For many of its users, TikTok is just a platform for casual entertainment and quick laughs. However, other users have found ways to make money on TikTok and use it to build lucrative careers. How lucrative?
In 2020, Forbes reported that TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling made an estimated $5 million the previous year. She wasn’t the only one to make millions either. Forbes’ list also included the following names and earnings:
- Charli D’Amelio $4 million
- Dixie D’Amelio $2.9 million
- Loren Gray $2.6 million
- Josh Richards $1.5 million
- Michael Le $1.2 million
For these young TikTok stars, the road to success involved clever branding, high-quality content and smart partnerships. Here are some ways you can also make money on TikTok.
Partner With Brands
Influencer marketing is a common marketing approach that benefits brands as well as content creators. Essentially, a business compensates a popular content creator (an influencer) for promoting its products, services and events. Influencers can share sponsored content on all sorts of social media platforms, and TikTok is no exception.
Brands primarily partner with popular content creators because these influencers can offer exposure to a wider audience. Audiences also tend to trust recommendations and endorsements from their favorite influencers. With that in mind, your goal should be to grow an audience and foster your followers’ trust.
Establish Your Personal Brand
To begin building an audience, you’ll need to carve out a place for yourself on the app. What kind of content do you want to create? Prank videos? Dance routines? DIY projects for home improvement? Fitness tips? Spend time exploring TikTok to get an idea of the various niches and types of trending content. Try to come up with video ideas and a style that are original but still appeal to a segment of TikTok users.
Identify Your Audience
As you start creating content, you should have a general understanding of your audience. Is your content for mature audiences? Any particular gender or education level? Take some time to consider the demographics.
This will help you make TikTok videos tailored specifically for your followers. Knowing your audience is also important when you’re trying to partner with brands. Each brand wants to work with influencers who can reach its target audience.
Be a Regular
Set expectations by posting content at a specific time each day. Some content creators make lots of content in a single day and then automate the posting process for the upcoming week. Experiment to see what works for you and your audience.
Once you have a set posting schedule, don’t feel too constrained by it. There’s no harm in occasionally adding videos at unexpected times.
Familiarize yourself with hashtags that are relevant to your niche. When you’re adding captions to your videos, be sure to include those hashtags. This makes it easier for TikTok users to come across your content and follow your account. Very general hashtags (such as “#foryou”), can get your posts in front of lots of eyes. But more specific hashtags are best when you’re trying to reach people with a genuine interest in your niche.
Develop a reputation for being an engaging content creator. Respond to comments from your audience. Or, better yet, incorporate some of their feedback and suggestions into your videos. The goal is to let your followers know you value their input. Brands will be impressed by how willing you are to engage with others.
Have an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social media account? Use those platforms to direct traffic to your TikTok account. This is especially useful if you’re already popular on a different network. Having multiple social media accounts can also make you more valuable to brands.
Start Looking for Partnerships
Your popularity might draw attention from brands. Perhaps they’ll reach out to you via email or direct message, inviting you to partner with them.
However, you should also be prepared to take the initiative. Work on your media kit, complete with examples of your work and information about your following and engagement levels. Have pricing expectations in mind as well.
Reach out to brands that seem like a good match for your style and values.
Promote Your Own Goods
Have music or merchandise of your own to offer? Use your TikTok account to promote your own goods. You can create product tutorials or come up with creative pitches. You don’t need a big audience to do this, but it doesn’t hurt.
Be sure to include a link to your business in your TikTok bio. You want your followers to have an easy time navigating to your products.
TikTok’s Live feature gives users yet another way to make some money. Live stream viewers have the option to tip content creators with in-app “diamonds.” Creators can then convert those diamonds into cash via PayPal.
TikTok warns that live streamers who “actively solicit gifts or offer incentives for gifting” are breaking community guidelines. So, you’ll just need to make sure your live stream is entertaining enough to garner donations.
To live stream on TikTok, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements. You must be 16 years old or older (you’ll need to be over 18 to earn diamonds). And you need to have more than 1,000 followers.
To begin a stream, tap the plus icon on the bottom of the screen and select “Live.” You can then name your live stream before starting.
Make sure you have a plan in mind for your live stream. Consider conducting a Q&A session to engage audiences or join a viral challenge. Interview niche experts or let viewers watch you cook or complete a DIY project. Get creative and put on a show for your audience.
Apply for the TikTok Creator Fund
TikTok has a Creator Fund that rewards top content creators for their work. Eligible creators can apply in their account settings. Who’s eligible? You’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 or older
- Be a legal citizen of the U.S. or participating countries
- Have more than 10,000 authentic followers
- Have more than 100,000 authentic video views in the last 30 days
- Abide by community guidelines
If, for some reason, your application is rejected, you can try again in 30 days.
So, how much can you really expect to make from this Creator Fund? TikTok says it determines funding based on several factors, including views and engagement. In 2020, Tubefilter reported that some TikTok creators were earning roughly two to four cents per 1,000 views, so set your expectations accordingly.