It’s safe to say that TikTok has taken the world by storm. The cultural phenomenon makes headlines every week — if not every day — and has captured the imagination of generations. With nearly 690 million users, TikTok has the potential to connect artists with millions of new fans daily. You may know TikTok for some of its teen-driven content, but there are users from multiple niche markets on the platform. TikTok for artists is the future of building a fan base.

If you’re interested in joining other artists on TikTok but you’re feeling out of touch with the buzzworthy app, don’t worry! This article will cover important topics about promoting yourself as an artist on TikTok, including:

  • Why TikTok work for artists
  • Things you’ll need to get started on TikTok
  • 10 tips for posting on TikTok

We make it easy to get your work out to your network and beyond with all the marketing tools you need.

Why TikTok work for artists

Whether you’re a musician, visual artist, performer — or even a writer — you can use TikTok to connect with new fans. A famous example is Lil Nas X, who uploaded “Old Town Road” with the intention of promoting the song as a meme. The song launched several viral memes, along with breaking Billboard’s record for the longest leading #1 song.

Lil Nas X’s story illustrates TikTok’s potential to launch your visibility to new heights. While Lil Nas X’s rise to superstardom may be rare, it demonstrates TikTok’s ability to act as a stepping stone to popularity beyond the app. But why exactly does TikTok work so well for artists?

It’s highly interactive

Most of TikTok’s users not only watch videos, they are actively creating their own content. The app’s intuitive interface makes it easy for even its newest users to jump into creating content.

It’s easy to navigate 

TikTok’s swipe-based navigation makes it easy for users to quickly thumb through content — endlessly, if you’d like! This element of the app makes it simple for users to consume lots of content in a short period of time. Artificial Intelligence (AI) serves content to the viewer by playing new videos based on the content they have previously interacted with. For artists, this presents an opportunity to be introduced to new audience members who have liked art similar to yours.

All content has a chance to go viral 

For artists, one of the best things about TikTok is how the app recommends videos. The AI works by:

  1. Showing the video to a small sampling of users
  2. Displaying the video to a wider audience if it inspires enough engagement
  3. Repeating this cycle multiple times

This cycle allows users with little to no following to garner thousands — or even millions — of views. As an artist, uploading the right video at the right time can earn you your big break.

Things you’ll need to get started on TikTok

Now that you understand the star-making power of TikTok, how do you get started? First, you’ll want to gather some gear to help you create your own TikTok videos, including:

A quality ring light

Lighting is an important element of creating video content of any kind. A ring light may be one of the most important accessories to buy before you launch your TikTok career.

A phone tripod

Buying a durable phone tripod will make it easier to make content on the go without needing to hold your phone or camera.

A wireless mic

Especially if you’re planning on using TikTok to market yourself as an independent artist, it is essential that you purchase a high-quality wireless mic to record your music.

Editing software

Depending on your level of experience, downloading video editing software and apps can help you take your TikTok content to the next level.

10 tips for posting on TikTok

If you’re ready to start generating content on the most downloaded app in the world, it’s important to keep in mind that TikTok content is completely unique. Clips from YouTube content that might help you book shows will fall flat on TikTok. Some tips for creating dynamic content that will earn you attention on TikTok include:

1. Spend time on TikTok

First things first, it’s a good idea to download the app and take some time to get acquainted with the platform. Spend time interacting with popular content to learn more about what gains traction.

2. Create a consistent identity

Finding success on TikTok requires consistency and planning. You want TikTok’s algorithm to place you in a category that will connect you with your target audience. Much like crafting your artist’s bio, you’ll want to consider what aspects of your personality and art you want to highlight on your channel. Some categories of content include:

  • Choreography and dance routines
  • Motivational content
  • Comedy and memes
  • Music production tips
  • Behind the scenes content
TikTok for Artists - Tai Verdes post listing the songs on his album
Artist Tai Verdes draws fans in by featuring behind-the-scenes content on his TikTok

3. Find the right hashtags

When it comes to finding your audience on TikTok, using the right hashtags is key. Before you start posting, make a list of trending hashtags. Choose popular hashtags to boost your chances of landing on TikTok’s Discover page and earning more viewers.

Author's "For You" page on TikTok
Choosing the right hashtags increases your chances of appearing on the Discover or For You pages.

4. Feature your music on TikTok

If you’re using TikTok as social media marketing for your music, it’s important to showcase your music often and well. One of the most effective ways to do this is by adding your music as a soundtrack for your content.

5. Jump on the bandwagon

One of the most effective ways to grow your following on TikTok is to follow trends and challenges that align with your content. When you participate in a challenge that is blowing up on TikTok, users are more likely to engage with your content.

6. Use TikTok Pro

TikTok has its own analytics dashboard, which you can use to track your profile and video views, understand follower dynamics, and learn more about your audience demographics. As with any social media monitoring tool, TikTok Pro offers valuable insights that can help you find success among your audience.

7. Network with influencers

Influencers are a powerful force on TikTok. Once you’ve determined your niche audience on TikTok, reach out to influencers who align with your type of content. If they agree to work with you — as a form of influencer marketing — you will have the opportunity to increase your visibility with a new audience, their fans.

8. Use the official song page

One of the most effective tools on TikTok is the official song page. If your music is distributed to TikTok, it will get its own song page, which links to Apple Music and your TikTok account. When users access your music, they will be able to check out the song page to see your content in action. This feature can boost your visibility on the platform exponentially. 

TikTok for Artists - #Wipeitdown challenge videoa
BMW Kenny’s song, “#WIPEITDOWN” launched a viral TikTok challenge —and his career.

9. Follow the rules

Based on its community guidelines, TikTok bans content that is offensive, harmful, or spams other users. Be careful to avoid:

  • Banned hashtags
  • Deleting large amounts of content at once
  • Using copyrighted material

10. Get creative

Fifteen seconds is the ideal length for a TikTok video. To make the most of TikTok as an artist, brainstorm ideas of engaging content that is between 9 and 15 seconds long. Focus on details like memorable lyrics, catchy tunes, or inspired dance routines to help use TikTok as a platform to launch your career as an artist.

Attract new fans on TikTok

Ultimately, your goal is to convert the fans you gain on TikTok to other platforms. In your bio, be sure to link to your Spotify and artist website to continue building a connection beyond TikTok. Think of your TikTok as just one piece of your content marketing strategy as an artist.  

Now that you’ve learned how to use TikTok to market yourself as an artist, are you ready to get started? Gain more insights into how to use social media to earn fans by reading The Download, a free marketing guide for independent artists.