TikTok for Artists | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. tiktok for artists | trailer

    • 2. intro | why tiktok?

    • 3. the basics | tour the app

    • 4. creating posts | the basics

    • 5. the algorithm

    • 6. engaging posts | best practices & ideas

    • 7. your project

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About This Class

TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps and it's not just for high schoolers! There's a great creative community and It's a fantastic resource for your creative business & its audience – and it's a perfect time to get started. This class will teach you all about how to use the app and tips & tricks for growing your following quickly & simply.

Meet Your Teacher

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Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration

Top Teacher

erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and transport. from immersive fairytale landscapes and glowing high-key celestial pieces, to charming flora & fauna and children’s book illustrations – erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 


erin has illustrated children's picture books; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 


follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and visit her etsy shop to purchase prints!See full profile

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1. tiktok for artists | trailer: In this class we will learn why you should use TikTok. It's not just for kids. The basics of how to use the app and how TikTok as a community uses these features. Look over a little bit about how the algorithm works and go in depth and all the ways that you can film and edit your posts. We will also work to make your posts as engaging as possible and grow your audience quickly and easily. So get into it. 2. intro | why tiktok? : Hi there, I'm Aaron Kate Carter. I'm an artist and illustrator and this is TikTok for visual artists. Why should we use TikTok? For starters, it was the fastest growing out of the 2010s, despite having only been launched in 2016, had almost 800 million downloads in 2019 alone. The average daily time on to talking about 45 minutes. It's a really engaged audience. TikTok is in sixth place in terms of global users right after Instagram. It's not a niche app. A lot of people have this assumption that TikTok is a kids' app, which is a little bit true, but over 50 percent of users on TikTok are age 18-34 with a nearly even split between 18-24 and 25-35. Quarter of users on TikTok are aged 45-64. It's not just limited to kids. It's also a great creative community, really flourishing with creatives, but there is still enough time to have some new entrance. It's all about me and my experience on TikTok and as an illustrator and I have seen growth a lot more simply on TikTok than I have an Instagram. Instagram strategy classes are about following and unfollowing and commenting on other people's posts and making sure you're keeping up on the latest trends and going and engaging with a million people. I did not have that for TikTok and so my growth happened about 10,000 followers over four months. Really just focusing on quality content and things that just make people want to follow you naturally. What will you learn in this class? We're going to start with the very basics, just how to use TikTok itself. Then we're going to go over a little bit how the algorithm works. Do some tips for filming and tips for engaging posts, both what's worked for me and what I've seen works for others. Let's get into it. 3. the basics | tour the app: Now we're going to go through the very basis of how Tik Tok work. You're going to download the app, set up an account, I'll skip that for you. Then you can go ahead and open the app and you'll start out on your For You page, which is essentially the Explore page like Instagram has. It just feeds you a bunch of different types of content, sees what you interact with, and then feed you more of that. Be really careful here, the more really cute puppy videos you interact with, the more you'll get that on your feed, which is fine. Of course, I've won you some good puppy videos, but if you are trying to keep up with what the artist community is doing, it's good to have that be a highest interaction for you. Tik Tok account interaction is a little bit different than other platforms, as far as we can tell, it is not only comments and likes, but also if you watch something all the way through or watch it multiple times, so don't leave your phone out just like scrolling through Tik Tok because it'll think you really like whatever you have learned about. How this app is uses a little different than Instagram or other original content feeds. A lot of what Tik Tok is is songs or snippets of sounds pulled from songs and other pieces of media. Then trends are made that are just recreated versions of the same video over and over again. For you as a visual artist, this isn't a huge part of what your content is going to be, but it's good to keep up on these trends because sometimes they can be relevant and they can bring you a lot of traffic. For example, if there was a trend going around where I was like, I can't dance but I can xyz, and I use this format for my paintings and I saw thousands of followers just from that specific post, and I had at the time of this recording over 18000 views. That was big success for me to achieve that. Make sure you capitalize on those hashtags and those trends because more people will see them outside of our community and you can diversify your following. Let's look at your profile. You want to make sure you're using a video and a photo for your profile and images. The image itself will show in your posts and video will show on your profile when someone visits it, and make sure to include your Instagram and your website just like you would for any other social platform. I definitely recommend having a really short bio. Mine just says art and illustration that just says right what I am and this is not a huge reading app. It's supposed to be a short attention span type thing, so I would not write a novel here like you would on Instagram. I think the rest of the app is pretty self-explanatory. If you click the Home button, you can see your following tab which is on the top left. Those are people that you follow. Then your for you pages as we said is like the Explore page on Instagram. Go to discover, it shows you like much more similar to the Explore page on Instagram, like what's trending right now and different ads that are happening on platform. The middle plus button is how to record and your inbox, and it means your profile. 4. creating posts | the basics: We're going to start with making posts, just a basic overview to make sure that you have all the tools at your disposal. This is the film screen. This is what you get when you click the center bottom button. This is where you can select your sound. This is where you can add effects, they often have fun ones like film noir and sparkles. This is where you can flip the camera to just look at yourself and set the camera speed, you can do double time, halftime, etc. This turns on the Beauty filter which smooths and blurs out your skin, so if you want to look a little bit nicer on camera, you have this at your disposal. These are the TikTok built-in filters and where you can set a soft timer so if you want to be in your TikTok and you don't want to have you pressing the button and then running away into the frame, you can use this and this is how you can set your flash and this is where you upload. So first you're going to choose an audio and just note that it's only going to play for 15 seconds,s so make sure you don't plan your content to be longer than that, even if it says it last for longer, it doesn't. It's great to use trending sound scrolling through your For You page, you'll see what sounds are really working and you also get recommended songs as you start creating new posts, I do recommend you spend some time on the app and get to know it really well because some ritual sounds like mashups of songs, beach base audio, Indie musicians will be really popular with the app audience, but not included on the trending sounds less but anything that uses an original sound rather than an official one discourages inclusion on the For You page, but I have not personally found that to be the case I've seen posts do really well that use pop songs and I've seen posts do really well that are just one person who has recorded themselves singing and those original sounds have done really well for me. I encourage you to do trial and error to see what works best for you. Using original sounds is really easy. You just find a post with a sound you like. Click on it at bottom left you'll see "Original Sound" there. Select "Add to your Favorites" and then when you go to create your post, you just access your Favorites here and you can use your sounds. It's really important to keep your audience choices consistent, just like you went on Instagram Feed don't use a rap song if your work is all soft and sweet, be authentic and what you like and don't just use trending sounds because they're trending. I recommend you select your audio first and film it with that in mind if possible, because TikTok is very much a music focused and sound focused app. This is not an app that you would look at on your phone with the sound off. This is definitely a sound on experience. You can take three different paths to filming a TikTok. One is shoot a bunch of clips on your phones regular camera app and edit them manually and an app outside of TikTok, two take those clips and edit them within TikTok itself or three, you can shoot within the app itself if your post hinges on being on beat I have a great example from Letter Shoppe here. The final option is preferred. I generally shoot clips and edit manually on a separate app. Editing, I recommend using film from Color Story. It's free and they have a clip feature that allows you to turn each separate clip just the same as in TikTok and you can separately edit the brightness contrast, etc, of individual clips, which is really helpful if you are doing a painting and the light changes along the way, and you need to turn the exposure up a little bit on the last clip because it's dark outside and keeps everything cohesive. TikTok also has built-in filters, but I generally stay away from these as there are so many great filters on apps that allow for video editing like VSCO and Color Story and I personally edit my TikToks the same way that I edit my photos for Instagram. I just use the same filters and everything on Color Story. TikTok also comes with out-of-the-box filters and effects. If you have already created your piece then you can upload the video and then just click "Effects" at the bottom and one that I like to use a lot is the Bling filter, which just adds a little bit of shine wherever it catches a highlight and you just hold to apply and for adding text, you just click the "Text" button, add your text, and then you can tap the text again, set the duration and keep it exactly where you want it to go to tell the story that you're trying to tell and do the same exact thing with stickers, which work very similarly to how Instagram has their stickers for stories and they are used as hashtags as well. I definitely recommend exploring every new feature that TikTok adds just as you would for any other social media platform because they will encourage you to use the new features that they're adding. Once we are uploaded, we want to make sure to select our sound, definitely never, ever, ever post a video without sound, it just will tank, absolutely. If you have background noise that you don't want, make sure to turn your clips volume off and just have the soundtrack. Make sure to keep your captions really short. The [inaudible] the better this isn't the same as your profile this is not all along for map, It's a short attention span one. The [inaudible] you can be and make sure you use a couple of hashtags, but just two to three is good [inaudible] possible when you type in a hashtag in your caption, they will come up with trending ones and make sure to only use them if they can somehow tangentially relate to your content but if you can, that is great. Don't use random branded hashtags that don't relate to your work look. If you are painting, something really happy don't hashtag; sad songs, am currently filming in April of 2020 and so there's a lot going around for staying at home, myself practicing new hobbies, that sort of thing. I have been using those hashtags and seeing those work pretty well when they are still related to my content. 5. the algorithm: Just some quick information how the algorithm works. Of course, the algorithm has largely remained secretive just like any other platform. They don't want you to abuse the different ways that they feed you posts. I've learned quite a lot about what works best through trial and error. One of the main differences between TikTok and other platforms is their democratic algorithm. It's possible for someone with zero followers to have a million views if it gets on the right for you pages. If you get comments saying FYP then you've made it. Posts that take off also have a long lifespan. I will see interactions on a high performing posts two to three weeks after posting. Sometimes they don't even start taking off until then. How to get on the free page? It's a little bit of a mystery, but likely works very similarly to Instagram. The more interactions you get right after posting, the more people will get served your post. Interactions include likes, comments or shares, saves, favorites, and also watching TikTok the whole way through, which seems like not a big deals into 15 seconds. But it seems to mean that, that might be the most important one. I would not recommend adding a hashtag of FYP are For You Page on your post. Even though you might see that a lot because I think that is more of a spam thing and not actually effective. How can we encourage all these great interactions to get us on a free page? Let's walk through making a posts. 6. engaging posts | best practices & ideas: Now that we know the basics of creating a post on TikTok, how can we make a really engaging post? This is something where it definitely can let you use the excuse of spending some time in the app, and seeing what worked, because I found that personally to be super helpful. Some things that have worked for me and I've seen worked for others, are as follows: include surprise at the end. I did this literally with the caption, about waiting for this prize at the end, with a snapshot of my bunny at the end and it went mildly viral. For fine artists, this could also be achieved by only using close-ups of your work, and holding the whole piece reveal until the very end. I've seen this do really well for other people too. Include your face. I know it feels really weird and I myself am not good at taking this advice, but I see so much more engagement, when I put myself in front of the camera. Really often people like to get to know you and there is a beauty filter, make sure you turn that on if you have any sort of consciousness. Someone who does this really well is letter shoppe, she's always talking to camera and I always get served to her posts, even before I was following her. I definitely recommend you take a look at her profile, and see how she uses her personality to really capture her audience. Avoid the same post you'd make for Instagram. No overhead time lapses, if you can avoid them. This is more like an Instagram Stories format, people want to see a little snippets of what you're doing, not highly polished. In that same vein, people do really like to see if you have made little mistakes or fun tips and tricks. I, for example, had done the sketchbook page and I hadn't been filming it because I was just playing around. Then I realized I had done some hand lettering, and at the very end of it, I had added an extra letter, I just filmed this cute video of sliding along my sketchbook spread and then landing on that typo with the caption like, "I was having so much fun in my sketchbook until this happened." Something like that. That posted really well, because it's [sic] encourages people to watch till the end and also is a little more personable. Interact with others. I know I said previously that TikTok doesn't require as much interaction with other people as Instagram does, but this can be a great way to just capture someone else's audience. For example, someone I follow always posted elaborate daydreams, and they're really sweet and cute. I used her audio and I did a painting based on one, and I got really great interaction with some of her audience art as well. Add something extra in the caption. For example, when did you paint this, did you make a funny mistake only you would notice, is this your 50th post of a rabbit painting this week, although, fill in your own obsession, because that one is for me. Ask simple questions like, why does this painting make me feel XYZ, and add something seemingly unrelated that invites comments. These extra bits in the caption, really encourage people to comment and interact with your post. Add some artistic clips. If you can add a little bit of like opening your sketchbook, getting out your supplies, a little bit of your drink, a little bit of your day, TikTok loves an artistic video. Include something a little strange and don't mention it. This is something I see all over TikTok. You're just panning through kitchen, and you're going to see something funny, but there is a little kid standing on a counter somewhere, TikTok loves this sort of thing. I have not personally done this, but I'm sure, you with your creativity could figure something out. Show a series. Just like Instagram, TikTok loves to know what's happening next. I did the series of moonlit landscapes, and you could see clearly that there was room for four on the canvas. Each time I just added on to that, and it's great for people to have some consistency and know what's coming next, and also if they see, say the fourth one, they'll go back and watch the others. Finally, don't make your introductory post about how you don't understand TikTok and you're so old and clueless and out of touch. Every celebrity starts this way and it just gets them onto virals. People aren't worried about your age or how you look, they are more worried about your content and your beautiful artwork, so focus on that. 7. your project: That is the end of the class. Your class project is to make your profile and make your first post. I'd love for you just post screenshots, some parting words. I know that you may still feel like this app is too young for you. Once you go through your page and see how the dances are happening, it can make you feel a little left out, but I promise that there is a really great thrive in our community. If you interact with the right posts, you'll find it. Just remember that even if the app skews young, this is a great avenue to grow your business. I've personally seen an increase in Instagram followers and online orders come from Tik Tok and also they're going to grow with you. They might be 15 now, but in ten years they will still remember you if you're really engaging with them now. It's always great to have a diverse audience. If you'd like to see more from me, I have a few other Skillshare classes and I am all over the internet @erinkatearcher. I'm looking forward to seeing what you create.