More and more people are talking about TikTok, and it sure is catching the attention of entrepreneurs, marketers, and eCommerce professionals like yourself. TikTok is changing the face of social media. And with this in mind, it’s reasonable to ask a question: can you make money on TikTok? The short answer is: yes, you can.
But first – what in the world is TikTok?
This question can only arise if you’ve been living under a rock, although I reckon even the ‘under-rock’ people are filming themselves doing ‘under-rock’ things and challenges.
But in all seriousness, TikTok is the sh%t. Initially, it was an app with a different name in which people could record themselves lip-syncing to music. But within two years of launching, the company had over 90 million users – a massive jump from 10 million from the previous year.
TikTok is an app for creating and sharing short videos. The videos are tall, like IG stories, but you navigate through videos by scrolling up and down, not by tapping or swiping side to side.
You can find virtually everything on there: from dancing videos to recipes, to makeup tutorials, to utter WTF (pardon my french), to grandparents acting either adorably cool or suuuper weird on camera. So, how to make money on TikTok? Let’s start!
How does TikTok work?
Essentially, you can create videos up to 60 seconds long. Plus, you can embellish your creating with different fun elements: filters, music, voice effects, and you can also edit your video right in the app.
But don’t just think TikTok’s for Gen Z only who’s all about lip-syncing and silly hashtag challenges
That’s not all this entertaining channel has to offer. If a year or so ago, it was mostly used by teens, now even moms, dads, grandparents, and brands are jumping on board, not to mention artists and celebrities. Btw, celebrities are not very welcome there. The user base is eager to keep the platform to themselves and create their own stars.
Users are strongly encouraged to engage with others, through ‘response’ – you can duplicate videos and add yourself alongside.
Hashtags play a huge role in TikTok. In a not so distant past, like ten years ago, Twitter hoped its content might revolve around hashtags in a continuous series of fruitful pop-up mini-discourses. TikTok, however, uses hashtags as a truly functional organizing tool: not for breaking news, or anything trending outside of TikTok, but for various ‘challenges,’ be it dance, cooking, make-up, etc.; as well as jokes, or repeating formats, or other obvious blobs of activity.
Can you make money on TikTok without any money?
Yes, it’s free! And it’s so easy to create a video on TikTok because of its amazing in-app tools. You can choose from a wast range of sounds, from popular song clips to short excerpts from YouTube videos or your favorite TV shows, or other TikToks (that’s what the videos are called, TikToks). You can join a challenge, or participate in a dance meme, try a strange or mouthwatering recipe and share with the world. Or you can simply make fun of all of these things and do all the aforementioned ironically. Choose products you can create and sell for free on TikTok, like print on demand products.
Sell your custom merchandise on TikTok for free
What should I post on Tik Tok?
TikTok has an answer to anyone’s what should I watch with abundance. In the same way, it provides a plethora of answers for the minds boggling what should I post? As a result, there’s endless material that people, many very young, might be too self-conscious to post on other channels, like Instagram, for example, or that they would never have come up with in the first place without a little inspiration. It can be hard to watch. It can be touching. It can be hilarious. It is frequently ‘extremely cringe.’ If you feel like it is a weird thing to say, it means you haven’t actually *been* on TikTok yet.
Ok, so that’s what’s on TikTok. What is it?
To an American audience, TikTok can feel a bit like a Greatest Hits Compilation Vol. 6, featuring only the most engaging elements and experiences of its predecessors, like Vine.
TikTok is often used for showing off talent like dancing, visual arts, and ‘transformation by makeup.’
However, under the hood, TikTok is a fundamentally different app than American users have ever seen before. It may look and feel like rivals; you can follow and be followed. There are also hugely popular ‘stars’; there’s internal messaging. Its users can and do use it like any other social app on the market. But the different artistic and practical similarities to Snapchat or Vine or Instagram hides a core difference: TikTok is more machine than man. It’s almost 100% algorithm-driven.
What makes TikTok so special?
People spend hours on TikTok. I sometimes catch myself having scrolled for two hours without realizing it. Sometimes you’re not even sure why you’re seeing what you’re seeing. But it’s the machines, man. The algorithms behind TikTok are so powerful, they’ve solved a problem which Twitter couldn’t: How to get people to engage? By merely… showing them things, thus letting a powerful AI take notes. TikTok tells people what to do. And they comply. And because of this, it’s the perfect social media platform to showcase virtually anything. So, can you make money on TikTok? Absolutely. Especially if you’re interested in a zero-investment business model, which is dropshipping.
For years now, the video, rather than the photo, has been the king. Videos allow for much much detailed insight into whatever its publishers want to share with the world. And even though video filters have reached unbelievable heights, videos are a more honest medium than photos. The fact is people trust video more.
TikTok is a fantastic marketing channel
The average user spends more than 52 minutes on TikTok daily; on average, users open their app eight times per day, which is A LOT. If you want to get your goods in front of people, you WANT that to happen on a platform that’s got such heavy traffic.
Fashion brands on TikTok
3 examples on how to make money on TikTok like a pro:
How to make money on TikTok?
So how can you, as an eCommerce aficionado, harness the power of TikTok? You must wonder. How to make money on TikTok? You must ask.
The app targets a specific user base. TikTok is home to a colorful, youthful, and deeply engaging audience. As a marketer of a brand, it makes the job of engaging and converting users with content easier.
TikTok hugely relies on hashtags and fun challenges to increase engagement (and it is highly effective for that matter). Also, the content on TikTok is playful and light, making it fairly easy to create. And good content means a lot of attention; it also means MEMES. Who doesn’t love a good meme, am I right?
How to make money on TikTok selling custom merchandise
Who doesn’t love a hoodie or shirt by their favorite celeb? If you have a growing following on TikTok, selling your very own merch is a great and super-easy way to make money, especially if you’re familiar with print on demand dropshipping where you need almost zero startup capital. Simply create a design, find a company you want to do your business with (hint: Printify), and market your product. To secure success, I recommend promoting your merch in your TikTok videos.
And Printify is here for all your printing needs. They will arrange printing, production, and even shipping of all your orders. Your only job is to market the product to the giant masses on TikTok. It’s basically free money. If you are in need of some inspo, check out the merch of the most popular YouTubers. Many of them have and sell their own merch and can give you the inspiration you need to get started.
Or, if you’re not interested in starring in your very own TikToks, you can capitalize on existing memes. But in this case, you have to be in the know, follow the trends, see what’s hot, and instantly put your knowledge to use. How?
Spot a meme everyone’s talking about and put it on a shirt, hoodie, stationery, socks, you name it. The most important thing is to add the most relevant keywords, so people see your creation. You can sell your goodies on Etsy, eBay, WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, and more.
Make money on TikTok selling your own merch with awesome designs
If you decide to sell your own merch, you can take full control of your income stream and market your clothing line directly in TikTok. This is perfect for seasoned influencers with a broad audience who are invested in the online persona. Create beautiful designs yourself or ask a designer friend to sketch up something for you. Or better yet, you can ask your followers to do it in the form of a challenge!
This is an excellent option for influencers who wish to be independent from brands whilst still generating an income. It can also help audiences engage and provide them with goods that the Creator (Creator is the TikTok’s equivalent of Influencer) believes in and represents them.
How to make money on TikTok by selling merch?
Like with any platform, there are boundless possibilities when it comes to selling merch on TikTok. The safest bets how to make money on TikTok are:
Btw, the product doesn’t necessarily have to be merch or brand-related material. TikTok users who own a store, create their products, or distribute products, can use TikTok to market their Etsy store.
Etsy has become home to a busy community of meme merchandisers looking to make some dough off of popular internet slang phrases like “OK boomer.”
“OK boomer” is just one of many memes made famous on social media platforms and is now being monetized via merch on Etsy, eBay, Amazon, etc. Other popular memes like “I’m baby,” “Savage. Classy. Bougie. Ratchet” (this one is a reference to a hugely popular song on TikTok, to which millions of users are creating their content to) are printed on tees, hoodies, hats, and socks.
Another fan favorite is “Respect the drip, Karen” meme. It refers to a viral TikTok video in which a person explains that they’ve been working on a new outfit, but their stepmom won’t allow them to wear it outside and then reveal the outfit while saying “respect the drip, Karen.” The phrase includes the common antagonist female character Karen (a moniker that makes fun of a particular type of Gen X woman) commonly found in memes as well as the slang “drip,” which stands for style or outfit.
So, whether you’re a seasoned TikToker or you’re always keeping your hand on the pulse of social media trends, you can make money on TikTok with merch.
Make it happen right now.
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