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Ever wonder how influencers make money on TikTok?

Influencers can make money from their TikTok. Many of their viewers don’t realize just how complex a professional career as a creator can be.

tiktok logo with blurred smartphone in the background
Image: KnowTechie

TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users, including some who make thousands or even millions of dollars on the platform. Making money on TikTok isn’t as simple as it might seem, though.

Creators and influencers use several strategies to earn their incomes. If you’re wondering how it works, here are the basics of making money through TikTok.

Making money directly in the TikTok app

TikTok has some built-in income streams for creators, although you may need to grow your account to start using them. Influencers can make money directly on TikTok from these tactics.

1. The Creator Fund

tiktok crator fundd
Image: KnowTechie

Once you gain a large enough audience on TikTok, you can qualify for a “Pro” account and begin earning money through TikTok’s Creator Fund program.

Unlike on YouTube, this isn’t related to ad revenue. Instead, TikTok pays creators based on how their videos perform.

How much you earn depends on the reach that your content gets based on views, likes, comments, shares, and other interactions.

The Creator Fund doesn’t pay much, though – estimates indicate creators earn less than a nickel for every 1,000 views. So, other income streams are key.

2. Live streams

Going live on TikTok is one of the main ways that influencers make money through the app. It’s especially fun for creators because live streams are much more freeform than the typical TikTok post.

You could go live for a few hours, talk about whatever you want with your audience, and potentially earn hundreds of dollars.

You have to be at least 18 years old with at least 1,000 followers to go live and get “gifts” and “diamonds” during your streams. Viewers can gift variable amounts, so a good live stream can definitely be rewarding for influencers.

Making money outside of the TikTok app

tiktok app logo on phone screen
Image: Unsplash

TikTok influencers also make money by connecting their TikTok platform to other income streams that aren’t built directly into the app itself. This varies a lot from one creator to another.

For example, some might use old-school investing methods to make passive income, such as real estate or even the stock market, thus earning more of a living for themselves.

Others might dive into advertising deals or start selling branded merch.

1. Brand deals and affiliate marketing

Influencers bring in most of their income from brand deals and affiliate marketing. Take Charli D’Amelio — the top TikTok earner of 2021 — for example.

Her deals with brands like Hollister, Invisalign, Dunkin’, and Morphe comprised a majority of the $17.5 million she earned throughout the year.

These opportunities are the easiest way to make the most money on TikTok, with some deals paying thousands of dollars for a single post.

You need to have a fairly large following to get any company’s attention, though. Sometimes brands will reach out to creators, but it can go both ways.

Creators simply promote a specific product or brand in their content and get paid for it. It helps to have a unique theme or niche for your account.

tiktok logo in 3d
Image: Unsplash

2. Merch

It is incredibly easy to design and sell custom apparel and accessories online today. Virtually every big creator has their own custom merch.

This is a great way for influencers to make money on TikTok because they don’t need to meet any benchmarks or requirements to do it.

They can design their own items, choose from numerous free custom apparel websites, and start earning a little money from merch they sell to their audience.

Many well-known influencers, like Bella Poarch and Charli D’Amelio, sell items like hoodies and tee shirts that match their brand aesthetic.

3. Ad revenue from other platforms

It’s not uncommon for TikTok creators to post content on other platforms, as well. This is a great way to build a big enough following to be a creator for a living, especially because other platforms offer other income streams. 

On YouTube, TikTok creators can post longer-form videos like vlogs and earn ad revenue right from YouTube.

For example, Loren Gray — one of the most-followed people on TikTok — has an equally impressive following on her YouTube channel, where she posts her music as well as glimpses of her daily routines.

For those who like things like gaming, art, or cooking, live streaming on Twitch can also bring in some extra revenue.

In fact, with a big enough following, some influencers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, a month from these platforms.

Becoming a full-time influencer

Influencers can make massive amounts of money from their TikTok platforms. Many of their viewers don’t realize just how complex a professional career as a creator can be, though.

Influencers have to become businesspeople as well as artists and organize numerous income streams to make a living.

With creativity and dedication, though, many influencers have made quite a living through their platform.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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