How to Use TikTok: A Beginner's Guide

Who I am
Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
Author and references

With over 800 million active users, TikTok has become an internet sensation.

If you're new to the app or have kids living there, this tutorial will show you how to use TikTok and offer a high-level overview of what's going on there.

TIC Tac is the premier destination for short videos, and with all the fun features available in the app, it's so easy to get hooked. Users can create singing, dancing, comedy and lip-syncing videos and apply lots of fun filters to add life and color to them. It started as part of the Music.ly app with its lip sync videos. It also contains elements of Snapchat with its filters and chat. Aimed squarely at teenagers, it's a social network filled with short videos that seem to come out of nowhere to take over the phones of anyone over a certain age.



TikTok configuration

The most popular form of TikTok is the mobile app. You can also use the TikTok site for some things, but it doesn't have all the same features. It is for this reason that you need to download the app on your phone from your relevant app store and install it. Next, you will need to create an account, then you can get started.

  1. Download TikTok from App Store or Google Play Store and install it.
  2. Configure your account by following the wizard.

TikTok will then ask you to provide a working phone number. Although it's not something you have to provide, you can't message other users without it. Providing your phone number is also a good way to secure your account and ensure that you can recover your account. Once your account is created, you can start watching and creating your own videos. But first, let's talk about your profile page.



How to set up your profile page

TikTok profile pages are quite simple in nature. Similar to other social media platforms, you can add a username, profile picture, and short bio.

Here are the main highlights of your profile page:

  • You can access your profile page by clicking on the Profile icon in the lower right corner.

That's it. You are in and can now start enjoying the social network.

Use TikTok

Once logged in, you should see the "For You" feed which lists the most popular videos at the moment. Select one to watch and like it if you like, to show your appreciation. If you play a video, it will loop until you stop it or choose another one.

If you want to take a look, tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the screen to search. You can search by trending hashtags, most popular users, popular songs or videos. Select a video to start playing it.

If you like the video, you have the option to like with the heart icon on the right or add a comment with the speech bubble. If the user has a number of videos you like, you can follow them by selecting their name and adding them to your feed.

TikTok uses your likes and followings to build a profile of what you like to watch and what you don't and will adjust your For You feed accordingly. Once you have used TikTok for a while and liked a few videos, you will see the Next at the top of the main screen which will feature videos from the people who made the videos you liked. It's a shortcut to content that you may or may not want to use.



Upload your own video to TikTok

Browsing and media consumption is just a tiny part of Tik Tok. Its real strength is in helping you create your own video, do some basic editing, and then upload it to the site. It's not mandatory of course, but you're missing out if you don't contribute.

TikTok is designed for short videos. Fifteen seconds of fame wrapped up in a social package. As you'd hope, TikTok makes it easy to create your own content to add to the network. If you've used Snapchat or Instagram, the process isn't that different.


Here are the basics for adding your own video to TikTok.

  1. Prepare yourself, the frame, the song or the skit and prepare everything in advance.
  2. Repeat what you're going to do until it's perfect.
  3. Open Tik Tok on your phone and tap the '+' at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Select the audio you want to add by selecting "Sounds" at the top.
  5. Tap Save when ready.
  6. Press record again to stop if it does not stop automatically.
  7. Add effects, text or edits to your video in the next screen and select Next once you have finished.
  8. Select the friends you want to tag and select Next.
  9. Select Poster when you are ready to publish.

How to Create a Duo on TikTok

You and your friend can duet on TikTok, even when you're in two separate locations. Duet only works with public videos that are 15 seconds or less.


  1. Open a video of your friend and select the Share icon.
  2. Then tap the Duo icon.

Save a draft

TikTok lets you save a video as a draft and post it later. To do this:

  1. Press the Make a video icon.
  2. When you're done recording your video, tap Next.
  3. Tap Drafts.

The main thing to remember when shooting a video for Tik Tok is that more time is spent on the things you don't see than on the things you do. Preparation and rehearsal are essential. It can take an hour to get your 15 second performance perfect and several takes before you're satisfied. This is fine and something most people on Tik Tok accept as normal.

Hopefully now Tik Tok isn't as confusing as it used to be and you have the basics of how the network works and how to contribute. The rest is due to experimentation, trial and error. Good luck!

Audio Video How to Use TikTok: A Beginner's Guide
add a comment of How to Use TikTok: A Beginner's Guide
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.