There’s something about livestreaming that feels so authentic and unfiltered. This makes it great for engaging your followers. TikTok’s LIVE feature is perfect for connecting with your audience and reaching new people on the app. In this in-depth guide, we show you how to go live on TikTok and use the feature to boost your brand’s TikTok engagement.

What is TikTok LIVE?

TikTok LIVE is a feature that lets you stream live broadcasts on the app. This creates an opportunity to interact with your audience in real-time. Like your regular TikTok videos, you can add filters and effects using LIVE.

The biggest difference with LIVE is that the video streams in real-time and can be any length. Meanwhile, regular TikTok videos can only be up to 10 minutes long and are pre-recorded before uploading to the platform. Additionally, there are certain restrictions on who can use LIVE, while every user can upload a regular video.

tiktok live video stream from user nasfromthegram

How to go live on TikTok step-by-step

Now it’s time to take TikTok LIVE for a spin. If you’re familiar with how to make a TikTok and you’ve gone live on other social networks, you should have no trouble learning how to livestream on TikTok. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go live on TikTok.

Step 1: Tap on the “+” button to open the camera. This is the same button that’ll let you record or upload your regular TikTok videos.

Step 2: From the navigation bar at the bottom, swipe and then select the option to go “LIVE.” If you don’t see this option, you may not be eligible to access the feature yet.

Step 3: Next, add details about your LIVE such as the title, topic and thumbnail. This step is super important as those details will give people an idea of what your stream is about. The right thumbnail and title could convince people to watch your TikTok LIVE even if they’ve never heard of you before.

As you can see below, the thumbnail is the first thing that will catch the eye. The title of the LIVE video tells people what the stream is all about and further entices them to tune in.

thumbnails for four tiktok live streams

Step 4: Once you’re ready to start your TikTok LIVE stream, tap on the red “Go Live” button at the bottom of your screen. That’s it. You’re finally going live on TikTok. During your broadcast, you’ll have the option to add effects and filters or flip your camera. TikTok even lets you add moderators or turn commenting on or off.

tiktok live screen with button to go live

The benefits of TikTok LIVE

If you’re already getting significant engagement on TikTok, you may be wondering if going live is really all that necessary. Here’s a look at why you should consider adding TikTok LIVE to your social media video marketing strategy:

Authentic, real-time engagement

With TikTok LIVE, interactions are happening in real-time. You can truly be your authentic self and relate to your audience. This allows for a genuine connection between you and your viewers, resulting in trust and loyalty. Your viewers can see you more as a friend they’re interacting with in real-time rather than a creator or a business account.

Free to use

The TikTok LIVE feature is free to use. That means any user can go live on the platform as long as they meet the requirements. In other words, you have a free tool to connect with your audience and boost your engagement.

Takes less time to produce

Let’s face it–TikTok videos aren’t easy to produce. There’s a lot of time, effort and brainstorming that goes into creating the perfect TikTok video. LIVE videos are more unplanned and spontaneous. They happen in real-time, which means they take much less time to produce than regular TikTok videos. So if you’re running out of video ideas or need an easy way to instantly engage your audience, going live on TikTok could be the answer.

Opportunity to earn money

If you’re a part of the TikTok Creator Next program, you’re also eligible to activate the LIVE Gifts feature and earn money from livestreaming. This feature allows your fans to send virtual Gifts such as a hand wave or a doughnut.

window with different tiktok live gift options

The Gifts will help you collect Diamonds, which you can then redeem with real money. So the more engagement and Gifts you receive on your livestreams, the more money you can earn.

Restrictions on TikTok LIVE

You don’t need to have a creator or business account to go live on TikTok. However, there are some age and follower count restrictions to access the TikTok LIVE feature. That means most users should be able to use the feature if they meet the minimum age requirement and have the minimum follower limit.

Who is eligible to go live on TikTok?

Users who are at least 16 years of age can launch a TikTok LIVE. While 13-year-olds can have an account, they’re limited to the TikTok for Younger Users ecosystem and can’t go live. This is one of the many measures that TikTok has in place to keep the platform safe for users of all ages.

Keep in mind that having the LIVE feature doesn’t automatically make you eligible to receive Gifts. To receive Gifts from fans during your livestream, you must be at least 18 years of age.

How many followers do you need on TikTok to go live?

In addition to meeting the minimum age requirement, you should also have at least 1000 followers on TikTok to go live. So if you plan on using this feature, you need to start by growing your following.

That said, the process of building a following takes time, which most people don’t have. If you want to use TikTok LIVE but you don’t have 1000 followers, one alternative is to join someone else’s livestream.

TikTok LIVE tips and ideas for better engagement

Since the ultimate goal of going live is to engage your audience, here are a few TikTok LIVE tips and ideas to help you drive better engagement:

1. Interact with your audience

The whole point of using TikTok LIVE is to engage with your audience. And more often than not, the live chat box is often bursting with questions from viewers. For example, the following TikTok LIVE about snakes is getting a lot of questions from curious viewers.

tiktok live session with questions in chat window

So take the opportunity to actively interact with them. Respond to their comments or answer their questions to let them know that you’re engaged, which could get them to reciprocate. You could even have entire livestreams dedicated to Q&A sessions.

Answering your audience’s questions is especially important during livestream shopping sessions. Viewers might have questions about the features and other product details before deciding to buy the item. So make sure to proactively respond and interact with relevant questions and comments.

2. Hold a discussion around a specific topic

One effective way to keep your audience engaged is by holding a discussion around their topic of interest. Choose a topic that’s relevant to your audience and use it as a subject of discussion for your LIVE session. You could then add your commentary or ask viewers to pitch in their thoughts, experiences or viewpoints. This is a great way to spark engagement among your viewers and get them to tune into the whole livestream.

3. Give shoutouts to your top fans/viewers

When you publicly acknowledge your biggest fans, it makes them feel valued. This gives them more reason to continue engaging with your TikTok LIVE. Give your top fans or viewers a shoutout during your livestream and let them know you appreciate them. This is especially important if a viewer sends you a Gift. Make sure you publicly thank them, which might even inspire others to also send you Gifts.

4. Provide a look into your creative process

The spontaneous and real-time nature of LIVE offers a great way to take your viewers behind the scenes into your creative process. Use your livestream to show them what you’re working on or how you typically create your content.

For example, an artist could launch a livestream as they make a new art piece. A food content creator could live-stream their trip to the grocery store as they pick up items for a new video. If you’re running a TikTok account for your business, you could also give viewers a tour of your store or your factory.

5. Start out strong

The first few seconds of your LIVE session give people an idea of what to expect. So avoid starting out with uncertainties such as, “Can you hear me?” or similar phrases. Instead, start out strong with a cheerful and structured greeting to welcome your viewers and make them want to keep watching.

6. Make the most of a moderator

While responding to your audience is important, that doesn’t mean every comment deserves an answer. Paying attention to rude or harassing comments can ruin the whole vibe of your livestream. Instead, have a moderator remove inappropriate comments and maintain a safe and fun environment.

7: Choose your timing wisely

It’s not too likely that you’ll attract tons of viewers if you go live while everyone is sleeping or at work. Make sure you go live at a time when your audience is most likely to tune in. Use the Sprout Social TikTok analytics report to find out which post timings work best on the platform. This will give you a better sense of the right time to launch a TikTok LIVE.

Ready to go live on TikTok?

Now you know exactly how to go live on TikTok and how to use the feature to boost engagement. You can further improve your TikTok strategy by closely monitoring your TikTok analytics to see what works with your audience.