How to Use TikTok – A Beginner’s Guide

Since its release in 2016, TikTok has grown an immense user base. The app was merged with an existing app called Musically, which had been around even longer. At first, TikTok was only popular in Asia, but it spread like wildfire through North America, and soon became popular worldwide.

Like Snapchat and Instagram, TikTok originally had a mostly younger audience, but that changed over time. The app has recently passed the one billion downloads mark, and it’s no wonder everyone wants to be a part of it.

Read on for a detailed beginner’s guide and learn how to use TikTok.

Start Using TikTok

Getting into TikTok is really easy and intuitive. All you need is a stable internet connection, a pair of headphones (unless you live alone, then you can blast your speakers on maximum volume!), and a device to run it on.

Nearly all devices are supported, you can either download the designated mobile app for your platform or use the browser version. We suggest using the app because it’s simpler and more features.

Go ahead and visit your device’s official app store, download, and install TikTok. Here are the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Amazon App Store links to save you some trouble.

The installation is simple, just follow the on-screen instructions. When you launch the app for the first time, you should sign up for an account. If you don’t, you can view content on TikTok, but you won’t be able to upload any videos of your own.

There are various signup options, from signing up with other social media accounts, e.g. Instagram or Facebook, to a more standard method, email or mobile phone sign up. When signing up with the latter method, TikTok will give you a randomly generated username which you can freely change at any point.


How Does TikTok Work

TikTok isn’t your regular social media platform. It’s a blend of streaming platform, messaging app, social media app, and here’s the best part, a meme generator. Overall, it offers a very fun experience for both the viewers and the content creators.

By the way, if you have aspirations in that direction, note that many people who went on to become famous got some sweet sponsorship deals on TikTok. Some big brands use the app, including Google, NBA, Calvin Klein, and many others.

The competition on TikTok is brutal, there are way too many talented singers, musicians, comedians, and other content creators around. Most TikTokers that trend on the app become famous outside of it too, and find success in other places as well.

A good way to start trending on TikTok is to use the platform’s popular hashtags, participate in its challenges, and find your own niche, something you excel at.


How to Browse TikTok

Now that you’ve learned a little background info, let’s get back to practical advice for navigating the app. Once you’ve signed up, better change your username right away. Here’s how:

  1. Log into TikTok.
  2. Tap on the profile icon in the bottom-right of your screen.
  3. Select Edit Profile and enter a new username. We suggest uploading a profile picture or video and writing a short and interesting bio.

Next, you should know that all TikTok profiles are set to be public. You can change that if you don’t want strangers having access to your profile. Go to privacy settings on your profile page and change your account to private.

As stated before, TikTok is really easy to get into. You can start watching videos right away on the home page. The For You page uses the app’s algorithm to determine what content you might be interested in, based on your previous viewing history.

When you swipe left on your mobile device, you can access the Following tab. In this feed, you’ll see only uploads from the profiles that you follow. It’s really easy to follow people from the featured page, just tap on their user name and tap on following.

You can also use the search bar on TikTok to look for specific users (the best way to add your friends), but you can also use it to search for videos or hashtags and songs.

How to Record a TikTok

Since you know the basics already, let’s go over the instructions for recording your first TikTok. Note that TikToks only last up to 15 seconds (similar to Vines, if you remember those). Follow these steps:

  1. Launch TikTok on your mobile device.
  2. Press the plus icon near the bottom of the home screen.
  3. TikTok will use your camera to start recording. Prior to doing so, feel free to add some music for the background. Of course, you can do that later if you want to record the video first. You can also use the video timer option if you want to record hands-free.
  4. Do a test recording. Then, you can edit the video and add various filters. Select Effects to select one. Tap the Beauty option if you want to do a slight makeover on the app.

These were just the basics, but you’ll get the hang of more complicated options on the go. You can chain several TikToks together if you feel like 15 seconds isn’t long enough (up to one minute, in fact). The only way to upload even longer clips is to have them recorded elsewhere and uploaded on TikTok from your device’s gallery.

When you’re done recording, you can select to share the video on various platforms and of course, TikTok.

Get to Work

That’s it for today. Now you’re on your own. You only got the training wheels here, learning how to ride the TikTok train is totally up to you. The more you use this great app, the more you’ll discover. When you get more proficient at making TikToks, you can even use the Duet feature with your friends.

The options are practically endless, and so is the fun to be had. Who’s your favorite TikToker? What about your favorite track on TikTok? Let us know in the comments section below.

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