Afrobeat is having an international moment right now and like it or not, a large part of that has to be attributed to TikTok. The app, ever since it launched in 2017 has been known to help Music Marketing and push songs to popularity. Many marketing specialists have started using TikTok to push brands, products and music. Many of them attribute its power to the algorithm. So, what’s so special about this algorithm?


The TikTok algorithm is a proprietary set of signals that TikTok uses to determine what content appears in the customised “For You” page for each TikTok user. The primary goal of the recommendation engine is to make content appear interesting regardless of the creator’s initial audience. 

This approach allows TikTok to take a video uploaded by a user who does not have a huge following and distribute it to thousands or even millions of users. Thus, every TikTok user has the same opportunity for their video to be broadcasted to millions of people. It is this balance that gives birth to viral dances and challenges; essential elements of the platform which contribute greatly to marketing – especially music marketing.

With its “even playing field” format, any song – even yours – has the potential to go viral. TikTok music promotion therefore should be a key consideration for every artist. It is a game changer for the music business and independent artists that want to be given a fair chance.

Here are five easy steps that you can use to hack the algorithm and grow your fanbase;


1. Research

If you are new to TikTok or TikTok marketing, this is a very important step. This is where you find out how other artists are marketing their music. For new marketers, it’s easy to get distracted with all the different content on the app. That is why you need a new account.

To research, you should create an account that you will not post on or follow cat video accounts. This will be your burner account and it’s where you’ll go to find ideas and inspiration you need. Since TikTok is less about the number of followers and more about the content, t’s important that your content is quality.

You can go ahead and follow all the musicians and creators that inspire you on the burner account. Doing this, you will have an endless spring of content to inspire you.

2. Create a niche and plan your content

This is where you find your subculture or “niche”. TikTok is an app littered with niches. These niches are your key to success. Once you’re able to identify and interact with an already existing niche, TikTok will then recommend your content to users in that niche. This will ensure engagement on your posts which translates to listens for your music.

Understanding your most valuable subculture can also help you create content that connects authentically with TikTokers, creating greater credibility, brand loyalty, and more exposure. 

3. Content, content, content

To say it for the last time, TikTok doesn’t care about your followers but whether or not people engage with your content. Users only engage with your content when it is quality. This doesn’t mean getting fancy cameras and lights for your videos even though they wouldn’t hurt. You need good picture and sound quality but these are not going to save your content. They are only *elements* of quality content. Other elements are; the plot of the video, timing and good edits.

For plot; the video doesn’t need an Oscar winning story but it should have a point. Video completion rate is an important signal to TikTok. Your videos should be interesting and relatively short to ensure people finish watching; 15-30 seconds is seen as the sweet spot.

Lastly, be sure to use TikTok’s built-in features like effects and text treatments. According to TikTok: “These native features help keep your content feeling native to the platform which can also help get it on more For You pages!”

4. Optimize your content for virality

Introducing hashtags; you want to make content for keywords and hashtags that people are searching for. This allows you to get your content in front of people who are actively seeking specific content on the platform, rather than just scrolling through the FYP. These people will follow you as your content is directly linked to what they want to see.

Start looking for trending keywords by region and industry in the TikTok Creative Center. Click on the Analytics button next to any trending hashtag to see a full breakdown of its popularity, including audience demographic details and related interests.TikTok recently expanded the length of captions which gives space for more hashtags but of course, your caption’s not the only place to include keywords. TikTok can also pick them up from your voiceover or text overlay.

5. Using Challenges, Duets and Influencers

It’s important to join trends and engage with other creators. 77% of TikTokers said they like when brands “leverage trends, showcase memes, or start participatory challenges on TikTok.” It’s also important to start your own challenges that creators can participate in. The challenges should be easy and entertaining to do if you’re just starting out.

You can utilize the Duet function like Ladipoe did or start a lipsync challenge with a twist like Joeboy did for his hit song, Alcohol (Sip). Make your own video doing the challenge and encourage your followers, fans, family and friends to recreate their own videos.

For more of an edge, and if you have some money to spend, you can kickstart the challenge by paying TikTok influencers to participate and kickoff a possible trend.