Since its global debut in 2017, TikTok has emerged as a major influencer in spheres ranging from pop culture and politics to fashion and more. Its phenomenal growth has made it a powerhouse, with projections estimating it will boast two billion users by 2024. The app, especially loved by the Gen Z audience, is more than just a platform for entertainment; it’s a goldmine for marketers and entrepreneurs.
If tapping into TikTok’s gigantic user pool is your aim, delve into the monetizing methods adopted by the platform’s top-tier content creators. Whether it’s selling fan merchandise or adopting a subscription model, there’s a lot you can gain from this platform. Here’s how you can line your pockets using TikTok
1. Engage in Real-Time: The Magic of Live Streams and Virtual Gifts
When it comes to monetizing through real-time engagement, TikTok is ahead of the curve with its LIVE Gifting feature. While live streaming is no novelty in the world of social media, TikTok’s unique proposition lets fans express their appreciation instantly via virtual gifts, which creators can then convert into earnings.
Interacting with viewers as events unfold enhances the connection and fosters loyalty. Such real-time engagements often result in fans feeling more invested in a creator’s journey, indirectly boosting other streams of income as well.
2. Merchandising: A Direct Route to Fans’ Hearts (and Wallets)
Every content creator, be it a dancer, musician, or humorist, has an opportunity to create a unique bond with their followers through merchandise. The process is simple: design, create, and sell products that resonate with your audience.
Today’s market offers a plethora of print-on-demand services, enabling you to venture into various products. Consider launching apparel like t-shirts, practical items such as tote bags and mugs, or even quirky offerings like stickers and notebooks.
The benefits of selling merchandise go beyond just the financial aspect. It’s a way to strengthen the bond between creators and fans. Moreover, each piece of merchandise out in the world serves as a walking billboard, promoting your brand organically.
3. Dive into the TikTok Creativity Program (previously known as TikTok Creator Fund)
For those who’ve amassed a significant following, the TikTok Creativity Program could be a viable avenue for revenue. Introduced in February 2023 and rolled out by May, it’s the successor to the previous TikTok Creator Fund.
To qualify for this program (which is still in its beta phase as of May 2023), creators based in the US need a minimum of 10,000 followers and a track record of 100,000 genuine video views in the last 30 days. The program will soon expand its reach to cater to more creators.
Criteria for Eligibility:
- Participants should be 18 years or older.
- The mandatory follower and video view count should be met.
- Creators’ accounts should have a clean slate.
- Those parts of the old TikTok Creator Fund can transition to the Creativity Program.
4. Forge Strategic Alliances: Teaming Up with TikTok Influencers and Brands
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is where innovation meets monetization. Acting as a bridge between brands and creators, this marketplace streamlines the collaboration process, ensuring it’s beneficial for both parties involved.
Creators open to brand partnerships can showcase their content, while brands can quickly identify suitable influencers for their campaigns. This eliminates the typical hesitation or uncertainty that usually comes with outreach on other platforms.
Moreover, tools like Shopify Collabs further simplify the process, consolidating everything from partnership discovery to affiliate link generation in one place.
5. In-Feed Ads: Enhancing Your TikTok Visibility
While TikTok provides a robust platform for organic growth, sometimes a little push can go a long way. By creating in-feed ads using TikTok’s ad manager, creators can ensure their content reaches the right audience. These ads blend seamlessly into users’ “For You” feeds, engaging them just like any regular TikTok video.
What’s the cherry on top? The integration of TikTok’s ad manager with platforms like Shopify. This means you can conceptualize, create, and monitor the performance of your ads, all while managing your online store. With such tools at your disposal, TikTok emerges as an invaluable ally in your digital marketing endeavors.
6. Harness the Power of the Crowd: Crowdfunding Your Projects
Every piece of content you produce is a labor of love, and often, fans want to give back. Crowdfunding offers a straightforward avenue for this. By setting up platforms to collect donations or fund specific projects, creators can derive a consistent revenue stream.
For creators seeking funding for unique initiatives, platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo come into play. While Kickstarter is renowned for its credibility, Indiegogo offers flexibility in fundraising goals. For those eyeing investors, Fundable presents an interesting proposition, albeit being limited to US users. Meanwhile, Crowdcube provides added incentives for companies to achieve their fundraising targets.
7. Gratitude in Small Packages: Accepting Tips from Viewers
A tipping platform can be visualized as a digital hat where appreciative fans can drop in their tokens of gratitude. It’s voluntary, allowing fans to contribute as they wish. Platforms catering to this include TikTok’s built-in tipping feature, Tipeee, Buy Me a Coffee, and Ko-fi. While some are simple and direct, others like Ko-fi offer additional features such as memberships and commission-based content requests.
8. Subscription Models: Building a Loyal Fanbase with Patreon
While tipping and crowdfunding are great for occasional funding, subscription models offer the promise of steady, consistent income. Platforms like Patreon come into the limelight here. By offering various subscription tiers, creators can provide exclusive content to their most ardent fans.
Patreon stands out due to its pioneering role in this space, but alternatives like Ko-fi also offer subscription features. To make the most of this, creators should keep a few things in mind:
- Offer enticing rewards to encourage higher subscription tiers.
- Engage directly with subscribers to build a loyal community.
- Promote the subscription page actively across all platforms.
- Maintain a balance between affordability and value.
- Prioritize consistency in delivering fresh content to subscribers.
In the vibrant, ever-evolving world of TikTok, monetization opportunities are only limited by one’s imagination and effort. From direct merchandising to collaborations, crowdfunding to subscription models, the doors are wide open. As you chart your journey, remember to stay authentic, engage with your audience, and continuously innovate.