TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in the world. The app has taken the social media world by storm. Since its release, it has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times from the app store. There are currently over 800 million monthly active users on the platform.
With TikTok increasing in popularity, a lot of people are wondering if the platform can be monetized. Creators on the platform are asking if they can make money from their videos.
The simple answer is yes.
Similar to other platforms like Instagram and YouTube, TikTok can be monetized. While TikTok doesn’t have an established system for making money from your videos, there are still several strategies you can use to make money on the platform.
Since the platform is still relatively new, there isn’t a lot of competition yet. Many people are still trying to understand the viral video platform. That’s why I have written this detailed guide to help you get started immediately.
If you are wondering how you can make money on TikTok, then you definitely want to read this article.
Let’s get started.
If you are a social media marketer or business owner, you might want to check out our guide to TikTok Marketing.
How To Make Money On TikTok
Become a TikTok influencer
Similar to other popular social media platforms, one of the ways you can make money on TikTok is by becoming an influencer.
While it’s no easy task becoming an influencer, it’s definitely worth the effort. According to reports from Forbes, the most popular TikTok stars earned millions of dollars in the past year. Addison Rae with nearly 54 million followers was the highest-earning TikTok star. She generated an income of $5 million within a 12-month period. Charli D’Amelio (77 million followers) ranks 2nd with an estimated $4 million. Charli’s sister ranks third, earning an estimated $2.9 million in the same time period.
The question, now, is – do you need millions of followers before you can become a TikTok influencer?
While the numbers matter, follower count is not the most important metric that brands use in choosing influencers to work with. Most brands look at the number of engaged followers. An influencer with 20,000 followers might have a more engaged audience than an influencer with 100,000 followers.
Another interesting fact is that most brands prefer to work with micro-influencers (influencers with a few hundred to 20,000 followers). While influencers with millions of followers can reach a larger number of people, they can be very expensive.
In summary, all you need to become an influencer is a few thousand engaged followers.
Next, let’s see the steps you would need to take to become a TikTok influencer.
Select your niche
It’s important that you choose a niche that you are interested in. To become an influencer, you need to choose a niche that you can consistently create great content for. This will be difficult if you choose a niche that doesn’t excite you or that you have no expertise in.
Find what you love doing and create amazing content around it. The only way you can attract an audience and get followers is by creating great content.
Use a Pro account
TikTok offers the option of a pro account for both creators and businesses. The Creators account is best for public figures, artists, and influencers.
Set up your profile
When setting up your profile, the two main areas to concentrate on are your profile picture and bio. These are the first things a user will see when deciding whether to follow you.
Your bio and profile picture should make a good first impression. If you feel like a picture is too bland, you can use a six-second video as your profile picture. This will add some personality to your profile.
Understand your audience
Before you start creating videos for TikTok, try and understand your audience. To become an influencer, it’s important that you create content that your target audience will love. Analyze the content that receives the most engagement. This will give you an idea of the kind of videos to create. You can also mirror the content strategy of other influencers in your niche.
Create amazing content
The next step to becoming a TikTok influencer is creating amazing content. Quality content on TikTok sees a lot of engagement. The more creative and entertaining your videos are, the more likely they are to go viral. Viral videos tend to translate into new followers.
The following steps can help you create great TikTok content:
- Check out what your competitors are doing
- Take inspiration from the current trends
- Perform hashtag research to see what’s trending in your niche
- Have some fun
For increased visibility on TikTok, you need to post regularly and consistently. If you want to become an influencer, you need to upload quality content regularly. It’s up to you to choose the frequency of your posts. Based on my personal research of popular TikTok influencers, 1 to 2 videos per day is great.
Engage your audience
Once you start building a following, it’s important that you engage with your audience. Interacting with your audience will help you reach influencer status faster. You can engage your audience by replying to their comments or asking them questions through your video captions.
Declare that you are interested in brand collaborations
To start making money as an influencer on TikTok, you need to let brands know that you are interested in collaborating. You can let brands know this via your bio. You can also start an outreach campaign or join an influencer marketing agency to reach potential clients.
Grow and sell TikTok accounts
Another way to make money on TikTok is by growing and selling TikTok accounts.
This is already popular on Instagram. Instagram users like 23-year-old Ramy Halloun makes $30,000 annually from flipping Instagram accounts.
This strategy can be replicated on TikTok.
To get started, find a niche and start creating interesting content around it. After growing the account to a certain level of followers and engagement, you can reach out to the brands in that industry and sell the TikTok profile to them.
The easiest kinds of accounts to sell are themed accounts. It’s harder to sell personal accounts because they cannot be easily replicated by the new owners. With a themed account, you can easily find buyers. The followers of the profile are engaging with the account because of its theme. They might not even notice the change in ownership.
For example, if you create a TikTok account around videos of popular travel destinations and adventures, you can easily sell the profile to any business that offers travel services. You can also do this for other industries like fashion, food, fitness, beauty, etc.
The key is to create an account that has quality content. The more followers and better engagement rate the TikTok account has, the higher the price you can sell it for.
You can make money on TikTok by collecting donations from your viewers on Livestream. TikTok allows creators to earn virtual gifts with monetary value via Livestream.
Here is how it works:
Who can buy coins and gifts?
Every user who is aged 18 or older can purchase gifts and coins from their profile. You can see the prices of the coins and gifts at the point of purchase. Once you have purchased the coins, they’ll be credited to your account.
The prices of the coins also vary. You can get 100 coins for $1.39.
There are also different gifts you can purchase. You can use coins to purchase gifts. The most expensive gift is Drama Queen. It cost 5000 coins.
What can users do with gifts?
Gifts are used during a Livestream. TikTok users can offer gifts to their favorite creators to show their appreciation. They can contribute this gift by clicking the “Give Gift” button below the relevant User Content.
What can content creators do with these gifts?
The gifts creators receive from their fans can be converted into diamonds. The creator can withdraw these diamonds in exchange for monetary compensation. The cash will be paid directly into PayPal or any other payment channel (if applicable).
Tip: Your first and last name on your profile must match your PayPal account before you can be paid. Your PayPal account must also be verified.
There’s a catch
Not every TikTok user is eligible to join TikTok’s Livestream Program. Selected users are chosen at the discretion of the platform. If you want to qualify for the program, you can do the following:
- Consistently create quality content
- Increase your number of followers
- Increase the engagement rate, likes, comments, and shares you get on your videos.
The Chinese version of the app (Douyin) adds more monetization opportunities to the Livestream Program. Creators can add links to shopping carts on their Live videos. They can also hold auctions and people can buy products from them on Live.
Hopefully, these features will soon be added to the global version of the app.
Run an influencer agency
You can make money on TikTok by managing influencers and influencer campaigns.
There are already a ton of influencer agencies for Instagram. You can do the same for TikTok.
Your influencer agency will help brands strategize, execute, and manage campaigns with TikTok influencers. Your agency will serve as a middle man between the influencers and brands looking for their services. You will help brands determine the best influencers to work with. You can take it a step further by creating a social marketing strategy to meet the brand’s goals.
If you want to run an influencer agency, you should be able to do the following:
- Identify high performing TikTok influencers with a good track record
- You must be able to develop a relationship with top TikTok influencers
- You must have expertise in running successful social media and influencer marketing campaigns
- You must be able to create successful influencer campaigns for different advertising categories. This will help you diversify your income stream.
Note that TikTok already has its in-built internal influencer program. But it is a bit expensive. Smaller brands would probably prefer to work with influencer agencies because it would help them save money.
Starting a reputable influencer agency takes time and effort. To get ahead of the curve, it’s important that you start your agency immediately. The best part is that you don’t have to limit your services to just TikTok. You can also run influencer campaigns for other social media platforms.
Become a TikTok consultant
If you are an expert on TikTok, there are a ton of brands and even individuals that would pay for your services.
If you know how to get thousands, even millions of views on your videos, you can teach others how to do the same for a consulting fee. Influencers can also offer consulting services. It’s a good way to leverage your expertise and also diversify your income.
A good example of a TikTok consultant is Sean Young. He calls himself a professional TikTok consultant. He makes $10,000 a month advising celebrities and businesses on the best kind of content for their brands.
There’s money to be made. So, if you really understand the platform and have a track record for creating viral videos with high engagement rates, you should start teaching others how to do so.
Publish sponsored posts
You can make money on TikTok by publishing sponsored posts. According to business insider, you can make an average of $0.01 to $0.02 for each sponsored view on TikTok. So if you have a video with 100,000 views, you can make 1000 dollars in sponsorships.
After you have built a following on the app, you can reach out to brands and offer your services. The best part is that you don’t need to have millions of followers before you can pitch to brands. All you need are a few thousand engaged followers and you are good to go.
Look for brands that are interested in building their TikTok presence and reach out to them. You can also analyze the influencers in your industry to see the sponsors they work with. This will give you a good idea of brands to reach out to.
Once you have your list of target sponsors, send them a brief pitch in the form of an email. Here are the things to include in your pitch:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Important metrics like follower count and engagement rate
- What makes you an expert in that industry or niche
- Your achievements. You can share success stories from your previous sponsorship campaigns.
Tip: When you are just starting out, it’s a good idea to work with smaller brands first. This will help you build your portfolio.
Sell your own merchandise
You can make money selling your own merchandise on TikTok. The best part is that you don’t need thousands of followers before you can sell your own products or services.
Similar to other social media platforms, you can use TikTok to promote your business or store. The secret is creating engaging content that will attract the attention of your target customers. So even with 100 followers, you can start making sales via the platform.
For example, you may have a business selling beauty products. You can create creative 15-second makeup tutorial videos and post on TikTok. In the last 3 seconds of the video, you can add a promotional frame advertising your own products and how customers can reach you.
By putting up interesting and creative videos, you would attract attention to your TikTok profile and also generate leads for your business.
How much money can you make from TikTok?
Influencers with up to 100k followers can earn between $500 and $2000 for sponsored posts in their videos. This value will also depend on the type of product, your number of followers, and engagement rate.
In fact, your engagement rate is one of the most important factors that determine how much you can earn on TikTok. Brands would like to see this figure before deciding if they will work with you and how much they will pay.
Influencers get paid more when they have a high engagement rate. Brands know that influencers can easily buy followers. Hence, engagement rate is a more genuine metric to analyze the value of an influencer.
This is the formula you will use in determining your engagement rate:
TikTok engagement rate = [(Number of hearts + number of comments)/number of followers] x100
If you want your TikTok analytics presented on a clean, simple interface, and don’t fancy doing the math yourself, check out Tiklytics!
Does TikTok pay creators for videos?
TikTok is launching a $200 million fund to pay creators for their videos.
As TikTok grows, the company is trying to give creators an incentive to remain active on the platform. They don’t want to make the same mistake that Vine did. Most Vine creators left the platform in favor of YouTube because they could monetize their YouTube videos. This led to the death of Vine.
The TikTok Creator Fund will directly pay creators for their videos. Although the company doesn’t say how the payments will be made or how much each creator can earn.
What we do know is that you need to consistently post original, engaging videos that follow TikTok guidelines to qualify for the fund. A minimum number of followers is also required. The number isn’t stated either. We will learn more about the fund soon. Creators in the United States can already apply for the fund as of August 2020.
Vanessa Pappas, the general manager of TikTok said this about the fund in a company blog post – “Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realize additional earnings that reflect the time, care, and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas.”
This fund will be another way for TikTok creators to earn money on the platform.
Bonus: How to increase your TikTok views and boost your profile
To really make money on TikTok, you need to significantly increase the number of video views you get on the platform. More views will translate into more followers and a higher engagement rate.
Along with the compulsory factor which is creating great content, here are other ways you can increase your TikTok views.
Add hashtags to your videos
Adding hashtags to your TikTok videos can help increase the visibility of your video. If you click on the Discover search tab, you will see a list of trending videos by hashtag.
For example, if you are creating a video for a viral challenge, you need to add the hashtag of the challenge to your video. When a TikTok user clicks on the hashtag link, your content would be one of the videos that show up. This will help increase the number of views you can get.
Tip: While it’s great to add hashtags to your videos, avoid the generic ones. Look for specific hashtags in your niche so that your videos can easily stand out.
Collaborate with other users
You can reach out to other users to collaborate on videos. By collaborating with other users, you increase your audience reach. If you partner with an influencer who has a huge following, you can significantly increase the number of views your videos get
To increase the number of views your videos get and also your chances of getting to the ‘For You’ page, you should post videos regularly on the platform. A ton of videos are posted on the platform per minute. To avoid getting lost in a sea of content, you need to post videos regularly.
Use TikTok effects in your videos
Use TikTok effects to help your videos stand out from the crowd. Under the Effects tab, you will find a wide range of effects that you can add to your videos. The effects are split into Trending, New, Interactive, Animal, Beauty, Funny, Editing, and World categories.
Another effect I personally like is the green screen effect. This effect allows you to change the background of your videos. Use this effect to make your videos more entertaining.
Use TikTok Ads
Brands that want to use TikTok to reach their target customers should consider using TikTok ads to amplify their reach. TikTok offers different advertising types that you can check out. To help you get started, we have written this in-depth guide to TikTok Ads.
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms in the world. There are a ton of opportunities for making money on TikTok. From sponsored posts to selling your own merchandise on the platform. The key is to consistently create quality content that your followers will love and engage with.
This guide should help you get started with monetizing your videos on the platform.