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How many TikTok followers you need to start making money

TikTok influencer Yusuf Panseri.

Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images.

  • TikTok has exploded in popularity and some users are looking for ways to cash in.
  • Creators turn to TikTok’s built-in monetization tools, brand deals, and song promos to make money.
  • Users with as few as a hundred followers can still earn on the app by joining marketing contests.

TikTok has grown dramatically over the past few years, crossing one billion monthly active users in 2021.

Along the way, it’s created a new generation of digital stars like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae Easterling who converted their TikTok fame into lucrative business empires.

But you don’t need to have millions of fans to start making money on TikTok. There are myriad ways that users of the app can get paid, from using built-in monetization features to joining promotional campaigns for brands and music marketers.

For example, TikToker Lucy Davis, who has around 578,000 followers, told Insider she earns between $20 and $300 each time she livestreams on the app. (Read more about how much Davis earns.)

Making money directly from TikTok

TikTok offers built-in monetization tools for influencers, including a creator fund, a tipping feature, and a virtual “gifts” product that allows users to send gifts to a creator which can then be converted into a real-world currency. 

TikTok requires that creators have a certain number of followers and views to access these features:

  • To join TikTok’s creator fund: a creator must be 18 years or older, have at least 10,000 followers, and have achieved at least 100,000 video views in a 30-day period.
  • To receive virtual “gifts” during a livestream: a creator must be 18 years or older and have at least 1,000 followers.
  • To receive “gifts” on other videos: a creator must be at least 18 years old and have at least 100,000 followers.
  • To receive “tips”:  a creator must be at least 18 years old and have at least 100,000 followers.

The amount that an influencer can earn from each feature is unpredictable.

For payments from TikTok’s creator fund, the company takes into account a variety of factors, such as video views, video engagement, the location in which a video was seen, and total participants in its program.

Some creators who have disclosed their TikTok creator fund earnings, including Hank Green, said they were paid a few cents for every one thousand views they generated on the app. 

Read more about what creators are saying about TikTok’s creator fund payouts

“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to fully support myself through the fund, or if it’s going to be nice side-pocket cash,” Isabella Avila, one of the creator fund’s first 19 recipients, told Insider when the program first launched.

Read more about how much creators earn from TikTok’s built-in monetization tools:

  • Vi Luong (1 million followers) shares her monthly earnings from TikTok’s Creator Fund  
  • Lifestyle influencer Victoria Paris (1.3 million followers) shares her earnings from the Creator Fund
  • Personal finance influencer Preston Seo (around 2 million followers) shares his Creator Fund earnings 
  • MrBeast (32.8 million followers), Hank Green (6.3 million followers), and other top creators share pay rates from the Creator Fund
  • ASMR creator Lucy Davis (around 578,000 followers) shares how much she earns from TikTok livestreams

Making money by working with brands, marketers, and tech platforms 

Creators with just a few hundred followers can also get cash on TikTok by participating in music-marketing challenges, among other types of deals.

Song challenges are a new advertising tactic in which record labels or artists post contests on platforms like Pearpop and Preffy that ask users to make a video using a particular song. The companies then pay users on a sliding scale based on the number of views and “likes” they drive to the track, rather than offering an upfront flat fee to a single influencer.

“The initial way influencer marketing would work would be you would go and pay a few people with big followings, but it would be like throwing a few big logs onto a non-existent fire,” Pearpop’s cofounder Cole Mason told Insider. “With challenges, there’s a way to actually start the fire.”

Read more about how music marketers are using song challenges on TikTok

Creators with fewer than 100,000 fans, often referred to as “micro” influencers, are an increasingly sought after category among brands and marketers on the app. 

Read more about why TikTok music marketers are increasingly hiring micro influencers

“The price point for mega stars is extremely high,” Zach Friedman, cofounder at the record label Homemade Projects, told Insider. “The way the TikTok algorithm works, it’s hard to know what’s going to be successful. Instead of paying a premium for a D’Amelio, you could pay a micro influencer $200 and their TikTok could get 10 million views. Because of this, it’s better to cast a wider net.”

Read more about how TikTok creators make money from song promotions:

  • Music marketers are using a new TikTok strategy to make song ‘challenges’ go viral
  • Influencers and marketers share rates for song promotions on TikTok
  • Why hydraulic press videos and DIY slime posts are useful for promoting music on TikTok
  • Music marketers are increasingly turning to micro influencers over big stars to promote tracks
  • 2 music marketers discuss how much TikTok influencers can earn from song promotions

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