With over one billion active monthly users, it’s clear TikTok has people’s attention. People with active TikTok accounts buy products they see on TikTok every single day. Which is why TikTok is a growing income stream for many creators and small businesses.
So, How Can You Make Money on TikTok?
There are six main ways to earn money on TikTok:
- Join the TikTok Creator Fund
- Create Sponsored Content
- Create User-Generated Content
- Do Affiliate Marketing
- Sell Your Own Products
- Run TikTok Ads
Before you dive in to start promoting products and services in all of your TikTok videos, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll break down each of the above methods for how to make money on TikTok and set you up for long-term success on the platform.
Let's get into it.
1. Join the TikTok Creator Fund
What is the TikTok Creator Fund?
The TikTok Creator Fund is a program that incentivizes content creators, influencers, and brands to create amazing TikTok videos. So, if you’re generating tons of views and engagement on your content, you’re on the right track.
Individual creators who are just building their personal brand have a leg up here. For small businesses, this can be trickier. It's tempting to explicitly promote your business in all of your videos. But remember, most people don’t like to be sold to and that could delay your success on social media. To capture attention and make money on TikTok, you need to create engaging content first and foremost.
How to join the TikTok Creator Fund
There are several eligibility requirements for joining the TikTok Creator Fund:
- Have 10,000 real TikTok followers
- Have received 100,000 authentic video views over the past 30 days
- Be over the age of 18
- Be a legal resident of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, or Spain
- Follow TikTok's Community Guidelines
- Have an account that's in good standing
To understand the full scope of what's involved, we recommend reading and complying with all of the Creator Fund Terms.
How much does the TikTok Creator Fund pay?
Now that you know how to join the Creator Fund, let's talk about how much TikTok pays.
While being in the TikTok Creator Fund can help you earn money on this social media platform, it’s not as profitable as earning money on YouTube. In this video, Hank Green sums up a lot of the problems with making money on TikTok:
@hankgreen1 Part 7: The Barriers to Monetization. #tiktok #creators ♬ original sound - Hank Green
According to actual creators inside the TikTok Creator Fund, TikTok typically pays between $0.02 to $0.04 per 1,000 views. And being a larger account on TikTok doesn't seem to change that rate.
So, if you generate 100,000 views on your video, you’ve just made $2.00-$4.00. If your video lands 1,000,000 views, you’ll earn about $20-$40.
It takes a lot of work to consistently create content that lands that many views, and the return on investment from the Creator Fund is not great. So, let’s look at a few other methods on how to make money on TikTok.
2. Create Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is essentially an ad to promote a brand or company that you post on your own TikTok account. Influencers often create this type of content for top brands. In fact, sponsorships are one of the best ways to make money on TikTok.
Influencer marketing relies on creators who have engaged audiences. Creating interesting and valuable content that gets people talking in the comments and reposting your TikToks is key. You can build off of that engagement by responding to comments on your videos and being part of the conversation.
Not only will this increase your engagement (which will impact your videos' reach through the FYP), it will also help you build a relationship with your followers. This makes your TikTok account more attractive to brands seeking out influencers to create sponsored content for them, because your audience trusts you and will be more likely to buy products and services you recommend.
If you’re running a brand TikTok account, you can partner with influencers to create sponsored content or find fun ways to incorporate your product on your own account. You can use tools like Upfluence or Klear or partner with an Influencer Marketing agency to find creators to work with.
A few things to keep in mind when publishing sponsored content:
1) Disclose the partnership. This isn't just a courtesy to your viewers to let them know they're watching sponsored content, it's legally required. Make sure you dot your i's and cross your t's to stay out of hot water.
TikTok creator Jaz Turner created this video in partnership with NYC Go, the official NYC travel guide publication:
@jazturner16 #ad Have you tried any of these? The guide is in my bio but you can also check out @NYCgo for more! #thingstodoinnyc #thingstodoinbrooklyn #theblackexperience #theblackexperienceinNYC #NYC #nyfw #blacktravel #blacktravelers ♬ original sound - Jaz Turner
All it takes is a simple TikTok hashtag to stay on the right side of the FTC. In the example above, Jaz Turner disclosed her partnership using #ad in her caption as well as tagging the video as a paid partnership with the TikTok creator tools.
2) Stick to your niche. As tempting as it is to take every brand offer that comes across your inbox, remember who your audience is and what they expect from you.
Here's an example from Hannah Pickerill, a watercolor artist on TikTok. She's partnered with an art supply brand for this painting tutorial, which makes sense for her content:
@hannahhh.mp #ad Painting some fun and colorful jellyfish today! I used my @artistrocrafts watercolors here, you can shop their art supplies through the link in my bio, use code 15PICKERILL. #art #artist #watercolor #painting #watercolorpainting #watercolorart #jellyfish #jellyfishart ♬ original sound - hannah pickerill
3) Remain authentic. Your audience trusts you and your endorsements, so use your discretion when recommending products. Many influencers won't sign with a brand if they don't use and enjoy their product. Morality aside, telling a white lie for a paycheck may affect your future ability to earn money from sponsorships if your viewers no longer trust you.
An example of a sponsored post that landed an influencer in hot water is this mascara try-on video from Mikayla Nogueira:
@mikaylanogueira THESE ARE THE LASHES OF MY DREAMS!! @lorealparisusa never lets me down 😭 #TelescopicLift #LorealParisPartner #LorealParis @zoehonsinger ♬ original sound - Mikayla Nogueira
Whether she used false lashes as many viewers claimed or not, this video left many of her followers feeling like they could no longer trust her recommendations.
3. Create User Generated Content
User generated content (UGC) is content created by the customers themselves instead of a brand. In the past, marketing teams would source UGC organically by finding existing users of their product or service who were already sharing about it online.
Here's an example of organic UGC:
@ethan.ethier Why this chip brand is so addicting 🤯 (Doritos) #fy #doritos ♬ original sound - Ethan - Business & Psychology
TikTok creator Ethan breaks down why Doritos are so addicting but it’s clear that Doritos didn’t reach out to him to create this content. Since Doritos has such a strong brand presence, people naturally create content about the brand on social media. To leverage this content on their own platforms, Doritos could reach out to Ethan and ask for permission to share this video, which is how most UGC relationships used to operate.
Now, however, an entire microcosm of influencing has grown up around the concept and creators are selling their service to brands to create on-demand user generated content. If you're a creator, this is a great way to earn money from TikTok content without needing a huge following.
And if you're a brand, it's a great way to tap into the marketing advantages of social proof. Social proof hinges on the idea that people are more likely to trust other people, even if they're strangers, than they are to trust a brand.
If you're not sure where to start, just search "UGC" on TikTok. There are tons of creators on the app sharing how to build a portfolio, how to get your first brand deal, and tips for filming, editing, and selling UGC.
@creativelymadi This is exactly what I did to start making over a full time income with UGC. GOOO watch Part 2 in the comments! #ugcincome #ugccreator #ugc #howtostartugc ♬ Roxanne - Instrumental - Califa Azul
While you don't need a ton of followers to get started, UGC creators have formed a strong community sharing their knowledge with each other.
4. Start Affiliate Marketing
You can also make money on TikTok through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission on the sale of a product. Brands will often offer affiliates a commission between 5%-50% for promoting their product or service. If you sell a physical product, the commission is typically lower as margins are often smaller. If you promote a digital product or service, the commission rate can be much higher.
To become an affiliate, you’ll need a TikTok account and to apply to various affiliate programs. One popular way to earn money from affiliate marketing is through Amazon's affiliate program. Amazon's program is one of the more generous for e-commerce affiliate marketing. They offers commissions up to a rate of 10%, depending on the product you sell.
Most creators drive sales from their affiliate links by posting "Amazon hauls" or "Best Amazon finds" videos, like this one from Chandler Isaac:
@chandlerisaac These amazon travel finds >>> 🏼✈️ all linked in bio #amazon #amazonmusthaves #amazonfinds #amazontravel #traveltiktok #travelfinds #travelmusthaves #neutralaesthetic #lumineuxpartner #packingasmr #organizingtips @lumineux #teethwhitening ♬ original sound - djparry
She includes a link in her TikTok bio where people can purchase all the items found in the video, which is how she earns a commission from it.
The best way to effectively earn money with affiliate marketing is by centering your TikTok account around a niche. When you specialize in TikTok content for a specific type of industry, people will be more likely to follow you and engage with you. That way, when you promote a product or service in the same industry that you create content for, you’ll be more likely convert the audience since it’s a relevant offer to them.
5. Sell Your Own Products
This is perhaps an obvious income stream for businesses on TikTok, but it's also a great way to earn money as an individual creator on the platform. Let's look at both scenarios.
Selling Products on TikTok as a Brand
Small businesses promote their own products and services on social media all the time. You'll want to do the same on your TikTok account. That shouldn't be the majority of your content, though. Remember, provide value first. Answer questions, be entertaining, build positive brand sentiment and show the benefits of your product.
Otherland, a small batch candle company, does a great job of this. Their TikTok account is full of helpful videos like this one about how to get your candles to burn all the way to the edge:
@otherland skip the scraping and get straight to the foil hack ⏭ #candletok #candlecare #candle #bestcandles #hacks #lifehack #tipsandtricks #homehacks #tiktokmademedoit ♬ original sound - Beynet
They have videos about how to trim a candle wick, how to clean up spilled wax, and even how to repurpose your candle jars once you've burned through the whole candle. Being a resource like this for potential customers before asking them to purchase anything is key to earning their trust.
At the same time, you don't want to just rely on brand recognition and recall. Instead, make sure there's a clear path to the product so that if viewers want to buy, they can. The best organic way to drive users to the product is by adding a link to your TikTok bio. You can link directly to your site or set up a Linktree or similar landing page to funnel traffic to popular product pages.
Many of these link aggregators have analytics built in, so you can measure success over time.
It's all about reducing the friction between seeing, wanting, and buying.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing YouTube Shorts in 2023
Selling Products on TikTok as a Creator
For TikTok creators who don't have their own brand, this might be a less obvious path, but creating your own products can be a great way to make money on TikTok.
You could create partnerships with merch brands like Printful or Printify. You’ll need to hire a designer or create your own designs and add them to the platform that will print your designs on clothing and other accessories on demand.
Don Marshall, aka "that obscure LotR Facts Guy," is a TikTok creator who shares his knowledge of all things J.R.R Tolkien on the app. In addition to sharing fun Lord of the Rings trivia and talking about issues close to the fandom's heart, he also has a merch store.
Members of the community he's built can buy Middle Earth-themed shirts and prints than range from $25 to $30. If you’re building a personal brand, merch could be a great way to monetize on TikTok.
But what if you’re selling your expertise?
TikTok is a great platform for sharing knowledge and resources to help people buy their first home, make money online, or turn their apartment into a house plant jungle. Depending on what niche you’re in, you could create course content, web apps, elaborate Excel spreadsheets, coaching services, ebooks, software, or any other digital product or service.
The most profitable product you could sell to your TikTok followers doubles down on what people already follow you for. If people follow you for fitness advice and inspiration, offer paid coaching consultations. If people follow you for travel advice, sell custom itineraries. If people follow you for your cooking videos, suggest a subscription to your premium Substack for exclusive, weekly recipes.
Take Elizabeth Minchilli, for example. She's an Italian food blogger who leads food tours in Italy. Her TikTok page is full of "what I eat in a day in Rome" kinds of videos. When you click the link her bio, you're taken to her blog and prompted to sign up for her Substack newsletter (paid subscription optional), where she talks about Italian food, shares recipes, and promotes upcoming trips.
Open your mind to the possibilities. Listen intently to your followers and serve them exactly what they asked for.
6. Run TikTok Ads
You can also make money on TikTok by running TikTok ads in the TikTok Creator Marketplace. Of course, using this method you'll need to spend money to make money back. But if you've created an epic product or have an in-demand service, creating TikTok ads can help expand your reach and generate more sales.
Video ads still need to be engaging (and shouldn't feel like an ad) for them to be effective. Piquing someone’s interest to want to sign-up for your course, download your app, or hire you to solve their burning problem needs to be done in the first few seconds of the video.
The secret to advertising and generating sales overall is you need to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” That means, highlighting benefits and solutions to complicated problems. When people receive a relevant offer and understand the key benefit of it, an ad will be more effective. Don’t make people think too much. Get to the point quickly and keep it simple.
Related Article: How to Grow Your Instagram in 2023
You don’t need a million followers to start making money on TikTok. Your monetization plan can be as simple as partnering with brands to sell user generated content or adding a link in your bio to sell your own products or services. Your financial success on TikTok will boil down to how engaging your content is and how much value you provide your customers.
Speaking of engaging content, Kapwing helps teams create engaging videos faster. If you’re looking for a professional video-editing tool that uses AI and templates to simplify the creation of editing your TikTok videos, give Kapwing a try.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many followers do you need to make money on TikTok?
To join the TikTok Creator Fund, you’ll need at least 10,000 followers. However, there are other methods for earning money on TikTok, like sponsored content. Many brands hire micro-influencers — TikTok users with smaller followings but high engagement rates. Placing an emphasis on relationship building when your account is small is crucial to long-term financial success on TikTok. When your account is small, you can reach out to other small brands or businesses about collaborations to make money on TikTok with less than 10,000 followers.
2. How to make money on TikTok Live?
You can host TikTok live streams to build a stronger connection with your followers by engaging with them in real-time. TikTok Live is a great way to make money by receiving virtual gifts which can be converted into TikTok diamonds and then money. Plus, you can promote products you sell on your TikTok Live, driving sales with the more immediate, human element of live streams.
3. How many views do you need on TikTok to make money?
To earn money from the TikTok Creator Fund, you’ll need at least 100,000 views in 30 days to make money. Outside of this fund, you can make money with fewer views. You’ll need to present the right offer to the right audience. Building an audience around a niche will make it easier to present the right offer to people as you’ll see the same types of requests in the comments. Having a niche-focus will make collaborations with other businesses and people more effective so they keep partnering with you.
4. How much does TikTok pay?
Through the TikTok Creator Fund, TikTok pays between $0.02 and $0.04 per 1,000 views. You can earn more by supplementing your TikTok income with sponsored content for brands, selling UGC, affiliate marketing, and selling your own products and services.
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