TikTok is one of the most popular social networks around, having hit and surpassed 800 million monthly active users in early 2020. This makes it a great promotional tools for livestreamers, especially when used in tandem with StreamElements’ extensive set of tools.
On TikTok, users post, view, and share short videos on a wide variety of topics ranging from comedy and dance to photography and, yes, video games and streaming. This huge active user base of engaged gamers makes TikTok a fantastic platform for building your brand, driving more traffic to your streams, hyping your merch, and attracting more followers and subscribers.
“TikTok has completely changed the game when it comes to discoverability,” Twitch streamer, Sanka, enthused when I reached out and asked him about his success using the relatively new platform. He built up a following of over 35 thousand TikTok followers during his time streaming on Mixer and, when Mixer shut down in July, he was able to leverage his TikTok account to encourage his followers to follow and subscribe to him on Twitch.
His TikTok following has continued to grow since then and it’s now become somewhat of a secondary video platform for him that he uses to share Twitch stream highlights and connect with his audience.
Best of all, running a TikTok account requires very minimal effort. Sanka explains, “TikTok has integrated, simple editing that makes it easy to download a clip to my phone and post it to TikTok in a matter of minutes.”
Content creator/Twitch streamer GutzyAiden recently had a successful unboxing of his own SE.Merch product line on TikTok, so here is what inspired it, his strategy, and the reaction he got:
“I basically stream every day on Twitch, and my claim to fame on TikTok was reviewing setups, so when StreamElements released a XXL mouse pad option I knew that could potentially go viral. This is because right now everyone is stuck at home and trying to work on their setups, but can’t afford a lot of things because of the economy.
“My strategy was to first get my friends on Twitch and TikTok to buy mouse pads from me that fit their setups and to use them on stream. Knowing my audience is young and couldn’t afford it if it was at a high price, I sold them at the lowest price point and took the hit on making more money for myself to benefit my community. As a result, I started getting about 35 mouse pad sales a day. People really enjoy my designs and they fit well in their setups. I was genuinely shocked that I sold this many and I’m aiming to get 1000 subs on Twitch to do another drop and then make these initial mouse pads limited!
“Honestly, if you are a content creator and you aren’t on TikTok, you are failing since you’re missing a perfect opportunity to grow your brand. There are still niches you can fit into that that aren’t crowded (for me it was tech) and it just propelled my Twitch and social media! You also need to be creative, so don’t just make a TikTok where you just blatantly shout out your Twitch channel because it’s not gonna work. You need to make funny relatable or informative videos because those are the types that people tend to share.”
So How Does TikTok Work?
If you remember Vine, you’ll feel right at home on TikTok as it works pretty much the same way. Users can upload short videos, edit them within the iOS or Android app, and post them to their followers’ timelines. Links to TikTok videos can be shared to other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, sent to messaging apps, or downloaded and re-uploaded elsewhere.
TikTok also offers a broadcast feature which works in much the same way as going live on Instagram. This functionality only unlocks after you reach one thousand followers though.
What Kind of Posts Work Best on TikTok?
A popular strategy by video game streamers is to upload clips of their recent streams to TikTok. Not only does this highlight some of your memorable or important moments for existing followers who may have missed a stream, but it works as a kind of channel teaser to attract new followers who may discover you on TikTok.
TikTok can also be used to post quick channel or game updates in video format or even hold competitions. You don’t need to restrict your content to just these types of updates as your followers may also be interested in seeing other aspects of your life as well.
“Don’t be scared to go outside of the box and do content unrelated to gaming,” recommends Twitch streamer and TikTok user, OfficerStealth. “Try to experiment and find what’s best for you.”
TikTok Hashtags are Important for Discoverability
As with Instagram, hashtags are incredibly important on TikTok for being discovered by new users and they can decide whether your latest upload gets a lot of views or completely flops. Unfortunately, the space within a video’s description is extremely limited so you’ll likely be restricted to around four or five tags.
Twitch streamer HolmesInFive recommends using a combination of popular TikTok hashtags to get your video trending and some related tags to target your niche. “Research and use both popular and relevant hashtags for your content and audience,” he suggests. “Just using #fyp #foryou #foryoupage alone typically isn’t enough to get your TikTok out there anymore.”
Sanka agrees. “I would recommend using hashtags relevant to your upload whilst including #FYP. For example, if I was to post a Fortnite clip, I would use #FYP, #Fortnite, #FortniteClips, and #Gaming.”
Trending hashtags can be viewed within the Discover tab in the TikTok app and they tend to update every day so it’s worth seeing what’s hot before you post a new video. Be careful not to use completely unrelated trending tags though as this can frustrate users, get you reported for spam, and you’ll also be showing your video to users who aren’t interested.
#FoodReview may be trending, for example, but it’s best not to use it for a clip from your Pokemon Sword Twitch stream. In addition to obvious tags such as #Pokemon, #Twitch, and #Streamer, some generic trending tags like #VibeZone or #FavoriteMemories could also work.
You could also be creative with your tagging. Are you trying out a new Fortnite skin? Try some trending fashion-related hashtags. Are you teaching your viewers how to do something? Experiment with tutorial tags like #HowTo.
What’s the Best Time for Posting on TikTok?
While a lot of people have a lot of different theories about the best times to post on TikTok, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter as the TikTok timeline’s algorithm shows videos seemingly at random.
For example, the first video you might see in the TikTok app may be from a week ago, the next from yesterday, and the one after that from three days ago. Followers will likely see your latest post within a day or two of you publishing it, but you shouldn’t expect anyone to see it as soon as it’s uploaded.
Send Viewers to Your Twitch Broadcast with a TikTok Livestream
Once you hit around one thousand followers on TikTok, the ability to livestream on the platform will be unlocked. Broadcasts can be started directly from within the iOS and Android TikTok apps and are strongly promoted to all of your followers with a prominent icon at the top of the main timeline and a highlight around your profile picture.
Unlike regular TikTok posts which are shown to followers randomly, livestreams display to all of your followers all at once which makes them a great way to quickly connect with your audience and redirect them all to your main stream on Twitch, Facebook Gaming, YouTube, or wherever else you’re streaming your broadcast.
“TikTok is extremely underrated. Its level of discoverability is insane and I recommend every content creator use it,” says OfficerStealth who often uses TikTok livestreams to bring more viewers to his Twitch broadcasts.
This strategy is actually very simple and works incredibly well. All you need to do is begin a stream on TikTok before your Twitch broadcast starts, attract viewers, and then encourage them to then jump on over to Twitch once you start. OfficerStealth even keeps the TikTok stream running while he streams though is careful to keep his smartphone’s camera on himself and not show any gameplay. A Twitch mod then jumps into the TikTok stream’s chat and repeatedly plugs his Twitch stream.
I watched him do this and it was like his Twitch stream was being perpetually raided by new viewers coming over from TikTok for the length of his broadcast.
Don’t Forget to Optimize Your TikTok Profile
One of the first things you should do after setting up your TikTok account is to add a profile photo (or profile video) and a brief account description using keywords such as “Twitch” and “streamer.” You should also take the time to add links to your other social media accounts so that your TikTok fans can follow you elsewhere as well.
“TikTok allows users to click [through] to any socials,” says Sanka. “Which is great for retaining viewers who find your content on TikTok.”
Similarly, you should add a link to your TikTok profile on your other accounts as well and on your Twitch channel page. You may even want to add your TikTok username to your stream overlay by editing some of the graphics.
What are Some TikTok Alternatives for Twitch Streamers?
In general, it’s a good idea to put yourself on as many social networks as possible to build your brand and diversify your audience. If you’re after other platforms that work similarly to TikTok though, you can’t go wrong with Instagram which also has a massive user base and features similar functionality to TikTok with its video posts and livestreaming.
Vine’s successor, Byte, is another option and one that looks and works almost exactly like TikTok. There aren’t that many users on Byte though so I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary social network.
Other Streaming Tools
If you are looking for additional tools, be sure to look into StreamElements since you are already on our blog. Our platform offers every tool a streamer needs: Cloud-based overlays, a robust Chatbot, tipping functionality, OBS.Live (our OBS add-on), merch store creation, and much more.
Do you use TikTok to promote your streaming? Let us know on Twitter or reach out on the StreamElements Discord.