Get started on TikTok as a musician and make your music go viral.
An important skill as a musician is to start investing in and scaling up your content creation to build up your online presence. You need to invest this time and effort — there’s no way around it these days. Getting music viral on TikTok as a musician is no easy feat but the results are so worth it.
Knowing that you need to devote time and energy to this, you need to take two things into consideration when you make this choice: 1) Where is my audience hanging out? 2) Where do I get the best return on my investment, i.e. the time you will spend actually creating your content?
Most musicians are heavily investing in their Instagram presence, and some are exploring youtube, but very few are looking into other channels such as Twitch and Tiktok. This means that larger channels like Instagram and Youtube are getting overused and oversaturated, making it much harder for small creators to be seen.
Why Instagram May Not Be The Best Choice
To be honest, I’m personally getting sick of Instagram — and I’m not alone! IG posts have to be so polished and perfect (i.e they feel fake). Not to mention whenever IG launches a copy version of a competitor, it’s usually a bad version of it. Sure, Stories was a great improvement, but it was obviously copied from Snapchat.
With the new launch of IGTV and Reels, it just feels like they are falling short compared to the newer, hotter platforms. The reality is that Facebook and Instagram are too big these days — it’s getting really tough to get enough visibility to actually grow your brand.
Don’t get me wrong — Instagram has over 1 BILLION monthly active users, so it is worth having a presence there. I’m just not sure your main focus should be on Instagram these days. There are newer and more effective platforms — especially for music!
As Reels is taking over Instagram (which is basically their version of TikTok), Instagram is recommending that you post at least 4 Reels per week in order to grow. On top of that, they suggest 1 IGTV video, 2 regular posts, 1 hour live stream, and 7–10 stories per week.
However, notice that the main chunk of time devoted on that schedule is to videos posted on Reels.
My recommendation is that your focus should be on the short form vertical video format — i.e. 15 to 30 second Reels and 15 second to 60 second TikToks.
Have You Considered TikTok?
TikTok really is the place to be for Musicians right now — it’s already being used as one of the main distribution channels for some of the biggest labels like Sony and Universal. They roll out the music on TitTok through content creators first and it’s an extremely effective marketing strategy for them.
When it comes to organic reach and the potential return you can get on your content, TikTok beats most platforms now. You will struggle to get 100,000 organic views on Instagram as a small account, but on TikTok it’s very possible — anyone can win if they use the right strategies.
Take a look at the billboards right now — almost all of the biggest hits are currently going viral on TikTok. Why is that?
So how do you get started on TikTok as a musician? What exactly do you need to do?
1. Join the Trends
The biggest mistake I see most musicians make when entering TikTok is to just post their own original content. Original content is good, but it doesn’t have the same reach as trends. If you open up TikTok, you’ll see certain songs or hashtags that are trending — that means organic traffic is happening on any and all new videos using that hashtag or song.
Instead of only creating original content, keep an eye on the trends and join in on the ones that are relevant to your brand. Those videos are likely to have higher traffic, which attracts followers and boosts your overall views.
Let me give you an example: I opened TikTok recently and #zamundachallenge was trending. This wasn’t by accident — when Coming 2 America released in theaters, having a trend on Tiktok built up hype for the movie. Trends like these are often started by TikTok or other sponsored brands/companies in a coordinated effort to boost a creator, brand, or product.
Another example is the current #wildlifechallenge. How could I use that challenge to build my following and my brand on TikTok? For example, I could create a short form video showing off the wildlife you could find here in Ibiza, but with a twist. I could show the spiritual hippies up north, and the vacationing partiers on pills and drugs near the super clubs. I would be showcasing the different stereotypes of people in Ibiza as wildlife. That would be a good example of an original video created to fall into a trending category.
As those hashtags are trending, you will get more organic traffic on your content. If you are a mindful content creator and strategically place your content where there is already traffic, you have the potential of blowing up and going viral! That is not to say all your content needs to be formatted to these trends, but it will certainly help your growth.
Keep an eye out for ways to use your tracks within trends as well. Let’s say you just dropped a tech house track and there is a trend on TikTok involving raves. Just for example, you could then create the different stereotypes you find at a rave and have them dance to your track. Marketing yourself takes creativity, and TikTok is a great place to get creative with your brand!
2. Create 3 TikToks Per Day & Post the Best Ones on Reels
TikTok is a beast that needs constant feeding. The best content creators create 3 (or more) TikToks per day. Begin by testing out 2 trends each day — starting with simple ones that you can easily do — in addition to 1 post that is your own original content.
Try to start simple so you don’t overwhelm yourself. You can easily do a ‘duet’ TikTok where you react to someone else’s video, or do a trend or challenge that doesn’t require outfits, different places, or editing tools.
As you get more comfortable, start testing out the editing tools, filters, and opportunities within the TikTok app. As you expand your TikTok skills you will naturally begin to spend more time on your content. Sometimes our own TikTok specialists spend up to 4 hours to make one video.
As your TikToks start to gain traction, pay attention to which ones are doing well with views. Instagram suggests at least 4 reels per week, so start posting the TikTok´s that do well over to reels a day or two later. You can repost them on Reels from the original video or download videos with Tiktok edits without the TikTok watermark here.
This method feeds Instagram with quality content and expands your return on the investment you spent on content creation. However, sometimes things will work very well on TikTok but flop on Reels, or vice versa. They are 2 very different platforms, but in general this method works out well. I talk more about the art of going viral on TikTok here.
The ultimate goal is to maximize your time invested by consistently posting to both TikTok and Reels — consistency really is the key! The name of the game is to maximize your branding efforts using the best platforms available to you.
For example, my music agency helps our musicians with branding and marketing and we just added a TikTok Specialist to our team to scale up the Tiktok presence of all our clients. You have to be ready to utilize new tools and opportunities as they appear!
3. Have fun with it!
Each social media platform has its own style and personality. Instagram is mainly polished, perfect, beautiful content. Facebook which has become geared more towards older adults, politics, and business recommendations. Linkedin is for the professionals who want to network and job hunt. Tiktok is where you have fun, and it’s open to all ages and lifestyles!
Tiktok has grown so tremendously perhaps because it doesn’t take itself too seriously — people can be their authentic, silly, funny selves and find people who enjoy their content. This is a great example of what works the best when you create content — show your real emotions, reactions, and personality. It makes you human and relatable, and much more likely to gain followers.
Branding yourself to create a following on social media takes time, patience, and a keen understanding of what works on each platform. If you look for opportunities, follow the trends, and above all let your personality shine through, you’re bound to succeed!