content’s reach.
10. Think Local, Go Global
TikTok excels at providing localized content, allowing you to engage with new fans in your area. Showcase your hometown, featuring your music in the background, or tag locations when you’re on tour. TikTok users appreciate authentic content they can personally relate to, making local engagement a valuable strategy.
11. Utilize TikTok Analytics
TikTok offers in-app analytics, similar to platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Creators can access crucial data and metrics about their content and engagement through the analytics dashboard within their TikTok account. This data provides insights into video views, likes, comments, shares, and more.
12. Convert Followers into Music Fans
While promoting your music on TikTok through short videos is valuable, the ultimate goal is to transform video watchers into active listeners and fans of your music. To facilitate this conversion, utilize the song page, which is automatically linked to every song officially distributed on TikTok.
This page includes a link to your song on streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music, encouraging users to listen to the full version. Additionally, it offers a link to your official TikTok account, serving as a bridge between TikTok and other music platforms.
How to Make Your Music Go Viral on TikTok
TikTok’s algorithm customizes a unique content feed for each user, known as the “For You Page” (FYP). The more a user engages with the platform, the more tailored their FYP content becomes.
Here’s an example: Let’s say a 15-second snippet of your song is used in a video. This video appears on another user’s FYP, and that user enjoys it so much that they want to create a similar video.
On TikTok, users can easily incorporate an audio clip they’ve encountered elsewhere into their own videos. This straightforward process of audio copying makes it incredibly easy for a song to go viral on TikTok.