Tips for musicians growing an audience on TikTok
Independent songwriter Sam Walwyn has more than 100k followers on TikTok. Want to know how he did it? Here are Sam’s top 5 tips for entertaining viewers on TikTok, turning them into fans, and keeping them coming back for more.
Sam Walwyn’s TikTok tips for musicians:
Post regularly. That can be two to three times a week, every day, four to five times a day. Do whatever works for you and your schedule, and stick to it whatever you do.
Make it engaging. People go on these apps to be entertained. You should have a hook within the first three seconds of your video. If it’s an educational video, outline your objectives concisely at the start. If it’s musical content, start in straight away. don’t mess around setting up.
And keep it dynamic. Sam explains:
Edit your videos so there is something new and engaging happening periodically throughout your video, such as:
- an angle change
- outfit change
- or something stupid happening in the background.
With everyone having such short attention spans now you’ve got to think of interesting ways to keep that viewer engaged. You can’t just rely on the subject of the video to keep them watching.
3. Don’t create… Document!
If you’re struggling to come up with content ideas, stop wasting your time thinking of new things to make. Just simply document what you’re already doing.
Examples of this could be:
- a day in the life of a writing session
- what you would wear to a gig, meeting or rehearsals
- or a pre-gig ritual.
Remember, your fan base wants to learn more about you. So be more inclusive and bring them in on your day.
4. Don’t be scared to suck.
You can’t be expected to nail it on the first try. So experiment with different forms of content, and remember this should be fun. Remove the pressure and just mess around.
5. It’s not just about the music.
Sam breaks it down:
Remind yourself that you are building a brand around you and not just your music. People who have done well from social media have shown their personality and weaved it through their music. Labels, management, and A&R are looking for all of these things because there are so many good songs, singers, and songwriters that you need to work out what makes you stand out from the crowd. And you publish that alongside your music.
To do this well I follow a content pillar system of personality, growth, and music content:
- Personality content gives your audience an insight into who you are; this could be a playlist filled with all of your favorite songs, what you do on a day off, or just a video of you and your mates messing around.
- Growth content are videos that have a higher chance of performing well, like stitching an already viral video and doing something of your own on top, doing a trend, or performing a unique skill that you have.
- And finally music content — this is where you invite people directly to what’s going on in your career. This could be new merch, a gig, or a release.
Chris Robley is the Editor of CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog. I write Beatlesque indie-pop songsthat’ve been praised by No Depression, KCRW, The LA Times, & others. My poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, The Poetry Review, & more. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much.