TikTok Guide For Beginners

July 27, 2021
5 min read

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms today — especially among Gen Z. The short-form video-sharing app has an estimated 1 billion monthly users, which means now is the time to start your own TikTok page.

TikTok is the perfect app for growing your audience, establishing your brand, and emphasizing the personality behind your business.

This post will walk you through the basics of TikTok. We’ll start with how to set up your account and start posting, how the algorithm works, and how to use TikTok for your brand.

What is TikTok?

It seems like TikTok was created to keep us entertained during the pandemic, but the app was actually launched in China back in 2016. It was an instant hit among young Chinese users. TikTok has now grown to worldwide success. In 2018, the app had 55 million monthly users, and that number is projected to reach 1.2 billion in 2021.

TikTok is a hotspot of content ranging from viral dances and puppy videos to beauty tutorials and life hacks. You name it and there’s probably a video about it on TikTok. With that sort of variety, there’s no excuse not to start posting your own TikToks.

hand holding phone with tiktok logo

Getting Started on TikTok

Step 1: Create Your Profile

You don’t need to create an account in order to browse TikTok — the app will open directly to the For You page and you can start scrolling right away.

To actually create an account, go to the “Me” tab in the bottom-right corner and you will be prompted to sign up. Once your account is made, tap “Edit Profile” to customize your profile with a username, bio, and profile picture.

Tip: TikTok’s bio only allows a maximum of 80 characters, so keep it short and sweet. You can also add a link to your website or connect your Instagram profile.

non binary person shooting a vlog

Step 2: Check Out The "For You" and "Discover" Pages

TikTok gained its popularity through its fast-paced and short-form style of content. Because TikTok fads come and go quickly, it’s important to stay on top of what’s trending. You can do this by exploring the app’s For You and Discover pages.

The For You page (or FYP) is TikTok’s homepage. The algorithm curates what content you see there based on your interests as a user. It will show you content similar to previous videos you’ve liked, accounts you follow, and the type of content you create.

The Discover page is curated by TikTok’s general algorithm and will show you what hashtags, sounds, and effects are trending across the app.

phone open to tiktok account

Step 3: Curate Your Account

TikTok pays attention to how you use the app. So use this to your advantage! Think about the sort of audience you want to reach and what sort of content they are likely to engage with. Then, engage with that content yourself. This will help your videos make it onto the FYPs of your target audience.

Search for relevant hashtags through the Discover page, follow businesses or creators that resonate with your brand, and like and comment on videos that relate to the content you want to post.

Tip: If you come across a video on your FYP that you are not interested in seeing, just long-press on the video and tap “Not Interested.”

cute girl in sunglasses smiling in front of phone camera

Step 4: Start Posting Content

Do your research on content relevant to your brand. This will help you discover what type of videos your target audience enjoys watching — then you can start making your own videos!

TikTok home screen

TikTok is not about being perfect. You don’t have to be a video-editing wiz to do well. Show off your personality by participating in popular trends or challenges. Experiment with new filters and sounds. The most important thing is to have fun.

Important TikTok Features To Know About

#1 Music/Sounds

TikTok has a massive audio library available for creators to use in their videos. New songs or sounds are constantly going viral and it’s important to stay on top of trends by using these viral sounds in your videos. When you do, your video is more likely to be put on the For You pages for tons of users to see.

Tip: When you come across a video using a sound you like, tap the spinning record in the bottom right and then you can view all the other videos that use that sound, add it to your favourites, or use it right away in a video!

how to find sounds on TikTok

#2 Effects/ Filters

Similar to music and sounds, TikTok has tons of fun and exciting effects and filters for you to experiment with, and new ones are constantly being added.

TikTok's Algorithm At A Glance

Like we mentioned earlier, TikTok’s For You page is specifically curated for each individual user — no two FYPs are alike. TikTok does this by paying attention to a combination of factors that express what you like, as well as what you don’t like.

According to a press release from TikTok, these factors include:

Interactions: The videos you like and share, which accounts you follow, the comments you post, and what sort of content you create.

Video Information: Specifically captions, sounds, and hashtags.

Device/Account Settings: Language preference, country setting, and device type.

All of these factors are weighted differently in order to curate the perfect For You page for each user. For example, TikTok considers watch time a strong indicator of interest and will pay attention to whether you watch a video from beginning to end or multiple times. In comparison, country of origin may be considered a weaker indicator and won’t matter as much as watch time.

Tip: Neither follower count nor number of views are considered as factors within TikTok’s recommendation system. Meaning you don’t have to fret over the numbers, just focus on the content.

Phone open to TikTok screen

How To Use TikTok For Your Brand

With how TikTok has blown up for its quick-witted, user-generated content, it is a fun opportunity for you to engage with and grow your audience.

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps in existence, particularly among Gen Z consumers. In fact, TikTok estimated that a whopping 60% of its users were a part of Gen Z.

Trends show that this generation wants to see businesses “keep it real” and show off their personality. Because TikTok has made unique user-generated content popular, it has become the perfect tool for brands to connect with their younger customers.

two young girls recording a dance move

So…

How do you do TikTok correctly?

We suggest getting in front of the camera and giving your audience a face to recognize. Participate in the latest dance trends, use popular sounds to highlight different aspects of your business, or give viewers a glance behind the scenes of your operation. Don’t worry about posting perfectly curated content — embrace the trends and show off your humour.

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