"Genuine and sustainable artist growth on TikTok is tricky to achieve. Blueprints, strategies and algorithm hacks are always flying around on social media and in truth, there is no singular method to growing a following on TikTok, artist or not."
Who are you? Where do you work?
My name is Matt and I’m based in London, England.
What are you currently listening to?
I am currently listening to Nate Good who is one of our more recent signings but often will stick on Honne every week when I’m working. Love those guys.
Give us a small insight into your daily routine…
I am Artist Marketing Manager in the Label Marketing team at Amuse. I’m responsible for building and delivering marketing strategies for a range of artists and releases (both new and catalogue) for our label roster. This can include anything from general channel optimisation & curating content ideas to 360 release rollouts and collaborating with a variety of different agency & DSP partners. We are our artists’ first point of contact for any marketing activity on the releases we have signed.
Are there any new challenges in your role? How about any developments that have made your role easier?
This is more of a blessing and sometimes a challenge, but as we have a distribution platform to use as a pipeline for label signings, I’m often working with artists across many different genres, stages in their careers, and long-term ambitions. I’m constantly having to curate fresh ideas tailored to each artist’s needs and utilise different tools that I have available.
I personally consider this a huge perk of the role and it requires me to approach every artist’s strategy with fresh eyes and make the most of the incredible team we have here to bounce ideas off of.
Optimising ideas based on elements such as available budget, release timings and artist input can always be challenging but learning how to manage these necessities makes me better at my role and is part of the fun.
I’ve also joined the label marketing team at a good time as we’re growing and more recently have built a new digital partnership relations team, allowing them to lead with DSP conversations and various other potential partners. As we all know the music industry is incredibly relationship based so having people on the team who have connections with the right people simply adds to our offering for artists. Working more closely with our A&R team has also been hugely beneficial as starting conversations with artists earlier in the signing phase has only been a plus for my managing responsibilities and for the artists too.
Any particular passions?
One thing I’m passionate about giving advice on is tying in more simple marketing tools into a wider narrative as part of a specific activation/release. This could be making the most out of Spotify’s tools (like Canvas, Artist Pick and Music & Talk function) or optimising your Linkfire bio regularly so that everything is linked and geared towards an ultimate goal from a creative standpoint.
My most recent experience before Amuse was heavily focused on TikTok & Influencer strategy for artist releases and although it’s a constantly evolving beast, I take pride in what I believe I’m able to offer and am always trying to learn more.
An area I’m personally passionate about is gaming, and how artists can tap into this industry by identifying moments and themes to make the most of any opportunities for audience crossover. I’ve been fortunate enough to have managed several music & gaming crossover campaigns in my previous role at Fanbytes and am currently exploring opportunities here at Amuse.
The gaming industry has boomed over recent years and I myself certainly spent a fair bit of time over lockdown striving to achieve 100% completion on an RPG or a mastery camo on an FPS. It also boasts an incredibly tight-knit community which offers endless opportunities to take advantage of, from something vast like seeing your favourite artist feature in a game (i.e. Stormzy in Watchdogs or Ariana Grande in Fortnite) or simply having your music featured in your top streamers’ content on TikTok.
Over to you, Matt…
Mythbusting – Artist Growth on TikTok
Genuine and sustainable artist growth on TikTok is tricky to achieve. Blueprints, strategies and algorithm hacks are always flying around on social media and in truth, there is no singular method to growing a following on TikTok, artist or not.
I’ve been told TikTok’s algorithm changes every minute and you’re a better person than myself if you haven’t found attempting to tame this beast at least mildly overwhelming at one point in your artist career.
Based on my experience managing multiple successful (and more importantly, unsuccessful) artist campaigns on TikTok for a wide range of artists & genres all in various stages in their career, I’ve laid out a small handful of myths I feel are worth busting to help grow your confidence as an artist on TikTok and ultimately help get those followers & streams up.
Post frequency is probably the most talked about growth metric that I’ve seen since social media came into existence. Do you NEED to post at least three times a week? Three times a day? Three times an hour? TikTok themselves state that posting three times a day gives you the best chance of catching your audience at their most engaged time of day, and ultimately growing your audience and engagement rate. However, I’ve seen that this can lead to a surplus of “filler” content, simply to hit this number and see what sticks to the wall.
What I’d consider more important than frequency is consistency and putting out quality content that is true to your creator style. If you’re unable to post three times a day – Do. Not. Worry. Finding a balance of your time in between your other artistic responsibilities, as with anything, is the fundamental takeaway here. Your audience would always prefer to see one piece of content per week or even month that they can see you’ve invested your precious time and effort into that resonates with your style, rather than jumping on every trend you see and posting three times a day.
Hashtags are another interesting hot topic, and anyone who tells you they know the exact amount and type of hashtags to ensure growth is flat-out lying, deluded, or just lucky. My only advice here is using fewer, more relevant hashtags on the post is better than spamming #FYP and a tonne of other famous artists on everything you post.
That being said, I’d strongly recommend signing up for TikTok’s artist newsletter which highlights specific hashtags that TikTok will be pushing for the following week. This can be a huge help when planning content and what hashtags to use for that additional chance of exposure.
Promoting your music
Another super important balance to test is actually how to promote your music on TikTok. What makes TikTok stand out from other social media/content creation platforms is the fact that it is first and foremost an entertainment platform. Generally speaking, even though TikTok is a music-first platform, users don’t jump on the app to listen to your music and are there to be entertained. This means artists must shift the way they promote their music from what they’ve learned from other platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
One of the best strategies I’ve found more recently to do this is shifting the focus away from blatant call-to-actions (“Follow me on Spotify!”, “Pre-save my song!” or “Check out my music video!”) as firstly, this takes users off-platform which TikTok’s algorithm definitely picks up and definitely does not support. Secondly, this opens the door to allowing you to entertain your audience as opposed to just sharing announcements and song snippets.
Something I encourage all of the artists I work with is to create content with a relatable story instead that takes the focus off you and the fact that you’re plugging your music, and onto something else that they’d typically see on the platform. As with all marketing, no one likes to feel like they’re being sold to.
Someone who has nailed this strategy is the artist JVKE with this video for example. In this example, JVKE takes the focus off him and onto his music teacher who is hearing his new song for the first time. Viewers are instantly drawn in to watch the music teacher’s heartfelt reaction and are much more likely to engage & see the artist/content succeed.
Ah, authenticity… the king & queen of buzzwords used by TikTok marketeers worldwide. What is it and how do you have it? My approach to authenticity in content creation is based on making the most of what you have and listening to your audience. Both of these elements take time to really become second nature in your posting strategy and also evolve with time.
Whilst forcing new content styles that you aren’t completely familiar or comfortable with can be harmful to your growth on TikTok, if you’re an artist starting out on the platform for the first time, variation is key.
With what I discussed previously on TikTok being an entertainment platform, testing out new ways to present yourself and your music will allow you to gather invaluable insights, both in the form of actual engagement results and also audience sentiment through UGC growth and comments. This will help you find out what authenticity means to you and more importantly, your audience.
What makes this strategy most exciting for me is the variety of artists I work with and how creating a comedic skit might work better for the artist rather than a polished lyric-focused post with on-screen text or vice versa.
One of the bands on our roster who really have the comedic skit style down is Mind’s Eye and this video is a perfect example of how a band can make the most of their confidence and sense of humour to grow their account and promote their music at the same time.
This is what authenticity means to me.
Where should readers go to find out more? Any further reading or digital gurus to recommend?
Amuse’s website blog, Instagram & YouTube channel are the perfect places to start. Our content team consistently posts tried and tested nuggets of information, articles and resources on how artists can help get their music heard in great detail. Our team is often involved with these posts so you know you’re hearing from the experts. 😉