Whether you want to watch videos or make them, anyone can learn to use TikTok. We help you take the first steps toward becoming one of the viral social network’s next money-making creators.
Once known as a haven for simple choreography and short, viral videos, TikTok graduated to legitimate influencer status in recent years on the back of its social reach with a diverse audience. Today, the app boasts more than one billion global users, despite its history of video censorship, questionable data collection practices, and its connection to the Chinese government. For good or ill, TikTok is where many people keep tabs on world news, find new friends, and learn new skills.
If it’s taken you a while to check out TikTok, we have a simple guide to get started on the mobile app. Once you learn how to browse videos, use hashtags, and record a video, you can start trying out other handy TikTok tricks for beginners. And once you’ve gotten your feet wet, you can take the next steps with How to Become a TikTok Star.
How to Browse TikTok Videos
On the TikTok Discover page, you can scroll through an endless series of trending hashtags. Some tags are filled with sponsored content, others are organic trending topics. Whatever your interests are, they’re probably represented and celebrated by someone on TikTok.
To search for topics that interest you, open the app, and tap on the Discover tab at the bottom of the screen. At the top of the Discover page is a search bar. Type a topic, a song title, or a username into the search bar and scroll through the results. You may be surprised at what you find.
Keep in mind, if you want to connect with people on the TikTok app or just watch videos, you don’t have to become a creator. You can simply watch and comment on TikToks or share them on your social platform of choice.
How to Make a Video Using the TikTok App
Part of the fun of TikTok is presenting your own videos to the world. You can either use TikTok’s video recording and editing controls or use a DSLR, mirrorless, or vlogging camera and video editing software. Look for our forthcoming interview with three TikTok influencers who have different approaches to creating content on the platform.
How to Record a Video Using TikTok Controls
- Open the TikTok app.
- Tap the Create tab at the bottom of the screen.
- Record a video or upload video, audio, or still photos.
- Tap Next.
- Choose text overlay, stickers, video effects, or background music to add to your video from the menu at the bottom of the screen. A preview of the video plays in a loop, so you can see what changes you’d like to make before it goes live.
- After tapping Next, select a cover gif for your video, write a short video description, and include relevant hashtags.
- Tap the button labeled Post at the bottom of the screen.
Is TikTok for You?
As with most online spaces, younger, entertainment-focused users are largely responsible for building TikTok’s popularity, while enterprising older folks adopted the platform a bit later. Today, TikTok showcases people of all ages. For every teen performing a viral dance routine, there’s an older person shimmying along with just as much (or more) enthusiasm. If you need to look at people who resemble you, who are doing things you care about, you can probably find them on TikTok.