Thinking of using TikTok but don’t know how to get started?

In this article, we’ll show you how to use the platform and help you create your first TikTok video.

A phone with an image of a man on a roof with a tiktok logo and text reading beginners guide.

Are you excited? We’d sure think so, but before we jump into the tutorial, there is one thing to note about TikTok:

  • TikTok is the most downloaded app on Apple Store of 2019 with 800k monthly active users. So, if you’re a marketer, a business owner or influencer - you might want to take advantage of the opportunities TikTok offers.

Here’s how to use TikTok if you’re a beginner #

Step 1: Get familiar with the interface 🤳 #

If you’re new to TikTok, the first thing you should do is to get familiar with the user interface. Once you open the app, your home screen is divided into 2 tabs:

1. Following

This is a page populated with content from the people you choose to follow.

Unlike Instagram, the feed is not arranged in chronological order, but in order of relevance and based on the posts you’ve engaged in past.

2. For you

This is similar to the Instagram explore page. If you open this tab you’ll see a variety of content ranging from hair tutorials, lip sinking, dances, cooking tips, and a lot of memes.

This is where the TikTok’s algorithm learns about your interests, so the more time you spend watching content on the For You page, the more tailored content you’ll see the next time you open your app.

A screenshot of the for you section in tiktoks app

Step 2: Follow people in your niche 👋 #

This applies to every social media platform - before you start creating content, you should spend a few hours scrolling and learn what type of content flies in your niche.

  • Follow 20 - 50 people in your niche
  • What are the top songs/music tunes that are trending?
  • What kind of visuals get most views?

Then, once you’ve consumed at least 4 hours of content on the platform, you can start recording your very first TikTok video.

Step 3: Record your TikTok video 📹

Now you’re ready to record a video. Tap the (+) button at the bottom of your home page. This will open up the camera and you can start recording.

Here you’ll have 2 options:

  1. Record a video on the spot. TikTok allows you to record a short video between 15 - 60 sec. Since you’re new, you’ll want to start with the 15 sec. Video and once you get the hang of it you can start recording longer videos.
  2. Upload a video from your camera roll.

A screenshot of the tiktok app with the upload button highlighted

Tip: TikTok offers a wide variety of in-app camera effects that you can select before recording your video. To take advantage of that, I suggest you film your videos natively on the app itself.

TikTok's Video Recording Features

Now let’s look at some of the video settings. On the right-hand side, you’ll see a list of options:

1. Flip

Use this to flip between your selfie camera and your back camera on your phone.

A screenshot of the tiktok app with the flip feature highlighted

2. Speed

This feature allows you to change the speed of your video up to 3x faster or slower.

3. Filters

From here you can adjust the lighting and colour tones of your videos.

There are custom filters for food, landscape or portrait that you can try.

A screenshot of the tiktok filters feature

4. Beauty

Here’s where the magic fairy lives. With a few taps, you can smooth your skin, apply make-up or alter your facial features.

A screenshot of the tiktok app showing how you can change your appearance with beauty filters

5. Timer

This option allows you to record hands-free videos.

When you tap on the Start countdown button a video timer will appear which you can set it to 3 or 10 seconds depending on how much time you need to get yourself in position before you shoot a video.

A screenshot of how the tiktok timer feature works to help you take hands free videos

How to Add Visual/AR Effects to Your TikTok Videos

One of the most popular features on TikTok is the in-built Effects. This is where you can let your imagination go wild and create some unique content.

A screenshot of the tiktok app showing trending visual/AR effects

To access the Effects library, tap on the smiley face icon left to the record button.

Let’s look at some of the most popular effects.

Green Screen

You can use this effect to change the background of your video to any image you have on your phone.

This allows you to diversify your content instead of always having the same background.

A screenshot of the green screen effect preview page

Face Zoom

This effect does what it says - it automatically zooms into your face. Use this to add a dramatic or comedic effect.

A screenshot of the face zoom effect preview page

Purple shadow

This is also known as the “purple flame leaving my body” effect.

TikTok users like to use this effect while dancing to make a sarcastic statement.

A screenshot of the purple shadow effect preview page

Add Music and Sound Effects To Your TikTok Videos 🎵

Before you hit the record button, you need to pick a sound effect.

Tap on the music note button at the top of your screen to browse trending sound effects and pick a tune for your video.

A screenshot of the tiktok app with the sounds button highlighted.

All sound effects are free to use on TikTok and you don’t have to worry about copyright issues.

You also have the option to record your own sound which will become part of TikTok sound library once your video goes live.

A screenshot of the sounds page in tiktok's app.

Step 4: Edit Your TikTok Video #

There are a few things you can do once you’ve finished filming a TikTok video.

  1. Add text - You can add custom text overlay to your videos to tell a story.
  2. Add stickers or emojis to spice up your video
  3. Add transitions to make your video more dynamic

Note: The post-production effects aren’t that dramatic or popular as those you select before you film your video.

A screenshot of adding text to a TikTok video in the app.

Step 5: Write a Caption 💬 #

Next, write a short caption that describes your video.

TikTok allows you to use up to 150 characters (including hashtags) so choose your words wisely and keep them to the minimum.

A screenshot of how many characters you can use in your tiktok

Step 6: Add Hashtags #

Type a keyword and TikTok will recommend you a list of trending hashtags that match with your topic.

If you’re just starting, try to stay away from the super-popular hashtags that will make your content get lost. Picking hashtags that are in the 10k - 100k group is a better option.

A screenshot showing what hashtags look like when you enter them into your tiktok caption.

Step 7: Pick a Cover Image 🖼️ #

The purpose of a cover image is to get people’s attention and get them to think “What is that?” or “Let me have a look”.

Pick a cover that will grab attention.

A screenshot of an example cover image that you can use in a tiktok video.

Step 8: Post Your Video ✔️ #

Just click on the Post button and you’re done.

You also have the option to share your video with other social media platforms or send it via a text message.

A screenshot of a tiktok video ready to publish.


So now that you know how to create, edit and post a video using TikTok we’re curious to know what type of content are you going to share on TikTok?