How To Use TikTok: A Complete Guide For Beginners

Every day, it seems like more and more people and brands are figuring out how to use TikTok to their benefit. It’s the newest social media platform to take the Internet by storm, and though it began as a dance and lip-sync app that was most popular among teenagers, throughout 2020 it has grown to be more popular among adults as well.

As with any new platform that’s growing, businesses are finding out how to use TikTok to their advantage to connect with and grow an audience, as well as to promote their products.

If you’re still new to the TikTok game, don’t worry – you’re still ahead of many people and businesses. The sooner you’re on the platform, the better, so let’s walk through how to use it from setting up an account to marketing.

How To Set Up An Account

Creating an account on TikTok is easy. Begin by going to the app store of your mobile device and downloading the free app. Then, it’s time to create your account.

There are actually a few different ways you can create your account. You can link it to your Facebook account, your Apple account (if you’re using an iPhone) or your Google account. Or, if you don’t have these or don’t want to link your accounts, you can create a new account using your phone number or email address.

It’s important to note that you can only have one account associated with a particular phone number and email address, so if you already have an account, you’ll need to use a different set of contact information for your second account.

No matter which way you choose, TikTok will walk you through the steps to sign up, asking for a password, birthday, email or phone number or social media credentials. Follow the prompts provided and get ready to choose your username.

How To Search And Create On TikTok

Once you have your account set up, it’s time to get to know the app and learn how to use TikTok. To search on the app, look at the bottom of your screen and click on the magnifying glass icon immediately to the left of the plus sign. This will take you to the Discover page where you can use TikTok’s robust searching tools to find anything you want.

When you first reach the Discover page, you’ll see trending hashtags and the number of accounts that have used them. This can be a great place to begin exploring the currently popular content on TikTok. If you have something specific you’re searching for, you can do that, too. Simply type in your search into the search bar and hit “Search.” Then, once the results appear you can choose between Top results, Users, Videos, Sounds or Hashtags. 

Chances are you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for through this search feature.

When you’re ready to create your first TikTok video, you have a few choices. First, you can entirely create and edit your video outside of TikTok and just upload it using the plus sign at the bottom of the app. Choose your video, hit “Select” and then hit “Next” until you reach the option to add a caption, hashtags, tag people and make other settings choices. Decide the privacy settings of the video, as well as whether or not to allow comments, duets and more. When you’re ready hit “Post.”

Just because you can fully create your video outside of TikTok doesn’t necessarily mean you should. In fact, the app prefers it if you shoot within it, or at the very least use some of their editing tools. Doing this is simple, too.

To use their editing tools on a video you’ve already shot, upload your video the same way and hit “Next.” Then, add Filters, Voiceover, Sounds, Effects, Text and Stickers. Just tap the button you want to use and begin editing. Again, TikTok walks you through each of these editing processes easily.

You can also record your video directly within the app. If you choose to do this, you can adjust the speed, add a basic filter with “Beauty Mode,” add other filters and set a timer so you can film yourself. When you set your timer, you get to decide how long you want to record. Set that time, and then choose “Start Countdown.” TikTok will then give you three seconds to get into position. Once your recording time is done, you can go back to the app and make any edits you need. If you want to add another clip, you can repeat that process and TikTok will add the clips right next to each other.

Once you’re done recording, you can add the same effects and edits as you can when you upload a pre-filmed video. When you add text, you can set the timestamp that it appears in the video and how long it stays. With TikTok video editing, you have almost complete control over what you want to do and create.

TikTok Marketing Best Practices

Now that you have your account and know the basics of how to use TikTok, it’s time to talk about how to gain followers and grow your account. We have four different marketing practices you can use to expand your reach on TikTok.

  1. Work With TikTok Influencers

If you’re a business trying to get more brand awareness, work with influencers on TikTok. Like any other social media platform, influencers are becoming popular on TikTok and have, well, influence. They can talk about and promote your brand, you can work together on a video or you can create some other sort of marketing strategy they can use to showcase your account.

Finding influencers on TikTok can be tricky, especially because you’ll want to work with some smaller influencers who still have a devoted following but aren’t as crowded with submissions and partnership requests as some of the major influencers. If you want to save yourself time, the best way to find influencers to work with on TikTok is by using an influencer search tool. You’ll be able to set filters based on what size following you want the influencer to have, their video views, and other parameters like if they’re verified or if they have other social media platforms. 

Working with influencers can be beneficial to your brand if you find someone in your niche whose followers would be a great fit. Followers tend to really trust the influencers they love, so when the influencer promotes a new brand, they’re more likely to go learn more or follow them. Because of this, many influencers are selective about which brands they work with because they don’t want their followers to lose faith in them.

  1. TikTok Challenges

Another great TikTok marketing strategy is participating in challenges. One of the popular pieces of TikTok is that users can use the same audio clips to make their own videos. Because of this, there are lots of challenges going around using different sounds. These audio clips then become trending, so if you take advantage of these challenges, it could be a great way to get your video in front of more people and grow your audience.

Some of the most popular challenges over the past few months have been the Flip the Switch Challenge (even Senator Elizabeth Warren and JLo and A-Rod participated in it!) and the Savage Challenge. Oftentimes these challenges involve dancing or otherwise matching the performance of other videos. While this won’t necessarily show your audience what your brand is about or why they should follow you, it can be a great way to jump onboard trending content and expand the reach of your videos. When more people see your video, the TikTok algorithm is more likely to show the rest of your content to more people, too.

You can find these challenges either by watching TikToks and seeing what’s coming up frequently in your feed, or by searching for hashtags. Once you find one, you can also search by the sound to see if there are more submissions for the challenge that way.

  1. TikTok Duets

A unique and core feature of TikTok is their duet capability. With a TikTok Duet, you can take a video that already exists on the app and then record your own video side-by-side with the first. You can also allow your own videos to be a part of Duets, so others can duet with your posts.

Duets are another great way to get your video in front of more people. If you create a duet with a video from a semi-popular TikTok user, chances are people might be searching for their videos. Then, they might come across your Duet and discover your account.

Creating a duet is simple. Once you find the video you want to duet, click the arrow on the right hand side of the video. Then, look at the bottom line of options and there should be an option with two circles that says “Duet.” If you don’t see that option, that user may have turned off Duets on that particular video. Click “Duet” and then record and edit as you normally would a TikTok video.

The most common uses of Duets are to react to the initial video, but there are plenty of other options, too. Some users like to use Duets to interact and have a “conversation” with the initial video. In some cases it can be their own video, or some users are creating ways for people to sing with one another in a Duet format. No matter how you choose to use Duets, they can be a fun way to create TikTok content.

  1. Cross-Promotion

Finally, cross-promotion can be a great way to promote your TikTok account to your existing followers. Since TikTok is so new, your business probably already has a bigger following on Facebook or Instagram. Make use of that audience and encourage them to come see your TikTok content. You can even give them a little teaser.

When you go to post your TikTok video, make sure “Save to Device” is turned on. Then, once your video is posted and saved to your phone, you can upload it to any social media platform you’d like. It will even have a watermark with your TikTok username on it! Show off either a fun, engaging video or one that teaches your audience something valuable. Then, encourage them to come follow you on TikTok so they don’t miss any of your exciting content. This can be a great way to take advantage of your existing following to grow your new TikTok account.

Using TikTok

No matter what your business is, what industry you’re in or what your goals are, TikTok is a fun, creative outlet for brands to create valuable and entertaining content. Learning how to use TikTok is simple, and the editing tools available on the app help you create interesting videos your followers will love to see. The best way to learn how to use TikTok to your benefit moving forward is to try it out for yourself and see what happens!