TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing social media platform, offering an experience similar to Instagram, but primarily with video clips, not images. The TikTok app only became available on iOS and Android in 2017, but by the middle of 2019, more than a billion people were using it, and it continues to grow.
TikTok, however, isn’t just somewhere that people have fun: it has serious business potential too. Influencers have vast opportunities to make money and potentially generate a living through the platform. While it does not have a well-defined advertising model like other platforms, its sheer popularity means that people with an entrepreneurial spirit shouldn’t have any problems whatever using it to generate funds. It is considerably more versatile (and offers more revenue streams) than many people imagine.
Take a look at some of the following tips, ideas, and strategies for making money on TikTok.
Surf Popular Social Media Platforms To Find A Target Audience You Can Create Content For
If you want to make money on TikTok selling advertising, merch, or something else, you first need to create content that appeals to a target audience.
Defining an audience using social media is, fortunately, relatively easy, owing to the sheer number of tools and data available to people in the marketing space. All you need to do is surf existing social media platforms and look at the audiences that others in your niche are targeting. Then it is just a matter of defining and appealing to the same niche through your TikTok content.
While TikTok is a relative newcomer to the big social media stage, advertisers are filling niches fast. The best place to find audiences for TikTok content is all of the usual social media names: Instagram, Facebook, and SnapChat.
Create Original Content (And Don’t Forget Hashtags)
Just lip-syncing to music videos or copying the content of other users on TikTok probably won’t gain you the traction you need to start making money from the platform anymore. There are already thousands of people doing this kind of thing already, meaning that the market for rehashed content is saturated. If you want to make an impact on TikTok and garner a broad audience, your best bet is to create something original.
Ideally, you need your videos to be both useful and interesting to your target audience. There needs to be something about them that captures people’s interest and provides them with value.
Take colleges and universities, for example. They’re already heavily into TikTok, using the platform to advertise and celebrate their achievements. The University of Florida, for instance, shares regular updates on its account, hyping up its sports teams and chronicling behind-the-scenes action on campus. Its audience is existing students and people considering attending in the future.
Lawyers are also trying to use TikTok in original ways. For instance, some are using the platform to share short snippets of legal advice to their audiences, which might be challenging to find online or absorb in written format.
eCommerce shops are getting in on the action too. Lomile Shop, for instance, prepares regular closet organization videos for its million-strong TikTok followership.
There’s no secret formula for creating original content: if there were, it wouldn’t be unique. Hopefully, though, you have some inspiration from these examples for the kinds of things you can do to differentiate yourself from other platform users in your niche targeting your audience.
Once you’ve created the content, make sure that you label it with the relevant hashtags. You want to make it easily discoverable, especially if you’re new to the platform. Check the hashtags on related videos from other users and adapt them accordingly.
You Can Start Making Money From Custom Merch Even With A Small Audience
You don’t have to wait until you have millions of followers before you start making money from merch. Even small-time accounts now have access to services that allow them to sell short runs to dedicated fans.
Spreadshop, for instance, is an off-the-shelf merch seller that provides an end-to-end solution that does everything for you, from taking care of payments to fulfillment and delivery. The platform doesn’t charge you directly for services. Instead, it collects payments from customers by adding to the base price of all your goodies.
What’s nice about merch platforms like Spreadshop is that they give you total freedom to create your own brand. You can either use the set of online design creation tools that they provide, or you can upload images yourself and get them to print them out on t-shirts. You can, therefore, create a real sense of community and brand loyalty.
Get Brand Deals
Brand deals are one of the most lucrative ways to make money on social media. Some Instagrammers have reportedly been paid upwards of $15,000 per post for the brands that they represent. TikTok is a massive and growing social network, so the opportunities to make a lot of money are there too.
Grabbing a brand deal on TikTok, though, takes a bit of work. The first step is to research the brands that you feel that you could represent. If you’re a new creator, you should focus on small, niche brands that haven’t yet nailed their social media advertising strategy. Ideally, you want to find companies who would love to have more outreach on social media, but don’t have the ideas or followership to do so.
If your TikTok posts concentrate on a specific topic, like anti-wrinkle supplements or bike components, then look for brands in those spaces that don’t yet have a TikTok presence. Make it clear that your channel’s followers would love to use their products and that they could see high returns using you for advertising. You have a captive audience who trusts you to make helpful recommendations.
As an emerging TikTok influencer, you still need to make sure that you choose quality brands. Your audience will feel betrayed if you recommend products that don’t live up to their expectations.
Once you have identified a brand that you’d like to target, the next step is to create a proposal. Most TikTok influencers craft an email that introduces what they do and then explains how the brand could benefit by working in partnership. Ideally, you should include a plan for the sponsor, showing how using you as a vehicle for their marketing could be beneficial. Be sure to point out that you have a broad audience who are all interested in products related to the brand’s niche.
Sharing your proposal is easy: just log onto the brand’s website and navigate to the contact page. Here you’ll find an email address and a telephone number you can use for follow-up.
Ultimately, you want to make it as easy as possible for marketers to understand the value that you offer as a TikTok influencer. Create a slideshow or document which provides relevant information that a marketing professional will want to see before deciding to pay you for sponsored content. Include things like audience demographics, your channel’s metrics (such as growth forecast), and your success to date with reaching audiences.
If you don’t have any luck communicating with businesses directly, you can always try online agencies that help you connect with brands. Grapevine and Famebit, for instance, use methods outlined above, but professionally. Usually, they are more persistent and know all the tricks to grab the attention of the relevant stakeholders.
Brands already know that TikTok creators benefit from sponsorships, so there’s no need to point these out in your communications. Just focus on how the company you target will benefit from a relationship with you. Don’t ever present yourself as the inferior party or use self-deprecating language. Be upfront and honest about your reach and the people who use your channel. You have nothing to prove and potentially a lot of valuable advertising to sell.
Finally, never sponsor a brand with a shoddy product or unethical business practices. Your audience will find out, and your subscriber numbers will tank. Forward your audience to quality products, on the other hand, and they will trust you even more.
Coins are a digital in-app currency you can use on TikTok to buy digital items, like emojis, or give to a creator to show appreciation. Thus, coins are an alternative method to make money on the platform.
Coins work on the principle of tipping. TikTok users buy coins from the platform using real money and then send them to content creators as a kind of “thank you” for the video snippets they create. The exchange rate between TikTok coins and dollars varies through time, depending on supply and demand. Sometimes the dollar is weak, meaning you can buy more, and other times, it’s strong, meaning that you can buy less when you cash out.
There are some rules for cashing out coins on TikTok. Firstly, you can only transfer funds directly to a legitimate PayPal account. If you don’t have an account already, you’ll need to register. Minimum payouts are currently $100, so if you have less than that, you’ll need to wait for a couple more tips to roll in. And, finally, you can only withdraw $1,000 of tips per day, so your earnings are capped.
While users can send you coins at any time, accounts that make the most money through tipping are those that remind users that if they like the content, they can show their appreciation. Where possible, avoid asking for money directly. Instead, provide shoutouts to people who tip you and remind your users that their support allows you to continue to create compelling content that they love. Also, recommend that people set up recurring subscriptions to keep the channel going: this is the best way to increase your income stream dramatically.
Amazon Referral Links
Ecommerce giant Amazon wants as many people as possible advertising products on its site, including social media influencers like you operating on TikTok. It relies on referrals: links from third-party websites (such as your TikTok account) to its product pages.
The way that Amazon referral links work is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is set up as an Amazon affiliate and then create links to products on the company’s website. When users on your account click the links and buy the product, Amazon sends you a kickback. As your account grows, these payments can add up, comprising a substantial chunk of your income.
TikTok’s new eCommerce options are similar to Instagram’s “sales through stories” and shoppable posts. Both companies have been locked in a battle over the same social media real estate, essentially copying each other’s features. The latest move by TikTok will allow influencers to open up to eCommerce sites, like Amazon, and start earning a decent return.
If you’re skeptical of the amount of money you can make on TikTok using these methods, then be sure to check out the Influencer Marketing Hub TikTok money calculator. It takes information about your account and then generates an estimated earnings profile. In general, the amount of money that you stand to make corresponds to your engagement rate. The higher the level of engagement, the more advertisers will be willing to spend on you.
Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook all allow content creators to collect income directly from advertising revenue. The platforms take between 45 and 50 percent cuts of the profit, leaving the rest to the creators. On TikTok, creators don’t earn money from sales of marketing space, so they have had to come up with a range of alternative methods of making a living.
TikTok does allow creators to work with brands for sponsorship and buy merch through the integrated commerce tool, but it’s not as straightforward as something like Adsense.
With that said, TikTok is still very young. It took YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch years to roll out all of the features that we all enjoy today. TikTok is marching ahead with its innovations rapidly. It’ll need to if it wants to keep the quality of content on the platform high and help influencers like you make more money.