How to Use TikTok: A Step-by-Step Guide

To state the obvious, TikTok is dominating the social media landscape, becoming a gold mine of short, snackable content. Although it sounds exciting, how do you get started?

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Here are a handful of steps (with photos) to guide you through setting up your profile, filming your first video, adding special effects, and using challenges or duets to interact with other users .

Your account settings

1. Download the app and register.

Go to the App Store or Google Play and download TikTok. When you open it, TikTok makes it pretty easy to sign up. You can sign up instantly with Facebook, Gmail, or Twitter, or add a standard username and password if you don’t want to connect any of these accounts.

2. Set up your profile.

Once you’re signed in, you’ll be instantly taken to your video feed. I’ll show you how it works in step three. But first, tap the icon on the bottom right that looks like a person’s outline to view and edit your profile.

tiktok profile (1)

After entering your profile, tap the Edit Profile button, then select a profile photo or video. You should also add your username and bio information. If you want to showcase your other social media profiles, you can link your Youtube and Instagram pages. If you’re a business, this could be a useful way to advertise your other visual platforms.

Find videos and interact with users

3. View your video feed.

Now that you’ve set up your profile, tap the Home tab again to view your video feed.

feedtiktok (1)

Think of this channel like Twitter, but where video is the main content. If you don’t have followers yet, the app will send you random trending videos. As you start following and interacting with more people, your feed will become more personalized to your interests.

4. Like, comment or share the videos you like.

When you find a video you like, you can tap the heart to like it or the bubble to comment on it. To share the video, press the forward sign below the comment symbol to see your sharing options. All these symbols are on the right side of the video.

I like comments (1)

If you really like a video and want to see if the user has more posts you’ll like, swipe left to switch to their profile.

Swipe left on a TikTok video to see the creator's profile

5. Search for videos.

Tap the second tab, or the magnifying glass, to enter the app’s search area. In this tab, you can search for accounts or videos, or you can look below the search bar to see videos by trending topic.

tiktok search

6. Organize your saved videos with Collections

Once you start “liking” videos, you can watch them again in the Saved tab. But be warned: the Saved tab can get messy quickly. Fortunately, you can organize your favorite videos by categories, or as TikTok refers to them, Collections.

tiktok favoritesSource of the image

To access the collections, click the bookmark icon below the comment icon. Then press “+ Create New Collection” to add a collection. Sort your saved posts by topic (i.e. fitness, recipes, dog videos), aesthetics, or any other classification you want. In addition, you can create a collection of your favorite sounds, effects and hashtags.

7. Follow users.

If you want to keep up with a great video creator, you can follow them by pressing the icon that includes their profile picture and a plus sign.

follow tiktokIf you already know a TikTok account or a person you want to follow, you can search for them in the search bar and then press the “Users” filter.

follow the user on tiktok-18. Share your TikTok with TikCode.

Now that you have a TikTok, it’s time to share it everywhere. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a TikCode. A TikCode is a QR code unique to your profile that others can scan to quickly access your profile. It’s an ideal option if you meet a friend in person who wants to add you.


To find your own TikCode, go to your profile and access your settings. Then click on the QR code. This will open your unique code.

How to post on TikTok

9. Set up your photo and choose special effects.

Tap the center tab to enter camera mode. To face the camera in the correct direction, tap the Rotate icon at the top right. On the right side of the screen, you’ll also see icons for the following:

  • Speed: It allows you to record your video in slow or fast motion.
  • Beauty: A filter that can hide blemishes and smooth skin.
  • Filters: Allows you to change the camera’s color filter.
  • Timer: It allows you to set an automatic recording countdown if you want to shoot hands-free.
  • Flash
View of the TikTok app's camera screen

Sounds and effects

At the top center of the camera screen, you’ll also see musical notes with “Add a sound” next to it. Tap this to choose the music overlay or sound effect you want to work with.

sound tiktok

At the bottom of the camera, you’ll also see an effects icon on the right and an upload button on the left, in case you want to record your videos outside of the app.

When you tap the Effects button, you’ll see a giant array of AR filters and other special effects that can augment your face or the environment. You can also choose a video overlay style filter here.

AR Rabbit Face Filter Preview on TikTok

In the black bar below the camera, you can set the time limit for your video or tap Photo Template to create a photo slideshow instead of a video.

Use the time bar below the camera screen to set the video length on TikTok

10. Record the video.

When you’re ready, press and hold the red record button. You can record your video all at once or in chunks.

Record a video with a face and color filter on TikTok

If you want to fit different shots into each video or record it in chunks, just hold down the record button for each segment, release it, then hold it down again when you’re ready for your next photo

Don’t want to hold down the record button all the time? Before entering recording mode, you can also use the timer to give yourself enough time to prop your phone up and face it before it starts recording automatically.

Setting a video recording timer on TikTok

11. Make the final edits and add a subtitle to the video.

When you’re done recording your video, you can still add a music overlay, filters, and other basic special effects. You can also add stickers and text overlays on top of the video.

Add stickers and other effects to a video before posting it to TikTok

When you’re done, press Next. You’ll be taken to a page similar to Instagram’s post page where you can add a caption, relevant hashtags, and other people’s account IDs. You can also set video privacy, turn comments on or off, and allow duets or reactions.

Adjusting post settings and adding a caption to TikTok

If you’re not ready to post yet, just hit the Drafts button at the bottom left to save it for later.

12. Duet with other users.

See a music post you like? Want to join the person who made it? TikTok lets you reply with a Duet video. To use this earlier feature, find a video you want to duet with, press the Share button to see the sharing options, then press the “Duet” option in the bottom center row.

Using sharing options to start a Duet on TikTok

The camera screen will appear next to the video. From there, you can hit record and sing, dance, or do whatever you want with the music.

Recording a duet on TikTok

To show you what a finished product looks like, here’s a great example:

If you make a post and don’t want anyone to duet with you, you can tap the “Duet/React Off” button on your post page before you post it.

13. Participate in a challenge.

Like other social media platforms, you’ll occasionally see videos with hashtags for “challenges.” A challenge is when a video post, company, or person encourages users to film themselves doing something oddly specific, like putting the lid on a Chipotle bowl with no hands. Participants then film themselves doing the action and tag the name of the challenge in the captions of the post.

There are usually no winners in a TikTok challenge, but hashtagging it can help you get more followers or views as people find you when they search for the hashtag.

To give you a quick idea of ​​what participating in the challenge entails, here’s a video of someone doing the aforementioned #ChipotleLidFlip challenge:

A few takeaways from TikTok

While you’re brainstorming or shooting your first videos, here are some tips to help you create unique and engaging posts:

  • Have fun with the special effects. There are tons of ways to animate your video, and the TikTok audience expects it. So play and experiment with them.
  • Embrace the music. Most videos on the platform have some kind of background song or sound effect.
  • Shoot a few videos with multiple shots. This will make him feel more interesting and active.
  • Don’t be afraid to show a lighter side or sense of humor. People come to this platform to be entertained.
  • Use trendy hashtags and try a challenge video. Then include relevant hashtags in the post caption so that your video appears when people search for it.
  • See what other brands are doing. While your business may not need to jump on TikTok just yet, videos posted by other brands could inspire some ideas for your own strategy.

Yes, TikTok may seem like a new experimental platform right now, but it can be a great tool to engage and spread awareness among your younger audience. later.

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