TikTok might not be the first platform that springs to mind when you’re thinking about ways to grow your podcast audience. But nowadays, it probably should be.
What started as a platform for sharing 15-second lip-synching videos has now become a legit channel for building communities and promoting brands. With over 1 billion users (and counting), TikTok’s now the most downloaded app in the world.
Clearly, TikTok isn’t going anywhere (quite the opposite, in fact), so it’s in your interest to explore how you can capitalise on this wave of popularity. How can you use TikTok to promote your podcast?
Why use TikTok to Promote Your Podcast?
OK, you might be thinking: But what has a video platform got to do with podcasting?
Well, it might surprise you to hear there’s a pretty strong and burgeoning podcasting community on TikTok already. And it’s only set to get bigger, as signs are pointing towards TikTok launching a dedicated podcasting feature soon.
With YouTube also recently moving into podcasting (amongst others), it seems like video podcasting is about to get pretty big.
If that’s not enough to convince you, here are a few other reasons you should consider promoting your podcast on TikTok:
- Opportunity for huge organic growth – even with no budget behind you, if you get the TikTok algorithm on your side, you have the potential to go viral.
- Opportunity to reach a very new audience – TikTok is huge amongst Gen Z, and experts are saying this demographic are about to become podcast fanatics. Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick said “When you are a teenager music is so important to you – but as you age and you are in your later 20s that’s when you start to discover other types of content. Gen Z is about to tick-off that 25 box, and a lot is going to change as more of them age into this next age demographic.”
- TikTok is relatively underused by podcasters (for now) meaning you have the opportunity to really stand out. The longer you wait to get started, the tougher the competition will get. So now is the perfect time to get involved.
8 Ways to Promote Your Podcast on TikTok
So now you’re (hopefully) convinced that TikTok is worth the investment, let’s take a look at a few ways you can use the platform to build your audience and pull in more podcast subscribers.
1. Build Your TikTok Brand
Before you can start promoting your podcast to the TikTokisphere, you’ll need to create your TikTok account (surprise!). Essentially, you want to keep your brand identity at the core
There are a few things to think about when setting up:
- Handle/username – Keep it short, simple and memorable while keeping your podcast brand name at the core. An easily-recognisable username makes it easier to go viral.
- Bio – Unlike your podcast description, you only have 80 characters to describe who you are as a podcast brand. So stick to punchy and use a couple of relevant hashtags to make your account discoverable. Once you reach 1,000 followers, you’ll be able to add a link to your profile that takes users to whichever platform you use for gathering subscribers.
- Icon/profile pic – Your podcast logo or a simplified version of your podcast cover art is ideal. Your profile pic will be much smaller than a podcast tile so the more simple and bold it can be, the more attention it will get.
2. Share Podcast Teasers
TikTok increased the time limit for videos from 15 seconds to 10 mins in March 2022, but short-form video content still always performs best. TikTok users’ attention spans are short, and when viewing content from someone they don’t already know, it’s even shorter.
A good way to grab the attention of new potential listeners is to create short ‘best bits’ snippets from your podcast shows and turn them into a video to share. You’re really not limited to any particular video format, but one that’s popular is to record yourself live and edit in snippets of footage that add another dimension to what you’re saying.
Here’s a great example of how Jumpers Jump (one of the most popular podcasts on TikTok) does it:
If you don’t want to film yourself recording your podcast, you could go for something really simple like an animated waveform and overlay closed captioning (which is automated by TikTok). But remember, TikTok is still a visual platform, so you’re likely to get more attention if you include footage that has a human element (i.e. you!) to it.
3. Create ‘Behind the Scenes’ Footage
Similarly, if you’ve recorded any behind-the-scenes footage of yourself and/or your guests, this can make great TikTok content. Essentially, TikTok users love anything that humanises you as a brand.
Sharing bloopers that you’ve edited out of your podcast recording before you publish will also go down a treat for the same reason. We all know recording a podcast is rarely plane sailing (you’re only human!), and sharing these moments will always go down well with the TikTok community.
For those aspiring podcasters on TikTok, taking people through how you make and edit your show using your podcasting software would go down a treat too.
4. Ace Your Hashtag Game
TikTok is all about hashtags; they help categorise your content so the algorithm can understand what it is and share it with the right people. So by using the relevant hashtags, you’ll increase your likelihood of ending up on the FYP (For You Page – more on that in the next section) of your target audience.
So the best advice is to research your hashtags thoroughly and experiment with them to see which ones hit the right spot with your audience. You only have 100 characters to caption your videos, so it’s best to limit your hashtags to a max of 5. Use a mixture of more generic podcasting hashtags with hashtags that describe your genre or niche so that the algorithm delivers your content to the right people.
Examples of generic hashtags: #podcast #podcaster or #podcastlife (this TikTok hashtag generator tool will tell you which ones are the most popular)
Examples of niche hashtags: #truecrime #conspiracy #fiction
Try having a look at what hashtags other podcasters in your niche are using (you can see some popular examples here) and see if there are any trending hashtags you can newsjack or hashtag tricks you can pick up from them.
5. Get on the FYP (For You Page)
The For You Page (FYP) is the first page you land on when you open the TikTok app. If you’re already familiar with Instagram, it’s essentially the same as the ‘explore’ page except the FYP opens automatically when you use the app.
Like explore, the FYP is a curated list of videos based on the TikTok algorithm, which takes into consideration a number of factors, including what’s trending, your location, and interests (i.e. the content you like, share and comment on when you’re using the app).
From a branding point of view, the FYP is the holy grail, and if you can get on it, you’re likely to see a huge influx of new followers for your podcast account (and hopefully a chunk of these convert to subscribers to your podcast too).
One thing everyone can agree on is that the TikTok algorithm is incredibly sophisticated. It can take you to places you never knew existed or that you wanted to go until somehow you end up there (woodchuck armaggedon, anyone?)
Tips to get on the FYP:
- Use trending hashtags – you can find which hashtags are currently trending using this tool.
- Use trending sounds – as TikTok began as a lip-synching app, a lot of the viral content tends to revolve around songs or sounds that people create video along to. You can browse what sounds are currently popular here.
- Activate closed captions – a lot of people browse TikTok when on the go. Activating closed captions means you won’t limit engagement to those who browse with the sound on.
6. Become an Authority in Your Podcast Niche
TikTok may have started out as a music platform, but nowadays a lot of people go to TikTok for niche facts and information from people who know what they’re talking about.
So in a sense, it’s becoming more of a knowledge platform, and this is great news for the podcasting industry. Think about your podcast niche and any engaging, lesser-known facts or stories you could share that are likely to hook people in. If you’re able to establish yourself as an authority voice in your niche that can make an impact in seconds, people will keep coming back for more.
Here’s an example of the kind of niche content that performs well on TikTok:
7. Recommend Other Podcasts
Recommending other podcasts might sound counter-intuitive when we’re talking about how to grow your podcast audience on TikTok, but hear me out.
For a start, TikTok is a community, and so is the world of podcasting. Podcast lovers will respect your opinion more than any podcast chart, so using your platform to promote other podcasts will do great things for your brand and image.
And secondly, if you recommend a podcast, they’re likely to return the favour. Think of it like TikTok karma!
7. Don’t Just Share Videos, Engage
Sometimes, TikTok’s comments section is just as entertaining as the videos themselves – if not, even more so.
This means a lot of your community-building will happen in the comments sections of your own posts, so make sure you engage with users by liking and replying to comments. Growing your audience on TikTok is not just about engaging with people in the comments of your own videos but on other people’s videos too.
So follow other podcasters and content creators in your niche, spend time consuming other people’s content, share it, engage with people in their comments, etc. This is how you build a community.
Next step: Get TikToking
So now you know the tricks to get started in using TikTok to reach a whole new audience for your podcast. So what’s the next step?
Have a look around at the kind of content other podcasters are sharing on TikTok to see what you can learn from them and what you bring to the platform that’s unique to you. And when you’re ready, start creating video content you can share on your TikTok account. If you’re new to video podcasting, you’ll find loads of useful information to get you started – including what equipment to use – in this video podcasting guide.