One of the best ways to reach more TikTok users and attract them to your specific type of content is to learn how to go live on TikTok. This is one of the fastest-growing and most popular platforms in the social media industry. Typically, you would post pre-recorded videos on the platform, but going live is becoming increasingly popular, it drives engagement and offers additional benefits.
- TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users, catching up to YouTube (2.2B) and Facebook (2.9B)
- In 2022, TikTok was a leading mobile app by downloads, with a total of 672 million downloads
- TikTok was the first non-Facebook mobile app to hit 3 billion downloads globally
- TikTok’s revenue from in-app purchases has exceeded Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter combined by $205 million in Q1 2023
What Is Going Live on TikTok?
Going live on TikTok means live-streaming from your device for the purpose of offering your content to the platform’s users. Anyone can access and watch your live stream, regardless of whether or not they follow you. This is because your livestream can appear on the For You page of other users.
In order to go live on TikTok, you must use the platform’s TikTok LIVE feature. The feature was introduced in 2019, as the platform started coming up with new ways of increasing user engagement with the creators. It was introduced as a place to be for real-time fun, expression, and creativity.
Since then, TikTok LIVE has also introduced gifts and donations to the content creator or streamer. That way, the creator’s loyal community gets the chance to support them financially and allow them to continue creating interesting content.
In this guide, we will explore the requirements of going live and the potential benefits of doing so. After that, we will also describe the process of going live in a step-by-step guide.
Benefits of Going Live on TikTok
Initially, TikTok was created to allow users to post pre-recorded videos that are made and edited within the platform itself. It offers a variety of filters and other features and additions that allow the creator to make the videos (called TikToks) more interesting and fun.
Livestreaming on TikTok offers most of these same options. The only difference is that you are performing live in front of your audience. With pre-recorded videos, you can shoot the video over and over before publishing it if you are not satisfied with some aspect of your performance. As the name suggests, TikTok LIVE is live, so this might take some getting used to if you are only familiar with posting videos.
One of the greatest benefits of livestreamed content of all kinds is authenticity. Your followers and viewers feel like they are getting to see the real you instead of a highly planned-out video that required 50 takes to master.
However, TikTok is far from the only social media platform offering live streaming. In fact, today, it is hard to find a platform that doesn’t offer some equivalent of live streaming. Facebook has Facebook Live, YouTube has YouTube Live, and there are also Instagram Live, Twitter Spaces, and alike.
What makes TikTok LIVE different is the ease of making money, as community members have a simple way of donating money, rivaled only by Twitch.tv, which was specifically built for live streaming and paid subscriptions/donations. Live streaming on TikTok can also enhance community connections, boosts engagement metrics, and increases follower count.
This is because direct interactions with the streamer are always more interesting to the community than simply watching and commenting on a preplanned video.
TikTok LIVE has always been represented among the platform’s users, but its popularity tends to skyrocket whenever a new trend emerges. The latest example of this came with the so-called NPC streamer trend, where streamers act like video game characters for user entertainment in exchange for donations.
The trend has provoked different reactions, with some cringing at it while others have found it quite fun. However, all seem to have engaged at least to check it out, and that is the biggest benefit — attracting donations, views, comments, likes, and user engagement, in general.
TikTok LIVE Requirements
According to TikTok’s rules, there are several requirements that one must fulfill before being able to go live. The first one is that the streamer must be 18 years old or more. In order to eliminate child exploitation, TikTok demands that the streamer is an adult.
Another major requirement is that you need to have at least 1,000 followers in order to go live. However, many have found ways to achieve this requirement with relative ease just to gain the ability to start the live stream.
TikTok also requires that the host remains active during their live stream, and if the platform detects a prolonged period of inactivity in the LIVE room, it will require users to complete the website’s verification and prove that they are still there and still paying attention. If the host fails to complete the verification, TikTok will shut down the LIVE room on its own.
This was set to discourage some trends, like users recording themselves as they sleep, which has become surprisingly popular on Twitch. Unlike its videos, the platform does not have a time limit on LIVE recordings, but it still requires users to create content and not just leave the stream running with nothing happening.
How to Go Live on TikTok Step-By-Step
TikTok is a very user-friendly platform, so going live is quite easy. Still, for the purpose of transparency and general ease of use, we have prepared a step-by-step guide that will show you exactly what you need to do to go live yourself.
Meet TikTok LIVE’s Requirements
The first step is taken before going live, so you can consider it a preparation for the actual stream. It involves you, as the streamer, fulfilling the platform’s requirements. The largest requirement here is to gather 1,000 or more followers, which may take some time, depending on how many you have already.
The best way to do it is to focus on making good, interesting content and post it regularly. That content depends on you, your talents, and your interests, but generally, anything intriguing, interesting, and funny generally attracts followers rather quickly. That said, we suggest not directly copying trends and other creators. This is generally frowned upon by the TikTok community, and chances are that you will sooner lose followers for doing so.
The platform appreciates originality and innovation, so even if you are reacting to some content, making it your own through interesting and unique reactions is necessary. Essentially, make sure that you are adding to the original video and not just staring at the screen as it happens.
One thing that some have tried doing is buying followers, which is possible, like on any platform. However, this is a very risky move that is generally inadviseable. Not only can you end up being scammed out of your money, but even if you do manage to buy followers, TikTok might detect it and ban you from the platform, as purchased followers are against the platform’s policy and terms of service.
With that out of the way, here is what you must do to start streaming on TikTok LIVE.
1. Enter Create mode
The first step is to open your TikTok app and tap the Create icon located at the bottom of the screen. This big (+) icon allows you to enter the create mode and record videos.
2. Select TikTok LIVE
Select the “LIVE” option from the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, which should be located next to Templates, if you fulfill the platform’s requirements
3. Customize your feed
At this point, the app will allow you to see a preview of your video feed. Here. you can add a title to your live stream, turn comments on or off, add filters and effects, select other connected social media platforms to share your livestream through, and even select a charity if you wish to contribute to one through TikTok LIVE.
4. Go Live
That’s about all there is to it. Once you complete the third step and customize your live stream, you can simply tap the Go Live button and start streaming.
How to Maximize Engagement While Going Live on TikTok
In order to earn money on TikTok LIVE, you will have to do some planning and be strategic about it.
Obviously, your main goal is to build a strong following. This is why buying followers is not ideal. Yes, you might avoid TikTok banning you, and you might be able to turn on TikTok LIVE, but then what? None of your followers are real individuals, so none of them will be there to watch your content and donate. Real prospective followers may see that you have a lot of followers but extremely low engagement and think that you either bought followers or are uninteresting.
Instead, the recommended approach is taking the slower path and attracting the actual community through good content. Your community members will be there for you and stay loyal to you for months, and even years, as long as you continue to upload and stream.
However, it is also important to know who you want to attract. Based on the content you wish to create, you must know who your target audience is and when is the best time to stream for them to be able actually to show up. In terms of content, you should make sure that it is engaging and interesting enough for them. Much of your community will likely show up to check out your LIVE, but it is your job to make sure that they: 1) Stay and 2) Return next time. This will require engaging content.
Also, to maximize engagement, make sure to promote your live sessions on other social media platforms, just in case your users have TikTok notifications disabled. That way, they might see when you are going to be live on Instagram, X, Facebook, Threads, and alike.
When your viewers do show up, remember to interact with them through live chat. They are there for you as much as they are for your content. Do not ignore them unless the nature of your content demands you do so. It might also help to use hashtags to attract new viewers who may not be your followers.
As for how to attract actual donations, it might be helpful to encourage gifts and tips and maybe even reward them in some way. You should consider setting up goals and rewards that will make tips and donations rewarding for the community members. That way, they will enjoy donating just as much as you will enjoy receiving donations.
Most importantly, try to have fun (viewers can tell if you aren’t enjoying it), be consistent, and show your appreciation for them by showing up and donating gifts in any way you can.
How to Analyze and Improve Your TikTok LIVE Performance
Once you start using TikTok LIVE for some time, you will start seeing patterns in your metrics, such as viewer count, engagement rate, followers gained, and alike. It is useful to keep an eye on these stats in order to determine how well you perform and whether it is necessary to change something.
If your content is not attracting views, you might have to change your approach and improve your stream in one way or the other. This will largely depend on what type of content you intend to stream, so it will be mostly individual. However, always try to improve the quality of your streams by improving your setup, tools and props, if you use any, your reactions and general behavior on stream to be more engaging and reactive to the viewers’ engagement and alike.
It will likely take several streams for you to see whether your numbers are improving, dropping, or staying the same. In the end, the more creative you get, the more viewers your streams are likely to attract.
Is Going Live on TikTok Right for You?
One last thing to consider is whether or not going live on TikTok is the right move for you or not. Anyone can go live, assuming they meet the platform’s requirements, but the real question is whether or not this is the right approach for you. Some users have tried going live only to realize they are not as comfortable with it as they thought. Others have found it too exhausting to perform, especially on a regular basis, which is necessary for growth.
You should also be clear about what you are trying to achieve and why you are doing it in the first place. Some streamers seek to earn donations and use TikTok LIVE as a source of income. Others seek popularity and followers. There are also those who seek popularity for the success of their business, which they promote, and potentially conduct using TikTok LIVE.
Apart from that, your strategy also requires that you know who your audience is, what your strategy involving content is, and more. In other words, you must have clear goals and be aware of your target audience and whether or not there is demand for what you intend to do. And, to top it all off — all of that comes only if you are sure that you can satisfy that demand, and continue to perform regularly, and come up with engaging content as you do so.
It is definitely not easy to balance all of these different aspects of streaming on TikTok LIVE, but if you manage to do it, you might find it quite rewarding in more ways than one.