Ultimate Guide to Using TikTok as a Music Producer
THIS IS THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO POSTING CONTENT ON TIKTOK as a music producer, including beat videos, tutorials, and tips!
In today's day and age, TikTok has become one of, if not the most popular social media app. With the change from long form YouTube type content to 15 second or less videos, there are a lot of changes in the type of content you need to be creating. TikTok can be an incredible tool to get new eyes on your music and build a larger audience. Whether you are looking to sell beats, get streams on your own music, or find new producers to work with, TikTok can be the tool you need to achieve your goals.
What to post:
There are many options when it comes to choosing what kinds of videos to post. This all depends on who you are trying to market to. One of the most important things when creating content is to know your audience. By this, I mean if you are trying to sell beats to rappers, make videos that are specific to rappers. Make content that they will find relatable or helpful so that when you promote your beats, your audience is more likely to engage with your promotion. If you are looking to sell beats and you make videos for producers, that promotion won't go as well as it would have if your audience is mostly rappers.
Producers, have you ever gotten a paid ad on a social media platform of someone trying to sell you beats? Or gotten a random DM from someone trying to sell/send you beats? This makes it seem like that person does not know anything about you and immediately tarnishes their credibility.
If you are looking to build an audience of producers, one of the best things you can do on TikTok is create short tips and tutorial videos.
TIPS AND TUTORIALS
Creating a short tutorial can be very helpful for your account because you are making it very clear that you are a good account to follow for music producers. To make an efficient tutorial, you need to get a few things right.
Firstly, you need a good topic that will help producers in their day to day cookups. This can be a type of hi-hat pattern, an FL Studio hotkey, a mixing tutorial, or anything in between. I recommend using something that you find yourself utilizing regularly when making beats. Check out this example from the WavGrind TikTok account:
@wavgrind Use this technique to make your beats more interesting! #flstudio #musicproducer #beatmaker #producer #typebeat ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
It is very important to make sure your videos are engaging and interesting. If you are speaking in a monotone voice with no video overlays or graphics, people will skip your video quickly. Add captions, sound effects, graphics, and other types of transitions to help stimulate your viewers. If someone gets bored for even a second of your video, they will scroll right past and kill your audience retention. This tells the algorithm that people are not interested in your video and you will not get promoted.
Another method you can use when catering to producers is posting about music producer news or drama in the community. This can cause a lot of discussion and engagement in your comments that will drive your video up with the algorithm. I recommend covering things that you can go into detail about while keeping your video interesting. For example, the WavGrind TikTok account covered a plugin that Metro Boomin' reposted. Check out this example:
@wavgrind Could this stock plugin be the next omnisphere? #flstudio #musicproducer #producer #flex #beatmaker ♬ Boy's a liar - PinkPantheress
Notice how the video ended with a question that caused a discussion in the comment section. This is great for engagement and the algorithm will reward you for this. Make sure you leave room for people to give their own opinions instead of saying everything like it is 100% the truth and there is no room for anyone else to speak.
PROMOTING TO RAPPERS:
As a producer, you may not want to build an audience of more producers, which makes sense. If you are making beats, you want an audience of people who will be using those beats and willing to pay for them. To create this audience, you need to produce content that is targeted at rappers. Just like producers, there are many types of content you can make for this purpose.
Firstly, you can make freestyle challenges. For this, play one of your beats and allow rappers to duet your video to perform a verse. For extra engagement, provide the viewer with some idea words for their freestyles to keep their mind flowing and keep them on your video longer. At the end of the video, you can put a text that says something like "beat download available in bio." If an artist is interested in the beat, they will go to your bio to learn more.
If you want a more engaging piece of content, you may want to go with the beat making video. In this type of video, record yourself playing a melody on your keyboard or clicking in some notes and layer it on top of the beat. You don't have to actually be playing the notes, you can just edit it to seem like you are. If you don't have a midi keyboard, you can hit a key on your typing keyboard for the snare and another for the kick. Get creative with your editing and use effects to keep people on your video.
Even though it isn't a freestyle challenge, providing freestyle word ideas will let people's minds run wild with bars and flows over your beat while you accumulate more and more watch time.
Check out this example of a freestyle challenge by Katoproducer on TikTok!
@katoproducer Blow out your speakers type beat 🔥🔥🔥 #duetwithme #rapchallenge #openversechallenge #openverse #duetwithkato ♬ DUET WITH KATO 30 - Kato On The Track
Whether you are trying to cater to rappers, producers, or just music lovers in general, another great way to expand your TikTok audience is by using trending audios. Almost every day, new TikTok sounds go viral and can help your account grow. Use a trending audio and make it fit with your niche. Almost every TikTok trend can be used to promote your music, create a relatable moment, or be comedic to the audience you are trying to build. The more creative you are with your use of trending sounds, the better. The algorithm will reward you for using viral sounds, so try to use them as often as you can.
Check out this example from the WavGrind TikTok account:
@wavgrind Some of these artists dont get it 😂 #musicproducer #soundengineer #producer #raptok #flstudio ♬ Microwave Popcorn - Bo Burnham
If you already have some songs released, whether they are your own songs or you got some placements with artists, you can do break downs. Dissect your tracks and explain how and why you did what you did to get the result. If you've been lucky enough to get a major placement, breaking down your beat or loop can be an amazing way to gain some fans on TikTok. You are showing that you are an established producer, but also showing that you'll share the sauce.
You can do break downs for beats in songs you've produced and you can also do break downs of mixes for songs you recorded / engineered. If you engineer a session, you can break down your vocal chain, the vocal takes for the song, how you put the takes together, and how you processed the vocals. The most important thing in break downs is providing value that you've learned through experience.
If you don't have a large enough catalog to do break downs, don't worry. There are plenty of other types of videos you can post on TikTok to build the audience you are targeting.
Once you find your style of content for your account, the most important thing is to stay consistent. Just like everything else in a music career, if you do not stay consistent with your content, you will not see the progression that you want. If you want to get better at making beats, you need to stay consistent with your beat making sessions. If you want to get better at collaborating with producers, you need to be consistent with networking. It is the exact same with posting content on TikTok. The algorithm will reward your consistency and your videos will begin to get more views.
To see the most progress with your TikTok account, post as frequently as you can. However much you can post without sacrificing the quality of your videos should be how much you can post. Potential fans will not follow or listen to your music after only seeing your content once. You need to continue to post frequently to really get their attention. Top advertising agencies use the rule of 7s. This rule states that a potential customer/fan won't engage until seeing something 7 times.
Along with posting consistently, the TikTok algorithm is based on engagement. TikTok measures engagement based off of comments, saves, and likes. If you create content that promotes engagement, your videos will do much better. Each type of engagement will be higher with different methods. Here are some examples of good posts for engagement:
Ask an opinion. Creating a video that leaves room for an opinion will allow your viewers to leave more comments than usual. This is why it can be very helpful to ask a question at the end of your video or ask what your viewers think of a particular topic. Once you get people responding in the comments, ask a follow up question to create a dialog. If you can get a conversation going in your comment section, your engagement will be through the roof.
Provide helpful information for someone to use later. Creating something like a beat tutorial with a valuable technique or new pattern will increase your amount of saves. Viewers will save a video if they think they will need to reference it in the future, so a helpful tutorial will be great to get more saves.
For any videos you create, you need to engage with your audience. If someone leaves a comment on your video, you should find a way to create an open discussion. If they ask a question about your video, answer their question and leave them with a follow up question. If they respond to your follow up question, you will get more engagement for your video.
UTILIZE OTHER PLATFORMS
While these techniques are for TikTok specifically, you can repurpose your videos for other short-form video platforms with similar algorithms. I recommend downloading your TikTok videos without the watermark to upload to other platforms. For example, posting a TikTok on Instagram Reels with the TikTok watermark showing will lower your outreach and Instagram will not push your video to nonfollowing users.
My favorite TikTok downloader that removes the watermark is snaptik.app. To get this video from your computer files to your Instagram Reel, upload the file to Google Drive. Make sure you have the Google Drive app on your phone where you can download your video to your camera roll. From there, you can just upload the reel to your account and create your caption.
The TikTok algorithm determines who to promote your videos to with hashtags. This is why they are very important if you are in a specific niche like music production. Making a joke about FL Studio won't make sense to anyone who's never made a beat in their life. This means they won't engage with the content and you won't get the views you would have if you targeted your content.
Use a few good hashtags to let TikTok know who to send your video out to. For example, I like to use #producer, #musicproducer #flstudio, and #beatmaker. Using hashtags like #fyp and #viral will not add any value to your content and the algorithm will get confused with who you are trying to promote to.
Branding is extremely important on every social media and TikTok is no different. Making sure your profile picture, bio, and account layout are professional and represent you as a brand is crucial to using the app to grow. If you are looking to turn TikTok viewers into real fans, your branding is extremely important.
Let's check out another example from @katoproducer. Notice his professional profile picture and concise bio that represents him as an artist and brand.
As well as creating your own original content, TikTok also provides the choice to duet or stitch another video. This can be a great way to convert a viral TikTok trend into a niche based video for your audience. If you see a specific video being dueted frequently, hop on the trend and find a way to relate this to your niche. Remember who you're promoting to. Even on duets and stitches, you want to target your content to the audience you want to create.
In today's music industry, short-form content and attention grabbing videos are the best way to grow your audience and build a fan base. Using TikTok to your advantage is the way to go, but there are different techniques for turning casual viewers into true fans.
Understanding your audience and targeting the type of people that will benefit from your content is the key to growth. Remember when we talked about getting DM from a producer trying to sell you beats? If you are a producer yourself, this comes off as very disingenuous and that's because it is. Since that producer did not take the time to look at your profile and understand who you are and what you do, they lost you as a potential collaborator and connection. It is the same for TikTok.
Posting tips and tutorials for your audience based on your niche can be one of the best ways to grow because of the high engagement. If you post something very helpful that not many people have heard about, you will get a higher comment rate. If you post something that people will need to reference in the future, you will get a higher save rate. Both of these combined with a high viewer retention rate will cause your video to be shown to a much larger audience.
Using a combination of different kinds of content can show your audience that you are well rounded and will always have something new relating to your niche. This will cause people to actually follow your account, instead of just being a viewer on the for you page.
Repurposing your TikTok content to other short-form video platforms like Instagram and YouTube shorts will help you increase your outreach across the internet. While TikTok is the focus here, almost all of these platforms have very similar algorithms that reward engagement and audience retention.
In summary, here's how to use TikTok as a music producer:
1) Understand your audience (are they producers, artists, etc)
2) Post short tips and tutorials to increase engagement
3) Repurpose your videos to other short-form platforms
4) Stay consistent and engage with your audience by replying to comments
5) Post frequently
Written by Jake Tompkins