There’s a good chance you’ve heard of TikTok. Between the rise in popularity during the start of the pandemic to the controversial bans in response to its data harvesting practices, TikTok has been anything but boring since its launch in 2016. The masses largely agree, as the scrolling habits of the average TikTok user can be addictive, spending nearly an hour on the app per day, which is almost double that of Facebook.
So if you’ve made it this far without deleting the TikTok app from your phone, we’d almost encourage you to think otherwise about downloading, as it will take up a substantial amount of your time that could be spent with family and friends. However, if you’re happy to commit hours of your day scrolling on your Android phone, we’ll help you understand how to use and set up TikTok. We also explain some of the specifics about the app and its many functionalities.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a popular video-sharing app that allows users to view and share short-form videos with a range of filters, voiceovers, sound effects, and background music. The app is available on your in the Google Play Store and App store, and only allows you to create posts on your phone, although you can access a web version of TikTok to view videos from other creators. If you’re unfamiliar with the social media app, check out our in-depth TikTok guide.
How to setup TikTok
TikTok is like other social media apps in that you need to set up an account to get the most out of it. Yes, you can scroll aimlessly without setting up an account. However, it won’t keep track of your likes, allow you to follow users, or cater the algorithm to your interests, which are some of the interesting and valuable aspects of TikTok.
So, if you want to take advantage of everything TikTok has to offer, here’s how to set up a TikTok account:
- Download the TikTok mobile app.
- Choose your sign-in method (phone, email, Google, or Facebook).
- Select your date of birth.
- Enter your phone number or email address.
- Create a strong password.
- Pick a nickname for your account.
- Start scrolling.
How to use TikTok
In 2023, most social media users and online aficionados know their way around a swipe, if only from Tinder’s infamous left and right options for online dating. Well, that’s essentially how TikTok works, although you’re scrolling up and down through videos rather than left to right. The endless scroll is common on social media, and TikTok is no different, providing you with unlimited videos for users.
But endlessly scrolling is not all you can do on TikTok. Here are a few different ways you can use TikTok.
Scroll your feed
The TikTok video feed is divided into two sections: Following and For You. The Following tab is filled with videos from your friends, family, and other users that you decide to follow. The For You tab, which many consider the crown jewel of TikTok, is similar to a Discovery page on other platforms, providing users with a catered collection of popular videos on the platform. This is where you’ll discover new users and popular trends, informing you how to best engage with TikTok.
Like, Comment, and Share
Like most social media platforms, TikTok is all about engagement. You can scroll through videos until your eyes pop out, but liking videos, commenting in threads, and sharing videos with friends are great ways to put the “social” in social media. Even better, the TikTok algorithm considers how you interact with particular videos, so engaging with videos you like is a good way to make sure you keep seeing them.
Follow your favorite users
If you find yourself liking, commenting, and sharing a lot of videos from a particular user, there’s a good chance you like that user. Subsequently, you probably want to continue to see them on your feed more, and following them is a good way to do that. The algorithm provides you with more of their videos in your For You tab. You’ll also see their videos in your Following tab for even more engagement.
Search for videos
Once you’ve started using TikTok for a while, you might be interested in finding particular content on the app. TikTok comes with a handy search feature that allows you to find users, topics, and music on the app that piques your interest.
How to post on TikTok
As you master the art of scrolling through TikTok, you’ll likely notice that even the most popular videos aren’t that hard to make. You might even go so far as to think about posting your own content on TikTok for your friends, family, and millions of random people to see. However, because TikTok is more than a basic video-sharing app, you’ll want to fully understand how to post a video and what features allow you to edit it. Here are some essential steps for posting a video on TikTok.
Record the video
This may seem obvious, but you’ll have to record a video to post something on TikTok. You can either record directly on the app or record with your standard video app on your smartphone and upload with the icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. You’ll also want to choose the length of your video, with options ranging from 15 seconds to three minutes. You can post videos of any length, but that setting impacts how you edit your video.
TikTok started as a lip-syncing app, which is why adding background sounds and voiceovers is integral to the experience. The Add Sound button is at the top middle of the screen and takes you to the Sounds page, which allows you to search for songs, voiceovers, sounds, and any other audio accompaniment you might want for your video.
Filters have been around for a while, but they are a key part of TikTok video recording. From faceswaps to quiz questions, you can find a range of fun tools to make your videos fun and engaging for users. Plus, it’s funny to see your head turn into a potato every now and then.
Like other social media platforms, TikTok allows you to put captions at the bottom of your videos. However, it also allows users to add text to the video, which is a common trend on TikTok. If you want your videos to get engaged, make sure you throw some words in there.
Duets and Stitches
A great way to create content and engage with other users is to use Duet and Stitch videos, which is TikTok’s way of allowing users to create videos out of other users’ videos and respond to them. Yes, things can get a bit mean sometimes, but many users use it to review products, pay compliments, or showcase talented people.
The most effective way to get familiar with TikTok is to jump right in. Once you start scrolling, you’ll quickly understand the popular trends and methods for posting content and getting noticed. Also, if you’re more of a scroller than an engager, that’s fine too! TikTok is what you make of it, and there’s no pressure to start posting right away. After reading this guide, your account is set up, your feed is ready for scrolling, and your free time is out the window. Enjoy your new obsession. We’ll see you in a few months.