Montana Tucker’s How-to Guide to Going Viral on TikTok

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Photo Source: Jessica Che

Montana Tucker is a multihyphenate in the truest sense: singer, songwriter, dancer, and iHeart Radio Award-winning social media creator. She has grown a rapturous fan base to the tune of 2.4 million Instagram followers, over a million views on YouTube, and 7.3 million TikTok followers. Her social media clout has also helped shape her music career, as Tucker was signed to Pitbull’s record label, Mr.305 Inc. by Mr. Worldwide himself. Her hit single “Hola” quickly found TikTok popularity with the creation of the #HolaChallenge, and this summer she will also release her single “Be Myself.” Here, she chats about doing it all and then some. 

How did you come to posting content on TikTok? What do you like about that platform in particular? 
I’m so grateful for the TikTok platform. I was actually a little bit late getting onto it; I always heard about it and never really understood what it was. And the second I got on it, I just became fascinated with it. Nowadays with social media, it’s so hard to [not] compare your life to others’ and [not] feel like you have to be perfect all the time. On other platforms I feel like you always have to put your best version of yourself out there. And for me, TikTok has been a way to express myself, really. I put the most random things on there—never going against my brand and what I believe in—but, I put funny videos of my mom and my grandma and of my friends doing funny challenges… I feel like on TikTok, anyone’s videos can take off, right? Like, somebody can be in their room one day, on a super small channel, and all of a sudden their video has a million views. I think it’s cool how it gives everybody a chance. 

Can you take me through the actual process for making one of your TikToks? From rehearsal to shooting to editing and uploading and getting it out there? 
A big thing for me is I love to collaborate with different people. So, I’m always looking for new people to collaborate with, or to collaborate with a very diverse group of people where we all have something different [to offer]. I think also, especially for TikTok, looking on the “For You” page and seeing what’s trending [is useful]. Also, of course, I love to create my own trends and when I release music, I create a dance challenge for my songs, and I have new music coming out so I’m excited to create more challenges for that. And so I think the process is really always different. It just depends on if there’s a song that I’m inspired to do or a trend that I’m inspired to do. I always try to make it my own and do something slightly different. But I think the biggest thing for me is collaborating with different types of people. I think that’s what keeps my stuff interesting and fun and that’s what keeps it fun for me, honestly. 

How has social media and TikTok in particular shaped or informed your approach to your other creative endeavors? 
I think 2020 for me personally with social media, was the biggest year of my life. It was just life-changing and so beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined. I think with social media, growing on there and growing the fanbase and growing my platforms, obviously that’s helped my music. I released two songs during the pandemic and I wasn’t able to go out and promote it like normal. So I had to slowly just promote it over TikTok and social media. And my song “Hola” got over 50,000 different videos made to it on TikTok, which is really cool, because I’m so used to doing other people’s songs or other people’s challenges. I think everyone nowadays realizes the power of TikTok and social media. They’re like, “OK, what’s gonna do well on TikTok? That’s how other artists who didn’t even do social media before are talking to me now, like, “Hey, do you like this? Do you think this will work for Tik Tok?”

How do you go about growing your fanbase through social media so quickly and organically?
I’m just so hands-on with everything I do. No one else has access to my social media, I do it all myself and I’m so involved with all my followers and fans. I consider them friends and family and I’m so grateful that they support everything I do. I think why it’s growing and it’s moving is because I’m very personal with all the people that follow me. And I’m so grateful, I sit there and like every single comment. I’m filming every single day and so I am puting out a lot of content and I am creating it, but I’m also on the back end once I do post, thanking everybody. I think that’s why the fans are more loyal and staying and why it’s like a family, you know? Everyone’s kinda rooting for each other. It’s crazy but a lot of my fans have now become friends from being fans of mine, which is the cutest thing in the world. They’re like these 12-year-old girls that were being bullied at school, and now they have all these new friends and it just makes me so happy. But I think that’s why it continues to grow.  

Why do you find it so important to engage with your fans? Are there any other ways in addition to liking comments you have found to effectively do so? 
I think the responding is the biggest thing. Because, listen, there are times my friends and family are like, ‘Hey you need to get off your phone, because you’re just on it way too much,’ but literally all I’m doing on my phone is replying to comments and answering and looking at my DMs and everything. And I think it’s so important because they want to feel a part of what I’m doing and I want them to feel a part of what I’m doing every day, and I feel as if they know how long it takes to do certain things or feel that they know they have someone there caring for them. So I think the biggest thing for me is really trying to answer as many DMs as I can and comments and liking and all of those things. I also have done little giveaways, like I made these bracelets for my song “Hola,” and I do these little things to thank them all the time. And I’m gonna be doing a big contest for, not my next song but the song that’s coming after that, that I’m gonna involve them in. So I think it’s just always finding new ways to keep them involved in everything I do. 

What advice do you have for other artists who want to get their content out there but are unsure where to start and how to find an audience? 
Really utilize TikTok and Instagram and look up hashtags for things that are relevant to what you’re doing. If you’re trying to be a singer, look up the hashtag “cover song” or “cover singer” or “singer” and look at what people that are succeeding on the app are doing or how they’re doing it. On TikTok, anything goes. If you’re a doctor and you wanna give doctor tips, look that up and you can find ways to do [so]. There are so many apps now that make it easy to edit. I’m the worst at editing. But there are so many apps that really help you and make it so easy. So I think if you wanna do something, just do your research as you would for any job. Really look at what people are doing, follow the people that are similar to what you wanna do, see how they’re doing things. Of course, make it your own and don’t copy. But something that actually is accepted on TikTok is copying, which is weird. It’s like a trend, right? TikTok kind of encourages the trends. I always suggest making your own if you can. But I think the researching part of it is to really, really look through what people are doing that are similar to you or what you wanna do, and then see how you can do that and make it your own. 

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