How to Become a TikTok Influencer in 2024

How to Become a TikTok Influencer in 2024

It seems as though just about everyone is using TikTok, from your child’s 4th grade friends, to your grandmother with an eye for viral cleaning tips. Although there are plenty of people using the app, becoming a TikTok influencer is not quite as simple as being a user.

The type of content you are producing and your eye for viral videos are both important to move toward becoming a TikTok influencer, but how else do you tap into the platform’s algorithm and get started on the influencer path? 

I have gathered the most effective tips to become a content creator on TikTok, along with a robust explanation of how TikTok works, and how you can most effectively leverage it to accomplish your goals. 

Let’s get started! 

Understanding the TikTok Landscape

TikTok has a massive user base from which to cultivate a follower count. At the time of this writing, TikTok has accrued over 1 billion active monthly users–an enormous market to tap into. Engagement levels are high on TikTok, with many accounts seeing the highest levels of engagement of any social media platform. What does it mean to have a larger audience and high engagement levels? 

Ultimately, these two things put together means that influencer marketing on the TikTok platform has enormous potential for growth and successful campaigns. It also means that the number of opportunities for creators to build a following and monetize their content may be higher than that of leading social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. 

Although TikTok is ripe for the taking for up-and-coming influencers, it is important to note that there is a great deal of competition on TikTok, due to a large number of influencer campaigns and hopeful would-be influencers. Successful influencers certainly abound, but there are some challenges unique to TikTok’s crowded influencer space, including the unique algorithm found on the platform–an algorithm that continues to be largely unknown and only marginally understood. 

Now that you understand what the platform’s users base is, and how valuable it is for influencers and active users alike, I’m going to get into the nitty gritty of how to develop relatable content to succeed as a TikTok influencer. 

Defining Your Niche and Target Audience

@tiktokcreativeexperts

@Small Business Mentor Crystal Witter is giving tips for finding your niche 👀 don’t miss this video #findyourniche #contenttipsforbusinesses

♬ original sound – TikTok Creative Experts

One of the most important parts of developing your own influencer space is knowing exactly to whom you are catering, and where your interests best fit. Relying on popular hashtags and trends is not enough to achieve success; instead, you must know what your goals are, what you expect from the space, and where your creative content is best expressed. 

I have broken down this process into two categories: identifying your passion and expertise, and truly understanding your target audience. 

Identifying Your Passion and Expertise

To identify your passion and expertise, first take a close look at what you follow and create on social networks and elsewhere. If your interests are predominantly within the realm of fashion, you might occasionally post about health and wellness, but it is not going to be your main niche (nor your main area of expertise). Choose a niche that aligns with existing interests and skills. 

Once you have determined where you best fit in, assess the demand for your skillset and evaluate your competition within that niche. This step is not meant to be discouraging, but to help you identify any potential drawbacks or hurdles you may face. 

The final step in identifying your passion and expertise is determining where any gaps may exist in the niche, and where you may have an opportunity to differentiate yourself and your content. Taking the example of a fashion influencer, for instance, evaluate the presence of a sustainable fashion influencer on a budget. Is this subcategory underserved, and are you passionate about it? By further diving your interests and looking for gaps, you can carve out a space for yourself. 

Understanding Your Target Audience

Your platform needs to be designed with a specific target audience in mind. Simply identifying that audience is only the first step, however; after all, if your favorite influencer only knew of you but did not speak to your interests or needs, would you be interested in following? It is important to research the different demographics, interests, and pain points of your ideal audience, in order to set yourself apart on your influencer journey. 

One way to go about this is to analyze successful creators in your niche. Look at what they put out, how they go about it, and what seems to resonate most significantly with their followers. Go through their comments and likes, look for any trends or consistencies in their content, and see what their audience is most excited to see. Understanding your competitor audience can greatly inform your own audience. 

Tailor your content, tone, and style in order to resonate with your target audience, once you have a good grasp on what they want and need. Content is only one part of the picture! The tone you use when creating content will speak to (or alienate) your audience, and your style can do the same.

Some niches perform best with a laid back, informal tone, while others are best served with a formal or authoritative tone. Style can be soft and muted, or bright and engaging. Tailor to your preferred audience segment, based on the information you have gathered. 

Crafting Your TikTok Persona and Brand

@tiktokshopedu.my

Let’s dive into how to determine your persona for better engagements with your audience! #ttsboleh #tiktokshopboleh #tiktokshopmalaysia

♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Now that you have gotten to the root of your audience, it is time to start crafting the persona and brand you want to cultivate on TikTok. This can be done in two steps, piggybacking on the steps I identified above: developing your voice, and creating a brand that is both memorable and recognizable. 

Developing Your Unique Voice and Style

To develop your own unique voice and a style that is wholly yours, first define what your unique selling proposition is, and why it is of value to your audience. It can be tempting to simply hop on and start creating, but only operating from bursts of creativity can quickly lead to burnout and an uncertain direction. Determine why your content is going to matter to your audience, and what you are offering. 

Play around with tone, personality, and aesthetics, to find what works best for you and your niche. If your personality trends toward dark, moody colors, for instance, but your niche is typically one that is bright and inviting, you may need to play with tones and colors to find a palette that works for both you and the niche in which you are operating. 

No matter the niche you are in, relatability brings engagement. Personal anecdotes are a great way to connect with your audience and establish yourself as an authority on a given subject. Storytelling can also perform double duty as a way to establish why you are uniquely able to bring forth an idea or concept and why your audience would be better off engaging with you and your content. 

Creating a Memorable and Recognizable Brand

Brand recognition is vital, and requires you to stand out. A catchy, relevant username is one of the best first steps toward accomplishing this goal, and a profile picture that clearly illustrates either you or the purpose of your brand is essential. 

Eye-catching thumbnails and video intros are also necessary, as they grab your audience’s eye initially, and keep them around past the first few seconds or minutes on your profile. From video content to basic posts, social media influencers have to keep the attention of their audience. 

Signature sign-offs, catchphrases, and editing styles can all help bolster having a memorable brand. These can help your audience grow comfortable with your content, even when the meat of it changes, and creates a sense of comfort and familiarity that audiences crave. It essentially creates a bridge, making it feel as though you and your audience are on the same page. 

Mastering TikTok Content Creation

Source

You have the basics down! You now understand your audience and have developed your tone and signature look, so it is time to focus on content creation. From video content to shorts and posts, content creation is the bulk of social media marketing and influencing, so you need to create a process that works well for you and pulls in your brand.

To do this well on TikTok, you must be able to attune yourself to the ins and outs of TikTok’s unique content format, algorithm, and expectations. 

Understanding TikTok’s Unique Content Format

TikTok is a short-form video platform, with vertical videos. This is a fairly rigid design to work within, and can take time to get accustomed to. The presence of popular trends, challenges, and memes is another important consideration, as these are the bulk of TikTok content, and make up the “why” of TikTok’s popularity. 

As you learn how to navigate TikTok’s formatting practices and algorithms, you can begin experimenting with the different content types found on the platform. Tutorials are popular for social media accounts on TikTok, as are skits and light-hearted trending audio and video clips. Duets are another commonly used format, which allows creators to develop content side-by-side with another video or creator. 

This social media app truly is one of a kind, so it will take you some time to get over the learning curve and feel comfortable within its walls. Take time to experiment with the formats available to you, and find which ones work best for your niche and interests. 

Planning and Executing High-Quality Videos

Professional-grade lighting, sound, and editing equipment can separate good-quality content from poor content, and can make the difference between your audience coming back for more and signing off entirely. You do not have to break the bank here, but make sure you are clearly seen, well-lit, and there is not a great deal of background noise and poor-quality sound. 

Although some videos do well when they are done on the fly, most videos are best put together with scripting and storyboarding. Even a small or simple script and storyboard can improve flow and engagement, so take the extra time to put this type of effort into your videos. 

Incorporate eye-catching visuals, transitions, and effects in your videos. TikTok is known for these types of visuals, so finding compelling images and inclusions should not be a difficult task. Experiment with the degree of use you get out of them, and find a good balance of eye-catching without growing too garish. 

Further Reading: How to Make Your First TikTok Video: For Newbies Only!

Optimizing Your Videos for the TikTok Algorithm

As I said previously, the TikTok algorithm is a unique beast all on its own, even without the bells and whistles of the TikTok influencer marketing platform. The algorithm favors videos with a good hook, or videos that will quickly result in engagement, so develop your intros with this in mind. Your aim should be to grab your audience’s attention with a strong hook within the first few seconds, and keep videos at or under 60 seconds, with an engaging feel throughout. 

Trending sounds, popular effects, and relevant hashtags will also “impress” the algorithm. All of these are pooled together on TikTok to push trends forward and encourage audiences to see content that keeps up with the ever-changing trends and landscape of the app. Make sure you are keeping on top of them yourself, to stay relevant. 

While all social platforms rely on engagement for promotion to some degree, TikTok is heavily focused on engagement. Make sure yours is as high as possible through encouraging interaction via asking questions, participating in and developing challenges, and engaging in duets. 

Growing Your TikTok Following

Now that you have a clear grasp of how to use TikTok, and what type of content you should create, let’s talk about growing a following. I am a firm believer in focusing on growth after you have the basics down. If you feel confident in your ability to navigate TikTok and create compelling content in line with your brand, you can move on to how you are posting, encouraging engagement, and ultimately promoting your TikTok account elsewhere. 

Consistency and Frequency in Posting

TikTok may be built on a “blink-and-you-miss-it” attention span, but algorithms and audiences still favor consistency and frequency in posts. Establish a regular posting schedule to ensure your audience is continually engaged. On TikTok, a realistic expectation is one high-quality post per day. Strive to meet this goal, utilizing batch creation if necessary. 

Keep a close eye on and analyze your TikTok analytics to determine the best times to post for your specific audience. Not all audiences are the same, in terms of highest times for engagement, so tailor your posting schedule to your unique viewers. 

Further Reading: How Does the TikTok Algorithm Work: The Definitive Explanation

Engaging with Your Audience and Other Creators

Respond to comments and messages as they come in to help foster a sense of community with your audience. People want to be seen, and feel as though they are being heard. Responding to comments and messages, even in small ways, can help achieve this goal. 

Relevant hashtag challenges and trends can also help drive engagement. TikTok is absolutely filled with trending videos, which makes it a highly engaging platform on its own. By jumping in on those trends with both feet, you can help your audience feel as though you are fully integrated onto the platform. 

Collaborating with other creators in your niche helps both parties by cross-promoting content. You can collaborate with other brand-new influencers, or team up with people who have been in the influencer business for years. In both cases, you will be “borrowing” their audience and they will be “borrowing” yours, to widen your spheres of influence. 

Promoting Your TikTok on Other Platforms

TikTok does not need to exist in a vacuum. TikTok creators share content on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, made easier by the advent of things like Instagram Reels and Stories and YouTube Shorts, both of which offer a venue for short-form videos like those found on TikTok. 

TikTok videos can also be embedded in blog posts and articles, to help promote your profile. A TikTok tutorial can be embedded into a long-form tutorial post on your blog, and TikTok posts can even be shown on product pages to demonstrate how a product is used or what it looks like. 

Monetizing Your TikTok Influence

You’ve familiarized yourself with TikTok, you’re creating content, and you’re watching your following grow. How do you begin monetizing your TikTok influence? TikTok influencer marketing brings in influencer income the same way virtually all other social platforms do: by developing partnerships. There is also the ability to meet specific requirements on TikTok to open up more avenues for earning, which I will discuss in greater detail below. 

Sponsored Content and Brand Partnerships

Not all brand partnerships will work well for you. It can be tempting to jump on every opportunity that arises, but be discerning here to avoid coming across as far too sales-oriented with your audience. Identify brands that align with your niche and values, and pursue relationships with those companies. 

After you have identified potential partnerships, pitch your value proposition and media kit to those sponsors. Identify why you are a good fit for their brand, and begin creating authentic and engaging sponsored content that will actually resonate with your audience. Try to build relationships that will last, rather than simply taking up offers or pursuing available sponsorships wherever you can. 

TikTok Creator Fund and Live Gifting

TikTok Creator FUnd
Source

TikTok has eligibility requirements to meet in order to take advantage of the TikTok Creator Fund, an in-app payment system that rewards content creators with high engagement and high quality content. The nature of the Creator Fund means that your income will rise and fall according to your engagement and performance levels. Eligibility requirements can be found here

You can maximize your earnings by consistently publishing high-quality content on the platform, as well. Engage with your audience during live streams to encourage gifting, which is another means of earning income on the app: as you gather gifts from your live audience, you can begin cashing in on those virtual gifts and boost your income. 

Further Reading: How Much Does TikTok Pay Content Creators and Influencers?

Merchandise and Product Lines

Many influencers develop their own merchandise or product lines. The exact manner in which you do this can vary considerably. For some, designing and launching branded merchandise is the preferred way to go. Partnering with print-on-demand services makes for easy fulfillment of orders and can help further increase your income streams. This merchandise can then be promoted on your TikTok and other channels. 

Another potential way of going about this involves partnering with a brand to develop a line of other products. Rather than branded content of your own, you might lend your design input to an existing product, and launch a specific line with a sponsor. This, too, can be promoted on TikTok and other platforms. 

Measuring Your Success and Adapting Your Strategy

Once you have established TikTok as a source of income, you need to regularly manage your success and adapt your strategy to remain relevant and demonstrate your ability to perform well. Tracking follower growth, engagement rates, and reach is one of the best first steps in measuring your success. 

From there, consider analyzing your audience demographics and adjusting your targeting. You may have a specific group of people to whom you are catering, but need to adjust to reach a wider audience. Surveys and polls can also help in this endeavor, in order to gather feedback from existing followers and determine the direction your followers hope to see you go. 

Stay informed of all TikTok updates and algorithm changes. Even a small shift in TikTok practices can impact your content performance, so keeping on top of all changes will ensure your best performance. 

TikTok is not a static app, and is constantly changing and evolving. Stay in the mix of all of that change and evolution by continuously experimenting with new content formats and styles, and adapt your strategy based on the data-driven insights and audience preferences you discover as you create content, conduct polls, and ask questions of your followers. 

Collaborating and Networking in the TikTok Community

@crystallimlange

How to network like a pro – first understand the 3 strategic zones! Also check out Vanessa Van Edward’s book Captivate for more strategies! #careertok #careeradvice #leadership #singapore #worklife #networking #business

♬ original sound – Crystal Lim-Lange ✨ – Crystal Lim-Lange ✨

TikTok is quite an immersive experience, and influencers do best on the platform when they collaborate and network with others. Identifying any potential collaboration partners is the first step. Make sure that, before you reach out, you have a clear plan for any potential collaborators you have in mind. 

Identifying Potential Collaboration Partners

Unsure how to identify potential collaboration partners? Conduct some research! Look into other creators within your niche and identify any with complementary content and a similar audience. From there, you can analyze those competitors’ engagement rates and their audience demographics to determine compatibility. 

Finally, reach out to creators via direct message, or send an actual email with a compelling pitch, including why a collaboration will be beneficial for both of you. Before reaching out, make sure you have done your research regarding the goals and values of potential collaborators and have a clear plan of action. 

Further Reading: TikTok Influencer Marketing: The Complete Guide to Get You Started

Planning and Executing Collaborative Content

When you seek collaboration, you should not come empty handed. Brainstorm video ideas beforehand that leverage each creator’s strengths and appeal to the audiences of both. Once you have this in place, you can reach out and coordinate logistics, including filming location, time, and any equipment that may be necessary. 

Cross-promote your collaboration on both creators’ channels and other social media platforms to make the most of your partnership. The execution of your collaboration will mean little if you have not properly prepared to promote what you have created together. 

Attending TikTok Events and Networking Opportunities

Participate in TikTok creator meetups, workshops, and conferences, to network and to learn how to more effectively manage your profile. As you engage with other attendees and speakers, you can build relationships, share knowledge, and improve your command of the app and content creation as a whole. You can also leverage event hashtags and geotags to increase your visibility, discover new collaborators, and increase your discoverability on TikTok. 

Expanding Your Influence Beyond TikTok

Building your influence on TikTok is valuable, but you can actually expand your influence beyond TikTok to continually refine and develop your content strategy. Expanding beyond the limits of TikTok is valuable, as it allows you to further cement your stance as a leader in your industry and widens your potential for bringing in income. You can accomplish this by doing the following: 

Building a Presence on Other Social Media Platforms

TikTok is unique in its approach to social media and social media marketing, but that does not mean you should neglect your presence on other platforms. You can repurpose your TikTok content for Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and even Snapchat Spotlight. This helps streamline your content creation process and up your content game without expending a great deal of extra effort. 

Apart from repurposing content, make sure you adapt your content style and format to conform to the unique audience and algorithm found on each platform. Different platforms typically have different audiences and different expectations, so go through your analytics to make sure your content is being used appropriately on each platform. 

Engage with your audience on your other platforms to strengthen your community. By having a robust community on all of your social platforms, you can afford to see some dips and slow times. 

Developing a Website and Email List

Websites and email lists are a great way to provide your audience with different ways of accessing you and your content. A website functions as a central hub for your brand, the content you create, and any offerings you have. 

You can also create an email opt-in form to build a list of engaged subscribers who are able to receive additional forms of content from you. Both sites and email lists can be used to share exclusive content, offer behind-the-scenes glimpses, and deliver personalized updates. Both further cement the notion of community found within your platforms and overall brand. 

Exploring Off-Platform Opportunities

Off-platform opportunities are also great ways to help increase your content categories and develop engaging content to be used across all of your platforms, your site, and your newsletters. Brand partnerships, sponsorships, and influencer marketing campaigns can be found on most major platforms, and can also be found at in-person events. Take advantage of any that align with your goals and values. 

Speaking opportunities at industry events, workshops, and conferences related to your niche can help further cement your status as an authority in your field. These events are also great for networking, to leverage relationships for future partnerships and sponsorships. 

Writing guest posts and articles for different blogs, magazines, and other online publications is a great way to change up the type of content you are creating and engage with new audiences. This can also be a great way to brand outside the walls of your niche, to try your hand at related topics that you have not yet explored, without bringing content onto your platforms that may not perfectly align with your previous content. 

Further Reading: Your Guide to the 49 Best Influencer Marketing Tools to Empower Your 2024 Creator Economy Collaborations

Conclusion

Influencer marketing on TikTok is similar to influencer marketing on other platforms in some ways, but is drastically different in many others. Before you begin making content in earnest on the channel, it is important to understand how it works, and how your role as an influencer will best operate within the app. 

Once you have a basic understanding of how TikTok works, you can move on to diving deep into content creation, developing your brand, refining your content, and ultimately going beyond TikTok and creating a more robust online presence. 

Although becoming a successful influencer on TikTok is not an overnight accomplishment, there are several steps you can take to make sure you are performing as well as you can, and continue growing your audience and presence online. 

Are you looking to get started as a TikTok influencer? Let me know in the comments! 

Hero Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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2 Comments

  1. Becoming an influencer is not easy. We must be able to maintain good personal branding so that we can influence other people to use the products or services we offer.

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