How to Make Money On TikTok in 2021 (7 Simple Ways)
TikTok has literally exploded onto the social media scene. It went from being a fun app designed for kids to an app that is currently used by all ages across the world by the tens of millions.
Zhang Yiming, a 38-year-old software engineer from China, initially founded the app's parent company, ByteDance. He then rebranded it to Douyin in China in December 2016.
Before long, TikTok (formerly musical.ly) took off worldwide. There are around 689 million monthly TikTok users today, making it one of the biggest social media platforms.
Now that TikTok US has received $1 billion in funding for its Creator Fund and has a value of over $50 billion, you would have to agree that creating content on TikTok is no longer a joke.
You have an incredible opportunity to make a lot of money online with TikTok.
And you don’t need to be an expert marketer or have specific technical know-how either. Making money from the video-sharing platform is much simpler.
You can create free live videos for a broad audience, encourage viewers to donate, and make money from sponsorships with famous brands. Or you can promote your own brand and products.
Let’s talk about the top ways of making money on TikTok in detail.
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TikTok Creator Fund is TikTok’s way of supporting and rewarding innovative creators on their platform. It’s the latest move by the app to make it a go-to platform for user-generated content.
Like other platforms, TikTok Creator Fund doesn’t depend on the advertising model. Instead, your fund amount grows along with your channel and content. It also depends on factors like views from real accounts, the region of your viewers, and more.
And since content engagement on TikTok is dynamic that changes day after day, your funds will also change daily.
You need to meet some requirements to join the program, including:
- You should be 18 years or older.
- Have a minimum of 10K authentic followers.
- Gain at least 100K authentic video views in the last 30 days.
- Based in the U.S., UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain.
- You need to post original content that aligns with TikTok’s community guidelines.
You also need a Pro account to apply for the Creators Fund program.
You can apply for the program by heading to your account settings, then clicking on the Pro Account option, and then “TikTok Creator Fund.”
If you earned a payout, it would show up in your Creator Fund Dashboard roughly three days after your video views get accrued.
And you can transfer your funds ($10 minimum) to PayPal or Zelle 30 days after the month ends.
However, for all that brouhaha around the program, it doesn’t help make TikTokers a great deal of money.
For instance, Anika, a TikTok creator with over six million views and a million likes, was only able to garner about $200 in five months or so.
The TikTok Creator Fund may help you make enough money to splurge on Christmas gifts similar to money making apps – but it’s hardly going to be enough to make a dent in your college debt.
That’s not to say you can’t make big money through TikTok. You most definitely can. You can partner with sponsors, promote brands, receive virtual gifts, and more. This takes us to our next point.
One of the many ways to make money on Tiktok is by taking donations from your followers/viewers. It works similarly to Twitch, where your fans donate cash to appreciate your live stream.
As a creator, you can turn on Live Gifting while live streaming on TikTok, get awarded in real-time, and cash out your rewards through PayPal.
There’s a slight twist here, however.
Instead of cash, TikTok has several in-app coins that viewers have to purchase before gifting them to their favorite influencers.
They can find the coins in their Settings >> Balance >> Recharge tab.
The next step is to exchange these coins for virtual rewards.
Each reward comes in a bunch of exciting options. They also have different values and require a different amount of coins.
Here’s a list of the rewards you can get in exchange for in-app coins:
Note that only users aged 18 (or the age of majority in your jurisdiction) or older can send or receive these rewards.
Viewers can also send stickers directly during the live stream without purchasing the coins.
Here are some of the stickers you can receive:
Now, if your viewers like your content, they can start sending you gifts during your LIVE broadcast. The gifts will pop up on your screen for everyone to see.
No matter how small the gift may appear, it feels nice to have someone sending you a message to recognize your work.
Don’t forget to give a shout-out every time you receive a gift to connect with your audiences. If your fans feel appreciated for their gesture, they’re likely to spread the word around, helping you boost your popularity.
Even a simple, heartfelt “Thank You” is good enough.
At the end of your stream, you’ll be able to see the total number of gifts you received. You can easily see your balance in the “Balance” tab from your account settings area.
You will get awarded with “Diamonds” (virtual credit) in exchange for the gifts based on your popularity. They’ll also take the number and type of gifts into account. Usually, a diamond amounts to 50% of one coin.
Finally, you, as a creator, can exchange those Diamonds for real currency.
It may not seem like a lot of money at first. But the more donors you have, the more gifts you receive, which may result in a significant amount.
Because of its popularity, brands and advertisers are willing to pay big bucks to creators to promote their products on TikTok.
Most brands contact creators through their agents, especially if the creator is already viral on TikTok.
But there’s one way that creators can also earn money directly from advertisers – through TikTok Creator Marketplace.
TikTok is the only social network to offer a built-in program for content creators.
The Creator Marketplace is an official collaboration platform for brands and creators on TikTok. It makes it possible for innovative content creators to partner with brands for paid campaigns.
You drive awareness and attract customers for the brand by mentioning them or using the product in your video. And then you get paid in exchange for your sponsored posts.
The Creator Marketplace allows brands to search for creators and see your profile, follower count, audience demographic, essential engagement metrics, etc.
Unfortunately, there’s no way for creators to search for brands where they can find suitable brands to collaborate with. There’s only a brand-facing version available currently.
But before collaborating with brands, you have to meet specific eligibility criteria (based on age, video content, followers count, and engagement). You also have to switch to a Creator account first.
Once you meet all of these requirements, you’ll get invited by TikTok to either join or apply.
After joining the Creator Marketplace, head to your settings, click on “Creator Tools,” and then “TikTok Creator Marketplace.” It’s where you can manage your creator profile. Make sure to edit your profile and set your rate for sponsored videos to get noticed by brands.
Once you get famous, you can rake in a significant amount for your content.
It's difficult to predict the potential earnings, but famous creators earn around $500 to $20,000 per video.
However, keep in mind that TikTok doesn’t allow you to take payments from brands directly on their platform. You have to arrange for payments directly.
Once you reach a certain level, it's not the only platform where you'll earn money. Some particularly famous TikTok stars are all over the internet and collaborating with brands on Instagram as well.
TikTok is one of the biggest rising platforms for influencers. And there are a lot of influencers out there who are willing to create good jingles and lives about brands.
But not everyone wants to be viral on the internet. You can be camera shy or simply wary of the scrutiny that's part and parcel of being famous. If that's you, then you can earn money by managing influencer campaigns instead.
One of the best ways to do this is by becoming a middleman between the brands and influencers. Your job will be to manage the relationships between brands and influencers, just like brokers or agents.
You will be in charge of all agreements, activities, dealings, negotiations, and payouts. Besides, you’ll have to make sure everyone follows through with their part of the contract.
Your job is to be able to handle all of these tasks without any hiccup. And in the end, you get to enjoy a service fee made from deals you clinch between creators and brands.
Beyond that, you can start your own TikTok agency, where you can also help creators shape their careers. As an agency, you will also handle your performers’ public profile and persona and save them from taking any misstep.
Here’s how you can get started with your own influencer agency:
Begin by making a business plan and building your website to appear professional in your field. Your website should be professional and trendy at the same time. After all, the entire influencer marketing business is nothing if not trendy.
It should also specify the type of influencers you work with and what you have in store for both creators and brands.
And most importantly, get the official rights to create your agency to protect your privacy and legal rights.
After you’re done legalizing your agency, it’s time to scout influencers in different niches. The reason why you need creators in various industries is to cater to different brands. Most brands are naturally going to prefer creators in their key demographics.
For instance, if a sports brand reaches out to you, they’ll prefer to work with an influencer in the fitness or sports niche.
Luckily, you can scout influencers from different niches using TikTok influencer search tools.
Take InfluenceGrid, for instance.
The tool helps you discover different performers by their country, topic, niche, engagement rate, followers count, average video views, etc.
TikTok’s in-app tool TikTok Creator Marketplace is also a great place to search for relevant creators.
Finally, you might want to make a list of influencers specifying their niche on your website.
Here’s an example from an influencer website:
You might not be able to scout celebrities and A-list influencers initially. Thus, start by collaborating with micro-influencers and work on building their career and help them get viral on TikTok.
Once you get more experience and build successful careers, you can achieve greater reach by adding more creators to your network.
There’s no reason for you to do everything yourself.
If you think you can make your plan more efficiently than reaching out to brands and creators, just hire someone to do that for you.
There are tons of things that need to be done, including website design, content creation, handling legal documents, and more. This means you need to hire a manager, accountant, marketing experts, and web developer.
Don’t hesitate to hire the best possible options for relevant positions. A good team is a key to build and grow a successful business.
One of the best things about building an influencing marketing agency is that you don’t have to stick to a single platform. Aside from TikTok, influencer marketing campaigns work similarly on other social media like Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube as well.
Brands seek relevant influencers, and influencers promote their product or brand in return. Naturally, your job as a TikTok consultant will remain the same, more or less.
And you’ll notice that most TikTok influencers already have a significant presence on other social media platforms.
So, once you acquire a pool of TikTok influencers, you can also get them to promote brands on different channels. This will help you grow and diversify your revenue stream.
And if you look at all of the top influencer marketing agencies, they all market themselves their influencer network for TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and more.
Here’s an example of Fanbytes, one of the largest influencer agency:
You can generate revenue from your TikTok channel by selling merchandise or other products on the platform. It’s another self resilient revenue model similar to building your influencer agency.
Bringing your products on TikTok means tapping into a diverse audience, consisting of Gen Z and millennials predominantly. And when combined, these generations have the buying power of around $150 billion in the US alone.
This is incredible potential to tap into.
First, you have to get your products in front of as many viewers as possible.
One way to do this is through TikTok’s Hashtag Challenge Plus.
The concept is similar to user-generated content – which includes prompting your audience to create and share content featuring your product. The only addition is the shoppable hashtag that lets interested buyers purchase the product within the app itself.
TikTok also creates a shoppable landing page for you where potential buyers get directed to after they click on the hashtag. The hashtag will also appear on the discovery page, helping you drive more traction.
Kroger, an American retail brand, was the first brand to try out the Hashtag Challenge.
They roped in four influencers to prompt more and more TikTok users to share their dorm makeover videos accompanied by the hashtag #TransformUrDorm.
Kroger even created a shoppable brand page, where the users could even discover and purchase their products – within the app.
Creating a UGC campaign is likely to inspire more trust in your target audience than regular ads, compelling them to buy your product.
If you have an ecommerce website, you can also add your site’s link in your bio.
If you don’t have a specific product to sell, you can even create your own merchandise and sell it to your dedicated fans. It can be anything, T-shirts, mugs, sweatshirts, etc.
The idea can work wonderfully, especially if you already have a growing following on the platform.
With TikTok’s upcoming partnership with Teespring, you won’t even have to worry about the process of designing, manufacturing, resourcing, and shipping.
Collaboration with Teespring will even allow your viewers to purchase your merchandise within the TikTok app itself.
Until then, you can turn to several other print-on-demand (POD) platforms on the internet if you want to sell your own merchandise on TikTok.
Here are some of the POD platforms you can use if you want to sell your merch:
These platforms help you cover every part of the process, including dropshipping, printing, manufacturing, and more.
Flipping social media accounts isn’t a new way to make money.
Many people already do that on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
You’ll have to grow an account by gaining a significant number of TikTok followers and ongoing engagement. And once you reach a specific number, you can reach out to brands and individuals who might require a profile in that niche.
I’d suggest you build your account around a specific theme, as they are easier to sell. Brands that are unwilling to grow their profile from scratch can take it over easily. And their viewers might not even notice the takeover.
For instance, if you build a fashion-based profile, any fashion-related brand might buy it from you. Advertising such niche profiles is also easier than generic profiles with regular dances and skits.
Brands or individuals seeking niche profiles will naturally search for specific terms, which might lead them to your page.
You can also build a website to advertise your profiles and get in touch with interested buyers. Or you can sell them on third-party marketplaces like Fameswap.
Here are some of the TikTok profiles on sale:
Looking at this list, you can deduce the approximate selling price based on the number of followers. Naturally, the higher your following, the more you can make.
However, there can be several variables involved other than the follower count.
While there’s no official information on this, here’s what you can make flipping TikTok profiles:
- 1-13k followers = ~ $100
- 13-50k followers = ~ $100-$500
- 50-100k = ~ $500-$1000
- 100-500k = ~ $1k-5k
- 500k-1M+ = ~ $1k-30k
If you want to showcase your talent and catch the eye of a credible talent agency, TikTok is the place to be.
The social media platform can be a stepping stone to immense international fame and recognition.
Think Addison Rae.
She has done well on every other platform – even better than on TikTok – and is now a household name in the US. The influencer also got invited by the well-known talk show host Jimmy Fallon and even bagged her own Netflix show recently.
And not just that, her recently launched song earned #10 on the latest editions of New Music Friday and Pop Rising on Shopify. And if the recent Forbes report is anything to go by, she makes anything around $5 million a year.
And she’s not alone.
TikTok can take credit for more than a few success stories of teens like Addison.
The growth trajectory one can achieve from social media platforms like TikTok is nothing short of incredible.
You can launch any career you want through TikTok. You can showcase your cooking or baking, singing talent, acting chops, comedic genius, and more.
Your content could be seen by a producer, or someone equally important, which may help you land a life-changing gig.
And getting noticed by someone prominent isn’t even all that important. You can simply get famous and start earning on your own – without getting scouted by an agency.
Begin by getting viral on TikTok and then plan your transition to other platforms like YouTube and Instagram. You can then start posting your content on various outlets, thereby growing your audience base and revenue sources even more.
Now you already have three essential things you need to become a famous artist – a relevant audience base, digital publishing outlets, and a regular revenue stream.
The foremost step to earning big bucks from TikTok is by getting viral on the platform.
No matter which monetization model you plan to use (barring opening your influencer agency), you need to grow your audience base first. The more viewers you’ll have, the more revenue you’ll be able to earn.
Here’s a quick overview of the ways to get viral:
- Piggyback on Trending Hashtags – If you use trending hashtags with your content, your story might get across millions of users worldwide.
- Collaborate With a Famous Creator – Get famous initially by collaborating with a popular creator and then keep viewers hooked with high-quality content. Even one of the most popular influencers today, Dixie D’Amelio, initially rose in the ranks due to her already viral sister Charli D'Amelio.
- Stay Consistent – Followers initially start to follow you when they see that your content aligns with their interests. But nothing is stopping them from unfollowing you if you change your content’s theme midway.
- Focus on Video Quality – You have 60 seconds to connect with your audience and capture their attention using video – you can’t afford to skimp on video quality. Consider using top video editing tools to create high-quality TikTok videos.
- Use Viral Background Music – TikTok can take credit for making numerous songs go viral. And some of those videos with viral songs get featured on other platforms like YouTube and Instagram. Thus, you will likely reach a broader audience using viral music in your videos than in-app audios.
- Create Video Tutorials – While many tiktokers are gaining traction using fun skits and short videos with lip sync, you can stand out by providing something more valuable with tutorial videos. For example, if you’re a tech enthusiast, you can show your viewers how the TikTok algorithm works. Or it can be a simple hair-cut tutorial.
If you're also looking to use TikTok to become a full-time creator and make real money, try out these tips.
TikTok is the hottest social media site right now, and everyone who wants to be famous is uploading there. The app for short-form video sharing is a roaring success among millennials and allows you to share your skills with the world.
Looking at the success stories coming out of the platform, it seems like a place for ordinary people to become overnight sensations.
Yours can be the next success story from the platform.
All you have to do is follow the right steps, and you can also tap into all of the moolah.