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How to Make Money on TikTok

How to Make Money on TikTok
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For most of TikTok’s short existence, it provided little opportunity to make money.

But in June 2020, the company introduced the “Creator Fund,” which pays people for content that goes viral on the app.

In this article, we’ll talk about what the Creator Fund is and how to leverage it. But we’ll also go over some of the other ways to make money on TikTok — many of which can be quite lucrative. 

Let’s dive right in.

TikTok Basics

To understand how to make money on TikTok, let’s start by going over a few common terms that you need to know in order to make the best use of the platform.

  • The Tiktok Creator Fund: A TikTok-owned method of compensating certain users for content.
  • TikTok Coins: In-app currency that can be used to “tip” creators.
  • TikTok Pro Account: A specialized account featuring additional analytics for content creators.
  • Creator Marketplace: A TikTok-owned platform that helps brands find content creators to collaborate with for sponsored content.
  • Platform Advertising: Users see ads after viewing multiple videos, or when opening the app. 

How Much Money Can You Make on TikTok?

Before getting into the specific ways to make money on TikTok, let’s quickly cover how much an average person could expect to earn. 

Right off the bat, let’s get one thing out of the way: you probably won’t become a millionaire from the TikTok platform

The amount of money you can make is also entirely dependent on the strategy you choose to employ. 

On the high end is someone like Tori Dunlap, a nationally-recognized money and career expert who decided to launch a TikTok account.

In an interview with Making Sense of Cents, Dunlap outlined how she managed to grow her TikTok account from 0 to 350,000 followers and earn $60,000 in six weeks from the platform alone.

At the same time, Dunlap had a following and was well-known prior to getting started. What about somebody who doesn’t already have a fanbase?

Jake Sweet — a.k.a. @Surfaceldn on TikTok — is a 21-year old university student who has amassed over 3 million followers on the platform.

Sweet has reported that his income is steady enough to help with grocery payments, but most of the funds he brings in go towards purchasing props for future videos. Namely, he focuses on making shorter TikToks that are in the “pranking” niche (think mini versions of Punk’d), but his following is still low compared to other creators. 

Some other highly successful niches on TikTok are dancing, comedy and even cooking! These popular niches help creators amass large followings, even for young creators such Sweet.  

Additionally, some people are making money from the platform in an indirect way. For example, Jen Ruiz (@jenonajetplane on TikTok) was quoted as saying:

“Directly, you can make money through the Creator Fund, gifts during live sessions, sponsorships through the Creator Marketplace and apps that pay you to promote new music. Indirectly, I use TikTok to drive traffic to my site, boost ad revenues, drive book sales and make affiliate sales. I got 10k+ views to my website last week alone from TikTok.”

While Ruiz did not specifically mention how much she earns from TikTok, she left a career as a lawyer to become a full-time travel blogger and uses TikTok as a main part of her business strategy.

So clearly, the possibility of making enough money to leave a full-time job — or at the very least, earn some side cash — is more than real on TikTok. 

9 Ways To Make Money on TikTok

Here are nine different strategies for monetizing the platform.

1. Get Paid Directly by TikTok

The most direct way to earn money through TikTok is to take advantage of the platform’s newly launched Creator Fund

This fund was established by TikTok to encourage users to create viral content, but the specifics of how much it pays are murky. As is the case with Snapchat (which has a similar fund), who is selected and how much they’re paid is decided by the company. 

That said, a TikTok creator can sign up to be considered for the Creator Fund if they meet the following criteria:

  • Are at least 18 years old.
  • Are based in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain or the UK.
  • Have at least 10,000 followers with over 10,000 video views in the 30 days prior to applying.
  • Have an account that meets the TikTok community guidelines.

Becoming a TikTok star with over 10,000 followers can take some time if all you do is record a short video every once in a while, so this direct method of earning is one of the harder strategies on this list.

However, it also provides one of the most stable opportunities for income if you’re accepted into the program. 

As noted earlier, there is no set amount per view or per video. TikTok claims they decide how much a content creator is paid based on views, engagement and “other factors.” However, some creators report earning around 2-4 cents per 1,000 views

For perspective, Charli D’amelio (@charlidamelio on TikTok) — who has over 108 million followers and 8.6 billion likes (yes, that’s “billion” with a “b”) — averages around 30 million views per video. 

Speculatively, that means she could earn around $600 per video.

It should be noted that Charli D’amelio is one of the most popular video creators on the platform. At this pay rate, an average person could only expect to make a small handful of change through the Creator Fund. 

2. Collect Donations

There are a number of different ways to collect donations on TikTok. 

Some users who have gone through accidents, or who are petitioning for a cause, will leave a GoFundMe link in their profile and ask for support, in the hope that their cause ends up in front of a major audience and receives many likes; this can result in serious donations. 

However, an often under-leveraged aspect of TikTok is the virtual items offered to users.

There are three types of virtual items on TikTok: 

  • Coins: Users can purchase coins using their own money and redeem them for gifts in the app.
  • Gifts: Virtual items, purchased with coins, that a user can hold on to for disbursement.
  • Diamonds: The currency that gifts become when given to a content creator by a general user — they can be redeemed for real money.

As for the price of coins, this is the cost as of February 2021:

The price of coins on TikTok
TikTok coins price.

A TikTok gift can be given to creators who are live streaming, which is when the conversion to Diamonds occurs. Diamonds cannot be purchased and can only be earned from gifts. 

Diamonds can be converted to real money

Given that they’re half the value of coins, 70 Diamonds would only be worth about $0.50. With that said, popular content creators with a large audience can leverage this to make a significant amount of money. 

Here’s how the process works step-by-step from the creator’s perspective:

  1. A creator goes live on TikTok and starts making content.
  2. Viewers who pop in and enjoy the content donate gifts (which have been purchased previously by the user using coins).
  3. Based on the rate a content creator receives gifts from viewers, and the coin value of the specific gift, TikTok will allocate a number of Diamonds to the creator. 
  4. The creator can then redeem those Diamonds for cash and transfer the funds into PayPal or another supported third-party platform.

Note that Diamonds cannot be converted back into gifts.

3. Leverage the TikTok Marketplace

The TikTok Creator Marketplace is a platform where brands can connect with creators. This can be helpful for making sponsored videos, which harness the audience of a popular user to increase sales or brand awareness.

Additionally, it gives smaller brands access to larger creators who may be willing to help them grow with a shoutout or partnership.

This platform offers cutting-edge data analytics about creators’ accounts, which can help brands find the best match for their product.

This is one of the easiest ways to tap into the potential of influencer and affiliate marketing.

4. Promote New Music

For aspiring music artists, TikTok is a fantastic resource for gaining attention. And that means creators can earn money for including certain music in their videos. 

Currently, this can be done through a couple of third-party apps that pay a fair amount of money for popular users to add songs to videos, such as PlaylistPush.

Third-party musicians reach out to PlaylistPush, and the platform serves as a middleman and gets their music on a popular creator’s page. 

Alternatively, TikTok musician accounts have been on the rise and many new artists have emerged on the platform, leveraging their popularity to gain followers/streamers on sites like Apple Music and Spotify. 

Some have even parlayed their TikTok success into record deals.

5. Become a TikTok Influencer

TikTok is a great platform for influencer marketing, similar to Instagram and Twitter. 

Addison Rae (@addisonre) is perhaps one of the best examples of this strategy. While she’s part of the creator fund, she has also launched her own clothing brand (aptly named Addison).

Her influencer campaigns often revolve around the promotion of this brand. 

Similar influencers are often involved in a few of the following activities:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Brand ambassadors
  • Sponsored events
  • Sponsored posts

TikTokers who work through a brand sponsorship agency typically charge around 1-2 cents per sponsored post view, which is a far higher rate than the TikTok creator fund. 

Those not partnered with an agency (which are typically larger influencers) are known to make a flat fee of around $200 to $2,000 per sponsored post

6. Drive Traffic to Somewhere Other Than TikTok

While users don’t typically drive traffic to other platforms within their videos, a content creator can link their Instagram or YouTube to their account. For now, those are the only two alternate social media platforms allowed on TikTok. 

However, you can also add a link to your own website in your bio. This allows you to promote that link through the content you create, driving users to a platform where you can leverage affiliate marketing (or sell your products and services), such as a blog.

Additionally, gamers will often upload clips of their highlights from video games in an effort to drive traffic to their Twitch or YouTube channel, which is another good example. 

See also: How to get paid to play games.

7. Promote a Service

Promoting a service is a great way of making money with TikTok.

One creator, Heather Felix, gives an example of how

“[A] creator I’m friendly with, who makes fashion videos, offers personal styling advice for a fee and has a sizable client base and income now.”

This unnamed creator referenced by Felix learned how to market their niche and offer styling advice to clients for a fee.

A TikTok user offering a service does not exclusively need to be in the clothing niche.

For example, graphic designers could feature their work in a TikTok video and offer classes for their followers. Music producers could feature tracks they put together and offer to teach others how to do the same. 

This would allow a creator to determine their own prices for the services they offer. Additionally, this tip could be combined with the TikTok marketplace to bring other creators on board who are willing to advertise your service for a small fee. 

8. Manage TikTok Ad Campaigns for Businesses

TikTok is a relatively young platform with a young audience, and not all business owners view it as a viable source of marketing or income. Even if they do, relatively few understand what it is and how it works in enough detail to leverage it for those purposes.

And that’s a huge missed opportunity, because, every so often, an advertisement will appear between TikTok videos that doesn’t allow a person to skip for about five seconds.

In the U.S. alone, TikTok has over 73 million users watching videos on a daily basis. So from a digital marketing perspective, this is a goldmine for any business owner looking for an advertising space. 

That’s where you come in: you can make money by serving as a paid ad consultant.

This is one of the best social media management jobs for freelancers because the upside is huge. Paid ad campaigns can have a direct impact on a client’s bottom line — which means it’s easy to connect the work you do for them to the amount of money they make. As a result, effective ad managers can command significant rates.

9. Become a TikTok Consultant and/or Manager

On the same theme as above, some successful TikTok users transition into working as consultants and/or managers for other, less experienced users.

For example, people or brands will often hire someone to help them run their TikTok account and grow it to new levels.

To become a consultant or manager, you will need some proven experience with the platform. 

Tips for Growing Your TikTok Business

At the end of the day, regardless of the monetization strategy you choose, views are everything. A TikTok creator needs eyes on their videos and profile if they want a chance at making anything on the platform. 

Growing your business and your TikTok followers for your account can be done similarly to other social media platforms, with some basic strategies:

  • Use popular hashtags with thousands of followers on your posts as much as possible.
  • Collaborate with other users who are in your TikTok niche.
  • Be consistent and stick to a theme for your profile (this will help you build a genuine and loyal audience).
  • Leverage effects and other fun aspects of the TikTok video creation screen.
  • Make sure your profile picture is friendly and, if possible, reflects what your account is all about.
  • Even though you can post videos as long as a minute, stick to shorter videos unless your profile theme requires more detail.
  • Use popular songs on your videos (this will increase the likelihood your video appears on a user’s feed).

Above all, focus on increasing the traffic to your profile. Other helpful strategies center around connecting with your audience on a deeper level. After all, nobody wants to support a person who pretends their following doesn’t exist. 

Reach out to your followers, livestream and talk with them, and ask what content they would like to see created. All of these tips can help you slowly start to grow your TikTok. 

FAQs About Making Money on TikTok

Can you get paid per-view on TikTok?

Yes, you can earn payment per-view through the TikTok creator fund. While the actual payment distribution formula is not published by the company, influencers using the fund have reported earning around 2-4 cents per 1,000 views. That would translate to around .00002 cents to .00004 cents per view. This amount very likely increases the more popular your account becomes.

Can you sell physical products on TikTok?

Yes, TikTok users who have some type of store can put a link to that store in their bio and use their platform to advertise their product. In fact, TikTok just recently launched a partnership with Teespring where platform users won’t even need to leave the TikTok app to purchase a Teespring item advertised by a creator.  

Can you grow and then sell a TikTok account?

While there does not seem to be an obvious clause in the TikTok terms and conditions restricting this, it is extremely unlikely that TikTok would sanction it. While there’s certainly a market for selling popular TikTok accounts, know that you’re purchasing or selling an account at the potential risk of it being shut down. 

Can you sell access to a private TikTok account?

Similar to a private Snapchat account, many people wonder if you can sell access to a private TikTok account, where only approved followers see the content you produce.

While there is no explicit rule against doing so, TikTok likely reserves the right to ban your account if you are caught selling access — especially since these accounts are typically used for hosting explicit material that is prohibited.

Making Money on TikTok: Summary

TikTok is a growing social media platform that offers more ways to monetize content than people realize — from the Creator Fund to influencer campaigns to collecting TikTok coins.

At the same time, it’s unlikely that you’ll become a millionaire on the platform overnight — and it could take years before you earn a fraction of that amount. 

However, when looking at social media compensation across multiple platforms, TikTok certainly offers a wide array of earning strategies that make it a reliable source of small income for anybody willing to put in time and energy. 

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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