Do you want to be the next 'Old Town Road' overnight sensation? Then listen up.
Music marketing today has its challenges. But TikTok, a platform centred around the creative use of sound, might be the best secret to music marketing success. So, how can you turn your song into a viral hit? We have worked with the likes of Universal & Warner to drive explosive results on TikTok and render their artists and songs as over-night superstars, sky-rocketing to popularity. Using our expertise of running over 150 TikTok campaigns, we’re going to let you in on 5 of the top music marketing secrets that they don’t tell you.
In this article:
1. Authenticity first
Push past overly stylised content of other traditional marketing platforms and consider what makes the music relatable. A down-to-earth style, hitting upon relevant, authentic experiences of listeners, stands out in the crowd. Associating a song with a particular mood, reaction, everyday activity, challenge, or experience will help generate responses and keep your song in the minds of users.
We adopted this tactic in a campaign we ran with Aurora from Decca Records. They approached us looking to reach a brand new audience but without losing the important messages that Aurora’s music promotes. They were keen to gain traction on her new single ‘The River’- a song that’s all about allowing yourself to show your emotions and be vulnerable. Coupled with our understanding that Gen Z respond well to authenticity and relevant human experiences, we decided to create a viral TikTok challenge using the #YouCanCryChallenge hashtag.
Not forgetting to combine the song with native tools and features of the platform, we created a ‘duet chain’ using our influencers showing their emotions and holding hands in solidarity of mental health awareness. Using this achieves two things: 1. The influencers’ fan communities will be keen to get involved so you will drive more user-generated content and 2. Because you are tapping into Gen Z behaviour, the users on the platform will see your artist as someone who gets them and speaks their language, thus converting ‘consumers’ into fans.
2. Build your own devoted community
TikTok is never a one-way street. In the words of our founder, Timothy Armoo, music marketing success on TikTok is all about User Generated Content.
Good hashtags can be useful, but bigger success comes from tapping into exclusive communities on TikTok. This means utilising content that invites back-and-forth communication between your brand and users. Encouraging UGC creates a community that is loyal and invested, as video responses are time-consuming and require deeper interaction with the brand.
This leads onto our third and very important point…
3. Leverage the snowball effect
Shareability is key to music marketing success on TikTok. Today, it’s the number one music discovery app for this reason – content that inspires users to keep sharing creates the ultimate snowball effect.
Start a campaign, as we did with Benny Blanco. The #schoolyears challenge had users reminiscing about school, sharing relatable stories. The campaign spawned over 81,000 user generated pieces of content, with growth continuing past the campaign itself, exploding to over 250,000 user videos. Once a song takes hold, the viral possibilities of the snowball effect are real.
4. Scale with the help of influencers
Influencers can inject the energy for campaign success. Drake understood this, when his recent hit ‘Toosie Slide’ went viral. Enlisting the help of key influencers, he was able to create a way for users to get involved – as they copied the dance craze, he knew the community would do the work for him. Influencers set the tone and embedded the challenge, so all he had to do was sit back and watch.
5. Use a positive (or catchy!) message
What if you don’t already have a TikTok following? Other than the above tips, find a challenge that hinges on a positive or catchy message. We worked with Ella Eyre for her song ‘Mama’, and using the lyric ‘tellin’ your mama’, created a dance challenge using the user’s mother or an inspirational female figure from their life. It included a clear call to action to follow Ella and get involved.
Ella’s following grew from 0 to 4.5k. A big existing following isn’t the most important factor: your message is. Choose something users will want to respond to, that asks them to participate in a relatable way.
Whether you’re a big name or not, music marketing on TikTok can blast a song into the charts. TikTok’s power as a music discovery tool makes it ripe for successful music marketing in 2020.
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