Best Practice: Become a TikTok influencer
Do you ever scroll through your social feeds and wonder, how do influencers quit their full-time jobs to run their accounts and make money on TikTok?
Is it time to monetize your TikTok presence?
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.
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.