How to Master TikTok: A Beginner’s Guide

Okay, let’s face it: TikTok is a force to be reckoned with. It’s not just a passing trend. With over 689 million active users worldwide and over 2 billion downloads, it has become a social media phenomenon that you simply can’t ignore. So, it’s high time you jump on the bandwagon and discover what all the fuss is about. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know to get started on TikTok and become a pro at video editing. Let’s dive in!

What exactly is TikTok?

TikTok is a platform for creating and sharing short-form mobile videos. You can make videos ranging from 5 seconds to 3 minutes long, using a vast music library and fun effects to quickly edit together bite-sized digital films. But what sets TikTok apart is its finely tuned algorithm that delivers a personalized content experience through the “For You” page. Prepare to be entertained by an endless stream of videos that cater to your interests and captivate your shortening attention span.

TikTok For You Page dance moves video

TikTok’s incredible popularity, especially among the Gen Z market, has turned it into a marketing powerhouse. Viral songs, rising stars, and trends that spread like wildfire have made it an excellent opportunity for brands to generate buzz. It’s important to note that TikTok originated from the merger of ByteDance and, with music and dancing playing a central role in the platform. While TikTok has faced privacy and security concerns in the past, it hasn’t stopped millions of users worldwide from embracing the app. So, let’s talk about how you can join the fun too.

Setting up your TikTok account

  1. Download the TikTok app from the iOS App Store or Google Play.
    TikTok app store preview

  2. Open the app and go to the “Me” section.
    Sign up for an account

  3. Choose a method to sign up, whether through your phone number, email, or social media accounts.

Congratulations! You are now officially a TikToker. There’s no turning back now!

Psstt: If you’re unsure about what type of account to create, whether a personal or a business account, check out our guide to choosing between the two.

How to create your own TikToks

Of course, having a TikTok account is just the first step toward social media domination. You also need to create some amazing content. Don’t worry; it’s easier and more fun than you think.

  1. Once you have your account set up, tap the “+” symbol at the bottom of the screen to enter Create mode.

  2. Before you start recording, you can select various editing elements from the menu on the right-hand side of the screen. These elements include flipping to your front-facing camera, adjusting the speed, applying filters, setting up a self-timer, and more.
    TikTok portrait mode French bulldog

  3. Tap “Add sound” at the top of the screen to browse and select sound clips and music for your video.
    Add sound on TikTok

  4. Ready to record? Hold down the red record button to shoot a video or tap it once to take a photo. You can also upload videos or photos from your camera library.
    Hold down the red button to record video

  5. If you want to add more videos or photos to your sequence, repeat steps 2 to 4.

  6. When you’re satisfied with your clips, tap the checkmark icon.

  7. Add extra flair to your video by including text, stickers, filters, voiceovers, and more.
    Add text, stickers, filters, or voiceovers

  8. Once you’re happy with your video, click “Next” to add a caption, hashtags, tag friends, add a URL, or adjust privacy settings.
    Describe video and add caption, hashtags, etc.

  9. Finally, tap “Post” to share your masterpiece with the world!

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How to schedule TikToks

If you prefer not to post right away, you can use Hootsuite to schedule your TikToks for any time in the future. Unlike TikTok’s native scheduler, which only allows scheduling up to 10 days in advance, Hootsuite offers more flexibility.

To schedule a TikTok using Hootsuite:

  1. Record and edit your video within the TikTok app, adding sounds and effects.

  2. After editing, tap “Next” and select “Save to device.”

  3. In Hootsuite, open the Composer by tapping the “Create” icon on the top left of the left-hand menu.

  4. Choose the TikTok account you want to publish to.

  5. Upload the TikTok video you saved to your device.

  6. Add a caption with emojis, hashtags, and tag other accounts if desired.

  7. Adjust additional settings, such as enabling or disabling comments, Stitches, and Duets.
    Existing TikTok privacy settings

  8. Preview your post, then click “Post now” to publish immediately, or click “Schedule for later” to choose a different time. You can manually select a publication date or pick from three recommended best times for maximum engagement.
    Custom best times to post for maximum engagement

That’s it! Your scheduled TikToks will appear in the Hootsuite Planner, alongside your other scheduled social media posts. This flow works seamlessly on both desktop and the Hootsuite mobile app.

Unleash your creativity with TikTok effects

TikTok’s editing effects are a significant part of its appeal. With filters, effects, and graphics, you can create masterpieces that stand out from the crowd. Let’s explore how to fully utilize these editing capabilities.

  1. Tap the “+” icon to start making your video.

  2. Tap the “Effects” menu to the left of the record button.

  3. Scroll through the different effects subcategories, such as “Animals” and “Funny.” Preview each effect to see how it looks on camera.
    Happy patty effects

  4. In the “Green Screen” section, experiment with layering your video over a fake background. You can choose from various options and even use photos and videos from your camera roll.
    Green screen of a person with buildings in the background

  5. Once you’ve found the perfect effect, exit the effects menu and start recording your scene.

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Once you have mastered the art of editing, check out our creative video ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Must-know TikTok editing features

Not sure where to start with your editing journey? Begin by mastering these popular video editing features.

The Green Screen Tool

Transport yourself anywhere in the world with the green screen effect. Tap the “Effects” button and find the “green screen” tab. From there, you can select different styles that allow you to overlay a video of yourself onto a fake background. Get creative and have fun!

Clone photos effect

TikTok Duets

Duetting with another user’s content is a popular feature on TikTok. Tap the share button on the right side of a video and select “Duet” to create a split-screen video where you can sing along, dance along, or get a little goofy. Note that not every video can be duetted with, as users need to opt-in to allow duets.

Adding Text

Adding text to your TikToks is a common practice. You can include words of wisdom, closed captioning, or anything else you want to convey. Just add in your text on the final editing screen. And if you want to synchronize your text with the beat, check out our guide to the top TikTok tricks.

Appearing, Disappearing, or Transforming

Pulling off cool visual effects on TikTok doesn’t require any high-tech editing skills. Just record clips that seamlessly transition from one to the next. You can start and end each clip in a unique way, whether by snapping your fingers, covering the camera lens, or moving out of the frame. Let your imagination run wild!


TikTok is constantly introducing new effects, filters, and features, so there’s always something exciting to try. Keep an eye on the Discover tab to stay up-to-date with the latest editing tricks and trends.

Navigating TikTok like a Pro

When you first log in to TikTok and are bombarded with a flurry of pugs in baths and hilarious boyfriends, it might feel overwhelming. But fear not! The five icons at the bottom of the screen will bring structure and make your TikTok journey easier.


Tap the icon on the bottom-left corner to access the “Home” feed. Here, you’ll find a stream of TikTok content from other users. The “For You” tab delivers fresh content tailored to your interests, while the “Following” tab shows content exclusively from people you follow.

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For You and Following tabs on TikTok


The “Discover” page showcases trending hashtags, allowing you to explore various content. It’s also the place where you can search for specific users, songs, or hashtags.

Labor Day trending hashtag

Create (the plus button)

Tap this icon to access the recording screen and get creative. Refer back to the previous section for tips on how to capture incredible TikToks.

Create TikTok


The Inbox contains notifications about new followers, likes, comments, mentions, and more. You can filter notifications by specific types by tapping the “All activity” menu at the top of the screen.

Inbox all activity


The “Me” icon leads to your profile, where you can make changes to your account by tapping “Edit profile” or access TikTok’s settings and privacy menu by tapping the three dots in the top right corner.

Edit profile option

How to find friends on TikTok

Finding your friends on TikTok is a breeze. You have a few different options:

  • Connect your profile to your contact list or Facebook account. Go to the “Me” tab, tap the human-and-plus-sign icon, and select your preferred method of finding friends.
  • Search for their usernames by going to the “Discover” tab and typing in their names.
  • Scan your friend’s TikCode, a unique QR code on their profile. Simply scan it with your phone, and their profile will pop up on your screen.

Find friends by connecting profile to contact list or Facebook account

How to engage with other users on TikTok

Interacting with other TikTok users is not just enjoyable; it’s also an essential part of building a successful TikTok presence. On every video, you’ll find a menu of icons on the right-hand side that allows you to engage and interact with other creators. Don’t be shy—give it a try!

  • Tap the profile icon to visit the user’s profile and follow them if you wish.
  • Tap the heart icon to like a video, showing appreciation and giving TikTok feedback on the type of content you want to see more of.
  • Tap the speech bubble icon to leave a comment or read existing comments.
  • Tap the arrow icon to share the video with friends, save it, use the same effect on your video, or create a duet or stitch with the original video.
  • Tap the spinning record icon to discover the song used in the video and explore other TikToks featuring the same track.

Jagmeet Singh election TikTok video

And there you have it! This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do on TikTok. If you’re ready to take your TikTok strategy to the next level, explore our in-depth guides on everything from analytics to monetizing your TikTok content. Now, warm up your singing voice and get ready for an incredible journey on TikTok!

Do you want to grow your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels? Try Hootsuite, where you can schedule and publish posts, engage with your audience, and measure performance—all from a single dashboard. Start your free trial today!

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