I discovered TikTok last summer while freelancing and was curious if it could be a platform to sell. But before I could create a marketing plan, I needed to understand it myself. Therein started my new found obsession with TikTok. Now that the platform is getting more hype and I’m sharing my social media secrets, I figured I’d share a little How To TikTok Tutorial – A Beginner’s Guide. You here for this? Let’s dig in.
First and foremost, TikTok is not just an app just for kids. @grandadjoe1933 has 1.5 million followers and he’s 87 years old. Yes, you read that right, 1.5 million followers. He posted his first TikTok January 2020 (3 months ago), and no, he’s not an anomaly. Although I have not achieved TikTok clout, I’ve seen people get TikTok famous over and over again. In fact, while speaking at the Design Influencers Conference, I suggested each person in my audience start a TikTok account that day (I also made them participate in a TikTok). Nick May from The Chaise Lounge took that advice and that night, he texted me saying, “This is bananas! I just got 263,000 views on my video!” Whether you’re in it for the followers or just wanna have some good old-fashioned fun, here is my How to TikTok tutorial for beginners.
TikTok 101 — Step 1
Download the app to your phone, signup, and set up your profile.
TikTok 101 — Step 2
The below screen is your profile page. You can navigate to this page by clicking on the person icon in the lower right corner…it says “Me”. This is where your drafts and videos live. Also shown is who you’re following, who’s following you, total likes and a link your Instagram account. Oh and that bookmark icon…I’ll get to that shortly.
TikTok 101 — Step 3
For You Page — Once you open the app, TikTok suggests content it thinks you might enjoy. Swiping up will load the next video. Until you start liking, commenting and favoriting videos, the algorithm may serve you content you may deem garbage. Be patient. Once TikTok starts to learn what appeals to you, it will serve you videos more suited to your liking (think of it like the Explore page on Instagram). The initial screen is called the For You Page or #fyp #foryou #foryoupage (you’ll see these hashtags in captions). We’ll get to hashtags soon enough, but in short, you can toggle between the For You Page and Following content at the top of your screen.
TikTok 101 — Step 4
See someone you like? Click the + sign to follow or click on their profile picture to watch more of this user’s content. See, I told you this was a beginner’s guide TikTok tutorial. Feel free to skip ahead if you want.
TikTok 101 — Step 5
Double tap anywhere on your screen to like a video. It took me 7 months to figure out that I didn’t have to use the heart button only for liking. Boom, mind blown. You can also comment by clicking on the talk bubble icon with the “…” inside.
TikTok 101 — Step 6
Now here’s where things get more interesting. Want to share a video with your friends? Click the Arrow icon and you can share that video out to Instagram, Facebook, Messages, Stories, etc…
TikTok 101 — Step 7
Hashtags: TikTok is all about the hashtags. Hashtags will not only help you understand what is trending, but they can also increase growth, engagement, and exposure if you’re looking to become TikTok famous. If you want more views, use a couple of hashtags that coincide with your content and a couple that are trending.
TikTok 101 — Step 8
Participating in challenges is part of the fun with TikTok. The first challenge I filmed myself doing was the #microwavechallenge. One day I opened the app and every single video on the For You Page was people sitting perfectly still yet somehow magically spinning on their butts. OMG!!! WHAT SORT OF SORCERY IS THIS? and HOW DO YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT THIS? THIS WAS NOT ON THE MORNING NEWS! After a bunch of googling and searching the #microwavechallenge hashtag, I stumbled upon a tutorial — it was go time — imma show you Gen Zers what this Gen Xer can do. After about 437 takes, I told myself, “this is as good as it gets” and posted my video. Yes, most of the commenters said, “I can see your hand”…but hey, at least I tried, right?
Last night I tried learning the Savage dance…after an hour I still don’t have it down, but I’m workin’ hard. That’s the thing with TikTok…you must practice beforehand if you want to lip sync or dance. If you’re creating original content, have a plan before pressing record.
TikTok 101 — Step 9
So how do you know what’s trending? Click on the magnifying glass on the bottom of your screen. Up pops a screen where you can discover new hashtags and challenges. Today #socialdistancing, #distancedance, and #cleaningSZN are hot. Tomorrow will be something different. It really just depends on current events and if something goes viral.
TikTok 101 — Step 10
First and foremost, you have to be okay with how you look in front of a camera. I know, easier said than done. Take a shower, do your hair and maybe add a touch of makeup…do whatever makes you feel most comfortable. Just know you’re normal and beautiful just the way you are.
TikTok 101 — Step 11
Like I said earlier, before pressing record, be sure to have a plan. Standing in front of your phone like a deer in headlights isn’t going to resonate with anyone. Practice your challenge, lip sync or dance moves in a mirror. If you’re doing original content, practice the delivery and facial expressions.
TikTok 101 — Step 12
Step outta your comfort zone. Some of the funniest TikTok videos are from creators who dance in the grocery store, airport or parking lot. It took me months, but I finally did the #ahichallenge at the airport gate. I know, it’s embarrassing AF, but trust me, the more you can laugh at yourself on TikTok, the funnier and more engaging your content shall be.
TikTok 101 — Step 13
Drafts: Getting out of bed these days is difficult enough, not to mention showering plus sprucin’ yourself up. So, the night before, plan out a few TikToks. The following morning, practice them in the shower and when you’re lookin’ all fancy, film a few videos. But instead of posting all at the same time, save them to Drafts. See, I just saved you from showering every single day… TikTok tutorial timesaver!
TikTok 101 — Step 14
Sounds: If you like a song or voiceover and you’d like to save it, click on the spinning record in the lower right corner (above the Me person icon). You have the option to save the song to favorites or use the song immediately. (Remember that bookmark icon on your profile page? That is where your saved favorites reside.) You can also save content you like to favorites by holding your finger on the screen of the video and clicking Save To Favorites. Also, hashtags and effects can be favorited.
TikTok 101 — Step 15
Lighting: Until I hopped aboard the TikTok train, I thought ring lights were only for beauty bloggers…wrong! If you wanna level up, go getchorself a ring light. I purchased this one but quickly figured out why it was the cheapest. It’s janky…but if you’re just dipping your toes into the TikTok waters, it does the job. This one is in my cart, and I promise to report back on quality.
That’s it! You made it through my TikTok Beginner’s Guide! Relax and have fun! Facebook is for sharing photos of your kids and vacations on the beach. Instagram is highly curated content that is beautiful. Twitter is for news and current events. TikTok is carefree, goofy, silly fun.
If you liked this post, stay tuned, I’ll be sharing more advanced TikTok tutorials in the next few weeks.