How to Become TikTok Famous

Part 3: How to do brand deals

Welcome back,

We’re loving how much support our past couple of newsletters have received, but won’t let the fame go to our heads… we must keep delivering great content.

So far we have covered:

  • Setting the boat in the right direction BEFORE you sail

  • Choosing your niche

  • How often to post

  • The necessity of perseverance

  • What happens when your content goes viral

  • How to utilize the momentum of a viral video

  • The importance of sprinkling personality into your videos

So, if you missed any of that, you can catch up on our previous posts here

Today we are going to be talking about a very mysterious and often unspoken about side of being a social media star: how to make money via brand deals.

So let’s get into it…

How to line up brand deals

Okay so everything is going well, it’s been a few months and you have sustained your audience growth... understandably you are now starting to think about how you could make some of that “influencer bag” that everyone talks about.

Your first port of call should be brand deals. Why? well, they are quick, pay well and require little to no risk/outlay from your side (besides your time, energy and enthusiasm… oh and of course, access to your huge audience).

The good news is, advertisers are LOSING THEIR MINDS for TikTok right now, so you are definitely in the right place at the right time.

The bad news is, there’s a lot of competition out there - the supply of TikTok stars who want to do brand deals far outweighs the number of brands looking to spend - but don’t worry, we can put you ahead of the rest.

We get asked a lot; “how big do I need to be to do a brand deal”, there is no hard and fast rule here, but to give some guidance; 500k followers feels good, 100k+ views per video also feels good… anything lower and you’re going to be swimming upstream a bit.

But obviously this totally depends; some brands will work with micro-influencers, some brands will be looking to associate with influencers who have a certain look or style and will care less about the numbers…

But ultimately, the bigger your audience, the more enticing you will be for a brand partner.

Let’s clear something up too: “your audience” means your follower count and engagement rates.

Your follower count on TikTok does matter to brands. We don’t know why it does, but the cold hard truth is just that it does…

Now for those of you at the back, scratching your heads wondering why I would imply that followers don’t matter, let me spell this out;

TikTok is a completely algorithmic platform, far more so than any previous platforms. You can have 1000 followers and be getting huge views or vice-versa you can have a million followers and get thousands of views.

Which basically means, your follower account doesn’t really affect how many views your videos get (well, much much less so than platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram)

For example; look at the below two accounts - which would you rather spend your advertising dollars with:


Followers are vanity, engagement is sanity.

So, in a normal logical world - advertisers wouldn’t care about how many followers an influencer has and purely measure average views and engagement as the sole indicator of size.

However, the world of media and advertising is weird and completely illogical. It’s something that we tried to fight in the early days, but over time have just become accustomed to.

Follower count has this strange legacy behind it as the de-facto means of measuring someones clout and it doesn’t look like that is gonna be changing any time soon.

That’s not to say that advertisers won’t pay attention to engagement metrics too, especially more savvy brands will be looking carefully at your views, comments and requesting information on your audience demographics.

But yes, ultimately your follower count on TikTok does matter to advertisers.

Okay so let’s move on. You’re confident that you have a strong audience and that advertisers should be working with you. How do you go about getting a brand deal?

You may have already received DMs from some small companies *cough* Bang Energy *cough* requesting you to promote their products in exchange for a tiny fee or perhaps some kind of affiliate cut of sales (use code SAMSMITH10 for 10% off your first order) - DO NOT DO IT, delete the DMs and pretend you never saw them.

These kinds of brand deals are unsustainable, aren’t good for your personal image and often grossly under pay.

Instead, sit down and write a list of 20-50 big brands that

1) You genuinely like and/or use

2) You feel could integrate into your style of content quite seamlessly

3) You know your audience will like/appreciate

You need to identify brands who are big enough that they have real money to spend, are somewhat active on social media and (to the best of your understanding) will be excited about the prospect of connecting with your audience.

For example, If your audience predominantly comprises of 16-21 year old females in Italy, then it is highly unlikely that Old Spice will see any benefit from working with you, but for Versace you could be exactly what they are looking for in their next big campaign.

Once you have identified your hit list, a quick and easy place to start is to simply engage with the brands on their social media channels; drop a comment, duet their video, flirt with them a bit and show them that you’re interested.

Brands love it when they can see that an influencer actually likes their product or service, it is authentic and shows that there’s a genuine affinity there.

Okay, so you have your list and you’ve begun engaging with your target brands.

Now - if you want to message the brands yourself, the way I would do this is:

1) Identify a key contact on the brands social media team (use LinkedIn to find them) titles to go for are: “Influencer Marketing” “Social Media Manager” “Talent Manager” “Community Manager” “Head of Social”.

2) Find their email address (you can use websites like RocketReach to find their email address)

3) Draft up a short email introducing yourself as a fast-growing TikTok star that loves their brand and would be interested to explore ways you can work together as you know your huge audience will love their brand

4) Cross your fingers

However, I personally would suggest not doing it that way and instead finding someone who can do it for you…

Find yourself an agent who is well versed in securing influencer partnerships with brands. Meet with them and ask them to show you examples of partnerships they have secured in the past, ask them what their process is and agree on your commercial terms (they will be taking a cut of your deals).

Give your agent the list of brands that you compiled earlier and ask them nicely to reach out and pitch you and make sure they tell the brands that you are a big fan. If the agent is good, they will secure deals for you.

Remember, as with most things in business - it is just a numbers game. If you put yourself out there enough, you will eventually find an advertiser that wants to work with you.

But next comes the tricky part; how to make the brand deals work for you, your client and your audience. The golden triangle.

And we’ll leave you on that note as a cliffhanger for next week where we will be discussing:

  • How to execute brand deals

  • How to eventually diversify revenue

Thanks for reading

James, Nick & Dev