TikTok is today’s most rapidly growing social media platform. In fact, in 2018 alone,
it was downloaded more than Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube
. If you still don’t know what it is, it is time for you to check it out.
TikTok combines the comedy of Vine (the famous six-second video app that terminated its activity in 2017) and musical.ly (another huge lipsyncing app that was acquired in 2017 by ByteDance, rebranded and acquired by TikTok in August 2018).
With more than 1 billion downloads from the App Store and Google Play, TikTok presents a great opportunity for influencers to interact with over 500 million users and use their engagement to profit from the platform.
Running an agency that is focusing a lot on TikTok, and being a fan of the app myself, I’ve been testing some campaigns for clients and thinking about earning methods for influencers that are working well on other social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Twitch that can be used on TikTok as well. I have personally selected four of my favorite ways for a TikTok influencer to earn money:
A TikTok user can easily go live and directly interact by commenting and chatting with thousands of users. The viewers have the capability of donating coins, a virtual currency that everyone within the app can purchase with fingerprint ID or facial recognition. Coins purchased by users can subsequently be donated to the influencer during the live session.
Even though TikTok doesn’t officially share online the coins pricing for each country, every registered user can easily check the updated rates by opening the app, going to “privacy and settings,” clicking on “wallet,” and then clicking on “recharge.”
The smallest package in the United States is priced at 99 cents for 100 coins. Once the live feed comes to an end, the influencer can collect 50% of the coins, transform them into Diamonds, and then withdraw the corresponding dollar amount. The remaining 50% is split between TikTok and respectively the App Store or Google Play.
2. Influencer Marketing
Throughout the years, we have seen growing popularity in social media marketing through platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. Influencers can promote products or services to their followers and be compensated by a company. TikTok users can create one or multiple short clips in their own style to promote a company’s product(s). It can be comedic, entertaining or informative based on the influencer’s audience and choices. The compensation varies on factors such as the number of followers, engagement rate, types of products or services promoted, number of videos produced, industry and geolocation.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that the video has to be native and feel natural without any hard-selling technique. Users, especially on TikTok, prefer funny and entertaining videos instead of a staged advertisement. Another factor is to make sure the activation can become easily viral in order to be featured on the “For You” page and gain even more organic exposure.
Another way content creators and influencers can gain additional profit on TikTok is by designing and selling their own merchandise (clothing lines are yet considered the most profitable). In order to gain the maximum profit, it is necessary for an influencer to have a large following and a sense of community.
Based on my personal experience on different social media, especially on YouTube, Instagram and Twitch, the majority of followers are not engaging in purchasing promoted merchandise based only on product value (quality of material, for example), but rather in support of the influencer or by joining in on a common trend. It is vital for an influencer to build a personal brand by creating an online character, a recognizable logo, and approach to a specific niche market before even starting to sell custom merchandise online.
4. Events And Brand Partnerships
Lastly, another way influencers can make money through TikTok is to be invited by brands and companies as a special guest to participate in events, music festivals or conferences where the TikTok user will be paid to promote a brand, perform on stage (dancing or singing) or meet with followers.
Also, in this case, the earnings can differ depending on the influence of the TikTok user, which activities are requested by the brand before, during and after the event, and if the brand is offering something in addition to the TikTok user — for example, paying for the flight and hotel.
To wrap up, TikTok is a fairly new social media platform that is growing fast not only in China but also in the United States and Europe. Both brands and users can benefit from a business point of view. It is the right moment to jump on TikTok for business purposes before it becomes saturated and more expensive as an acquisition channel.