How To Create Your First TikTok

By Molly Mc Glew

Published September 4, 2020

11 minute read

Are you ready to get started on TikTok?  You’ve come to the right place! Learn everything you need to know to get started and create your very first video.


Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Are you ready to get started on TikTok?  You’ve come to the right place.

In this step-by-step guide, we break down everything you need to know to get started on TikTok and create your very first video — everything from how to set up your account to how to use all of TikTok’s editing tools.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

  1. Set Up Your TikTok Account

  2. Film and Upload Your Content

  3. Edit Your Video (In the App!)

  4. Publish Your TikTok

Get Started on TikTok Step #1: Set Up Your TikTok Account

Before you can browse the famous For You page or post, you’ll have to create a TikTok account.

First, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the TikTok app. Once downloaded, sign up with Facebook, Gmail, or Twitter, or create a new username and password using your email.

By default, TikTok assigns all users a unique username made up of a random collection of letters and numbers. It’s not super cute, so let’s change that!

For best practice — and maximum cross-platform discoverability — set your username to your name or your business name, or whatever username you use for your other channels! This helps create a seamless extension of your already established brand.

TIP: Looking to do something different? Be creative by working with puns, punctuation, and more!

Once logged in, you’ll be brought to the homepage.

It’s time to edit your profile! To edit, tap “Me” in the bottom right corner.

 Tap “Edit Profile”.

First, let’s change our TikTok profile picture. TikTok allows you to choose between a static image or a video.

It’s a good idea to align your profile picture, just like your username, with the picture you use across other social channels.

Your profile picture isn’t the only important piece of the TikTok profile puzzle.

Next, it’s time to write your TikTok bio.

Your TikTok bio is important —  it’s one of the first places your audience will look. TikTok allows up to 80 characters, allowing you to share a short and sweet bio at the forefront of your profile.

Not sure what to write for your bio? Here are 25 creative Instagram bio examples you’ll definitely want to copy!

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll notice a “website” field in your edit settings.

However, only certain TikTok accounts can capitalize on the TikTok link in bio by default right now.

The TikTok link in bio (website field), is one of the few places where you can add a clickable link on the app, making it a valuable resource for brands looking to drive traffic and sales.

Check out this blog post for a step-by-step on how to add a link to your TikTok bio.

TikTok also allows for seamless YouTube and Instagram integration. It’s a good idea to input your Instagram and YouTube accounts so that your audience can follow you outside of TikTok.

They’ll be showcased on your profile next to the follow button.

Now that your profile is all set up, it’s time to follow users and engage in content!

On TikTok, you don’t necessarily have to follow accounts to see their content. Most content appears on your personalized For You page.

Following accounts and engaging with content lets TikTok know what you’re interested in and helps TikTok’s algorithm create a personalized For You page.

Ready to get started on TikTok? Join us on our free 10-day TikTok challenge here.

Get Started on TikTok Step #2: Film Your TikTok

Now that your account is set up, it’s time to film and edit your very first video.

At first glance, TikTok’s video editing tools can seem daunting but we promise they’re user-friendly, you’ll be a TikTok video editing wiz in no time.

Let’s get started– we break down all the steps for you below!

Step #1: Tap the ‘+’ button.

Once you tap in, your camera opens in selfie mode.

You can also film TikTok videos using the Stitch or Duet features. To film a video using these features, find a video you’d like to use and tap the arrow, and select either feature. Follow the steps here.

Step #2: Choose Video Length and Templates

Under the record button, you’ll notice a toggle including video length options, templates, and LIVE.

Depending on how long you want your video to be, tap 15s or 60s.

When you tap “Templates”, you can choose to record using one of TikTok’s pre-made video templates.

You can also slide over to the LIVE tab and go live on TikTok. From here, you can select a cover image and enter a title for your broadcast.

Step #3: Choose Effects

Besides the record button, you can tap “Effects” to access TikTok’s built-in video effects.

When you tap in, you’ll see a lineup of AR filters and other special effects that can augment your face or your surroundings.

You don’t have to use any video effects, but they can be a lot of fun! Certain effects are often trending on the app (like green screen) so take a scroll through your For You page before you decide on one.

You can add an effect before or after you shoot a video, however, some effects may only be available before you start shooting your video.

Step #4: Select a Sound

TikTok wouldn’t be TikTok without its music library. Sounds are everything on the app — just look at TikTok’s Trending page!

At the top of the page, tap “Sounds”.

Here you can browse through all of TikTok’s sounds. TikTok organizes music into different categories like trending, Top 40, and Viral.

You can choose a song before you start piecing your content together or you can select in the final stages of editing.

TIP: Scroll the For You page and use Sounds you like in 1 easy step! Either tap “Add to Favorites” to save for later or tap “Use this Sound” to use it right away.

Step #5: Film or Upload Your Video

To get started on TikTok, there are two ways to capture or utilize your content: in-app filming and uploading your content.

Some creators choose to film and edit their videos in the TikTok app while others film and edit on a different platform entirely.

TIP: Use TikTok’s editing tools to edit and create Instagram Stories. Learn more here.

Curious what the pros are doing? Watch our TikTok for Brands Workshop where you’ll learn TikTok marketing tips from the pros who went viral.

In-app Filming

For in-app videos,  there are a number of features you can play around with. All of the features are located on the right-hand of the screen.

You can flip the camera to either be in selfie or subject mode.

Change the speed of your video. Film in slow motion or speed it up from 0.3x to 3x.

Turn on TikTok’s “Beauty” filter — a built-in AR filter that smooths out skin and gives a nice glow.

Select the timer option to turn on an auto-record countdown to film hands-free.

Once you’ve chosen all your settings, tap record.

If you want to fit different shots in each video or record it in sections, simply hold the record button for each segment, let go, then press again for your next shot.

Upload Content To TikTok

To utilize video content you’ve already shot, seamlessly upload content by tapping the “Upload” button in the bottom right.

This is a great option for those who want to use video footage—or photos—from their device instead of shooting in-app. Here, you can adjust the length of your clips and select multiple videos.

TIP: Uploading content to TikTok is a great way to repurpose your video content.

Get Started on TikTok Step #3: Edit Your TikTok

Once you’ve finished recording or uploading your segments, hit the checkmark to switch to TikTok’s video editor. Here you can add text, adjust your video clips, record voiceovers and so much more.

Note: Make sure you’ve recorded all of your footage before you move into this editing stage. Going back into TikTok’s recording editor will erase any edits you’ve applied to your video.

Here’s a quick rundown of all of TikTok’s video editing tools:

#1: Add Text

Adding text is important to not only provide additional context at first glance but provides a great way for inclusivity for captions.

To add text to your TikTok, tap the “Text” button on the bottom of the screen.

Select from a number of fonts, colors, and styles.

To change the text duration, simply tap the text box and press “Set duration”.

Use the sliding scale to decide when you want your text to appear or disappear on your video.

#2: Record Voiceover

Add a custom voiceover to your video by selecting Voiceover.

Tap the record button to record audio for your video. Uncheck Keep original sound if you would like your voiceover to be the only audio on your TikTok video.

This feature allows you to add custom sound to your content post-shooting. Voiceovers are great for tutorials and other educational content.

New to the world of TikTok? Find out how to add professional-level voiceovers to your videos in this quick YouTube tutorial:

#3: Adjust Video Clips and Volume

Select voice effects to apply a unique voice filter to your audio, such as Shake or Electronic.

Tap the Volume button to adjust the volume of both your added and original sound. This can be helpful if parts of your audio are difficult to hear.

#4: Add Sounds, Stickers, Effects, and Filters

At the bottom of the screen, you can add Sounds, Stickers, Effects, and Filters to your video.

Like Instagram Stories, TikTok allows you to add in Stickers and GIFs to increase engagement.

This can be a place for a great way to jump on a trend or share more of your brand personality.

Once you’re happy with the finished product, click “Next”.

Get Started on TikTok Step #4: Publish Your TikTok

Finally, it’s time to publish and share your first TikTok video.

Once your content is ready, publishing your content is simple!

Tap “Next” in the bottom right corner.

You’ll be directed to the final page. Similar to adding an Instagram post, here is where you can add a caption, relevant hashtags, and tag others.

The ideal caption for TikTok should be short and be complementary to the content you’re sharing. Plus, keeping copy short and quippy tends to bring better results.

See how Later’s caption includes “the last tip is our favorite!”. This encourages users to watch through to the very end — which can be a big win for the TikTok algorithm.

Choose the privacy settings of the video, turn comments on or off, allow duets, stitches, or reactions, and tap “Save to device” to download it to your camera roll.

Lastly, edit your TikTok thumbnail video.

Tap “Select Cover”.

Drag the cover to the frame you’d like to use.

ICYMI: You can now add text to your cover photo! Choose from a number of fonts and styles and then tap “Save”.

The cover photo is what shows up on your TikTok profile so it’s important you choose a scroll-stopping image. Adding text to your cover photo is a great way to encourage your audience to click into the video.

See how Sawyer Hartman, CEO of Cameras on TikTok, does this on his TikTok feed.

If you’re not ready to publish just yet, tap “Save to Draft”.

If you’re ready to go, hit “Post”. There you have it, you’ve published your first TikTok.

Once your TikTok is live, you can monitor how it’s doing with TikTok Pro analytics. To access TikTok’s analytics, you will have to switch to a TikTok Pro account. Switching to a TikTok Pro account is easy. Follow the steps here.

And that’s everything you need to know to get started on TikTok. By now you should have a good understanding of how to upload your very first TikTok.

If you’re looking for even more TikTok tips, check out our free TikTok workshop below.

This free, 35 minute-long course will teach you everything you need to know—from how to create viral videos to understanding the powerful TikTok algorithm.

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!


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