Noriega and Moran agree: To create a profitable account, it helps to sustain engagement in order to capitalize on your videos. According to both of them, the keys to consistently making money from TikTok can be simplified into three essential elements: create an online persona, manage your account, and consistently create content.
Since passion projects are the most successful, finding your niche can open the door to going viral. To start, pinpoint what you are interested in creating and find your unique take on your topic of choice, identifying what differentiates you from like-minded creators. In my case, combining Baby Yoda with beauty products and applications led me to fans within my niche. Understanding who is consuming your videos makes virality natural, as pleasing your audience increases your popularity and your revenue.
Managing an online persona requires consistency, interaction, and playing the part. You have to figure out what level works for you. “Someone who makes more curated videos is not sustainable; you’re destined to burn out. I think you set the tone for your audience about how often to expect videos from you,” Moran says.
“If you want to be big and known for something, being extremely consistent is definitely a power move and is something you need to do,” Noriega adds. This also takes form in what you create and how you interact with your fans. It all comes down to catering to your audience in order to earn social and monetary currency. To interact with them, you can reply to and like their comments, follow fans, produce livestreams, support like-minded creators, or align your content with follower requests. Noriega is active in chatting with fans and openly offers his support to his viewers if they are in need of mental health assistance or work advice. For me, playing the part meant fully immersing myself in my online persona. To Noriega, managing his online persona comes easily for him. It serves as an extension of himself as he “likes to be himself and not fake.”
Successful content creation on any platform can be narrowed down to cultivating and pleasing your audience, and trend analysis. Your followers will expect you to be in line or ahead of trends. Whether it be on or off the clock, we spend hours analyzing trends daily. Creators scroll through TikTok, looking for repetition in regards to what is going viral. You see this from other creators who also go viral, in meme formats, trending audios, and content that racks up likes and engagement. Moran adds that even for the most digital creators, going out in the world phoneless can inspire you to create, rather than follow, trends.
Immersing myself in my Baby Yoda online persona has been beyond rewarding, teaching me how to tap into the creator economy and financially compensating me while doing so. Carving out my own niche, posting, and staying active with audiences has set the precedent for getting paid for my internet popularity. May the force be with you, fellow TikTokkers. Getting paid—as the Mandalorian would say—is the way.