Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
We’ve all heard of TikTok. It’s one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. It was the most downloaded app last year, and more than a billion people use it every month.
But what does this mean for podcasters?
Just like other social media platforms, TikTok poses a great opportunity to get your podcast in front of more people and, ultimately, bag yourself some more loyal listeners.
Some of TikTok’s strengths are:
- It’s very possible to gain success on this platform organically (no cost)
- It’s growing fast
- It’s user friendly
- TikTok really prioritises getting your content in front of new accounts – you’re not just showing your posts to the same people. Instead, the ‘for you’ page is always finding new people to enjoy your content, which makes it the perfect place to expand your podcast’s audience.
But perhaps you’re already juggling Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, alongside podcast editing, scriptwriting, idea generation… is it really worth throwing TikTok into the mix? Is the opportunity that worth it?
Let’s take a look.
We’ll be discussing:
- TikTok boosting your show’s discoverability
- Podcasters already on the platform
- TikTok investing in podcasts
- Is TikTok the best platform for you?
- TikTok and ads
One of the biggest problems in the podcasting world today is discovery.
If you’re struggling to get more podcast listeners, it might not be because there isn’t an audience out there for it – it’s because they don’t know that your podcast exists in the first place.
One way that you can make your podcast more discoverable is by adding video to it. As more people are doing this, places like YouTube are becoming key platforms for people to discover new podcasts.
In fact, last year research from Edison found that podcast super listeners (that’s anyone who listens to podcasts for at least 5 hours a week) use YouTube to discover podcasts more than by any other means.
So, if we know how important YouTube is for making your podcast more discoverable, we should be approaching TikTok with the same sort of mindset.
After all, TikTok is said to be creeping up on YouTube and although the latter does attract many more users, TikTok has overtaken YouTube for average watch time. People spend a lot of time on TikTok (nearly an hour a day, believe it or not), which means there’s a lot of opportunity here for podcasters.
On top of this, more and more people (particularly Gen Z) are using TikTok as a search engine. In fact, TikTok actually overtook Google as the world’s most popular domain (I know, I struggled to believe it too).
Rather than googling “how to fix a leak in my sink” or rather than googling a brand or restaurant they want to check out, people are heading to TikTok first.
So, in the context of podcasts, this means more and more people are going to be searching for new shows directly via TikTok – just you wait. Or if, for example, somebody hears about your podcast through word of mouth and fancies checking you out, they may look you up on TikTok. But that’s not much use if you aren’t on this platform. You’ll have missed your chance.
A growing crowd
Podcasters are beginning to turn to TikTok to promote their podcast – and some are doing this remarkably well. Examples include A Diary of a CEO, The Girl’s Bathroom, and Help I Sexted My Boss.
However, despite some podcasters smashing it on TikTok, this is still a relatively small pond.
According to research from Rephonic, podcasters are using TikTok far less than other social platforms. They explain: “Instagram is the most common channel across podcasts launched in the last six months. There were relatively very few TikTok accounts in that same segment.”
They also said: “TikTok accounts have (by far) the highest average number of followers.”
Let that all sink in.
In other words, despite TikTok being one of the fastest growing platforms, with millions of daily users, very few podcasters are using it. That means less competition. And big opportunity.
Investing in podcasts
It’s not just podcasters who are beginning to see potential here though.
TikTok themselves are clocking on too – with podcast specialists recently being hired to help bring more creators to the platform.
My advice is to take advantage of this. Utilise this platform which isn’t only growing, but is investing in podcasters like yourself.
But is TikTok really for me?
All of this might sound very exciting, but before you start uploading video after video to TikTok, you need to consider your podcast’s audience. Does it align with TikTok’s demographic?
TikTok’s audience is predominantly young, hence why the app is heavily associated with Gen Z culture. According to Data Reportal, TikTok has “419.7 million users aged 18 to 24 (43.3% of TikTok’s ad audience aged 18 and above)”. There is also a slight female skew, with 56% of their users being female.
Data from Statista also supports TikTok having a primarily young audience. 72% of users appear to fall under the 18-34 age bracket. This helps to explain why many Gen-Z-focused podcasts, like Saving Grace and No One’s Looking, are really thriving on TikTok.
Only around 4% of users are 55 or older (although, that still translates to over 40 million people).
But if you’re unsure whether your podcast is suited to TikTok or not, the best thing to do is to just take a look. Download the app. Start digging into your niche. See what’s out there. If you’re a golfing podcast, find out if there is much of a golfing community on TikTok. Are there any influencers who are proactive in this space? What hashtags are they using to connect with their community? Are they receiving much engagement? Do your research, and if you think it’s worth joining the crowd (or trying to build a crowd from scratch, if you think that’s wise) then go for it.
Of course, there is another thing to consider before you start posting on TikTok: is this the best thing for you to be doing?
Are you already struggling to post consistently on your other social platforms? Are you likely to burn yourself out? And let’s not forget: TikTok is a video platform. Do you even have any video content to put on there?
If you think branching out to TikTok might cause your podcasting bucket to overflow, it’s probably time for you to start reassessing your podcast’s social media strategy (you can learn more about this here).
You should also think about how you can better streamline your social media content.
This could include:
- Batch-making content and scheduling it in, rather than constantly trying to come up with new content
- Using a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Loomly, Buffer, or Later to organise your social content
- Getting a social media (or general marketing) manager on board with your podcast, if you’re in a financial position to do so
- Repurposing content. For example, if you’re already making Instagram reels, you can simply upload these videos to TikTok, therefore killing two birds with one stone. Think smarter.
If you’re currently only recording the audio of your podcast, you might want to look into filming it too. This will provide you with content to upload to TikTok, but there are other benefits too, such as using this footage on YouTube, in adverts, and so much more.
Take a look at this blog post if you’d like some guidance on how to film your podcast.
But if you feel like now is not the right time to be branching out into video content, there is another way around it…
You could create TikTok posts for your podcast using Headliner. This is an online tool that creates animated social media assets for your podcast. Here’s an example of an asset we made on Headliner for the It’s Nice That podcast.
Creator’s block, anyone?
If you need some inspiration this #InternationalCreativityMonth, the @itsnicethat podcast should do the trick: https://t.co/lvKfct3ZpY pic.twitter.com/B8LdIsKJbS
— Auddy (@AuddyShows) January 28, 2022
There is a free version of Headliner available, and you can even post directly to your TikTok.
What about ads?
When it comes to using social media for your podcast, there is another side to consider: advertising.
Just like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., TikTok does allow you to post ads. And many ads have been extremely successful on this platform – with hashtags like #TikTokmademebuyit blowing up as more people’s spending choices are influenced by TikTok.
Choosing to advertise your podcast isn’t something to be rushed though – it’s a decision that requires plenty of planning. Plus, the upfront cost of advertising on TikTok is often much higher than other platforms. They have a minimum campaign budget of $500, so that’s worth bearing in mind.
Then there’s influencers.
When it comes to influencer marketing, lots of people automatically think of Instagram – they picture some Insta model holding a drinks can from a new cocktail brand, or giving away some goodies on their Instagram story.
But actually, when it comes to influencer marketing, TikTok is giving Instagram a run for their money.
TikTok has overtaken as the go-to platform for micro (10-50k followers), mid (50k-100k followers), macro (100k-1M followers) and mega influencers (>1M followers), according to Neilsen’s Influencer Analysis report (2022).
Are there any influencers out there that fit into your podcast’s niche? Could you use them to grow your audience? What platforms is this influencer active on? If they are receiving a lot of engagement on TikTok, now might be the time to make an account of your own.
Some final thoughts
If we compare TikTok to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the rest of the social media gang, this platform is still fairly new. It’s still growing, still experimenting, and we can’t say for sure what the platform will be up to in 5, 10, or 20 years.
However, it is safe to say that TikTok is still on an upward incline. It hasn’t reached its peak yet. And as it develops, you won’t be able to reap any of the benefits if you aren’t even using TikTok in the first place.
As long as you can justify why you are doing it, I think TikTok has an awful lot of potential for podcasters, and not enough people are harnessing it… yet…
If you need some advice for getting started on this platform, you are in luck. Check out this blog post for my top 8 tips for producing 10/10 TikTok content.