Female musician recording a music video for TikTok

Best Practices for Indie Musicians on TikTok

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

With one billion active monthly daily users, TikTok has become a powerful social media platform for indie musicians to showcase their talents and gain a massive following. The first step to getting famous on TikTok is to get on the platform. If you’re not on TikTok already, you need to be.

To best use TikTok to benefit your music career, there are some best practices to help you stand out and attract more fans.

Why should you and your band be on TikTok?

TikTok has grown into a music discovery platform, allowing independent artists to gain exposure and connect with an active audience. As you know, having a strong online and social media presence is crucial for artists, and TikTok provides a unique opportunity to do just that.

Many indie musicians have experienced massive success on TikTok, propelling their careers to new heights. By leveraging the platform’s creative features and engaged user base, you, too, can showcase your music to a global audience, become TikTok famous, and potentially blow up, even without a major label backing you.

Not only can TikTok followers bring much-needed attention to your music, they can also bring cash. Musicians can earn serious royalties when their music or video goes viral on TikTok.

How do you get your music on TikTok?

The first thing you’ll need is a TikTok account. You don’t want to use your personal TikTok account; be sure to create an official artist or band account.

Once you’ve created your profile, start following other artists’ accounts. Follow musicians whose music is both similar and different from yours. Then, you need to record content: choose which songs you’d like to promote and share them on the platform.

All about the TikTok algorithm

Understanding how the TikTok algorithm works will help maximize your visibility and reach on the platform. By aligning your content strategy with the algorithm’s preferences, you can increase your chances of getting discovered and attracting more TikTok followers. Here are key aspects to consider.

  1. Best time to post. While TikTok’s algorithm does not favor specific times of the day, it’s important to consider the demographics of your target audience. Analyze your TikTok Insights to identify when your followers are most active and adjust your posting schedule accordingly. Experiment with different posting times and analyze the engagement metrics to identify the optimal posting schedule for your content.
  2. What you should post. Creating compelling and authentic content is key to resonating with TikTok users. Showcase your musical talent, behind-the-scenes moments, creative covers, challenges, or collaborations. Experiment with different types of content to discover what resonates best with your audience. Keep in mind that TikTok is a platform for short-form videos, so make sure to capture viewers’ attention within the first few seconds of your TikTok video.
  3. How often should you post? Consistency is key on TikTok. Regularly posting new content increases your chances of getting noticed. Aim to post at least a few times per week to maintain an active presence. However, it’s important to find a balance and not sacrifice quality for quantity.
  4. Engagement. Engagement is a vital metric on TikTok. The more engagement your videos receive, the more likely they are to be shown to a wider audience. Encourage viewers to like, comment, and share your videos by asking questions, including interactive elements, or participating in popular trends. Engaging with your audience through comments and duets can also boost your visibility and foster a sense of community.
  5. Hashtags. Hashtags play a significant role in categorizing and discovering content on TikTok. Research popular hashtags relevant to your music genre and include them in your captions. Additionally, participate in trending challenges and use relevant hashtags to increase your chances of appearing on the Discover page. It’s important to use hashtags strategically and avoid overusing them or including irrelevant ones.

How to make your song go viral on TikTok

Let’s be clear, there is no guaranteed formula for creating viral content on any platform. But, there are strategies that can increase your chances of making your song perform well on TikTok. Here are a few tips.

  1. Film vertically. TikTok is made to be used on phones, so you want your videos to easily display the way most people hold their phones. Toss aside any panoramic, CineScopic dreams and film in portrait mode.
  2. Keep it short. Although TikTok gives you up to 60 seconds per video, the best length is between 10 and 17 seconds. That’s not much time to showcase your music, so use it wisely!
  3. Capture attention in the first few seconds. Even though your entire video may only be 10 seconds long, you have about three seconds to score with a viewer. Start with a captivating hook, an intriguing visual, or a unique concept that immediately draws viewers in.
  4. Embrace trends and challenges. Participating in popular trends and challenges can give your music wider exposure. Stay up to date with the latest TikTok trends and find creative ways to incorporate them into your videos. Remember to put your unique spin on every video you post to stand out and showcase your individuality.
  5. Collaborate with other TikTok creators. Collaborations can significantly expand your reach on TikTok. Partnering with other musicians, influencers, or content creators will expose your music to new audiences and introduce you to potential new fans. Look for creators whose style aligns with yours and explore collaboration opportunities.

Tips to using TikTok for indie artists

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, here are a few more tips to help indie artists make the most of TikTok.

  1. Stay true to your brand image. Develop a consistent brand image on TikTok that aligns with your music and personal style. Create a unique visual aesthetic and maintain consistency across your videos. This helps your audience recognize and connect with your content more easily.
  2. Consider the content your target audience consumes. Research the interests and preferences of your target audience on TikTok. Analyze the types of content that resonates with them and find creative ways to incorporate those elements into your videos. By catering to viewers’ preferences, you increase the likelihood of attracting and retaining followers.
  3. Don’t get discouraged by low engagement. Building a following on TikTok takes time, and not every video will pull in hundreds of views. It’s important not to get discouraged by low engagement or view counts. Stay consistent, experiment with different content ideas, and focus on providing value to your audience to have a better chance of becoming TikTok famous.

Drive viewers to your music

Always seek to drive interested viewers to your band website, streaming playlists, and music online. If you can turn your audience from TikTok into purchasers of your CDs and merch, you can drive incremental sales and increase awareness all at the same time.

Philip Kinsher is a writer, editor, and musician with a predilection for YA Sci-fi Fantasy books and rock and roll. And golf and pickleball.

Get Your Music Noticed!

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About Philip Kinsher

Philip Kinsher is a writer, editor, and musician with a predilection for YA Sci-fi Fantasy books and rock and roll. And golf and pickleball.

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