Finding the right influencers on TikTok, Triller, and Reels

Songfluencer- finding the right influencer on TikTok, Triller, and Reels

 

Louis O’Reilly (LO) started his career in the music industry as an artist manager in Canada with a side-interest in computer programming. He is one of the most prominent figures in the Canadian market and a multiple winner for CCMA Manager of the Year and Record Company Person of the Year. We caught up with Louis to discuss his latest partnership with Songfluencer, an influencer marketing and tech company to match your music with key tastemaker influencers on music-forward social media apps like TikTok, Reels, Triller, and more.

 

MC:

Tell me basically how you came to be at Songfluencer. You’ve had a storied career.

 

LO:

My background is in artist management and independent record labels. I’ve run successful management operations in Canada and Nashville specializing in country music. But ever since high school, I’ve enjoyed computer programming as a hobby. Over the years I’ve been able to apply those skills to develop software for my own companies, and for other companies in the royalty and publishing space. When Sean and Johnny, the two founders of Songfluencer, came to me to sell their services, I asked them about what kind of software they were using. They said, “Well, we don’t have any yet”. It just happened that I had already developed code that was very similar to what they were looking for. I showed them what my software and programming skills could do and it fit in very nicely with the direction they wanted to take Songfluencer. And the rest is history. From there, I’ve driven the technology forward, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s been a great partnership.

 

MC:

Songfluencer’s mission statement is connecting artists with influencers, primarily on TikTok, Reels, and Triller. Do I have that right?

 

LO:

Yes, that’s right. Songfluencer first started with Instagram and Facebook. But as other platforms gained prominence in their ability to move music to consumers, most notably TikTok, we adapted and developed strategies to succeed with those platforms. But the Songfluencer technology is platform agnostic. If somebody wants Songfluencer to do a YouTube campaign, we could, because our software and team can handle that. But TikTok is the biggest platform for us at the moment. But we still do Instagram, Reels, and Triller campaigns when asked.

 

MC:

Got it. Before we dive into how that works, could you just give us a lay of the land from your perspective? How much do you think modern artists should be paying attention to both Reels and Triller?

 

 

 

LO:

We are keeping a close eye on Reels and Triller. They are both starting to pick up users, and their functionality is so similar to TikTok so there’s little to no learning curve. Who knows what market share they’ll have 12 months from now. However, currently I would recommend that artists pay a lot of attention to TikTok, see how their music is being used to make TitkToks and jump on board. It’s an amazing platform to push new music to consumers in short and creative ways. Obviously, Instagram and FaceBook are not going away and are still excellent for promoting the artist, music, tours, and connecting with fans. It’s very much a matter of where an artist feels their fanbase responds the best. There are artists with a huge fanbase on TikTok but low numbers on other platforms and vice versa. If an artist has a huge fanbase on Instagram, then maybe double down on Reels. Double down on what’s working but don’t be afraid to build on other platforms at the same time. Certainly, in terms of pure music promotion, where we see a direct effect between a strategic Songfluencer campaign and people falling in love with the song, that would live more on Tik Tok. There’s a greater chance of a viral spread on TikTok because there are just so many more users at this time.

 

MC:

Yeah, I guess they just surpassed Spotify as a streaming platform.

 

LO:

That’s right.

 

MC:

Take me through what a campaign looks like. I guess the offering is you have some music you want to get it exposed on and you guys have a network of influencers or do you approach influencers or is it a database? You mentioned software so maybe you’re seeking these out through digital means?

 

LO:

Yeah. We’ve developed some very specific tools to identify influencers that would be a great fit to promote music. Our proprietary software can match influencers to songs. Record labels, managers, or artists reach out to us and say, “I have this song. I think it’s great. I want to get more exposure and I want to do something on TikTok”. We have a team of highly experienced campaign managers who specialize in knowing the best sort of campaign for that particular type of song. We certainly want to work with the client to hear their ideas and vision for how they would like to promote the song. But most of the time the client is hiring us for our expertise and experience as we have run thousands of campaigns. We can step in and say, “Look, in this instance, with this song, we recommend running this type of campaign” then, as I said, we have a group within the office who have run hundreds and hundreds of campaigns. Our campaign and creative team, many of them are influencers themselves, know how to create content that is going to have some effect. So we sit with the song, come up with creative ideas, and then our back-end software has the ability to match influencers based on certain criteria. It brings influencers to the top of the pile and then each of our influencers has an app that is on their phone and they get a little pop-up notification that says “Hey, there’s this song and here’s the creative. Are you in or you out?” Within a few days we’ve assembled a team of dynamic influencers who are perfect for the campaign and who will do a great job at delivering for our customers. After the campaign is launched, our software tracks the progress on a daily basis to see how we’re trending. So we can see if we need to add more influencers or if we’re moving in the right direction and hitting or surpassing the numbers within the timeline. We’re very proud of our stellar record of campaign success.

 

MC:

Are you paying these influencers for the use of these songs? Are they doing it because they think it’s a good fit?

 

LO:

Yeah, these influencers are paid because they are content creators. Some get paid more than others. But if any influencer does enough campaigns for us, they can do pretty well. In some instances, we will add what we call “macro-influencers” to the campaign, and those people do get paid very well, and we’re not afraid to pay them the big dollars. But we find the sweet spot is with the mid-level influencers, where 10 people working a campaign can have a bigger impact than one big influencer. It just tends to lay a better base, spread more and have more tentacles out there than one big one. But sometimes the client wants the big name, and we have relationships with all of them. We’re happy to do that. But I would say the bulk of our campaigns are mid-level influencers who have a great following, who do a great job for us and the song, and are happy to be involved in promoting music.

 

MC:

Interesting. So when somebody approaches you with a particular song, do you guys volunteer advice as to whether or not it’s a good “TikTok song” or if it has viral lift? I don’t post on TikTok, but I spend some time on the platform and as I can tell, there are types of lyrics or types of sounds that seem to resonate. They’re similar in some way, shape, or form. Do you guys have an A&R process at all or volunteer what certain sections of the song should be used as a part of your campaign?

 

LO:

Yeah, we do, for sure. I have to give credit to the experience of our campaign and creative team. We have campaign managers who have been doing this for a while and have run hundreds of successful campaigns. Many of them are TikTok-er’s themselves. So they have not only experience but the intuition of what’s going to work and what’s not. Sometimes we’ve passed on songs, like when a client comes to us, they have a song, and we want to be upfront with them and say, “Look, we want to manage your expectations”. In the past, we’ve done songs with this sort of tempo or this sort of theme and it’s been very difficult for that campaign to grab a hold and spread. But sometimes it’s the concept as well. It’s not just the song, but the concept. The client will come to us with a concept for the TikTok video, and we know that these concepts have been done in the past, and haven’t really moved the needle and we try to steer them away from it and move into the concept that we know will take hold a bit more strongly. The sweet spot is obviously where the strength of the song and the strength of the concept merge and you have a real viral hit, and that’s what everybody wants. We are honest with our clients. We need to be because each campaign is like a child, and we want each to succeed.

 

MC:

Is there a genre that is stronger or weaker on TikTok orr is it pretty much mirroring what is just whatever popular music is at the time?

 

LO:

The more up-tempo dance-friendly music tends to do better than the slower stuff because it’s just more danceable and catchier. Overall, all genres of music work if you have an interesting and creative concept to support it. I think if you look at the variation on TikTok, you will see that all genres of popular music are represented likely in similar percentages to what you see in the real world. Country, rock, pop, rap, latin music does very well. Anything that does well off platform will do well on platform. We are also excited about the work we are doing with legacy catalogues. Some of these young kids have never heard of some of the artists or songs we work with, but I’m sure the parents would say “What? You’re doing a TikTok to this song? I loved that song in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s”. We are finding great success in reviving catalog and bringing old hits back to the forefront.

 

MC:

Amazing. Other than partnering with influencers, is there advice you would give for somebody who is just looking to build their TikTok following?

 

LO:

I would say just do it. You can’t drive a parked car. You got to get into gear. Start by getting on TikTok. Start creating your own content and testing the results. Try different things. There are tons of examples of great content online. Find examples that are close to your brand, that excite you, and give it a try yourself. There’s no shame in mimicking what’s already out there. There are also lots of training videos online that give you tips and tricks. But also don’t hesitate to reach out to Songfluencer. You might find out that these campaigns are less expensive and more effective than you thought. In the end, you just have to get started.

 

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