TikTok, a video sharing social media platform launched in 2016 by Chinese company ByteDance has fast become one of the most used social media platforms in the world. It has taken the world by storm in that it as of today has over 800 million monthly active users worldwide, and is the 7th largest social media network.

The app has a monetization program called the TikTok Creators Fund where content creators who are 18 and above, have 10,000 followers and have garnered at least 100k views in 30 days are eligible to earn from the platform. 

Soon after the app rose to popularity, music artistes and promoters started to tap into the platform to promote their music to increase the popularity of their songs. 

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TikTok gave creators the ability to use filters, music, videos and voice-overs from other users to create their own content, a feature that other social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are starting to catch up on and have already incorporated into their own platform. 

A lot of songs and artists like Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Ava Max and more in the recent years have seen artists blow up thanks to TikTok.

With the platform’s ever-growing popularity, many music artistes may question often times how to leverage Tiktok’s power or even go viral on the platform. Continue reading below to get some tips, ideas and gist of how to make your music go viral on TikTok and the big things it may do for your music career and help you cultivate a larger fanbase on the popular video sharing platform.

1. Release your music on TikTok.

How to get your music on TikTok | DIY Musician
Upload Your Music To TikTok (Picture: DIY Musician)

You can’t go viral on TikTok without putting your music on the platform. Fortunately, majority of digital music distributors like Ditto Music, TuneCore can release your music to TikTok (as well as hundreds of other platforms like Spotify & Apple Music). Just sign up on any, upload your music and we’ll do the rest. Your songs will then be available for TikTok users to select from the platform’s music library every time they create a new video.

2. Nail the Sound Clip.

If your track is going to go viral on TikTok, it needs to be TikTok-friendly. But what do that actually mean?

Make a catchy record: the first step is making a “TikTok” viral-worthy record. Important elements of your song should be infectious beats and very good production in turn, catchy and easy to remember hook and also easy to sing along lyrics. One element of this of course can make your record go viral but you sure might want to tick all these boxes. 

Nailing the sound clip – the 15-second to 60-second segment that plays when creators select a song – is imperative. The majority of TikTok videos are 10-15 seconds in length (and feature 10-15 seconds of music), but distributors typically set songs’ sound clips as their first 15, 30, or 60 seconds by default.

This is the foremost impediment to promotional achievements on the service, as the sound clip should showcase the catchiest 15 seconds of the track at hand. The sound clips for “Old Town Road,” “SupaLonely,” and “Dreams,” for instance, present the tracks’ most memorable (and TikTok-suited) elements. Choices (Yup) by E-40 blew up on TikTok thanks to its lyrically simple hook, which could be used in wide a range of user-generated content with each person putting their own stamp on it. You can customize your TikTok snippets through your distributor or by manually uploading a video.

3. Focus on TikTok-friendly tracks.

TikTok’s music content can be no more than 15 seconds long. It also needs to be broad, catchy and relatable enough for TikTok’s users to create their own video content around. Don’t be afraid to dig through your back catalogue and release older, more suitable tracks to TikTok. If your music’s already released through Ditto you can add new platforms like TikTok free of charge. Find out how to add your existing releases to TikTok here.

4. Become an Active TikTok Creator.

For musicians, being personally active on TikTok is an important component of building meaningful relationships with users and music fans. Regularly creating content will enable you to determine what works in videos – and the types of content that users like most – while bolstering your following. Plus, commenting on viral videos with your music is a quick and engaging way to attract additional followers yet.

Followers, in turn, can help you to launch campaigns and capitalize on trend-related opportunities.

5. Create Challenges & Contests.

TikTok is a place where challenges and contests thrive. So, you should encourage fans and followers to take part in challenges specific to your track using a specific hashtag. 

Challenges tend to blow up when they’re fun and can be interpreted in different ways by different people. You want to give people a chance to be creative and put their own unique twist on an existing trend. That’s why it’s important to choose a track that is (as we mentioned earlier) “TikTok friendly”.

Some of the most popular challenges on TikTok usually involve: Dance routines, Lip syncing, or even Comedy memes.

Get creative with your song, create a challenge with it. TikTok is a platform where challenges thrive. Creating a challenge with your song gives users and creators the opportunity to hop in on the trend and in turn give more popularity to your song. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll generate a viral sensation by just posting your challenge and sitting back. You need to be proactive. You could run the challenge as a contest, offering a cool prize for the winner – maybe signed merch, free gig tickets or even a cash reward.

Alternatively, you could recruit an existing influencer to promote the challenge or trend and help get it off the ground. The Git Up by Blanco Brown spawned a hugely popular dance challenge named #TheGitUpChallenge where users each created their own version of a dance routine to the song’s main hook.

Collaborate: to give your song the visibility it needs on the platform, you might need to collaborate with a couple of already popular creators on TikTok. When these creators use your song for a video or better still do your challenge with it, this will spur other users too. 

Posting videos with your music: getting friends and family to share videos and post content with your music is also a good way to put your music out there and potentially make it go viral. Not everyone can afford to be able to collaborate with popular TikTok influencers so this step is another great way to make your music more discoverable. Also, whether your song has a challenge for it or not, posting videos regularly with your music also goes a long way. Comic and emotional videos are types of content that easily spread across and beyond TikTok. 

Joining already trending challenges: while creating your own challenge is great, leveraging on already trending challenges can also yield great results for your goal, how? Join already trending challenges but then use your own music as the soundtrack. As your video is being viewed your music gets the exposure you seek and that in turn could blossom into something good for your music. 

6. Use a Mix of Hashtags.

Make use of hashtags #: almost all social media platforms have adopted hashtags to help them label content according to the users’ interests. Hashtags are extremely important for any social media platform, especially TikTok. Just like SEO is important for a website, hashtags are important for social media. Hashtags help your content reach more than just your followers. Anyone interested in and scrolling through that hashtag will see your video if it’s tagged properly.

TikTok hashtags work similar way as hashtags work on other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. They help your content to be discovered and with that, is one step closer to going viral.  TikTok’s algorithm creates a unique content feed for every user. This is called the ‘For You Page’ (or #FYP). The more a user interacts with the platform, the more tailored their #FYP content will become.

Some of the most popular hashtags people use are: #tiktok, #foryoupage, #fyp, #foryou, #viral, #funny, #memes, #music, etc. But these general hashtags are incredibly overused, causing them to be so oversaturated, your videos could get lost in the sauce. We recommend using a mix of those general ones and some specific hashtags that’re more relevant to your posts.

For example, let’s say your song’s 15 second snippet is used in a video, that video shows up on another user’s For You Page, and that user enjoys the video so much they want to create their own similar video. On the TikTok app there’s a really easy way for people to use an audio clip they’ve heard elsewhere to make a new video of their own.

It’s this simple process of audio copying that makes it so easy for a song to go viral on TikTok. It only takes two clicks for a user to put music from another video into their own

If a dance challenge or lip-sync inspires one user, there’s a good chance it’ll inspire more people to make their own videos. The more times the algorithm sees people using that music, the more it’ll feed your song to new viewers, which in turn inspires more users to create their own content using your track. 

7. Cross Post To Other Platforms.

Sharing your content across more social platforms is a simple way to reach even more people with your TikTok content. It’s really easy to share your TikTok videos to Instagram Stories. It only takes a couple of clicks and you can share to your Stories directly from the app. Also sharing the Best Fan Renditions Across social media across all of social media is a great way to amplify promotional effectiveness. Many of the resulting viewers will craft their own clips featuring your music — helping to keep the trend and the fan interest going.

TikTok is one of the newest and most interesting way for new artists to reach a massive audience. Going viral doesn’t just happen overnight though. Put in the work and make great music and your song could be the next TikTok viral sensation.