A Guide to TikTok

by | Jan 28, 2021 | Strategy, Small Business, TikTok

Setting Up Your TikTok Account and Your First Video

TikTok has become incredibly popular over the last few years, with over 3.5 million active users to this day.

TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create an account and share fun, short videos, which usually consist of dancing, singing or comedy.

Not only can users share their own content, but they can follow other users and discover trending content from users all over the world.

TikTok is a channel specifically for video creation, which differentiates it from other platforms; it offers a quick and convenient way to create and share short videos, which makes the app easy to use and a great source of entertainment for any user.

Although TikTok users are primarily in the younger generation, the app has recently grown in popularity for those older in age, as well as for business owners and marketing gurus.

TikTok is a great new social platform to try out if you haven’t already, which is why feedalpha is here to help you with creating your account and posting your very first video!

How Do I Set Up a TikTok Account?

At the moment, TikTok is an application available only on smartphones. Therefore, the first step to joining up to TikTok is to download the app to your phone from Google Play (if you have an android phone) or App Store (if you have an iPhone).

There are a few different ways to sign up to TikTok; you can use your phone number, email, Facebook, Apple ID (if using an iPhone), Google account, Twitter or Instagram, depending on the options the application gives you on your phone. Simply choose the method you would like to use to create your account and follow the steps TikTok requires.

TikTok setup


Once you have chosen your username and password, TikTok will take you to the ‘Home’ screen.

The home screen is where you can find content from users you follow, as well as trending videos that TikTok chooses to display to you.

Following Feed vs For You

There are two options at the top of the home screen; ‘Following’ and ‘For You’.

The ‘Following’ option will show you content from users you follow and the ‘For You’ option will display trending videos that TikTok thinks you will enjoy.

You will see content here as soon as you have signed up, even though you have not followed anyone yet. As soon as you interact with this screen, by pressing the video or swiping up, the videos will begin to automatically play. Simply press on the video again if you would like to pause or stop the video completely.

Swipe up on the home screen to continue watching different videos. 

What the icons mean.

On the right-hand side of each video, you will see a number of icons:

  • The first icon (1) will take you to the user’s profile; this is the person that created the video. Here you can follow the user so that their content continues to display on your home screen or check out other videos that they have posted.
  • The heart icon (2) allows you to like the video. The number below the heart displays how many people have already liked the video.
  • The speech bubble (3) allows you to comment on the video. The number below this icon shows you how many users have commented on the video already.
  • The arrow icon (4) gives you the option to share the video on another platform or application.
  • Finally, the disk icon (5) displays the song or sound that the user has chosen for their video. This can be a handy icon for trending videos, as it will make it easy for you to recreate the trend with the sound on your own video.
Tiktok home page


The second tab at the bottom of the application is the ‘Discover’ page. The discover page displays trending hashtags and sounds, as well as giving you the option to search for videos and other users. In the top right-hand side of the discover page, you will also find a TikCode scanner, which is a QR code scanner which will allow you to scan other users TikCode, or display your own for others to scan (6).

Every user has a ‘TikCode’ which is assigned to their specific account and will take anyone to that account, once the code has been scanned. This is a shortcut to promoting your account if you want people to find you without having to search your username.


In your Inbox, you can find notifications and private messages. To private message, someone, click the paper aeroplane icon (7) on your inbox or message them straight from their profile. You will find messages that other users have sent to you in this inbox, too.


The ‘Me’ button in the bottom right of TikTok takes you to your profile. Your profile will display your photo, username, your followers, who you are following, the total likes your videos have received, links to other platforms, a biography and the most important part; the videos you have created and uploaded.

How Do I Create a TikTok Video?

Once you have become familiar with navigating the TikTok app, it is time for you to create your very first video!

To create your own video, click the centre + button at the bottom of the app. When you first click this icon, you may need to give the application permission to access your camera and microphone.

Once you have done this, your camera will turn on. There are two main ways to create a TikTok video; you can use pre-recorded videos from your camera roll, or record live straight from the app.

First things first!

The first thing you should do when creating your video, whether you are recording live or taking footage from your camera roll, is to choose the length you want your video to be; this can be either 15 or 60 seconds. You will find this option at the bottom of your screen, as circled in blue.

TikTok also offers templates which can help you to create your first video, these have effects already applied to them; once you choose the template you want you can select photos from your camera roll to create your video.

Using a template is completely optional, but a fun feature to try out when exploring your creative options. Click on either ‘15s’ or ‘60s’ depending on the length you would like your video to be.

Create a TikTok video

Recording Your Video from the App

To record your video via TikTok, there is a range of options and effects available. The first option available to you if you are recording on the app, is the ‘Effects’ icon (8).

Click on this icon to bring up a huge variety of effects that you can download and have on-screen when recording.

Once you have chosen an effect you will see that it has been applied to your camera. To change the camera view from your back camera to the front camera, simply click the ‘flip’ icon (9).

To begin recording at any time, press and hold the big red circle.

To remove an effect you have applied, click back on to the effects icon and click the block icon in the top left-hand corner of the effects interface.

TikTok video creation

Control your speed.

When recording your video through TikTok, you are also offered a ‘Speed’ option, which allows you to record in slow motion or high speed (10).

Once you have chosen the speed you would like to record your video in (11), you can begin recording.

The 1x option means that there is no speed effect on your video, and you will be able to record as normal.

how to guide


The ‘Filters’ effect (12) gives you a number of coloured filters to choose for your video; you can scroll through and click these to try different filters to see what looks best for what you are trying to create (13).

TikTok gives you the filters option in the recording stage as well as the editing stage, so you can use it before or after you have recorded.

The ‘Enhance’ effect (14) is only available if recording yourself from the TikTok app and has been created for editing faces. Here you can choose to smooth a face, whiten teeth, add contour, lipstick or shadow (15).

TikTok user interface

Finally, the ‘Timer’ option (16) is a great way to ensure you are recording for the correct amount of time, as you may only have 15 or 60 seconds in total, depending on what you have chosen.

You can choose to cut the recording off at 3 or 10 seconds (17). If you are in a dark environment, you may need to turn your phone’s flash on for recording, which you can do by clicking the ‘Flash’ icon (18).

The last thing you need to know for recording and creating videos on TikTok is how to add sound.

Add some music!

To add sound or music before recording your video, click the ‘Sounds’ icon at the top of your screen (19). This icon will bring up the sounds tab, which will allow you to search for sounds, as well as discover the top trending sounds on the app at that time.

Click a song or sound to preview it and then add it to your recording by clicking the tick. Once you have selected a song to play out loud for when you are recording, the song title will display at the top of your screen (20).

You will discover that once you press and hold the red recording button, the music will begin to play. You can also add music over the top of your recording in the editing stage.

Guide for Tiktok

Once you have added a song here, a new option will show up that allows you to trim the song to where you would like it to start playing from (21).


Tiktok music

Get the sound in sync

The line at the top of your screen displays the length of recording. When the line is blank, it means that you have not yet recorded. Once you record your first section, a blue line will appear, depending on the duration of your recording (22).

When the blue colour reaches the end of the line (23), it means you have reached the end of your recording time (either 15 or 60 seconds, depending on what you choose).

Once you have reached the time limit of recording, you will be automatically taken to the editing stage. If you want to go back, simply click the back button to get back to the recording screen.

At any time after you have recorded a section, you can discard it by clicking the white arrow icon (24) or approve it by clicking the red tick icon (25).

tiktok recording

Uploading from Your Camera Roll

To upload videos from your camera roll, click the ‘Upload’ icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (26).

Here, you can select multiple videos or photos to add to your creation. Once you have selected the files you would like to upload, click ‘next’ in the bottom right-hand corner. You will then be able to trim your video (27), rotate your video (28), or speed it up/slow it down (29, 30).

When you are happy with the video, click ‘next’ in the top right-hand corner to go to the final editing stage.

edit video tiktok

Editing Your Video on TikTok

This is the final stage of your TikTok creation, whether you have recorded straight from the app or uploaded from your camera roll.

To add sound to your video, click the music note icon in the bottom left-hand corner (31). This will bring up a box to swipe through trending options, or you can click the magnifying glass to get on to the full sounds interface.

TikTok interface

For the majority of effects, including transitions, splits and other visual effects, click the icon (32) at the bottom of the edit page.

This will bring up a range of effects that you can add to different parts of your video. To select and use an effect, simply move the vertical white line to where you would like the effect in your video (33) and press and hold the effect.

To remove the effect you just applied, simply click the back arrow. Once you are happy with the effects you have added, click the ‘save’ button in the top right-hand corner.

edit video

The last two options at the bottom of the TikTok edit screen are text and stickers. The text icon allows you to add a text overlay on your video (34). For stickers or gifs, open the stickers icon (35).

Tiktok stickers

If you have recorded your video on the TikTok app, then you will have the option to add filters (36) in the editing stage (as mentioned for icon 13).

If you have multiple clips within your one video, you can adjust each clip by choosing the ‘Adjust clips’ option (37).

Here you can use a red slider to trim your video at either the start or end (38). The ‘Voice effects’ icon (39) brings up a range of effects that you can add to the sound on your video (40).

Voice effects


Finally, if you have recorded your clips on the TikTok app, you may get the option to record voiceovers on to your video.

You can do this by clicking the ‘Voiceover’ icon (41) and recording over certain parts of your video with the white and red record button. Once you are happy with your recording, click ‘Save’ to add it to your video.

Video Ready

We recommend giving each option a try when creating and editing your first video, to find out the cool effects and options that TikTok can offer.

When you are happy with your video, sounds and editing, click ‘next’ (42) to save and post your video! You can choose who can see your video, depending on whether you would like it to be public or private.

Write a great caption and use hashtags, as they are especially effective on TikTok. You are also able to select your video cover, which is how the video will display on your profile.

Once you are happy with your settings go ahead and post your first TikTok!

post vido to tiktok
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Gary Evans

Gary Evans

Gary is the Founder of Feedalpha. He has a background in AI, Data Analytics, SEO, Digital Strategy and Web Design.

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