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How to Make Money on TikTok and Grow Your Following in 2022

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

TikTok is rising the ranks as one of the best social media platforms to make money on; and challenging Instagram’s status as the social media platform of choice for the next generation.


In this post you'll learn about:

  • The best times to post on TikTok

  • The TikTok Creator Fund

  • How to find a niche audience

  • How to develop sponsors


Table of Contents

 

Introduction

Despite some negative press and many misconceptions, TikTok is a platform that contains many niches and holds many opportunities to create content, expand your following, and make some extra cash.


Contrary to popular belief: You don’t have to be a young dancer to be successful on TikTok.


It’s true that the top influencers on the platform may fit into that category, but there are dozens of other successful niches on TikTok that attract a broad following.


Whether you want to build a personal brand or promote your business, TikTok is the perfect platform to make money on. This guide will go over a few strategies that you can put into practice to start making money on TikTok.



TikTok Creator Fund

Similar to platforms like YouTube, TikTok recently created a program that allows creators to monetize their content. In July 2020, TikTok pledged to pay $200 million to eligible creators through the new TikTok Creator Fund. Shortly after the launch of the program, TikTok agreed to raise the amount to $1 billion to be paid to their creators over three years.


In order to be eligible to apply to the Creator Fund, users must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older

  • Must live in the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, France, or Spain

  • Minimum of 10 thousand legitimate followers

  • Minimum of 100 thousand views in the past 30 days

  • Must upgrade to a TikTok Creator or Pro account

  • Account and content must comply with all TikTok Community Guidelines/Terms and Conditions

While these requirements may seem out of reach for new creators at first, the TikTok monetization thresholds are lower than competing platforms like YouTube. Due to the lower barrier to entry, the TikTok Creator Fund is reportedly very crowded. Although TikTok has raised the amount of money in the Creator Fund in the past, many creators are hoping that TikTok will pledge more to the fund in the future.


TikTok pays their Creator Fund members based on their RPM (Revenue Per Mille). RPM is the amount of money that a creator will be paid per one-thousand views. The TikTok RPM is reportedly 2-4 cents per one-thousand views. This means that for every one-thousand views, 2-4 cents will be deposited into your TikTok Creator Fund account. In comparison to other platforms with similar monetization structures, this RPM rate is relatively low because it is short-form content, but it can be influenced and increased by certain factors.


Unlike other platforms that specify the exact factors that influence your RPM, TikTok is not transparent with what factors influence the revenue formula, how much the Creator Fund members will be paid, or how much money is left in the fund. However, despite TikTok’s lack of transparency, TikTok employees have come forward with more information and independent research has been carried out on the earnings of creators.


According to independent research and TikTok employees, factors that influence your RPM include:


  • Video Engagement Rates: The amount of engagement on your videos (comments, likes, saves, shares). High engagement rates are beneficial to TikTok and will increase your RPM.

  • Video Views: How many views your videos are getting. Higher views translate to keeping users on the TikTok platform for longer periods of time.

  • Location of Viewers: TikTok favors views by United States users because the US based audience tends to click more ads and spend more money in comparison to other countries.

  • Niche: Your niche is a great indicator of whether your views and engagements are considered to be high quality views/engagements. Niches with low engagements and conversions will be paid less than niches with high engagement and high spending.


Even though there is no clear-cut formula for your payouts, you can increase your RPM and payouts over time as you build an engaging audience, grow your account, and establish yourself in your niche. While the TikTok Creator Fund is a good way to make money if you are eligible, you should also take advantage of the other strategies to make money on TikTok.


Whether you have millions of followers or you barely scrape by the threshold, you can generate revenue from your account. Jackson Kessler, 22, a small finance creator from Boston, Massachusetts with fourteen thousand followers and two million views, made around $53 after two weeks of being accepted into the TikTok Creator Fund.


“When I started a YouTube Channel I thought that TikTok would be a great way to market it and get more subscribers,” said Kessler; who initially didn’t think he would ever get paid for his TikTok views when he opened his account. Since he is still in the growth stages, he expects his viewership to increase over time as he continues to grow his TikTok following.



Pick Your Niche

One of the most essential and basic parts of making money on TikTok is picking a niche audience and community. If you want to be successful on TikTok, you’ll want to avoid being the jack of all trades but master of none.


Picking the right niche for you will enable you to grow your audience in the long term as you build a following of supporters who are interested in your content and want to keep coming back for more.


With over 65 million users on TikTok, there is bound to be a niche that will work well for you. For many, TikTok is seen as a place where young and attractive influencers dance and lip sync to the latest hits. While this is one of the more well-known uses of the platform, there are many other successful niches on TikTok.


They include:

  • Investing: You may not be a financial advisor, but you can share your opinions on the latest market trends, document your investing journey, or commentate on the market. This niche is filled with many viral topics and trends.

  • Comedy: Many of us go on social media to laugh at funny videos and memes, so the comedy niche is thriving on TikTok. This is a great niche for anyone who wants to share their sense of humor through comedy sketches, jokes, or comedic commentary.

  • Beauty: Share your love of makeup, beauty, and self-care through makeup tutorials, product reviews, or helpful self-care tips. Whether you want to create crazy makeup looks that will turn heads or cater your content to the every-day makeup users, this is a booming niche on TikTok for both men and women.

  • Fitness: Create content about your diet and exercise that other fitness lovers can enjoy or benefit from. Share your workouts, give helpful diet and exercise tips, or show what you eat in a day to be healthy.

  • DIY, Arts, and Crafts: The DIY (Do It Yourself) community loves to consume content and gather ideas for their next project. If you love to create things, this niche may be the perfect fit for you. Whether you are a mom who wants to share your childrens’ craft ideas with other parents, a DIY handyman, or an at-home artist, the DIY space has many different categories to accomodate all kinds of makers and creators.

  • Fashion: Share your outfit of the day, give styling tips, or show your followers how to dress well on a budget. The fashion niche has many different categories for all kinds of fashion interests.

  • Cooking and Baking: Cooking and baking content is not limited to long-form content on cooking shows and blogs - short form cooking/baking content is rising in popularity on TikTok. Share your favorite dinner recipes, show off your delicious meals, or provide some helpful kitchen tips.

  • Gaming: Avid gamers don’t just play the game of their choice, they consume content about their favorite games as well. Share your clips and montages, show players how to beat a level, or document your gaming journey on TikTok for the gaming audience. For this niche, it is best to stick to one particular game to build a loyal following.


These are a small handful of niches on TikTok, but the platform has an audience for almost anything. When choosing your niche, consider what kinds of things you are passionate about. If you are not passionate about your niche of choice, the community may be able to detect that you are “just in it for the money” and may reject you. In order to build a long-term audience and achieve long-term results, you will need to pick a niche that you are passionate about.


Not only will your passion attract the support of the community, it will also make your TikTok journey enjoyable for you. Picking a niche that you enjoy will help keep you motivated, positive, and focused as you grow your TikTok.


TikTok Creator Marketplace

TikTok offers a way to connect creators and brands within the TikTok platform. Brands can search through profiles of influencers to find TikTok personalities to work with on campaigns. Unlike many other platforms, TikTok will display specific demographics of the creators’ audience, such as the age and location of their viewers.


The TikTok Creator Marketplace is only available to creators who have passed the 100 thousand follower threshold. In addition to having 100 thousand followers, you must be over the age of 18. Keep in mind that these are just the minimum requirements for consideration - the Creator Marketplace is still difficult to get accepted into. TikTok reviews your account, audience, engagement, and whether you are deemed to be advertiser friendly, and then either accepts or denies your application.


While the Creator Marketplace can be a great tool for connecting and collaborating with brands, it is still possible to get sponsorships and partnerships on your own. Whether you don’t meet the requirements for Creator Marketplace or would like to branch out on your own, sponsorships are a great way to earn money on TikTok with a following of any size.


Brand Sponsorships

Partnering with brands is a great way to make money on TikTok, and many brands are allocating larger and larger portions of their advertising budgets to influencer marketing on TikTok. Many large brands are already using influencer partnerships to sell their products, increase their reach, and shape their brand identity. Larger companies like Red Bull, Mucinex, Vera Bradley, Just Dance, and Target have already collaborated with TikTok-ers and continue to grow their brands through TikTok influencer marketing.


In a brand sponsorship, a company pays an influencer to create content that showcases their product. Depending on the agreement, the TikTok influencer is paid a fixed amount for the ad, or a percentage from referrals, or a combination of the two.


In order to be successful with your brand sponsorships, you’ll need to find brands that want to connect with followers in your niche. A small targeted audience is more valuable to a brand than a large general audience. Although many brands do already have sponsorship programs in place, it’s a good idea to reach out to brands that fit your niche and pitch them your sponsorship ideas anyway.


In order to get a brand sponsorship, you will need to work on the following:

  • Grow Your Audience: Growing the size of your audience will help increase your value to brands. You don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity, but growing your audience will help you get more brand sponsorships.

  • Engage Your Audience: While your follower count is important, it is not actually the main statistic that brands consider. Brands want to see engagement and interaction. A small following with a high engagement rate is more attractive than a large account with a low engagement rate. If you do a brand deal, what is the likelihood that your followers will engage with it? Boost your engagement by interacting with your audience in the comments, taking video requests, and showing your appreciation to them. When you actively engage with your audience, they are more likely to engage with your content.

  • Create a Press Kit: A Press Kit is a presentation of your statistics that you can send to brands. This will give the brand an overview of your audience, your statistics, sales records, previous successes, and more. Your Press Kit should include an “about me” section, your engagement rates, an overview of your audience demographics, and any other important information that a brand may want to know about you or your audience. While the actual information and numbers are important, ensure that your Press Kit also looks appealing and is well organized. Think of your Press Kit as a resume for your TikTok account.


Once you have your Press Kit and TokTok account ready, how do you find brands to connect with? While some brands may find you on their own and reach out, you should also look for brands to work with and contact them proactively. You can do this on your own by conducting your own research, or you can join platforms that connect influencers to brands.


Trusted platforms that will connect you with brands include:

  • TikTok Creator Marketplace (TikTok’s built-in collaboration platform)

  • Tinysponsor

  • Gren

  • Upfluence

  • Fanbytes

When working with brands, ensure that there is a contract that defines the specific expectations and payments. Using a platform with payment protection will reduce your risk of being scammed or shorthanded by brands. While this is not common, it is something that you should always try to prevent.


Sell Print-on-Demand Merchandise

While there are many opportunities to make money on the TikTok platform, you should also consider growing revenue streams outside of TikTok. You can utilize your content, your “link in bio” feature, and other social media accounts to encourage your TikTok audience to follow your ventures outside the TikTok platform. Once you have a niche audience, you can start selling merchandise to them.


Selling print-on-demand (POD) merchandise allows you to sell a wide variety of products to your audience without actually owning any inventory. They print-on-demand company handles the manufacturing process and the shipping. Simply create your designs and let the POD company handle the rest.


The first (and one of the most important) things you will need to start your POD merchandise store is a set of designs. These should be designs that will resonate with your audience. What kinds of designs will your audience want to wear in public? If you are artistic, you can create your designs on a computer, iPad, or other device. If you need design help, consider using a freelance platform to hire a digital artist to create your designs. Fiverr and other freelance platforms can be used to find a designer.


Once you have your designs ready, it’s time to create your storefront. While there are many popular websites where you can sell your merchandise, starting your own website will allow you to have full control over your branding, marketing, and presentation.


If you would like full control over your brand, Shopify is the perfect platform to use. Shopify is simple to use, yet it has many add-ons and integrations. Once you have created your Shopify store, go to the Shopify App store and select your POD service. A few recommended Shopify apps include:

  • Pritful

  • Printify

  • SPOD

These apps will integrate into your website and allow you to sell a wide range of products. Simply select the products you would like to sell, add your design, and add the products to your store. When adding products to your store, these are some important factors to consider:

  • Product Titles: Your product should have catchy titles that include the main details about the product. If you have more than one item in a collection, consider creating a general format for all of your product titles to follow. This will create uniformity and make your store look professional.

  • Product Images: Most POD services provide high quality digital mockups of your designs. While these are great for product photos, you can also hire a freelancer from UpWork or Fiverr to place your products into lifestyle images.

  • Product Descriptions: This is the place to expand on the product itself and the story behind it. Highlight the features of the product and let the customer know more about it. If your design has a story behind it, you may also want to include this unique story or tell the buyer a little more about your brand. While conveying the product specifications is important, sharing a little more about the design or the story behind it can help connect with your audience and convert sales.

When someone orders a product, the order will be sent to your POD service to create the item and send it to your buyer. Many POD services will allow you to include your own branding on the packaging, order receipt, and return address label. Once your store is set up, this is a great way to earn passive income from your TikTok followers.


For more information on Print-on-Demand services, check out "How to Start Your Clothing Line using Print-on-Demand Merchandise."


Branch Out to Other Platforms

Your audience may enjoy watching you on TikTok, but there are many other platforms that you can use to increase your revenue from your TikTok audience. Expanding your reach to other platforms will increase your revenue streams and diversify your income. Here are a few platforms to consider:

  • Patreon: For a monthly fee, your supporters can get access to special perks and bonuses. You set the pricing and tiers, then they choose which tier they would like to pay for. You can create exclusive content, host private livestreams, participate in discussions, and more on Patreon. Many supporters will pay a monthly fee in order to access your exclusive content or be able to communicate with you in a private or small-group setting.

  • Cameo: Cameo is a platform that connects creators with their audience through customized video shoutouts. Once you are approved by Cameo, you can set your price and your audience can buy video messages and shoutouts. Your supporters can buy a video message for themselves or send one to a friend for their birthday, graduation, or other occasions.

  • Twitch: Twitch is one of the biggest live streaming platforms in the world, and it is a great place to host live content. If your audience is interested in engaging with you, consider hosting livestreams on Twitch. Twitch viewers can send donations or subscribe to your channel for $5 per month (you get $2.50 per subscription). While $2.50 may not sound like a lot, that adds up to $30 a year per subscriber. If your Twitch channel has a large amount of subscribers, this can add up to a lucrative amount of steady income.

  • Discord: Discord is a great place to create your own private community where your fans can interact with each other. Discord servers are easy to set up, and your supporters can use your channels to chat with each other, give input to you, share videos/photos, and participate in voice channels. Discord also allows you to send notifications to your members, which is a useful tool when you post new TikTok content. You can also create paid “roles” for your Discord server where members pay to have a certain role. Having this role will grant them access to private channels, give them additional emojis and perks, place their name at the top of the server list, and show their name in a unique color that will stand out in the server.


Optimize Your "Link in Bio"

TikTok allows you to put a bold and clickable link in your TiKTok profile. If optimized properly, your “link in bio” can increase your revenue and help you grow. If you only have one link, consider putting this link in your bio. However, if you have more than one relevant link (website, other social media profiles, email link, etc…) consider having your “link in bio” point to a landing page to host your multiple links.


There are many platforms that will act as a landing page for your links. When using one of these services, you will be given a link for your “link in bio” that leads your followers to a landing page where they can view and click all of your link options. Most of these landing pages will display your links as neatly organized buttons that users can click on. This makes it simple and easy for your followers to view all of your links.


Koji provides such a page but allows users to integrate add-on apps through the Koji platform. These add-ons are a great way for you to increase your income, and they include integrations that allow you to:

  • Collect Donations: Your fans can show their appreciation and support by sending donations with customized messages, backgrounds, and emojis.

  • Sell Digital Downloads: Supporters can purchase digital downloads such as courses, presets, and more.

  • Sell Video Shoutouts: Supporters can request video messages for themselves or their friends through your link in bio.

  • Sell Premium Content: Your audience can browse your premium content and purchase exclusive content, locked links, and private photo/video albums.


Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income from your TikTok account and content. With affiliate marketing, you can advertise products and get a cut from sales that are related to your referral.


One of the most common affiliate marketing programs is the Amazon Affiliates program. This is because you can get a referral link to just about any type of product you could possibly think of. In addition, according to CNN Money, 45% of all households in the USA have at least one Amazon Prime member. With nearly half of all American households having easy access to Amazon Prime, the Amazon Affiliate program is a great way to earn extra money by showing relevant products to your niche audience.


With an Amazon Affiliate account you’ll be able to create unique trackable links to Amazon products. When your viewer clicks on your affiliate link, the cookies (digital trackers) will be active for up to one day. This means that if someone clicks on your link and makes an unrelated purchase a few hours later, Amazon will still give you a percentage of the sale because your cookies were still active when the purchase was made. Even if your initial product link does not convert a sale, you can still be rewarded and paid for unrelated sales while your cookies are still active.


When using affiliate links, consider putting some of these links in your TikTok bio. If you are using a landing page for your “link in bio” feature, consider adding one or two relevant affiliate links, but not so many that it begins to look like you are just trying to sell something to your audience.


In addition to passively placing links, you can also actively promote products that your audience will want to buy. Incorporate these products into your videos in organic ways to show them to your audience before directing them to your affiliate link. For example, if you are a TikTok-er in the finance niche, you could create a video where you share your favorite finance and business books that can be found on Amazon.


In addition to using Amazon affiliate links, you can also reach out to brands in your niche. Many brands have affiliate programs where they give you a percentage of the money made from sales and membership referrals from your affiliate links.


For more information on affiliate marketing, check out "Affiliate Marketing: A Beginners Guide."


Conclusion: Are You Read To Get Started?

TikTok is a great platform where anyone can make money. Regardless of your age, location, or life situation, you can grow and monetize your own niche audience on TikTok. In order to maximize your TikTok earnings, you should take advantage of multiple different strategies. This will enable you to increase your overall revenue and diversify your income.


Anfernee McLemore, a 22-year-old ex-college basketball player from Georgia, runs a TikTok account with his fiancé, Ashley McKee. Their TikTok account has amassed over half a million followers and made $1086 in 2020. Of that money, $320 came from three months of Creator Fund payments, $550 came from brand sponsorships, and $216 from affiliate marketing commissions.


Although these numbers may not seem like very much, their following is on an upward trajectory and McLemore is optimistic about the direction they’re heading in.


“TikTok has always been something that my family has done on the side; and for fun,” says McLemore. “Having over $1000 deposited into our bank account for doing something fun like posting 15-second TikToks on the weekend is actually a pretty sizeable side hustle.”


Since TikTok is a relatively new social media platform in comparison to its monetized competitors, there is still a lot of room for growth in most niches. In addition, TikTok has shown a lot of interest in paying their creators, creating new monetization tools, and expanding their fund in order to grow their platform alongside their creators.

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