TikTok is the worlds leading short-form video platform with over one billion monthly users with 25.7 hours spent monthly on the app per average user. Its impact cannot be ignored which is why major companies like Pepsi and Walmart are using TikTok and its creators to make engaging content and promote their brands.
It’s crucial for agencies, brands, and businesses to grasp the importance of the platform and how to best utilize it for their specific niche.
Setting up your account
- Start by downloading the TikTok app from the App Store or Google Play.
- Open up the app and click the Profile section in the bottom right-hand corner to sign-up.
- Here you’ll see different options on how to sign up.
Head over to “Edit Profile” to add your logo to the profile photo, create your bio, change your username, and add your website link to your bio.
These are all good steps to take even before creating content so people who find your page know exactly who you are and what type of content to expect once you start sharing.
Tip: We recommend using a generic email such as Accounts or Admin one that your full team has access to.
Tip: Keep your username the same or as similar as possible to your other social accounts so your current followers can easily discover you.
- Decide if you should be a business or personal account. Depending on who your account is for, you’ll have to choose if it falls under personal or business use.
Note: Business accounts are limited to what audios and effects they have access to. TikTok has its own bank of royalty-free stock music available for Business accounts to use.
TikTok is constantly updating and adding new features and sections to create the best user experience. Currently, its navigation is broken up into five main sections.
Your home section is the most recognizable part of the TikTok experience and is comprised of two sections: Following and the famous For You Page (often tagged as #FYP). The following section will exclusively show videos of accounts you already follow and the FYP will show primarily creators you do not follow and a select few that you do.
The FYP is driven by an algorithm that compiles your viewing data and determines what content your account is most likely to watch and engage with. You’ll notice when you visit the FYP for the first time on the new account you’ve just made that it will start by showing you videos by their biggest creators such as Charli D’Amelio and Khaby Lame which have the highest likelihood of you enjoying. As you scroll through it and start interacting with videos they will over time become less generic and more specific. Until your FYP starts picking up on your specific interests, using the search bar found in the top right-hand corner is the easiest way to discover creators in your specific niche.
Represented with a magnifying glass icon in the top right corner is the Search function which allows you to search specific terms in:
Tip: The Top section will also display similar terms and hashtags that users who searched the same term use and look for.
To get even more specific, you can filter your search terms by clicking the slider icon next to the search bar which filters by:
- Videos you’ve watched in the last 7 days (in case you saw something cool but forgot to save it)
- Your liked videos
- The date it was posted
- Relevance to your search term or most liked for your search term
Search is an excellent way to find similar creators to you and to determine what type of content in your niche performs the best and what users seem to enjoy the most.
Your Friends section will show exclusively videos from your TikTok Friends which are your mutuals that you follow and who also follow you back. It’s an easy way to quickly find the accounts you interact with most and see a more selective feed of videos.
In the top left-hand corner of this section will be the Find Friends area which is represented by an icon of a person with a + next to it. This will contain a list of suggested accounts for you to follow and ways for you to connect with other users. From here you can invite friends by sharing a link to connect, sync your phones contacts with your account to find other users you know, and find users using your Facebook friends list. There is also a function that allows you to scan others and display your unique QR code that directs people to your TikTok account.
In the center of the bottom navigation bar is a large + symbol which opens up your camera to start making TikToks. We’ll cover how to use that further down in the article under “How to Make a TikTok”.
TikToks inbox is represented by a text bubble icon at the bottom of the screen. It houses your messages and chat, new followers and activity, LIVES and stories.
On TikTok, you can message any account that you are friends with!
After you mutually follow one another the option to chat will appear with the message “Say hi to Account Name” along with the date you connected.
Once you go into the chat the first option will be to send them a waving sticker as an introduction. You can share videos, chat, and send stickers and gifs.
Your Activity will be broken down into two sections: New Followers which has a blue icon and Activity which has a pink icon.
New Followers displays who has followed your account, how long ago it was, and a button to follow them back if you choose. There is also a “Find friends” section underneath New Followers which shows suggested accounts and what mutual connections you have with them. You can check the “X” next to these suggestions to remove them from this list and let TikTok know you’re not interested in seeing their content.
Activity displays all activity besides followers associated with your account and is segmented as follows:
- Mentions and tags
- From TikTok
This is where you can monitor any interactions and engagement your videos are getting or likes and replies to comments you may have left on other users’ videos.
Similar to other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, Stories is a feature on TikTok that displays a video for 24 hours only on your profile. Every user with a story up that you follow will appear at the top of your inbox page along with the option to create your own story. Their profile photos will feature a blue circle around the perimeter to indicate they have unwatched stories. These videos will appear in the inbox as mentioned, pinned to your profile for the 24-hour duration, and in your Home feeds.
LIVE is available to users 16 years and older who have over 1000 followers on their accounts. It allows you to start a live stream where you stream a live video feed directly to your followers and other users. This can be used for anything such as a live Question and Answer session, product demos, or a store tour. Accounts can stream by themselves or collaborate with other users for a Multi-guest video.
There is a live chat feed that shows in real-time what the audience is saying along with who is joining the live stream. If a LIVE is popular enough it can end up in the Weekly Ranking of most popular LIVES or join the Rising Stars list of accounts that are quickly scaling up. You can check how many people are currently in your LIVE in the top right-hand corner.
On live stream, users 18 and up can send and receive “Gifts” to show their appreciation to the host. These come in the form of cute stickers and animations such as a “Dancing Cactus” and “Fireworks”. Gifts are bought with TikTok coins which can be purchased with a credit card attached to the account. Once a gift is received by the host it turns into “Diamonds” which can be redeemed by the host for cash. TikTok earns approximately 50% commission on gifts with around a 2:1 conversion ratio of Coins into Diamonds.
On the inbox page LIVES are indicated by a LIVE button featured under their profile photo and a pulsing red circle around the perimeter of it. They will be featured the closest to the left of the page. LIVES will also appear on your Profile in the same way and be viewed on Home feeds.
The furthest right on the navigation and represented by a person icon is your profile which houses all the information about your account. The page will be blank when you first create your profile but will eventually display your following, followers, and likes count along with all of the videos currently on your profile.
You’ll notice an Eye icon that allows you to turn on profile view history. This feature is optional and had to manually be turned on by the user.
Farthest right are three lines that open up the Creator Tools and Settings and Privacy sections. Creator Tools gives analytical insight and information on setting up ads and promotional tools for users that are looking to monetize. Settings and Privacy has standard options on account management along with accessibility and content preference options.
Tip: You can be logged into multiple accounts at once which makes it easy to switch between profiles for busy agencies with multiple clients. Simply click the drop-down arrow next to your name at the top of your profile to switch accounts.
Next to the Edit Profile button at the top of your bio is the bookmark icon. Here is where your favorited videos, sounds, users, products, hashtags, questions, and comments can be accessed.
Underneath your bio will be three icons that can toggle your main profile screen between the primary grid, your likes (which can be public or private), and your private videos.
Watching the For You Page
The FYP is where the majority of scrolling takes place so let’s take a minute to understand how each part of it works. To view new videos There’s no automated scrolling feature so until you swipe up or down, the video you’re currently watching will continuously loop until a new one is shown.
You can interact with a video you enjoy with the options to follow the creator, like, comment, favorite, and share on the right side of the screen.
Clicking the Share button opens up a full range of options to send the video via SMS, Snapchat, Messenger, DM, email, and more. You can also Duet and Stitch the video using the Share function as well.
The bottom of the screen displays the creators’ username, the caption and hashtags of the video, and the sound that was used. You can see other videos that used the same sound by clicking the scrolling sound name at the very bottom of the screen.
Tip: When making a video, don’t include any important information or text at the bottom of the screen because it will be covered up by the caption and sound information.
Occasionally, something will come on your FYP that you don’t like. To report the video for violating TikToks Community Guidelines, or to simply say you’re not interested in this content, hold down on your screen until an additional menu comes up. Other options to download the video are found here as well.
Tip: When you save a video directly from TikTok it will have their watermark bouncing around the edge of the video. Using a third-party site to download using the videos link will remove that if you’re looking to repurpose your content for multiple platforms.
Making a TikTok
Now that you understand all the basics of TikTok it’s time to start creating your own content! Once you decide what your specific niche is going to be and what type of videos you’d like to make, there are two main avenues to start creating. Users can either create on the app using TikToks advanced video editing tools or create their video outside of the platform and upload the completed video straight to the app.
When making a video directly on TikTok there is the option to shoot directly from the app or to upload prerecorded video into it. Clicking the + icon in the center will take you directly to the creation section and will open up your camera.
You’ll have preset options of 15 seconds, 60 seconds, and 3 minutes as the default video lengths that you can choose from however videos can be u to 10 minutes long with their latest update. To start recording your video hit the red circle in the center to start and tap it again to stop recording.
Your audio can be chosen before or after you take your video by clicking the sound bar at the top of the screen. TikTok will automatically show you trending and recommended sounds for your video and account. If you’re a business account all of these will be pre-approved audios that are okay for commercial use.
TikTok will have playlists of popular audios across different genres easily accessible on the main Sound page. There is also a search bar up top where you can look for audio names or popular songs you’d like to use. This search section has all the same filtering options as the general search mentioned above.
Tip: When scrolling through your FYP you can also Favorite audios you may like to use in the future so they’re easy to find when you go to make videos.
TikTok has a selection of tools for creators to use when directly shooting video including:
- Speed. You can set your video and audio to play faster or slower depending on what your video requires. Videos can be slowed down to 0.3x speed or sped up to 3x speed.
- Enhance. This turns on “beauty mode” which slightly blurs and filters any faces in your video.
- Filters. There are four categories of TikTok preset filters Portrait, Landscape, Food, and Vibe which have over 40 filters ranging from aesthetic warm lighting to creative and colorful red light. There’s a slider function over the filters to customize the intensity of the filter.
Tip: By clicking the “Manage” button you can deselect filters you’re not interested in so your most frequently used ones are always easily accessible.
- Timer. If you need a few extra seconds to set up your shot before your audio starts choose the timer function indicated by a clock icon to start a 3 or 10-second countdown before it starts automatically filming.
- Reply. This function gives you easy access to comments left by followers on your videos and a selection of popular questions to answer in a video. It’s a simple way to check out frequently asked questions and engage directly with your audience. There’s a section for Favorites where you can highlight comments you may want to respond to in the future.
Next to Camera will be the option to use pre-made templates that turn your photo’s into fun and dynamic videos. These are especially great for product photography to make the most out of your static content.
Tapping into this section will give 55 easy-to-use templates that are pre-set to trending audio with moving and graphical elements built-in. Simply select your chosen images and it will do the rest for you.
Open this section for a constantly updated supply of classic and trending video effects options. It’s broken into specific categories to make it easy for users to find something suitable for their niche:
- Green Screen
Some effects will come with audio built-in however you can always choose your own from the Sounds section.
Uploading your Videos
Have some great content already on your device? Click the upload tool to open up your camera roll and choose from both videos and photos you’d like included in your TikTok.
Once your assets are uploaded you’ll be taken to the Sound section where you can choose what audio you’d like to add to your video. Unless you’re looking to make a trending viral audio yourself, it’s an excellent idea to choose one that’s already trending to boost the performance of your video. We’ll show you how to adjust the volume soon.
On this page will be the Sound Sync and Adjust Clip option where you can edit the times of the videos you’ve uploaded and decide the length of your video. Sound Sync is an excellent tool for quickly creating videos that are perfectly in time with the music. Simply upload the clips you’d like to use and pick an audio and TikTok will sync them up automatically to the beat of the song.
If you’re looking to customize the duration of your videos click the Default option. Here the start and end times of your clips can be changed, they can be slowed down or sped up, and additional clips can be added. Once you’re satisfied with the lengths of your clips, click the Next button.
This will open the final editing option for TikTok videos.
- Sounds. If you haven’t picked an audio yet for your video or you’d like to adjust the volume of the videos, click the music note at the left corner of the screen. From here you can adjust the start and end times of your music using the scissor icon. By clicking Volume you can adjust both the Original and Added sounds. If you’re looking to just use your added audio pull the original sound down to 0% to mute it. If you love your original sound but picked a trending audio to show up under that search simply pull that down to 0%. This feature is completely customizable depending on how loud or quiet you’d like it to be.
- Effects. These effect options are different from the ones found in the Camera function. Here you’ll find visual effects that are laid on top of your finished video. You can add a full glitter effect, television status, split-screen, and duplicate your video, among many others. Choose your desired effect and hold it down to apply it to your video. Multiple effects can be used in the same video by holding them down one after another.
- Text. Add text on top of your videos from the Aa icon. There are different fonts, colors, alignments, and effects to choose from. Clicking the icon of a person speaking will bring up Text-to-Speech where you can choose from a variety of voices and accents to narrate your video.
- Studio. The newest addition to TikToks editing capabilities gives more exact ways to edit and sync video and audio clips.
Tip: The Tenor and Alto voices will create a fun musical jingle of your entered text.
- Stickers. Add fun and interactive elements with stickers. Here you can mention other accounts, add hashtags, reply to a comment, ask a question, hold a poll, or choose from a variety of topical and entertaining stickers to add to your video.
Tip: Create your custom stickers by uploading a photo! You can filter out the background and add any image you like, such as your logo, to the video.
- Voiceover. To add a custom voiceover with your dialogue click the microphone icon. Hold down on the white circle to record your voiceover and select Save in the right-hand corner to add it to the video.
- Captions. Make your TikTok more accessible by captioning the voiceover and audio used in your video. By clicking the Captions section TikTok will automatically generate captions of the audio used in your videos however you may want to tap the pencil icon to edit them for clarity as TikTok has trouble differentiating between similar-sounding words.
- Enhance. Enhance will automatically brighten and add a suggested filter to your video to improve its visuals.
- Noise Reducer. Tapping the sound waves icon will automatically filter out any distracting background noise from your original videos and give them cleaner-sounding audio.
Once you’re happy with your video hit Next in the bottom right of the screen.
Now that you have your finished video it’s time to finally send it into the world.
- Start by adding a caption in the text box next to your video. Here you can add some relevant and trending hashtags, mention another account by username, and tag a previous video of yours if it’s part of a series or follow-up to it.
- To tag another account that is featured in the video or a collaborator on the project tap the Tag People row and select their profile.
- The Effects and Voiceovers that you’ve used will show up under the Add Link section.
- Next select who you’d like to see the video. Everyone is the automatic setting however you can set it to only your Friends or as a private video here. This can be changed at any time if you decide you’d like to private a video for any reason.
- Decide if you’d like to allow comments, Duets, and Stitches.
- Under more options, you can choose to save your video to your device, upload your video at a higher quality (which we recommend), and tag the video as Branded Content if it is part of a sponsorship.
- If this video is something you’d like to cross-promote, select the social icons below to automatically share to your Instagram, Stories, and Facebook feeds.
- Lastly, select which cover you’d like to be displayed on your profile grid. Choose the specific frame you’d like used and then add a title card if you choose that gives a short description of the video. We keep ours short and limit them to 1-4 words as the text can appear quite small on mobile devices.
- Finally, it is time to send your TikTok into the world! If you’d like to save your video to post at a later time click Drafts to store it in your account. Otherwise, Hit the red Post button to make it live on your account!
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