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A Beginner’s Guide to Get You Started With TikTok

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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Ready to finally join TikTok? Whether you want to follow your favorite celebrities or post videos yourself, you’ll need to know how to use TikTok in order to get started.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover all the basics — from creating an account and navigating the app to sharing your first video.

Tip: Click the link above to jump to a specific section or continue scrolling through to learn everything about one of Gen-Z’s favorite apps.

What Is TikTok?

If you remember Vine, you may already know what TikTok is all about. TikTok is a video-sharing social media app that lets users create and share 15- and 60-second videos in length.

Unlike Vine videos which were only 6 seconds long, TikTok videos can go up to 60 seconds. That way, the app gives users plenty of time to be more creative and experimental with their videos.

The app is more of a combination of Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter’s best features. Like most other social media apps, users can like, comment, and share the videos (more on that later).

Who Uses TikTok?

With more than 1 billion monthly active users, almost everyone uses TikTok nowadays. Users are fairly evenly spread between the type of devices they use the platform on, gender, and location.

The only significant group is younger people from the age of 16 to 24 making up 41% of the user base.

This huge following on the app started to bring companies, celebrities, and professionals to the platform as well. In September 2019, TikTok and the NFL announced a partnership with an official NFL account.

Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon, Tony Hawk, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne Johnson also make great use of the app, sharing comedy and cool videos of art.

How Does TikTok Work?

The app works as a social media platform centered around short videos with music and audio. It also allows users to edit their videos with simple features such as filters, music, animation, special effects, and more. 

Once a user makes a video, they can upload it to almost any other social media platform. This makes it easy to use alongside Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Most users create comedy content or show off their unique talents.

How to Create a TikTok Account?

When first opening the app, you are not greeted with a create account option. Instead, they show recent videos for you to browse.

However, creating an account is still a simple process. Here are a simple set of steps to create an account:

1. Download the App and Sign Up

Download the TikTok app from the App Store or Google Play store, then open the app. Tap anywhere on the recent videos feed. The recent videos feed is what pops up when you open the app.

After tapping the recent videos feed, a signup button will pop up with the message You need a TikTok account to continue.

You can choose to sign up with your phone or email or just connect your TikTok account to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Google account.

Once you choose how you would like to sign up, the app prompts you to enter your birthday. Enter your birthday here, then press continue.

If you’d like to enable two-factor authentication, enter your phone number or email address on the next screen.

Once you enter your phone number or email address, the app sends you a four-digit code to confirm your information.

Next, you create your password, then click next, which opens a reCAPTCHA authentication. Simply check the I’m not a robot box, then hit continue. You now have a TikTok account.

2. Set Up Your Profile

Once you created your account, next you’ll need to set up your profile.

set up TikTok profile account
Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Tap on your profile icon at the bottom right corner, tap the Edit Profile button, then select a profile photo or video.

From there, you can add your username and bio information. You can link other social media accounts (like Instagram, YouTube) to your profile.

How to Use TikTok

Now that you’ve created your account, it’s time for you to learn how to use TikTok. Below you’ll find all the basics to help you share your first TikTok video.

1. Navigating TikTok

While it can seem overwhelming at first, once you get used to the navigation of TikTok it becomes second nature.

Navigating TikTok app
Navigating TikTok. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

Like Instagram and Vine, TikTok videos are vertical. As soon as you open the app, a vertical video will start playing. You might see an ad, too.

1.1 Top

On the top of the app, you’ll see two buttons, Following and For You

The For You tab will be selected by default. This pulls up a stream of videos tailored to your interests, similar to how Instagram’s Explore page works.

To navigate to the Following section, simply tap the Following button on the app. This brings up a stream of videos created by everyone you follow.

1.2 Right Side

On the right side of the screen, there is a column of five buttons.

  • A circle with a photo
  • A Heart
  • A speech bubble (sometimes with a gift icon) 
  • An arrow pointing to the right 
  • A spinning record with emanating music notes

Here’s what each of these buttons does:

The first icon shows the profile photo of the creator with plus sign at the bottom so you can follow them easily.

You can also swipe left to navigate to the creator’s profile. You will see more of a creator’s videos on the Following tab once you follow them.

Below that, you’ll find a comment and a heart button, which work in the same way as most other social media platforms.

At the bottom is a forward button to send the video you’re watching to any of your friends or other platforms.

The button below this set of four buttons with music notes emerging from it shows the song playing on the video. Pressing this button pulls up the name of the song and the artist’s name.

The song and artist’s name are also displayed on the bottom left right below the title and hashtags of the video.

1.3 Bottom

A row of five icons on the very bottom of your screen is the main navigation buttons.

  • Home
  • Discover
  • A plus sign
  • Inbox
  • Profile

The Home button brings you to your home page with videos of everyone you follow. To search for specific creators, press the Discover button.

To send a private message to someone, just press the Inbox button. This is also where you will find any private messages and notifications sent to you.

The button Me on the right of this row shows your profile with the videos you’ve posted to the app.

1.4 Left Side

On the left side, you’ll find the creator’s name, along with a short description of the video. Below that, there’s the name of the song and the artist. You’ll also find the hashtags, if there’re any.

2. How to Make a TikTok Video

Now that you know how to use TikTok, it’s time to make your first TikTok video.

The instructions below will walk you through the steps.

  • First, tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen. The camera window will open where you can start recording your video.
  • Tap the Flip icon in the top right of the screen to face the camera in the right direction.
how to make a TikTok video
  • On the top center of the camera screen, you’ll see a music icon with the word “Sounds” next to it. Tap this to either add a music track before or after you shoot your video.

On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a set of icons. Here’s what each does:

  • Speed: Allows you to record your video in slow motion or sped up.
  • Beauty: An AR filter that can erase dark shadows under your eyes, etc.
  • Filters: Allow you to change the color filter of the camera.
  • Timer: Let you set up set the time limit of your video. That way, you don’t have to continue holding down the record button.
  • Flash: Allows you to turn on/off your camera flashlight.

At the bottom, you’ll see the video length icons, which let users record videos for 15 and 60 seconds.

On the right side, you’ll see the photo icon and photo templates. Tap these to add photos/videos from your device or download pre-made photo templates from the app.

On the left-hand side, you’ll see the effect icon. Tap this to add AR filters and other special effects to your video.

You’ll see an array of cool AR effects. Take your time to play around and experiment with them and take the one that better fits your video.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it. Now you know how to use TikTok! We’ve shared all the basics to get you started on the right foot with this vide-sharing app.

We think you’ll love TikTok. It’s constantly innovating and releasing new features that make the user experience fun and engaging. Go ahead and share your first TikTok.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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